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    Inside ILM's Virtual Reality Testing Lab

    The Verge recently visited the ILMxLab in San Francisco, where artists and developers experiment with cutting-edge VR and AR technologies for experimental film production and consumer entertainment research. From The Verge's report: "ILMxLab is the VR and augmented reality think-tank from Industrial Light & Magic. Their mission? Create the future of entertainment. And you'd better believe they're starting with Star Wars."

    Ryan Nagata's Space Suit Replicas

    Adam isn't the only replica prop builder obsessed with spacesuits. At the recent Replica Prop Forum showcase, we met Ryan Nagata, a propmaker and independent director who collaborated with Adam on his Mercury suit, and made his own Apollo-era spacesuit as well. Every part of Ryan's suits is an original fabrication, and the suits are wearable!

    'Inside the Machine' VisualizesThe Electronic Age

    I've been reading Megan Prelinger's just-released book, 'Inside the Machine', a history of the visualization of electronics, as seen through the lens of commercial art and advertising. Prelinger, the co-founder of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco, is a cultural historian who previously explored the relationships between of art and technology in her first book, 'Another Science Fiction.' Her talks at the BoingBoing Ingenuity event and Nerd Night in 2013 offered early glimpses of this book, which is filled with beautiful 20th century commercial art from scientific journals and trade publications. That art is the narrative that explains how industry and the public perceived and grasped the emerging technologies of the electric age--the effects of which still permeate our visual lexicon today. For those of us who like touring through the intersection of art and technology, this book is an essential guide.

    And if you're in San Francisco, The Green Arcade bookstore is hosting a release party for this book on August 24th. I'll be there!

    Studio Scale Star Wars TIE Bomber Replica

    At the recent Replica Prop Forum project showcase, we met visual effects modelmaker Jonathan Faber, who brought his scratch-built studio scale TIE Bomber. This model is an exacting replica of the filming miniature used in The Empire Strikes Back, including the greeblies sourced from WWII and rocket kits like the ones used by ILM's modelmakers. Plus, Jonathan shows us his newest project, a cross-section miniature!

    2001: A Space Odyssey's Aries 1B Miniature

    This story originally appeared on the Cinefex blog on 3/31/2015 and is republished here with permission. Learn more about Cinefex magazine here.

    Deadline Hollywood broke the news: Academy Museum Buys Rare '2001: A Space Odyssey' Model For $344,000. Fans were stunned. As any Stanley Kubrick aficionado will tell you, it has long been legend that all the spaceship miniatures from Kubrick's landmark science fiction film were destroyed after filming at the filmmaker's request, to prevent recycling in cheap imitations. Could this be the real McCoy?

    Before the facts were known, a small studio in El Segundo, California, became mecca for a pilgrimage of visual effects professionals who arrived to gaze in awe at the Aries 1B – the spherical trans-lunar spaceship from 2001: A Space Odyssey – that, miraculously, had been found after 47 years in obscurity.

    The miniature was up for auction and the curator, Premiere Props, welcomed guests to verify the find. Facebook images began appearing of spectators posing with the ship — Dennis Muren, Greg Jein, Matthew Gratzner, Ian Hunter, Shannon Gans, Dave Jones, Bruce Logan, Pat McClung, Harrison Ellenshaw, Peter Anderson, Bill Taylor, André Bustanoby, Gene Kozicki, Rob McFarlane, Ted Rae, Dan Winters, John Goodson and Kim Smith (and guest appearances, by phone, from Douglas Trumbull and Steve Gawley). The general consensus: the miniature was real.

    The AMPAS Museum of Motion Pictures eventually acquired the ship for a princely sum. Prior to finalizing the sale, event organizer Dan Levin allowed Visual Effects Society Archive Committee co-chair Gene Kozicki and VFX artist André Bustanoby to a make detailed photographic record of the ship; and Gene shared the experience with Cinefex:

    Photo Gallery: Star Wars Costume Exhibit

    I've returned from vacation--two weeks of roadtripping to Canada and back and that took me through seven states and two provinces. Along the way, I tried to stop by as many interesting places as possible, including science museums and art galleries. During a lunch stop in Seattle, I made a point to visit the EMP Museum, where I had previously geeked out over its collection of sci-fi movie props. One current exhibit features costumes from the Star Wars films--the first stop in a 12-city nationwide tour. The exhibit was lovely, and a good complement to the recent Star Wars Costumes book by Brandon Alinger (bring the book along if you're going to visit). If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend going, even if you've seen the costumes before on previous Star Wars museum tours.

