Lucasfilm, Prime Focus formally announce 'Phantom' collaboration

As reported by Variety, Prime Focus is doing the 3D conversion of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”

Lucasfilm and Prime Focus announced the collaboration today. Prime Focus went through “exhaustive” testing to get the assignment.

Conversion is being done under the close supervision of Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisor John Knoll (“Avatar,” “Rango”).

Knoll said they are taking “a different approach than you might expect.

Said Knoll, “George (Lucas’)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.”

The 3D vendor on the project has been hush-hush until now, at least officially, but word of Prime Focus’s involvement leaked when a Prime Focus artist in India posted a “Star Wars 3D” credit in his resume on a social networking site. (Daily Variety, Dec. 22, 2010)

Prime Focus denied at the time the credit was a feature project but declined to say what it was.

Prime Focus CEO Namit Malhotra told Variety that Lucasfilm tested their creative sensibilities and their pipeline before choosing them as a vendor, as Lucasfilm wanted a vendor who could handle the entire process in-house.

Stereographer Jeremy Nicolaides is overseeing the project for Prime Focus. Work is being done at Prime Focus facilities in London, India and Hollywood, with Hollywood taking the lead.

“After they did the testing process they’ve given us freedom to do the show, said Malhotra. “We do reviews up at ILM, and that’s where John gives us notes and direction. And that’s worked very very well. That’s what they wanted. They didn’t want a partner who would be continually supervised.”

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