Rogue One - K-2SO

Collider has an excellent interview with the Rogue One visual effects team and as you’d expect, John Knoll, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould are full of fascinating insights and information. I especially enjoyed Knoll talking about using Rogue One as a testing ground for ILM’s newest technology:

Well, every film tries to advance the state of the art, at least a little bit. Brand new techniques? A lot of them are just evolutionary, we’re just building on something that’s like something we’ve done before and just trying to do it a little bit better or make it a little bit more realistic. This film is the first time we’ve used a real-time renderer, so our advanced development group has been working on a GPU based, game engine based, renderer to try and generate very high realism images, and we used it in production for the first time on Rogue One. There’s a handful of shots, only a few, that are in the final movie of K-2SO that were rendered on a GPU. And I’m pretty pleased that you can’t spot them, they look just like the other k-2 shots.

Think about the Death Star tench. You know where it is, right? Well, you may be completely wrong. ILM artist Todd Vaziri (who shared the tweet above almost a year ago) has finally revealed what he’s been sitting on for some time – the Death Star trench is not that gap running around the side of the Empire’s battle station:

Nearly everybody points at the equatorial trench of the Death Star. I asked dozens of die-hard fans, including many co-workers at Industrial Light & Magic, and nearly every single person pointed to the equatorial trench. If you asked me, I would also have said the equatorial trench.

In fact, this came up during ILM “Rogue One” dailies one day. Computer Graphics Supervisor Vick Schutz and Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll were chatting about the details of our computer graphics version of the Death Star, and Knoll casually remarked that the trench run in “Star Wars” is a longitudinal line on the Death Star (meaning, a north-south trench).

Most of us in the room were dumbfounded. “What did he say?”

You can read his whole explanation at the link above and yes, the actual Star Wars movies back this up if you pay attention.

Rogue One Scarif Battle

Fangirl Blog has a new interview with author Alexander Freed, who was most recently responsible for the Rogue One novelization. The whole thing is worth a read, but I enjoyed him talking about the process of writing a book based on a movie without having seen the movie:

That was one of my first tasks when I sat down with the script: breaking the film down into chapters and scenes, and figuring out who would serve as the viewpoint character for each sequence.

When I’m writing original material, I typically build scenes around characters – there’s no question whose head I want the reader to be in. Here, I had to figure out not only which character had the most at stake in every scene, but also what unique perspective they might have to offer – and what I was okay leaving out (because not every character will notice everything going on in every scene – the audience may see something in the film that a viewpoint character in the book simply doesn’t care about).

Let’s play a game of “spot the reference in the Star Tours queue at Walt Disney World.”

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