Sunday, April 13, 2014

Working on the set of Battlestar Galactica in 1978. Often touted as having "incredible" special effects, in fact the show was merely expensive. It utilized straight-forward blue-screen technology, traveling mattes, and animated laser beams.

Special effects were overseen by John Dykstra, who'd worked on the film Silent Running with Douglas Trumbull. George Lucas hired him to work on Star Wars, where Dykstra invented the Dykstraflex motion-controlled camera that made the amazing special effects of that film possible. Lucas then promptly fired Dykstra for being over budget and late. Dykstra and his team then won the Oscar that year for best special effects.

Dykstra formed his own company, Apogee, Inc. Working with illustrator Ralph McQuarrie (who also conceived most of the look of Star Wars), Dykstra did hundreds of miniature, effects, and other shots for the premiere episode of BSG, "Saga of a Star World." Most of his effects shots were recycled and used repeatedly throughout the show's run, and Dykstra did little additional work for the series.

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