Richard Edlund is a special effects cinematographer who did visual effects on Ghostbusters.
Richard Edlund joined the United States Navy. He got interested in experimental film and attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in the late 1960s. Edlund was chosen by John Dykstra to work as first cameraman at the embryonic Industrial Light & Magic on the production on "Star Wars". They shared an Academy Award for work on the movie. Edlund worked with Dystra on "Battlestar Galactica" and also worked on the Star Wars sequel "The Empire Strikes Back." On the sequel, Edlund work optically compositing miniatures against a white back ground garnered him a second Academy Award.
During preproduction, one of the tasks Michael Gross performed was to look into effects houses. However, the major ones were already busy. Apogee was working on "Dune" and Industrial Light & Magic was working on "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," "Indiana Jones" and "Star Trek III." Richard Edlund, who was at ILM, was planning to go into business for himself. Don Shay, a friend of Gross, was consulting on visual effects for Ghostbusters when he heard about Edlund's plans. Shay set up a meeting between Reitman, Gross, and Edlund. During back surgery, Edlund received a phone call from Reitman to work on Ghostbusters. Edlund was hired to work on the movie. Columbia fronted $5 million to Edlund to start his own effects house, Boss Films. It exclusively worked on Ghostbusters. Edlund set up Boss Films, acquired Douglas Trumbull's Entertainment Effects Group and took over their Marina Del Rey facility. They had to rebuild the studio, come with new techniques and styles, storyboard, and construct in 10+ months time. After input from John DeCuir and Edlund, the Ghostbusters' budget was raised from $25 to $30 million. Before filming in New York, Ivan Reitman and Richard Edlund used makeshift viewing devices and John DeCuir's foam core models to figure out action blocking and camera angles their teams would use. During the New York shoot, Edlund led a unit that filmed background plates for optical effects that would generated later on at Entertainment Effects Group and composited into the scene. One example was the stream of ghosts that flow from the Firehouse uptown to 550 Central Park West. Edlund's team filmed the panoramic view from the top of the RCA Building. Edlund and his team were present when the shutdown of the Containment Unit was filmed. Edlund's team places themselves on a rooftop across the street from the Firehouse. In one take, when Reitman asked Edlund if his cameras were up to speed, Edlund said they weren't so Reitman went into the middle of the street and yelled for everyone to stop. Someone inside the Firehouse thought he said 'Action!' and before he knew it, Reitman saw smoke bombs go off, the doors opened, and the cast came running outside. Reitman couldn't help but laugh.
Edlund's Entertainment Effect Group also had a 'ghost shop' that worked on puppets of various articulation and size such as the arms that restrain Dana when Zuul takes her as a host. Once filming ended in February 1984, Edlund and his teams had less than four months to complete nearly 200 post production optical effects from Dana Barrett seeing the Temple of Gozer in her refrigerator to filming actors cast as ghost in the movie like Ruth Oliver as the Library ghost. With around four to five weeks left in post production, Ivan Reitman added 50 more shots then wanted to add 80 to 90 shots. Edlund allegedly met with Reitman out in the parking lot with a samurai sword and told him they had to do "the samurai cut." Edlund talked him down from a number of additional shots he requested.
- During production of the first movie, a 65mm aerial-image optical printer used by Boss was the third printer Edlund built from scratch at the time.
- On page 9 of 35th Anniversary: Ghostbusters, in panel 2, on the left is Richard Edlund.
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 11. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Ivan Reitman says: "Under the auspices of Michael Gross, we hired a number of artists who were put to work doing sort of free-form designs for the various kinds of ghosts I could see developing in the story. Michael was also doing some preliminary research into who might be available to handle the effects."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 11. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Michael Gross says: "Unfortunately, most of the major effects facilities were already booked. Dune was over at Apogee at the time, and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was finishing Return of the Jedi and beginning Indiana Jones and Star Trek III."
- Richard Edlund (1999). Ghostbusters (1984) "SFX Team Featurette" (1999) (DVD ts. 00:49-00:59). Columbia Pictures. Richard Edlund says: "It was a... opportunity that came by way of a phone call from Ivan Reitman when I was having an operation on my back."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 11. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Michael Gross says: "Then we learned Richard Edlund was planning to leave ILM to go into business for himself."
