Syfy Wire : “Your team really gets to show off new technologies, and I know you’re constantly working on these new technologies; is that accelerated when you’re actually on a show and you run into a problem, or is it something you try to keep going all the time?”
John Knoll : “To some extent, that’s something we always try to do; it’s part of the culture at ILM to never accept that the status quo is as good as it can be. Part of the process is always, ‘Is there a better way?’ We try to think through if there’s something we can do better creatively or technically, or just is more efficient.
This dissatisfaction with the status quo and constantly playing with a better way, I think is something that George Lucas really was a major foster of. The way that Lucasfilm used ILM was George never restricted his thinking to things that he knew could be executed with the tools at the time. He would write what he thought would be cool and what he wanted from a storytelling standpoint with the assumption that, ‘Well, they’ll figure it out!’
That sort of throwing the gauntlet down of ‘All right, well, you guys are going to figure out how to do this,’ drove a lot of real innovation at the company. How we rose to those challenges, we developed technology that we were then able to offer to other clients and other projects. It was just generally good for the industry and good for us in particular. I felt that we should continue that legacy. As Lucasfilm is developing IP and we’re working on our projects, we should be using those films to advance the ball further down the field, and to make things better for the rest of the company and the rest of the industry.”
Read the whole interview at SyfyWire.
John Knoll is Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. He has been Visual Effects Supervisor of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, among many other films.