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Jeff & Rob Visit Lucasfilm 198

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sometimes-you-win dept.
Last fall Hemos started working for Perforce: one of their clients is Lucasfilm. One thing led to another, and last week I got to visit their Presidio facility in San Francisco. Their security policies prevent me from saying anything about the super sweet things I saw inside the building, but I can post this picture of us next to the Yoda statue outside the front door. Thanks to Matt Janulewicz for getting us in the front door and showing us around, Daryll Jacobson for opening a cool door and Tina Mills for pressing click. I can now say that I've been physically closer to Starwars.com than I have to Slashdot.org since the 1998 when it lived under my desk. Finally, the gauntlet has been thrown: if you work somewhere cool (Pixar? Apple? NASA? The White House? Comerica Park?) drop me an email! I am not above using T-Shirts as bribery to see cool places!

*

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Jeff & Rob Visit Lucasfilm

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  • by Daetrin (576516) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:25PM (#35494520)
    What do you think this is? Your personal blog?

    (And for those who don't get the joke, yes, i know ;)
  • While I suppose it wouldn't mean all that much when it comes to day-to-day work on some level it would be nice to work somewhere "cool". A company with "mythical" server parks rather than the typical "one small server room per site plus a couple of rented racks in a datacenter for external stuff".

    Oh well, maybe I'll find a job at one of those places someday...

    • by vlm (69642)

      While I suppose it wouldn't mean all that much when it comes to day-to-day work on some level it would be nice to work somewhere "cool". A company with "mythical" server parks ...

      Been there, done that, strongly advise against it.

      The sales guy whom was selling used cars last week (no kidding) walks the new client thru, and you have to grit your teeth the whole time as he points to the UPS and calls it "The Internet". The new client is of course completely non technical so he nods his head. Repeat every freaking day. One funny story is all the promotional pictures are of, I kid you not, male and female models. Some of you could have theoretically seen my chair and desk, but that m

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:28PM (#35494552)

    You can see the dungeon where Lucas rapes our childhood memories.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:29PM (#35494564) Journal

    Whatever happened to the scrappy twenty-somethings I met at the Hilton annex at Comdex?

  • news (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:30PM (#35494586)

    Nerd goes to Lucasfilm; can't talk about it. No news at 11.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      I was at the old location once. They had nice signs to warn away the unwary. They were warning about highly toxic chemicals and such.

      Any chance pictures of those signs are floating around the web anywhere.

      Meeting R2 in the theatre was most cool.

    • On the bright side nobody can attacked for not reading TFA--seeing as there is nothing to read.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:33PM (#35494630) Homepage

    See? http://www.mrericsir.com/blog/local/yoda-statue/ [mrericsir.com]

    Jeez, why don't my personal blog entries make the front page of Slashdot?

    • Love the Previous Entry on that page...

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        Yeah, it's pretty gross, but if you're interested in the subject, there's a lot of reading and some great forums at acne.org.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      You can submit your /. journal entries.
      If it's any good, it'll make it to the front page.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        If it's any good, it'll make it to the front page.

        So then why were we subjected to shit like this and samzenpus' stupid College Humor video over the Kinect yesterday? These are terrible...

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        If it's any good, it'll make it to the front page.

        Ah, so THAT'S the problem!

  • Why isn't this in Idle?

    Oh yeah, never mind.

  • Their security policies prevent me from saying anything about the super sweet things I saw inside the building...

    Their security policies sound more like industrial trade secret policies, unless the cool things they have inside are anti-terrorism devices.

  • Finally, the gauntlet has been thrown: if you work somewhere cool (Pixar? Apple? NASA? The White House? Comerica Park?) drop me an email!

    Why would you need to be emailed when one could just post their cool job in the comments section?

  • the /. staff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vorpix (60341) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @01:42PM (#35494750)

    I kinda like this sorta post. I used to feel a closer connection with the /. mods back in the day than recently. It didn't always feel like one Apple/Google press release after another like it does nowadays. It seemed like there was more editorial content. (Not that I'm asking for JonKatz to return...)

    • by Rysc (136391) *

      Ahhhahah, Jon Katz. That takes me back.

      I say bring him back! It would liven up the place.

  • I used to come to slashdot for a does or three of daily nerdism. Then I came for techy news. Then I came to watch the flamewars when I needed an excuse to eat popcorn. Now? Now I come to see that life really is about who you know.
    • If the richest rewards to be reaped from "who you know" are a visit to a satellite production facility of a movie studio, you probably shouldn't feel too left out.
  • I'm not a Star Wars geek but I seriously want that Yoda statue.

    Oh, and I thought Episodes II & III were better then Episode VI and quite possibly V.

    • by operagost (62405)

      I'm not a Star Wars geek but I seriously want that Yoda statue.

      Really? That sounds slightly contradictory.

      Oh, and I thought Episodes II & III were better then Episode VI and quite possibly V.

      Ah... definitely not a Star Wars geek. My bad.

  • Well yesterday I went to an even cooler place, but I can't tell you. There was so much amazing stuff, I was shocked. This was like a million times better than going to Lucasfilm. After the first couple of things happened I knew that my life had changed forever. Thanks to Frank for telling me about this fantastic place, Joseph for pointing out the last things and letting me take one home, and Sarah - you know exactly what for! I'm going to go post this on slashdot now so that all the nerds can get jealous!
    • by game kid (805301)

      and Sarah - you know exactly what for!