    Aging Suit Simulates Experience of Old Age

    Speaking of conceptual transhuman experiences, here's video of an "aging suit" that simulates the experience of being 75 years old. The Atlantic's James Hamblin tests this exoskeleton, which limits movement, impairs hearing, and blurs vision (to approximate cataracts). It's the latest invention of technologist (and ex-Imagineer) Bran Ferren's Applied Minds, and is intended to get people talking about issues around aging and long-term care.

    HBO's Westworld Reboot Teaser

    I'm so freakin' excited for this upcoming HBO series. For one, this interpretation of Michael Crichton's film is being shepherded by J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, and stars some pretty amazing actors. And two, HBO's president recently revealed that this story would primarily be told from the perspective of the robots inhabiting the titular theme park. Ed Harris as the iconic gunslinger is almost perfect. 2016 feels so far away...

    Jurassic Park Jeep Conversion Project

    Steve Huszar of the Replica Prop Forum is one of many Jurassic Park fans who've converted their Jeeps and Ford Explorers to look like vehicles from the first film. Steve's JP88 conversion project takes a Jeep YJ Wrangler and modifies it to look like the 1992 Sahara used in production. We learn about how the JP fan community works together keep all their car projects consistent and as screen accurate as possible.

    Adam Savage's Custom Tool Storage Stands

    As discussed on a previous episode of Still Untitled, Adam's stand on storage drawers is that they're where tools go to get lost. To keep his essential workshop tools easily accessible, he built these custom stands as a solution for organizing all of his hand tools. Adam explains the design of these stands and shows off some of the more esoteric tools they keep within reach.

    A Thoughtful Treatise On the Pros and Cons of CG

    I'm as guilty of this as anyone. There's nothing I love to drag out more than bad ragdoll animations in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings as an example of crap CG that dates a film. But, as the folks at RocketJumpFilmSchool point out, there's a lot of good CG in films that goes unnoticed and unloved.

    Hoverboards Are Real

    Yes, this is just a publicity stunt by Lexus. Yes, the technology to do something like this has existed for a long time, someone just needed to figure it out and build it. Yes, it is highly impractical compared to actual skateboards. I don't care. Thank you Lexus, for making my 14-year-old self's dream come true.

    Back to the Future 2 Nike Air Mag Replicas

    Earlier this summer, we attended The RPF Prop Party and showcase, a gathering of replica prop builders in southern California to share their projects. One of those projects is a pair of Nike Air Mag shoes from Back to the Future Part II, created by RPF member Brad Fyfe. Brad shows us his shoe conversion project and a pair of official Air Mags that were auctioned off by Nike for charity. Still working on that power lacing!

    In Brief: John Hughes's Original Vacation '58 Short Story

    originally a short storywhen I was a kid and Chevy Chase and company were getting laughs at the expense my dad, and it's even funnier now that I have a family of my own. What I didn't know is that Vacation was originally a short story that ran in National Lampoon, written by none other than John Hughes. The Hollywood Reporter just reprinted the original short, Vacation '58, which I'd highly recommend you read, if you have any affinity for the film.

    Will
    LEGO with Friends: Bonnie Burton, Part 1

    For this week's LEGO with Friends, we're joined by guest Bonnie Burton! Previously at LucasFilm, Bonnie has written several Star Wars craft books and is a regular contributor to CNET and Playboy.com. Together, we're going to assemble the massive Avengers Helicarrier set! Follow along with us by signing up for a Tested Premium Membership here! (The first episode is free for everyone, but the rest of the series will be for Premium Members.)

    Bowing Before The Masters - Episode 18 - 7/31/2015
    It's the season 2 finale of CreatureGeek and Boy Howdy, do we have a rock and roll guest to round off this season. This episode we welcome the incredible Todd Masters of MastersFX. Todd and his shop are responsible for effects in such shows as Fringe, Falling Skies, RoboCop, Tales from the Crypt, Slither, True Blood, Six Feet Under - the list goes on and on. He's a true FX artisan and we are more than proud to have him on the program. Along with that, listen in on how you can win a Smooth-On trial pack for your next makeup project by just listening and commenting on the show. It's a jam-packed program, so thanks for listening, thanks of supporting CreaturGeek on Tested and we'll see you in the fall!
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    Making a District 9 Alien Assault Rifle Prop Replica

    One of our favorite science fiction movies is District 9, which features beautiful props by Weta Workshop. Paying tribute to the film, we team up with prop maker Bill Doran and effects artist Frank Ippolito to replicate the movie's Alien Assault Rifle and accompanying alien hand. We walk through the process of building each, with the final cosplay pieces coming together at Comic-Con! (Thanks to Smooth-On for providing materials for this build!)