Grant McCune, one of the five Oscar winners for Best Visual Effects for the original Star Wars, passed away this week at the age of 67. The father of two, who specialized in models and miniatures, got his start working for Steven Spielberg on Jaws before working on Star Wars all the way up through Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo in 2008. Read more after the jump.

McCune was the chief model maker on the miniature and optical effects unit for Star Wars: A New Hope, for which he won his Oscar. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and contributed to the original Battlestar Galactica before becoming a partner at Apogee Productions. There, he did work in animation on Caddyshack, Big, Spaceballs and Die Hard before starting his own company called Grant McCune Design. For that company, McCune supervised model and miniature work on films like Batman Forever, Speed, Sphere and more.

McClure rarely did interviews, but he did one with Popular Mechanics in 2009 in which he talked about what it takes to make the perfect model and also the secret to model making.

For motion picture miniatures and production miniatures, I’ve always told people to get a good background in photography first. The most important thing is what you see with your eye. Movies are a lot different from reality. This is because you’ve isolated the viewer’s eye to a certain spot—you can’t look anywhere else. If you’re a photographer, you get the idea of what you need to do by analyzing what it is that needs to be set and where it is and how much detail it should have. All the best people who ever worked for me were first good with the eye.

Grant McCune Design also did some groundbreaking work on the original Alien, to which their official site has the following video.

In the world of miniatures, which for my money still look better than computer effects, McCune was a legend. He will truly be missed.

Source: The Wrap

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