      Oh now I'm intrigued. If she had blue hair then this must have been Steve Jobs' house. I hear it has an iPod with a penny-sized 1TB SSD, and a unique Mac OS X that he can install out of the box on a standard PC. And topless dancers with blue hair. Blue hair!

      • by Jstlook (1193309)

        -- You can hold down the "B" button for continuous firing.

        I tried that once, and now I'm unemployed!

    • Well yesterday I went to an even cooler place, but I can't tell you. There was so much amazing stuff, I was shocked. This was like a million times better than going to Lucasfilm. After the first couple of things happened I knew that my life had changed forever. Thanks to Frank for telling me about this fantastic place, Joseph for pointing out the last things and letting me take one home, and Sarah - you know exactly what for!

      You finally got to a brothel? Congratulations.

  • Now that everyone on slashdot knows where to get a real yoda statue, are we already taking bets on how long it'll be still there...

  • Was this just "click-mongering"? Glad I have ads disabled...
  • by khaladan (445) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @02:27PM (#35495244)

    Been wondering what happened to him.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @02:38PM (#35495358) Homepage Journal

    If you were an animator or technical director at Pixar, you could expect to live there during production. The film has to be done on time, you can't miss the Christmas season, etc. I saw many families bring dinner to Pixar almost every evening so that they could eat together, as mommy or daddy wasn't coming home until really late. I was in studio tools, not production, and thus was allowed to have a normal life - and seeing what happened to the production folks, I never wanted to be a technical director.

    The pay was OK, but not great, and for technical folks the attribution was something you might have to slo-mo your VCR to see. There were 20 people who wanted a job standing behind every one that actually had a job in film, so there was no incentive for studios to pay better.

    At the time (it may be better now) the tools were the result of 30 years of evolution, and you had to know about 30 languages to be a TD.

    I've found my involvement in Open Source to be a lot more fulfilling.

    Bruce

    • Well said, Bruce. Work-life balance is one of those things that you begin to appreciate more as you get older.

    • by ckthorp (1255134)
      Wait! Who on Slashdot still has a VCR? Ok, I'll get off your lawn now UID3872.
  • Oh, big deal. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @03:27PM (#35495990) Homepage

    It's not that big a deal. I've been to Lucasfilm's sound stage at "Kerner Optical" (which used to be a cover story for Lucasfilm.) That's where they do physical effects and model work. Got to see their prop and camera shops, and some cameras used for notable shots that fans probably care about but I don't. They were the first to put a camera in a carbon-fibre housing, that camera has been through many crashes and explosions, and it still works. Nice engineering.

    They were doing some R&D work on 3D cameras where the separation between the cameras could be varied dynamically. Watching that on a 3D monitor while someone twiddles the interocular distance is a non-fun visual experience, close to headache-inducing.

    They were showing off FrameFree [framefree.com], which is a frameless video compression technology. It decomposes the image into layers which are then morphed from frame to frame, allowing arbitrarily slow motion. They sold that off, but some of the technology for cleanly decomposing images went into 2D to 3D conversion technology.

    The most unusual thing about the place is that almost all the employees have been there for decades. Someone who'd been there three years was referred to as the new guy. You just don't see that kind of low employee turnover any more.

    I've been to some computer animation places. They're just cube farms, not very interesting. They used to have high-end SGI workstations, but now it's all PC. (I saw that transition between 1998 and 2002; on my first visit to Sony Imageworks, the shop was 90% SGI machines, with a few PCs. Four years later, 80% PCs, with a few SGI machines for legacy work. SGI's "Silicon Studio" division is long gone, and the Computer Museum has their building.)

    Watching a really good animator use a high-end animation package makes you realize that some people have really, really, good 3D visualization skills. There's a classic comment from some sculptor that he just chips away the stone until the object emerges. That's what working 3D artists do all day. Fast. There's much drawing and little adjustment. Pros don't tweak meshes; they draw them.

    If you're not into either the "Hollywood thing" or fandom, dealing with the film industry is generally frustrating. Either they're in pre-production and have trouble coming up with a valid credit card, or they're in production and want a new feature yesterday.

  • This is like walking into the locker room in high school and saying, "I just slept with the head cheerleader," and then refusing to give out any details. Party foul!
    • "Sleeping with the head cheerleader" in this context would have been an invite to Lucas' ranch. This is more like sleeping with the head cheerleader's sister who looks pretty good as long as you ignore the braces.
  • What's with the fountain in front the of Yoda statue? It makes him look pissed.
  • I was working there last year. Why couldn't you visit then?!

  • This is a nice story and all, but I was hoping to see photos of Hemos and CmdrTaco at Lucasfilm, not two random old fogies hanging around next to Yoda.

  • I have been at ILM ( in the old space) - got a great tour and the new Pixar space ( with my students from Stanford via my Facial Animation course), heck I gave a recent talk at Google and saw things I can't talk about either but why would I blog about it or put it on Slashdot if I do not have something informative to say. I sure there are 200 more folks like me who have done this who are slashdot members. Including folks who work at these places. Seems like an ego post.
  • But I'm still stuck with RCS you insensitive clod!

  • by nrmrvrk (89299)

    I've seen Matt Janulewicz put cashews in his nose. He's a Legumist.

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