From the most recent Supernatural Shooters episode of Mythbusters, in which Jamie and Adam test two bullet-related myths: "Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by incredible slomo footage that captures a bullet being fired at 73,000 frames per second. Shot at these speeds, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye."
This past weekend was D23 Expo, Disney's bi-annual fan convention that's on track to become the company's own Comic-Con. Along with tons of news related to Disney's animated and live-action films, the company unleashed announcements for the next few years of Star Wars. Let's see if I can sum up all the good stuff here. First, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow has signed on to direct Episode IX. Gareth Edwards' Rogue One had its main cast revealed in its first publicity photo (Donnie Yen!). Disney CEO Bob Iger also announced that 14-acre Star Wars-themed lands would be coming to Disneyland and Disney World--you can spot some Ralph McQuarrie influence in the concept art. Painter Drew Struzan showed off his Force Awakens poster art, given away at D23. And attendees got to get up close to costumes from the film, including the incredible Captain Phasma chrome armor. And on a D23-unrelated note, here's a fun story about the hunt for the original theatrical release of Star Wars. Phiew!1
Happy Monday! For this week's Show and Tell, we have another LEGO Mystery Build! Follow along as Norm assembles this custom creation, and place your best guess as to what's being built in the comments below.
Previously, we showed you Frank's 1/8th scale sculpture which was the basis for his Rancor costume. This week, we show you how that maquette is turned into a full-sized foam costume. Fabricator Ben Bayouth walks us through the foam suit build, including materials and techniques used to make the suit believable as a massive creature! (Thanks to Model-Space.com for sponsoring this project!)
Yay! A package from one of you guys has arrived at the office. Inside, we find a vintage toy space gun that may look familiar to long-time Tested viewers. It's something that will make it's way to Adam to add to his collection! Thanks so much to Zack for sending it our way!
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."
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!
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!
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!
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:
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Look, we've all done it. Compared one science fiction world to another in a battle of fandom vs. rationality. It always ends up the same, with a cocktail napkin sketch showing the Millennium Falcon's thread-the-needle path to complete the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. The good news for you is that someone has done the hard work and ranked spacecraft, real and imagined, from slowest to fastest (at least while their engines are running).3