|GEORGE LUCASFULL CIRCLEBABY YODASTAR WARS|
He also set up a sister postproduction facility in Santa Monica and launched EDnet to share video through fiber-optic networks.
Tom Kobayashi, the respected Hollywood sound engineer who ran George Lucas' Skywalker Sound postproduction facilities in Marin County and Santa Monica, has died. He was 91.
Kobayashi died March 3 in Bakersfield, California, his family announced.
After leaving the Lucas fold, Kobayashi in 1992 launched the Entertainment Digital Network, or EDnet, which employs fiber-optic networks to send high-quality video and audio great distances. Its then-revolutionary technology enabled the industry to link together talent, execs and production facilities at great cost savings.
A child of Japanese immigrants, Kobayashi was interned during World War II before serving in the U.S. Army from 1946-51. After graduating from USC's Marshall Business School in 1953, he began his career in Hollywood as an accounting clerk at a film laboratory.
Following more than two decades as vice president, president and COO of audio postproduction company Glen Glenn Sound in Hollywood, the well-connected Kobayashi was recruited in 1985 by Lucas to head his new Skywalker Sound division at Lucasfilm.
Kobayashi at first was tasked with completing the construction of the Technical Building, a 700,000-square-foot postproduction facility on Skywalker Ranch north of San Francisco. The studio was to be equipped with advanced digital-picture, sound-editing and mixing devices developed by Lucasfilm's Droidworks division, the computer/R&D arm that would spawn Pixar.
The studio was to be used solely for the Star Wars creator and his friends and colleagues. But after two films were completed — the 1988 releases Tucker: The Man and His Dream, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and Willow, produced by Lucas and directed by Ron Howard — it became clear a bigger business plan was required: Kobayashi would need to bring outside productions north to complete their films at Skywalker Ranch.
To help feed that pipeline, Kobayashi constructed a second post facility, Skywalker Sound South, in Santa Monica. Both facilities would flourish as dozens of films were made; among the first were Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989, Backdraft 1991 and Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991.
Meanwhile, Droidworks development work was restarted inside Skywalker Sound. In 1990, the EditDroid, an advanced computer film- and video-editing machine, found use in Hollywood, New York, Vancouver and Toronto, presaging the digital filmmaking revolution by more than a decade.
In 1992, Kobayashi and his engineers simplified postproduction by using digital telephone technology and new audio compression devices from Dolby. They connected the North and South ranches, essentially creating a 400-mile-long "digital...
There’s a symmetry to the final season of “Homeland” that speaks louder than any of its international rabble-rousing and high-octane action scenes. Carrie Mathison, the CIA officer with bipolar disorder who Claire Danes has squinted, screamed, sweated, and shaken her way into becoming over seven intense seasons, is now a former P.O.W. suspected of turning on her country. To Carrie, such an accusation is as ludicrous as it is insulting. She’s a patriot. She’s put her life, sanity, and family on the line, time and time again, for America. To see it any other way is impossible.
And yet, over the course of the first four episodes, Carrie is forced to reexamine her perspective; to consider the unthinkable in order to, once again, protect her country — this time, possibly, from herself. Not only is this a clever means to put Carrie in the shoes of her one-time enemy, long-time lover Nicholas Brody Damian Lewis, but it encompasses the parallel stories “Homeland” has told since he left the show. Carrie has worried her mind will betray her when it matters most; that she won’t be able to serve her country to the best of her abilities because of her disorder, her drinking, or even her child. The series, meanwhile, has tried to force viewers to reexamine who’s the real enemy in the war on terror; to empathize and rationalize with people whose opinion of America is less than “Great!”
Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon are bringing these questions full circle, and the early episodes are a strong start to a complicated goodbye. When Nicholas Brody turned out to be a terrorist, it opened up a deeper, richer conversation about what that word meant. When we find out what happened to Carrie Mathison during her seven months in a Russian jail, we’re going to know a lot more about what it means to be a patriot — a definition “Homeland” has been exploring for nearly a decade.
Season 8 opens with Carrie still in isolation post-imprisonment. She’s been debriefed, interviewed, and analyzed, but her time behind enemy lines is still a mystery. Her memory is missing big chunks of time, which is taxing on Carrie but suspicious to her colleagues. Does she really not remember, or is she choosing to exclude key details? Before anyone is comfortable with an answer, Saul Mandy Patinkin, still in fine, blustery form after all these years steps in to pull Carrie out of friendly captivity and into enemy territory.
As the National Security Advisor to President Warner Beau Bridges, Saul’s top priority is negotiating an end to the war in Afghanistan by brokering peace talks with Taliban leaders. This, as one might assume, is no easy task, and Saul needs his protégé to help push the deal through. To say much more would enter into spoiler territory, and given “Homeland” builds...
A concept artist on The Mandalorian still refers to the Child as Baby Yoda. Lucasfilm and Disney have confirmed dozens of times that his official name, for the time being, is the Child. He is not an infant version of the little green Jedi Master, though he looks just like him. In the Star Wars timeline, the real Yoda is dead at the time of The Mandalorian. There is still a ton of mystery surrounding the Child and the species that he is.
The Mandalorian concept artist Doug Chiang posted some concept art from the series on social media. The image is of Din Djarin as he holds the Child in his hand. Chiang posted the image, along with a caption that reads, 'Time for a Mando and Baby Yoda sketch!' We all know he's the Child, but Baby Yoda just fits so much better, especially since we know next to nothing about the little green dude.
The Mandalorian season 2 should debut in the fall. Disney+ and Lucasfilm have confirmed that the show is supposed to come out in October, but that could all change at any moment, due to the current state of world affairs. The entertainment business has been stalled as we all wait for this to pass. Regardless, season 2 should give us a bit more insight into who and what Baby Yoda is, or at least tease more of his backstory. We do know that Moff Gideon will be trying to get his hands on him, which could prove to be massive problem for Din Djarin.
A lot of Star Wars fans have been curious about the original Yoda's species for decades. It's never been explained before and some fans want to leave it that way. It's unclear how far Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will go into the Child's history, but there are still a lot of people who want to learn more about the original Yoda in The Mandalorian. It will be interesting to see how much information they will be coming up with. Regardless, if it goes far enough, it could anger a lot of Star Wars fans, which seems inevitable at this point.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see what season 2 of The Mandalorian brings. We have yet to see any footage from the upcoming season, though that makes sense. If Star Wars Celebration ends up still happening at the end of August, we'll probably see the first footage there, or around that time. Disney and Lucasfilm have not yet commented on whether or not the annual celebration will happen this year, though San Diego Comic-Con seems to be going ahead, at least as of this writing. Things could change at any minute now. You can check out The Mandalorian concept art below, thanks to Doug Chiang's Instagram account.
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...