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Cheap and Cheesy and Off-the-Cuff
Article by Jody Duncan Shannon
To produce a wildly offbeat supernatural comedy with wall-to-wall effects and limited funding, Beetlejuice director Tim Burton turned to first-time visual effects supervisor Alan Munro who assembled a choice team of cost-conscious independents willing and able to conjure up hundreds of effects shots for a very small portion of the film's $14 million budget. In charge of creature creation and makeup illusions was principal effects contractor Robert Short; providing opticals and miniature support was Peter Kuran of Visual Concept Engineering; and tasked with enlivening three highly specialized animation sequences were Doug Beswick, Ted Rae and Tim Lawrence. Together they assembled the fanciful imagery that helped make Beetlejuice the first big hit of the summer season.
Batteries Not Included
Visit from a Small Planet
Article by Richard Linton
When Amblin Entertainment brought Batteries Not Included to Industrial Light & Magic, visual effects supervisor Bruce Nicholson found the prospect of creating a family of pint-size anthropomorphic flying saucers both intriguing and challenging. Principal among the challenges was the need to create ships that could be photographed in real time on live-action sets and also in bluescreen environments under motion control. Most importantly, the imagery produced through employment of these two techniques had to be stylistically indistinguishable even when cut together end to end. Developed to support the effort was a sophisticated new wire rig and a winning array of flying machines brought to life via overhead wires, motion control, rod puppetry, stop-motion animation and go-motion.
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