Prime Focus Converting 'Star Wars' to 3D

Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:14 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Prime Focus Converting 'Star Wars' to 3D

Yesterday at the CinemaCon event in Las Vegas, LucasFilm and Industrial Light Magic announced that that post production company Prime Focus has been hard at work on the 3D versions of all six films in the Star Wars saga, beginning with The Phantom Menace.  That first film is set for theatrical release on February 10th of next year, with each subsequent film arriving at yearly intervals.

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Prime Focus recently converted The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but the firm is probably more well known for the much-derided 3D on last year's Clash of the Titans.  The decision to convert Clash came very late in the game, however, and as a result, Prime Focus was forced to rush the process.

“It was incredibly important to me that we have the technology, the resources and the time to do this right," George Lucas said of the selection, adding,  "I’m very happy with the results I’ve been seeing on Episode I.” 

John Knoll, the ILM visual effects supervisor who called the shots on the effects work on all three prequel films, is overseeing the conversion, which based out of Prime's Hollywood office, but entails work from offices in Los Angeles, London, and Mumbai.  Of the motivation behind the process, Knoll said, “We’re taking a different approach than you might expect. 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.”

Lest you worry that a slapdash conversion will sully the artistic merits of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Knoll implicitly promises that we won't be looking at another Clash of the Titans-style scenario.  "Getting really good results from stereo conversion requires a lot of attention to detail," he says, continuing, "and it is imperative that you take the time to get it right – and that’s just what we’re doing."

Considering the invective hurled at The Phantom Menace over the last decade, I'm curious what the response to its 3D re-release will be like, both culturally and financially.  That goes for the both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as well.

Is it safe to assume that nostalgia will assure a solid turn-out for the original trilogy starting in 2015, or will we be suffering from 3D Star Wars fatigue by then?

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