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Comment of the Day: The Pre-CGI Secrets of Star Wars

Illustration for article titled Comment of the Day: The Pre-CGI Secrets of Star Wars

In today's comments, we talked up the new season of the Walking Dead, reminisced over the best candy with the worst marketing schemes, and identified some of the pre-CGI secrets of the Star Wars special effects team.


In response to this post revealing a previously un-aired, original Star Wars blooper reel (if you haven't seen it yet, check it out), sharp-eyed commenter CLBnntt picked out a curious relic of just how visual effects artists used to manufacture thrills and chills:

Fascinating revelation at 0:27 or so — they created the effect of the landspeeder levitating by hiding the wheels behind mirror strips to reflect the surrounding sand. That's brilliant. I love practical effects.


Commenter DJPixcel stepped in to add another effects tip culled from Star Wars:

I had seen somewhere that they put vaseline on the lens in a line so that it covered up the tires, and actually looked liked it was making a "hover" effect, blurring the bottom of the speeder.

Any other thoughts or stories on how the special effects were pulled off? Share them in the comments below.

Image: Marques / Shutterstock


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The Lightsabers were glass tubes with spinning refelctive tape inthem. they were hand rotoscoped in post. They always broke, and were abandoned for Empire.

TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine in the canon, but they are called TIE Fighters cause the ILM crew thought they looked like bow ties (which are cool)

John Dykstra invented a computer controled motion control system for Star Wars and ILM. He left the company shortly after going to NBC to help them with their "Star Wars craze cash in show" Battlestar Galactica.