Skywalker Ranch. Say these two words in the vicinity of any Star Wars fan and watch time stand still and eyes light up. It’s the fantasy of many to be able to visit the famed Ranch built by George Lucas, but unless you receive an invite or have some legitimate business being there, it’s one fantasy that will be with you, for a very long time.
You may now be wondering to yourself, why is this guy talking about the Skywalker Ranch? It’s not news, and the Ranch is not open to the public. You are right my dear readers, it’s definitely not news (that’s Marylou’s job) and we already know, it’s written in stone somewhere, that your geeky ass is not allowed in. But, since the Ranch has been in existence there has been very little press on it, and very few pictures taken of the famed Ranch, that is…until recently. You see, a little known filmmaker that goes by the name of Philip Bloom, received an invitation to not only visit the famed Ranch, but to film it as well!
So, who the hell is Mr. Phillip Bloom anyway? For those of you that don’t know, he’s basically been following his passion for the last 20 years filming, producing, and editing short films, documentaries & commercials. When Mr. Bloom accepted the invitation to visit the Ranch he brought along some of his digital cameras, and not a one-of-a kind digital camera, but the kind of cameras that can be purchased off the shelf at your local Best Buy. What was once afforded to well known filmmakers such as George Lucas has now become available to the ‘everyman’. Yup, the Digital Camera!
You see, there have been some recent developments with the digital camera that’s taken the filming industry by surprise, and that’s the inclusion of HD video, specifically when it concerns digital cameras known as DSLR’s (Digital Single-Lens Reflex Cameras) such as the popular Canon ‘Rebel’ series. When you include the ability for a camera such as the Canon ‘Rebel’ to shoot video, these cameras now become known as: video DSLR’s (Video Digital Single-Lens Reflex Cameras or VDSLR) and this is where Mr. Bloom fits in. He is one of the few individuals that has recently embraced the video DSLR and now uses it, as a very capable filmmaking tool. But he’s definitely not the only one. Producers of music videos, TV commercials, documentaries, short films, and even computer animators have all benefited from these inexpensive video DSLR’s. And when I say inexpensive, I really mean inexpensive! For the price of a decent flat screen TV, or even a good ‘gaming’ computer, you can buy one of these cameras and make your own music video or Hollywood blockbuster. And I also say ‘inexpensive’ because before the inclusion of HD video in these cameras, you had to either rent a professional camera (digital or film) if you couldn’t afford to buy one, and if you could afford to buy one, you had to spend at least 10-15 grand for a semi-pro setup, and a good $40,000 and up for a ‘pro’ model.
George Lucas was a pioneer in using digital technology for his films especially when he had the chance to continue his Star Wars saga starting with: Episode I The Phantom Menace in 1999. Now, more than 10 years later, Rick McCallum producer of the Star Wars prequels along with Mike Blanchard are getting the assistance of Mr. Bloom in how best to use the video DSLR as a capable filmmaking tool. You can read about Mr. Bloom’s time at Skywalker Ranch in the link below. George Lucas, legendary sound designer Ben Burtt and even Quentin Tarantino was there. That’s all I got to say about that, so hit that link after watching Mr. Bloom’s piece, it’s a definite must read if you’re an aspiring filmmaker.
But wait, there’s more! I’ve also posted a few other links, like what happened when Mr. Bloom opened his gifts that he received from Lucasfilm, along with links to some industry professionals that had the chance to work at Skywalker Ranch with one of them having a nice Flickr set…a must see.
Enjoy watching Philip Bloom’s video: Skywalker Ranch and Happy New Year to all.
- The Cameraman
Philip Bloom’s blog post of time at the Ranch: http://philipbloom.co.uk/2009/12/12/the-tale-of-lucasfilm-skywalker-ranch-red-tails-star-wars-and-canon-dslrs/
Philip Bloom’s YouTube page : Star War gifts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZVyECsoEBc
Michael Heilemann’s Blog Post of Skywalker Ranch: http://binarybonsai.com/2009/12/17/skywalker-ranch/
Michael Heilemann’s Flickr set of Skywalker Ranch: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heilemann/sets/72157623017201040/
Film Composer- Justin R. Durban, Skywalker Ranch Post (Skywalker Ranch – Orchestral Session 1.10.2008)- http://www.justindurban.com/blog/index.php?entry=entry080110-134157
Dan Goldwasser’s post of Skywalker Ranch: http://dan.goldwassers.com/wp/tag/skywalker-ranch
The AWN Oscar® Travelogue post of Skywalker Ranch- ILM’s Valentine’s Gift — A Night at Skywalker Ranch- Part 1 of post: http://oscartour.animationblogspot.com/2008/02/15/ilms-valentines-gift-%E2%80%94-a-night-at-skywalker-ranch/