‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ visual effects wizards on recapturing style of original (Exclusive Video)

Veteran visual effects supervisors Roger Guyett and Pat Tubach are past Oscar nominees but readily admit to being nervous about working on one of the most highly anticipated films of all time: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” During our recent webcam chat (watch above), they spoke candidly about taking on this task. “We all need a little pressure, don’t we?,” laughs Guyett. 

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Satisfying fans of the original series was always going to prove daunting. Indeed, as Guyett puts it, “Pressure means it’s a huge challenge and it’s a lot of fun, and somehow you don’t want to lose sight of that in the middle of all this and melt into a pool of jelly on the floor.”

The film, directed by J.J. Abrams, blends practical and computer generated effects. It recaptures the style of the first film, no easy feat according to Guyett.rec “How do you make something that’s fresh and exciting, but kind of like an old friend?” Ultimately, he says they found a way to combine, “the most contemporary technology with some kind of really old school ideas.”

In many ways, adds Tubach, a mix of practical and CGI helped make their job easier. “One thing that we got to do on this film which I think is a little bit different than most is that we had so much great reference of things that were shot for real, we were able to sort of use our efforts to extend the world that was already created. So we weren’t thinking too much about creating something out of nothing.”

He continues, “We were able to say, ‘Look at all of these fantastic sets, look at these props, look at the ships that were built, look at all the stuff that’s already there. Now we just need to extend this and make this stuff live, and make it animate and do things that are beyond what could be shot.’ We were able to use our energy to do what I think was important.”

The two previously contended at the Oscars for Abrams’ “Star Trek: Into Darkness” (2013). Guyett received additional nominations for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004) and “Star Trek” (2009). This year they are nominated again, along with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” colleagues Neal Scanlon and Chris Corbould

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