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21. July 2013 06:47
by jedi1

Walter Cronkite's "Universe" Visits ILM

21. July 2013 06:47 by jedi1 | 0 Comments

Universe was a summer series, anchored by Walter Cronkite which aired between 1980 and 1982. If you watched the first part of the featurette that was shown on CBS with the US network television premiere of Star Wars, you may have seen a short clip of Walter Cronkite meeting with George Lucas and visiting Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). We scoured the internet looking for a copy of the whole show but were able to find only one, rather poor quality, version of the entire segment on YouTube. The audio is extremely loud and noisy, there are horrible compression artifacts and the whole video has a very green tint to it. Using AviSynth and other free tools we were able to clean it all up a little bit, make the audio is less noisy, the volume more reasonable, and reduce the green tint:

But it is still not very good quality. If anyone has or knows of a better source, please let us know!

Edit: Thanks to our friends at, we have found a better version of this clip on the "EditDroid Features 4 disc Set":

Download this file (Right click the link and choose 'Save Target As...')

Look out for the part where ILM animators Phil Tippet and Ken Ralston "demonstrate" how they used stop motion animation to move the tauntauns in a completely over the top and fake way:

"After the cultural phenomenon that was Star Wars, there was intense interest by the mainstream media of the making of The Empire Strikes Back. No less a news luminary than Walter Cronkite toured ILM to document the behind the scenes visual effect effort for broadcast on an episode of his television series [Universe]. Tippett and Ken Ralston succumbed to the mischievous impulses and their natures when they were asked to do a sample tauntaun setup for Cronkite and his film crew. "We set up a tauntaun shot," Ralston recalled, "except, just for fun, we set it up in a completely fake way with a bunch of surface gauges and rulers stuck on them - all kinds of crazy things. During the demonstration, we adjusted things and acted very serious, as if we were animating this character using all this 'high-tech' stuff. It was a complete joke; and when I look back on it, it may not have been a smart move to do that with Walter Cronkite - but it was fun!"

- Cinefex Magazine, Issue 121 P.66


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