The Sci Fi Channel re-imagines a TV classic with the new Battlestar Galactica miniseries, premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Edward James Olmos stars in this complete re-do but, as with the original late ’70 series, visual effects take center stage as human refugees go another round with the treacherous Cylons.
Star Wars effects whiz John Dykstra headed up the EFX team on the original Battlestar, which was blasted for being a blatant rip-off of George Lucas’ seminal space fantasy pic. Lucas even sued over similarities. In the end, it was the show’s high production costs, due in part to Dykstra’s spectacular space dogfight scenes, which eventually pulled it off the air.
EFX for the next generation Galactica were provided by Zoic Studios, which is no stranger to sci-fi adventure having won an Emmy for its work on Fox’s short-lived series Firefly.
Under the command of visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel, the Zoic team spent seven months utilizing Lightwave and combustion to create CG Cylons, Centurions, Vipers and virtual environments.
"The overall approach was to make the camera moves as real as possible, following the people and ships as if we were there filming the action rather than creating it digitally," explains CG Supervisor Lee Stringer.
Digital effects supervisor Emile Edwin Smith adds, "The original show, which I grew up with and loved, was our inspiration. We preserved many of the cool aspects of it, building on that legacy with today’s digital capabilities. It was really fun and we are proud of the result."