When Vinton residents gather at the Palace Theatre later this month to see the 3D version of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” part of what they see will be the work of a man whose father grew up in Vinton.
Ethan Helms, the son of Dave and Sally Helms, and the grandson of the late Bob and Dorothy Helms, grew up in Colorado and currently lives in Toronto, where he works for Stereo D, a company that helps fix the challenges of turning 2D movies into 3D films.
“I work on just one small layer of the show and it involves working within a pipeline that converts the 2D movie into the 3D form,” Ethan explains. “The company I work for (Stereo D) adds the depth you see in a 3D movie. When they do that process it causes a lot of problems with various objects and characters in the scenes. That’s where the compositors (like me) come in to fix the broken or distracting areas. The movie is broken up into shots and the shots vary in length. The longest shot I have worked on was about 1500 frames (24 frames = 1 second of the movie).”
At Stereo D’s Toronto site, Ethan works with approximately 80 others.
“My role on ‘Star Wars’ was assistant stereoscopic compositing lead; stereo meaning ‘3D,'” he explains.
“What that means is that I assist the team lead and together we run a team of 12 to 15 people. As an assistant lead I help with reviewing artist’s shots, managing team production and trouble shooting problems. I am also responsible for doing my own shots.”
Star Wars fans can look for specific scenes that Ethan helped create when they see the movie at the Palace, Jan. 26-Feb.1.
“For ‘Star Wars’ I worked on roughly 30 shots and after client notes and various edits I ended up with around 100 completed assignments” Ethan explains. “Some of my shots include stereo compositing the opening text, when Kylo escorts Rey into Snoke’s chambers, Kylo flying his ship into battle over the rebels main cruiser, when Finn asks Poe where is Rey, and Alien slamming fists on the gambling table on Canto Bight planet.
You can see a complete list of all the movies that Ethan has helped create on his IMDb page HERE.
Below is a video which Ethan compiled, showing some scenes he helped create for previous movies: