Star Wars Phantom Menace 3D Coming from Prime Focus FebruaryApr 16th, 2011 | By Roy Rasmussen | Category: Art and Entertainment
Lucasfilm and its Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) visual effects division are partnering with the global visual entertainment services company Prime Focus to release Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D, the companies announced March 29. George Lucas discussed details during a panel discussion at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where Prime Focus again appeared this week for the National Association of Broadcasters NAB Show.
Sitting alongside Avatar director James Cameron and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lucas predicted that 3D movies will replace 2D the way color replaced black-and-white. Anticipating this trend, Lucas plans to release all six Star Wars films in 3D. “We have our third generation now of kids who are under 12 years old who have never seen Star Wars on the big screen,” Lucas said. “And I am betting a lot of people will go see a movie that they have seen on television a million times and they have the video at home, and they will go and see it because they want to see it in the theater in a social experience.”
Following an exhaustive search, Lucasfilm and ILM selected Prime Focus to assist in converting Phantom Menace to 3D. Lucas, a perfectionist with special effects, was very cautious in the selection process. “It was incredibly important to me that we have the technology, the resources and the time to do this right,” said Lucas. “I’m very happy with the results I’ve been seeing on Episode I.”
The selection process was supervised by ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll, creator of Adobe Photoshop. “Getting really good results from stereo conversion requires a lot of attention to detail and it is imperative that you take the time to get it right–and that’s just what we’re doing,” said Knoll. “George’s vision has been to add dimension to the film in subtle ways. This isn’t a novelty conversion, with things jumping out at the audience; our goal has been to enhance the classic Star Wars theatrical experience, utilizing the latest cinematic tools and techniques.”
Prime Focus founder and CEO Namit Malhotra was very happy to be selected. “Wherever you are in the world, the Star Wars films have become part of the very fabric of film-making,” Malhotra said. “For a project of this importance and magnitude, Lucasfilm and ILM would only have chosen a company with the best talent in the industry, leading proprietary technology and infrastructure, a production-proven pipeline and unmatched scale. I am hugely proud that Prime Focus is that company.”
Prime Focus employs a proprietary View-D process which represents the cutting edge in converting 2D images to 3D. Prime Focus has provided support to such effects-intense films as Avatar, Tron: Legacy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and most recently, Sucker Punch.
The 3D version of Phantom Menace will hit theaters February 10, 2012.