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Thursday, September 22, 2011

This week's Behind-The-Scenes photo, from The Black Hole, takes us to the effects stage of Walt Disney Studios, circa 1979, and the shooting of one of the two 12-foot USS Cygnus miniatures with Disney's A.C.E.S. (Automated Camera Effects System). Aside from the pair of 12-foot, full models of the Cygnus, there were several other sectional models built to a much larger scale for close up shots. The 12-foot miniatures weighed 170 pounds each and were constructed primarily of brass. They were built from scratch, with EMA tubes and domes used for detailing. Under the brass exoskeleton were sections of translucent plastic, built in sections, which housed about a hundred and fifty automotive light bulbs. The two models cost $100,000 and took a crew of 12 to 15 people approximately a year to build.

One of the two models was completely destroyed filming the story's climax. The other miniature went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a while after filming. It's fate since then is a mystery.

The Black Hole ultimately received two Academy Award nominations - one for Best Visual Effects and one for Best Cinematography.

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