Document details

Making The Unreal Real With Matte Paintings
A bit of paint and a whole lot of imagination can add tremendous scope to a motion picture, but painting the matte is only a small part of the operation. Getting it onto film is the real challenge. No man has ever seen a black hole, but that did not stop Harrison Ellenshaw from creating one at Walt Disney studio for their epic $20 million deep-space adventure, THE BLACK HOLE. Making the unreal, real is old business for Ellenshaw. In 1974, Nicholas Roeg asked him to do the matte work for THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. George Lucas approached him in 1976 with an idea for a then highly speculative, little known film called STAR WARS. Ellenshaw remembers that Lucas originally planned seven mattes, but was so taken with the results, that he upped the number to thirteen. On Disney's THE BLACK HOLE, the number is 150. As a result, Harrison hired every available matte artist and trained new people. The Disney studio now has the largest matte department in Hollywood, employing half the artists in town, working double shifts daily. Harrison’s original career plans did not include the movie industry. His father, Peter Ellenshaw, is an Academy-Award winning matte artist, production designer and director of special effects. Young Ellenshaw took a psychology degree in college and then joined the Navy. After discharge, the only job ot interest was in the matte department at Disney under Alan Maley. Maley taught Harrison the fundamentals of painting and matte work and when he retired in 1974, Harrison replaced him as head of the department. Harrison's credits include BIG WEDNESDAY, PETE'S DRAGON, HERBIE GOES TO MONTE CARLO and THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE. […]


Source type Magazine
Volume 61.1
Language en
Document type Interview
Media type text
Page count 6
Pages pp. 70-71,88-91


Id 2433
Availability Free
Inserted 2016-05-06