ILM: Industrial Light And Magic – A Walkthrough In Pictures

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Visit the house that George Lucas’ Star Wars built – or is it the house that built Star Wars? See icons from, and the future of, Sci Fi movie history in hi-res pictures.

Sorry if these take a little while to load. These pics are all 1200 across – you can click on them to go bigger, or ‘open image in new tab’. I figured if you’re going to have a look around Industrial Light and Magic, you might as well have a GOOD look. The joy really is in the details.

Sure, it’s just a place of business, but for a Sci Fi fan, it’s a very special place of business. Walking around it was a thrill for me. Hopefully you can share in some of that right now.


When you enter and leave ILM through the front door, this is what you see.


A huge lobby area is surrounded by cool statues, posters and yes, some Star Wars stuff.


Like this! This is the original Darth Vader costume, used in the original trilogy (Return of the Jedi, I believe).


George Lucas has a simply mind-boggling collection of vintage movie posters. They line the walls up to the cinema (of course they have a cinema).


Let’s have a close up look at Darth Vader, shall we? Check out the usage on the gloves. That’s from force-choking minions.


ILM is set up a bit like a university campus – it’s a mass of buildings, all linked together, and the corridors are filled with incredible props and models from an amazing array of films.


See, that’s what it looks like from inside.


Industrial Light and Magic have picked up a few awards along the way. They’re doing all right.


Walking around, it was okay to stick your head in to offices and say ‘hi’. The decor is completely up to the occupant, and is usually littered with things they find awesome or have worked on.


Like the Saucer Section from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Holy Star Wars/Star Trek nerdgasm!


Some corridors are just lined with the films that ILM have worked on.


You’ll also bump into people just going about their business. Like this chap in a MoCap suit.


How many movies has ILM worked on? Hundreds and hundreds.


Like Inner Space! This is the FULL SIZE capsule before it was miniaturised. So cool.


Such a cool place obviously has a cool rec room.


The walls and ceilings are full of surprises. Hi Draco!


Each office is unique. Noel Coward once said that ‘work is more fun than fun’ and it seems these chaps have taken that to heart.


Ghostbusters fans, settle down. But yes, that is Slimer. Sadly, it’s Slimer from Ghostbusters II, but still.


There are a variety of workspaces. There’s always something fascinating that just pops out at you.


You did see that pic of JJ Abrams and George Lucas mucking about with a light saber, didn’t you?


A piece of Sci Fi history. This one stopped me in my tracks. This is the original puppet used on the set of E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. Mind blown.


ILM has a lovely view out to the Golden Gate bridge.


I’m sure the people at ILM work really, really hard.


So you look up, and there’s a mini Tom Cruise (no, not actual life-size, don’t be mean) hanging from a mini helicopter. It was used for the iconic scene at the end of Mission: Impossible.


What else is ILM’s coffee shop going to be called? Java The Hutt is perfect. George Lucas favours a sweet, milky, caramel concoction.


The artwork that goes into the creation of the images you see on screen are sometimes more beautiful than what ends up on celluloid.


Here’s another chap going about his day, setting up MoCap cameras for a session.


The walls of the MoCap studio are studded with cameras. Those pipes are cables that lead directly to servers.


This is the model of the spaceship ‘Messiah’ from Deep Impact. Yes, that is indeed a little Robert Duvall (Spurgeon ‘Fish’ Tanner) in the cockpit.


Yeargh! Pirates of the Caribbean loom large in ILM’s history.


When you’re at ILM, you get a sense of calm, of people enjoying their environment, and happy in the knowledge that this, career-wise, is pretty much the shizz-nitt.


And to say ‘adios’ here’s that granite sculpture of Darth Vader you always wanted for your living room.

- Oscar Hillerstrom

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