George Walton Lucas, Jr. (born May 14 , 1944 ) is an American film director , producer , and screenwriter famous for his epic Star Wars saga and his Indiana Jones films. He is one of the American film industry's most financially successful directors and producers.
Besides his directorial and production work on movies, Lucas is the most significant contemporary contributor to modern movie technology. In 1975 Lucas established Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) in Van Nuys, CA , which was responsible for the invention of the special computer assisted camera crane " Dykstraflex " (named after special effects innovator, John Dykstra) that was used for most of the space fight sequences used in the Star Wars movies (technology which was later adopted by most other visual effects production units, such as those responsible for Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: The Next Generation ). Through ILM, Lucas spurred the further development of computer graphics , film laser scanners and the earliest use of 3D computer character animation in a film, Young Sherlock Holmes . Lucas sold his early computer development unit to Steve Jobs in 1986 , which was renamed Pixar .
Lucas is also responsible for the modern sound systems found in many movie theaters. Though Lucas didn't invent THX , he is responsible for its development. The acronym ostensibly stands for "Tomlinson Holman eXperiment" after its chief engineer, however, it is obviously a reference to Lucas' first film.
Now Lucas is spearheading digital photography for movies. Though personal digital photography is now mainstream, most movie studios still use traditional cameras and film for movie production. Lucas departed from this model by filming Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones almost completely digitally. He showed the result to a select audience of the Hollywood elite, before the movie's general release. For the presentation, Lucas used a special digital projection system. The attendees said the movie had the clearest and sharpest presentation they had ever seen.
Despite the successful demonstration of the technology, movie studios are slow to move to this new model, in part because of the high price of the digital equipment...