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  • Both of these images are groundbreaking.

  • And connected.

  • On the left, you've got the world through Yul Brynner's eyes in Westworld, the 1973

  • movie where he plays a robot cowboy.

  • This is not a spoiler.

  • I mean, he's a robot on the poster, and if you've seen the HBO series,

  • you know that everything is a robot.

  • It's this pixelated robot's-eye-view that gave birth to CGI: computer generated imagery.

  • But the technique and idea did not come from Hollywood.

  • It came from a bit further away.

  • This is a picture of Mars.

  • The CGI was groundbreaking, so now we're gonna see if we can get our computer graphics

  • team to replicate it.

  • Oh yeah.

  • I'm done.

  • It takes, like, two clicks.

  • But in the early 1970s, computers this powerful were non-existent, and digital images were

  • rare.

  • These title swirls in 1958's Vertigo were sort of computer generated imagerythe

  • designer repurposed an M5 anti-aircraft gun's mechanical computerto help draw these

  • intricate patterns.

  • Other experiments were digital, but they were basically art films.

  • After all, non-CGI effects could generate stunning results.

  • Still, Westworld creator Michael Crichton wanted to create a robot's point of view.

  • Hollywood hadn't done it yet.

  • But NASA had.

  • Liftoff.”

  • When NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched Mariner 4, it was the first flyby of Mars,

  • and it transmitted back the first up-close photographs of the planet.

  • The method it used to get those images to Earth was important for two reasons: it shaped

  • what a “digital picturewas should look likeand it gave technical guidance for

  • the Westworld CGI.

  • The pictures were sent back as numbers.

  • “240,000 bits of binary code, representing the shading of 40,000 dots that will finally

  • make up the first picture.”

  • “A complex system of computers is required to convert these numbers into pictures.

  • Some workers decide to handmake their own picture of Mars by shading the numbers.”

  • Yes, our first up close picture of Marsit was a paint by numbers.

  • Ultimately, the computer generated images ended up looking like these.

  • In the 1973 cover story of American Cinematographer, Westworld designer John Whitney Jr. wrote

  • thatthe scanning digitizing methods employed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory on their Mariner

  • Mars flybys could be used here.”

  • But using the rare computer at the lab would have cost 100 grand.

  • They found a private company to basically copy the Jet Propulsion Lab's methods to

  • scan production footage, frame by frame, and convert it to numerical information,”

  • which would then be played back on a special machine and re-recorded.

  • To make the perfect robot vision, the designers used data that created an image with 3,600

  • squares.

  • And they had to get creative to make sure the CGI action came through clearly.

  • Actors wore clothing to contrast with the background - here's one wearing white clothing

  • and makeup.

  • They also increased the contrast in post-production.

  • And though it took a full minute to scan each frameor about eight hours for a ten-second

  • sequencethe CGI worked.

  • Hollywood couldn't havesorry, can you just...

  • Hollywood couldn't have come up with this idea alone.

  • It took the R&D from the $550 million Mariner program to inspire something as fanciful as

  • CGI, especially when practical effects could have gotten the job done.

  • But it was the future.

  • Whitney finished that article for American Cinematographer by saying,

  • My work on Westworld suggested many more possibilities than we were able to explore,

  • and there are certainly many others yet to be imagined.”

  • OK, so this edition of Almanac's all about big changes to the movies that came from outside

  • of Hollywood, so if you know of any sciencey type innovations like what you just saw that

  • changed movies, let me know in the comments.

  • There's a lot out there.

  • However, I cannot end this video without letting you know about Futureworld.

  • It is the sort of forgotten sequel to Westworld, but the CGI is actually still influential,

  • and that's because it's likely the source of the first 3D CGI face.

Both of these images are groundbreaking.

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B1 Vox westworld robot computer hollywood propulsion

The first movie with CGI

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/08/18
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