New Magicians: 1987 visual film FX documentary

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The New Magicians, a half hour cable TV documentary about film special visual effects from Georges Méliès onward, broadcast in December 1987. Different animation techniques are discussed like rotoscoping, stop motion, and cell animation, and the program includes old film clips including behind the scenes footage from the shooting of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Interviewees include Star Wars photographic effects supervisor Richard Edlund, visual FX creator John Dykstra, and matte painter Harrison Ellenshaw.

BetaGems are culled from an archive of over 1000 beta video tapes recorded from 1983 into the 1990s. Most feature live music performances broadcast on television in San Diego CA, though there are also rarely seen commercials, comedy clips, and other material that doesn't seem to be anywhere else on Youtube or online. Most of the tapes were recorded on a Sony SL-HFT7 Super Beta Theater Hi-Fi Stereo - the same model was refurbished and is being used for these digital transfers and uploads.

In rare occasions where a BetaGems clip does appear elsewhere, we're only uploading if our own beta master is better quality or contains material not seen previously. Much footage comes from public television and public access broadcasts that the taper, who worked for a local cable TV production company in the 1980s, monitored nightly for several years. Some of the programming is strictly regional, mostly from the San Diego area.
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