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Raiders of the Lost Ark

[Paramount Pictures]

Renowned archeologist, Dr. Indiana Jones, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the Ten commandments. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark.

ILM was instrumental in creating many of the notable sequences in Raiders, including the finale when the unsealing of the Ark of the Covenant results in a spectacular supernatural event. Achieved via a clever mix of small gossamer puppets filmed in a water tank and a variety of optical effects, the sequence used every trick in the book.

Live action footage was enhanced with opticals and matte paintings, including the creation of the now famous warehouse where the Ark is stored. More than 50 passes were made on some shots to increase image quality for the film’s climactic ending. ILM’s special effects team was honored with the Academy Award® for Best Visual Effects for their work on the film.

Director: Steven Spielberg
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: Richard Edlund
ILM Animation Supervisor: Deitrich Friesen
ILM Visual Effects Art Director: Joe Johnston
ILM Studios: San Francisco