Phil Feiner | Executive Vice-President, Pacific Title & Art Studio
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Executive Vice-President, Pacific Title & Art Studio
Phil Feiner became involved in the work on the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition when he was invited to screen a newly made answer print of Star Wars by Ted Gagliano of Fox. When asked his opinion, Feiner could only reply that the print, from the original 1977 negative, “looked awful . . . with white dirt printed in, the color looked ‘desaturated’ and the overall timing was off.” This discouraging assessment began Feiner’s two-year involvement in the process of creating the perfect answer print for the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition release. Because the original Technicolor prints had been lost, the color timing of the prints was done subjectively. Feiner told Fox that this was the wrong approach: “Everyone interprets color the way each individual sees it. It needs to be the way George Lucas approved the answer print in 1977.” The only source of a perfect print was one of the last IB (Imbibition) releases, since IB prints don’t experience dye fade. Finally, an IB print was found, and YCM Laboratories took on the job of answer printing the feature.
After the initial problem with the prints had been solved, Feiner and his team at Pacific Title were able to concentrate on re-making 482 optical effects shots, 19 of which were from the scene in the Millennium Falcon in which Obi-Wan begins to teach Luke how to use a lightsaber. “The ‘Jedi Lesson’ was by far and large the greatest challenge. It wasn’t the technical difficulty but the time frame. Four working weeks was the total amount of time to complete this sequence of 19 D/Opticals . . . compositing the seeker ball into the background, while using the 1977 rotoscope hi-con elements to ‘burn in’ the laser sword into the ‘latent digital composite’.”
Feiner was born in 1955 in Burbank, California and raised in New York City. He attended the Claremont Colleges, then began his career in 1974 at Sync Film Laboratory in Hollywood, two years later taking a job as Optical Effects Operator at Total Optical Company in Burbank. Feiner has worked at Pacific Title & Art Studio since 1977. He was nominated for an Emmy for best visual effects for V: the Final Battle. In 1977, while at Pacific Title, Feiner worked on Star Wars, optically compositing all the foreign versions of the Star Wars main title, as well as cleaning up the landspeeder effects.
When asked who is his favorite Star Wars character and why, Feiner responds: “Darth Vader. He gets right to the point.” Feiner’s favorite movie of the trilogy is Star Wars: A New Hope. “It’s a western set in outer space. The story and the ‘pacing’ haven’t been done since the thirties. Everything, story, editing, sound, visual effects, were seamlessly woven into a continuous fabric. The results speak for themselves.”
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