George Lucas’ filmmaking career started flourishing with his writing and directing works. After Star Wars, apart from being a writer and director, he further evolved into a producer, and later on, a film entrepreneur, company president, and ultimately, a pioneer in the advancement of film and entertainment technologies.
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George Lucas Biography: The Student Filmmaker
Making Star Wars
Lucas collaborated with many technical people to create Star Wars scenes that wouldn’t be possible with the available filmmaking resources during those times. It took much toil and labor for him and his team; moreso, there was so much pressure coming from the part of the movie studio.
All the hardships paid off: Star Wars changed the way people looked at movies.
Back during its heyday, Star Wars changed the way how movies were made. Its many cinematic accomplishments changed the business as how people knew it back then.
Since its creation in 1971, Lucasfilm has become a renowned, privately held and fully integrated entertainment company.
During its earlier days, Lucasfilm was mainly a film company meant for Lucas’ film projects. Soon, it became a top company dealing with global businesses in visual effects, sound, video games, licensing, and online activity.
Lucas’ Former Companies
The making of Star Wars led him to creating the animation studio Pixar, primarily founded by the Graphics Group, a major part of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm. Pixar’s early computer graphics research and development contributed much to the technical successes of many films other than Lucas’ Star Wars. His company was the place to go to make filmmakers’ visions realized: from the visual effects to many other technological innovations required in various motion picture projects. Pixar under Lucasfilm was known for making such groundbreaking effects in films like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Young Sherlock Holmes.
In 1986, Steve Jobs purchased Pixar for $5 million. Lucas was able to put that capital to his company. The said sale reflected his desire to stop the cash flow losses from his seven-year research projects for the making of new cinematic technology tools. His new source of finances provided him the necessary funding to focus on creating entertainment and motion picture products that would later on set the future of filmmaking technology.
Interestingly, Pixar has its own share of successes as a company now independent of Lucasfilm. It eventually became Pixar Animation Studios, now known as a multi-awarded company consistently producing quality animated films. Later on, Pixar would team up with Disney, further providing them the financial resources to grow and create more animated shorts and features.
Since its historical 3D animated film Toy Story, it has continued to provide heartwarming and technically polished films like Ratatouille, Wall E, and Up.
Following the cashflow difficulties with Lucas’ personal and entrepreneurial concerns, mainly his divorce settlement and the sudden dropoff in revenues from Star Warslicenses after Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, he directed his attention to creating more products that can keep up with his finances, while also helping out filmmakers with state-of-the-art resources to create their challenging visions for their films.
Lucas, along with Tomlinson Holman, was also behind the sound-equipped system called THX Ltd. The company offered equipment for stereo, digital, and theatrical sound and music for movies.
This Lucasfilm initiative also moved on to become one of the renowned companies in the field of motion picture sound. It later developed more technological breakthroughs benefiting the many facets of the entertainment industry.
Avid Technology Inc.
Another former Lucasfilm initiative that moved on to become a successful and innovative company on its own is Avid Technology Inc.
It is now a top company developing post-production products such as: Avid Media Composer, a professional motion picture editing and production program; Pro Tools, a professional audio production program; Pinnacle, a home video editing program; and M-Audio, a personal personal music studio program. Avid also offers other media products like: Venue, a system used for live sound productions; and Interplay, a system used by companies for media asset management.
Current Divisions of Lucasfilm
Situated in a distinctively serene location within the rolling hills of Marin County, California, Skywalker Sound features one of the largest, most versatile full-service post-production facilities in the world. It offers comprehensive solutions for the sound needs of various types of productions. It offers fully equipped mixing studios, a large variety of picture and sound editing suites, state-of-the-art foley/ADR stage, and complete audio and video transfer facilities and services.
Industrial Light & Magic
Founded in 1975 to create the special effects for Star Wars, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) developed into a multi-awarded effects facility mainly serving the motion picture, commercial production, and attraction industries. It kept itself in pace at the forefront of the digital revolution.
ILM’s creative innovations helped drive the evolution of the traditional arts of blue-screen photography, matte painting, and model construction. It also pioneered the development of motion control cameras, optical compositing, and many other technological advancements in film production and post-production.
Other Lucasfilm Divisions
Since 2010, other divisions of Lucasfilm include LucasArts (formerly Lucasfilm Games), Lucas Licensing, Lucasfilm Animation, and Lucas Online.
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