Douglas Trumbull, visual effects supervisor and movie director, has died at 79 : NPR

Douglas Trumbull in a publicity portrait from the movie Shut Encounters Of The Third Type.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs


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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs


Douglas Trumbull in a publicity portrait from the movie Shut Encounters Of The Third Type.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs

Douglas Trumbull, the pioneering, pre-digital, results wizard who delivered to life the unimaginable landscapes in 2001, A Area Odyssey, Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Movement Image has died at age 79.

These roiling clouds earlier than the spaceship’s arrival in Shut Encounters? They had been white paint shot into a mix of recent and salt water. The sunshine present that catapulted audiences into hyperspace in 2001? That was illuminated artwork shot by a slit in a rotating piece of sheet metallic.

Within the days earlier than digital results, these scenes needed to be created bodily, and Doug Trumbull was the child who discovered how. First employed in his 20s to fill Area Odyssey‘s pc screens with photographs (again earlier than most individuals had ever seen a pc display), his creative use of slit-scan pictures within the finale made him Hollywood’s go-to man for sci-fi imagery. George Lucas got here calling, however Trumbull needed to flip down the unique Star Wars as a result of he was too busy with results for Shut Encounters. By that point he’d additionally directed Silent Operating, wherein Bruce Dern and robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie have a tendency what’s left of Earth’s vegetation in geodesic domes in outer area.

Observers marveled that Silent Operating price one-tenth the price range of 2001. Trumbull later saved Star Trek: The Movement Image, when the movie’s supposedly state-of-the-art graphics-imaging system could not produce even just a few seconds of useable footage.

Tiring of imagining spacecrafts towards starry backgrounds, Trumbull took on Blade Runner‘s polluted, dystopian metropolis of Los Angeles and made it look rather a lot like an oil refinery. He additionally spent years attempting to persuade Hollywood to embrace a hyper-real 70-millimeter course of he invented that might run at about 3 times the pace of regular movie. His early Nineteen Eighties virtual-reality film Brainstorm was speculated to be a showcase for innovation, however theater house owners balked at paying for the gear.

Making an attempt to influence Hollywood to take possibilities exhausted Trumbull and he principally retired from moviemaking. He emerged sometimes to work on an immersive theme park experience or do results for the big-bang section in Terence Malik’s The Tree of Life. Trumbull was at all times completely happy to astonish audiences who had been used to digital results together with his sensible magic.

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