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Lucasfilm Selects Prime Focus to Convert Star Wars to 3D

Converting 2D content to 3D is controversial at best, but when George Lucas wants to do it to Star Wars, that's big news. Following an exhaustive testing process, Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic have selected Prime Focus to convert Episode I: The Phantom Menace to 3D for theatrical release on February 10, 2012.

Of course, 2D-to-3D conversion can ruin a movie—just look at Clash of the Titans—but it can be done well if enough care is taken with the material. And Lucas is known for sparing no expense, at least in the technical aspects of his movies. "It was incredibly important to me that we have the technology, the resources, and the time to do this right," says Lucas. "I'm very happy with the results I've been seeing on Episode I."

The conversion is being completed under the supervision of John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for ILM. "Getting really good results from stereo conversion requires a lot of attention to detail, and it is imperative that you take the time to get it right—and that's just what we're doing," he says. "We're taking a different approach than you might expect. George'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." That sounds like the right approach to me.

Prime Focus will be at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention next week, and I'm scheduled to interview the company's CEO, Namit Malhotra, on Wednesday, April 13, at 10:30 AM. You can watch that interview live at live.twit.tv or later here at UAV. It should be an interesting conversation!

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