Feb 2003 Tron-Sector Q&A with Harrison Ellenshaw
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Submitted By: tronprogram

February 2003 Q&A with Harrison Ellenshaw : Associate Producer and co-supervisor of special effects.

Which matte paintings of yours may we remember from the Star Wars movies?

STAR WARS {the original} - Matte paintings are in about two dozen shots in the film. There are three shots inside the Death Star you might remember: A wide down shot of Obi Wan turning off the tractor beam. Another interior Death Star wide down shot as Luke and Leia get ready to swing across an 'abyss' while pursued by Imperial Storm Troopers. There is also a shot in the Death Star of the Millenium Falcon docked inside the hangar [only half of the of the Millenium Falcon was constructed, the rest is matte painting as are parts of the hangar]. Another matte painting composite is in the final sequence in the film. The camera is behind Luke, Han and Chewbecca as they go up to Princess Leia to receive their medals [this shot involved crowd multiplication as well as adding to the set in the background].

The EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - There were over 80 matte paintings in this film. I did about half of them and Ralph McQuarrie did about half. Of note: lots of snowscapes including the generator, a set extension of Yoda's swamp and many many paintings of Cloud City exteriors, as well as a few interiors.

Mr. Ellenshaw, what was the most difficult/challenging of the special effects for TRON that you worked on? What was the most fun?

It's hard to say, there were so many challenges that the film presented. The sheer volume of work had never been attempted before. Not just the 15 minutes of CGI but the approximately 40 minutes of backlight compositing. There were over 1200 effects shots - an unheard of amount at that time. There was also the fact that we were attempting to do effects that had never been done in a feature before. In many ways we were not reinventing the wheel, we were inventing a new wheel entirely! I clearly remember when we viewed the first set of CGI shots from a company called Magi. Everyone was just amazed! After the lights came up, there was complete silence; we were stunned. It was as if we all knew we had just glimpsed the future. Twenty years later, I'm still overwhelmed. The fun came in solving the problems and seeing it all come together. A lot of people said it couldn't be done. Now that's the real fun, proving those people wrong!

Is there a certain scene or scenes in TRON that you are most proud of working with?

Well, of course I'm very proud of the whole film. But one of my favourite effects doesn't even take place in the electronic world - it's Dillinger's touch screen desk in his office. Touch screens of that size certainly didn't exist then. We made up all the graphics and related animation ahead of time. Then these images were projected onto the smoked glass desk top via a 45-degree mirror underneath the desk that was on a raised set. David Warner had to perfectly time his finger touching the desktop so that as he touched the image it would change. I still think it looks pretty cool.

What were your first thoughts when you were contacted about making a movie that takes place inside a computer world?

When Steven Lisberger told me about the film, he also told me how he intended to do it. Of course, it seemed incredibly ambitious. I just wondered if we could do it in the time and for a reasonable budget.

What was the funniest thing about working on TRON?

When you work such long hours on any project, you get to the point where you are so tired, that a kind of giddiness takes over and suddenly everything seems hilarious. Fatigue and stress can make anything out of the ordinary funny, especially at 2 or 3 in the morning. I remhow many men have affairs wifes that cheat goonline will my husband cheat again why husband cheatclick here click here My wife cheated on memedication pregnancy teenage abortion places to get an abortion