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 Form.

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 Form.

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 combination of recent and salt water. The sunshine present that catapulted audiences into hyperspace in 2001? That was illuminated artwork shot by way of a slit in a rotating piece of sheet steel.

Within the days earlier than digital results, these scenes needed to be created bodily, and Doug Trumbull was the child who found out how. First employed in his 20s to fill Area Odyssey‘s pc screens with pictures (again earlier than most individuals had ever seen a pc display screen), his ingenious use of slit-scan photographs 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 Working, during which 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 Working value one-tenth the funds 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 a number of 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 so much 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 Eighties virtual-reality film Brainstorm was alleged to be a showcase for innovation, however theater house owners balked at paying for the gear.

Making an attempt to steer Hollywood to take probabilities exhausted Trumbull and he largely retired from moviemaking. He emerged often to work on an immersive theme park journey or do results for the big-bang section in Terence Malik’s The Tree of Life. Trumbull was all the time completely happy to astonish audiences who had been used to digital results along with his sensible magic.