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Credit for TPM Effects in Dispute

Posted By Paul on May 19, 1999

Two articles -- one in the Sacramento Bee, the other in Wired -- outline a dispute between Play Inc (makers of Electric Image) and Lucasfilm/ILM over credit for work done for Episode 1. Check both articles for full details.

The Rancho Cordova technology company on Monday bought a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter, claiming that Rick McCallum, the producer of "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," reneged on his promise to give the company adequate credit for much of the razzle-dazzle special effects that went into the movie.

"Rick and his team of artists asked us to develop ambitious new 3-D effects technologies specifically to make the most spectacular shots in the movie possible," the letter reads.

"In exchange for custom-programming these special effects, Mr. McCallum offered us something of great value -- public acknowledgment letting the world know how essential Play's Electric Image was in the creation of this landmark film."

Signed by Paul Montgomery and Mike Moore, Play's co-CEOs, the letter says that Lucas' production company, Industrial Light and Magic, is "uncomfortable acknowledging just how much of this historic motion picture was created with low-cost software running on standard Macintosh computers."

But a spokeswoman for Lucasfilm, director George Lucas' studio, said Play "has misrepresented its work," on the new movie. "While we appreciate their contributions, not a single shot was created using only their software," said Lynne Hale, a publicist for the movie company. She said dozens of software packages were used in making the movie, and the company is happy to acknowledge any of their contributions.

She said that, with few exceptions, ILM has never discussed special effects in the movies it has worked on until weeks after the films opened. "We want to preserve the magic and keep the audience guessing until after the movie comes out," Pasternack said.

Also discussed is an alleged 'Jedi Agreement' between SGI and Lucasfilm which prevents Lucasfilm from acknowledging the contributions of non-SGI platforms. Macintouch sources report

"For years, ILM has operated under a non-disclosure arrangement with Silicon Graphics where ILM gets the latest and greatest boxes, and in return they are not allowed to discuss effects that are done on non-SGI systems.... It's a widely known secret that many of the new effects added to the 'Special Edition' of the first film were done almost entirely on Macs."

"Just a comment on the info posted about Lucasfilm and Play. I was an engineer at Strata for 4 years and the company consistently ran into this same thing. It is commonly referred to as the 'Jedi Clause.' ILM gets all the latest equipment for the lack of credit due when developing on other platforms."






[Episode I - News Archives]
Is Colonel Gascon Jar Jar?s Cousin?
Posted By Dustin on December 17, 2012:
Derived from an unused concept for the Gungans

Ahmed Best Talks TPM & More With EW.com
Posted By Mike on February 27, 2012:
A lengthy article with the Jar Jar actor

TPM 3D Opening Weekend: #4 With $23M
Posted By Eric on February 12, 2012:
Episode I re-release performs as expected

It's The Phantom Menace 3D Release Day!
Posted By Eric on February 10, 2012:
Every saga has a beginning...

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