- Don Shay comment in blog about Cinefex #17 4/10/12
- Ivan Reitman (2014). Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Gift Set (2014), "Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Restrospective" (2014) (DVD ts. 18:05-18:43). Columbia Pictures. Ivan says: "And uh that was 13 months after that moment. There was no screenplay, there was no... we had the cast and a brilliant idea, no special effects team. There was one great special effects house, Industrial Light & Magic and it was already tied up doing the new Spielberg movie and we knew we couldn't go to them. We had to create out own. Columbia actually fronted $5 million to Richard Edlund and he started his own. Boss Films it was called. It was the start of his own special effects house that was exclusively working on Ghostbusters."
- Richard Edlund (1999). Ghostbusters (1984) "SFX Team Featurette" (1999) (DVD ts. 01:46-02:08). Columbia Pictures. Richard Edlund says: "Once I got the "go," we all came together in a studio in Marina Del Ray which was kind of a pile of parts and we had, essentially, rebuilt the whole studio, came up with techniques and styles for doing the whole show, designed and storyboard everything and execute within the space of little over 10 months."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 11. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "With studied inputs from Edlund and DeCuir, Ghostbusters' seat-of-the-pants budget estimate was refined and adjusted to just under $30 million."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 107 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "With a makeshift viewing device made from cardboard, Ivan Reitman and Richard Edlund plot out possible camera angles."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 143 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The ghostly multitudes streaming uptown from lower Manhattan would ultimately become the first shot in the ghost montage - a whirlwind assemblage of scenes featuring supernatural entities of various forms and demeanors running rampant through the city. Background plates for the panoramic view were shot from atop the RCA Building by Richard Edlund and his crew. Spectral imagery - as with the firehall 'ghost geyser' material - was generated and added later at Entertainment Effects Group.'"
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 141 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Joe Medjuck says: "We were shooting outside the firehouse in New York. And because of the special effects and the fact that we were using three cameras, it took a long time between takes to set up. When everything was ready to go, Ivan would signal for cameras to roll and then wait for confirmation from each before yelling 'Action!' -- which the people inside the firehouse could barely hear. Richard Edlund and his crew were up on the roof of a building across the street; and on one take, when Ivan asked if cameras were up to speed, Richard said, 'No, we're not ready.' So Ivan stepped into the middle of the street and yelled, 'Hold it!' But everyone on the inside somehow thought he'd said 'Action!' The smoke bombs went off, the doors burst open, the cast came charging out into the street -- and there's Ivan standing right in their midst. Everyone was horrified. It was like the worst filmmaking nightmare come true. But Ivan just burst out laughing."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 113 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The arms were constructed in the Entertainment Effects Group 'ghost shop' and were worn as glove appliances by three puppeteers who positioned themselves beneath the chair or otherwise out of camera range."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 12. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "When the show wrapped in early February, Richard Edlund and his crew had less than four months to complete nearly two hundred postproduction opticals."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 49 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Dana's 'chilling' discovery was revealed in two seperate shots -- complex optical composites pieced together during the final stages of postproduction effects work at Entertainment Effects Group. Assembled from elements generated primarily for other scenes in the film, the hellish Gateway encompassed bits of footage taken on the gigantic Gozer temple set, stop-motion and full-size articulated Terror Dogs, plus various smoke and flame elements."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 29. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Actress Ruth Oliver appeared as the library ghost in its initial quasi-human form. Since only a semi-transparent torso was required, her scenes were photographed on a stage at Richard Edlund's Entertainment Effects Group facility. The footage was then treated optically and composited into the live-action material shot in the library."
- Richard Edlund (2009). Ghostbusters- Slimer Mode (2009) (Blu-Ray ts. 06:37-07:04). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Richard Edlund says: "And then Ivan, I remember, towards the end of the show we had, like, I don't know, four or five weeks left. He added 50 shots. And he wanted to add, like, about 80 or 90 shots. And I met him out in the parking lot with a samurai sword and said, "Ivan, we gotta do the samurai cut." And so I talked him down from this outrageous number of shots that he wanted."
- American Cinematographer June 1984 Line reads: "The second new piece of equipment is a 65mm aerial-image optical printer which can composite 65mm elements and matte paintings directly onto 35mm or 65mm. It is built on a huge cast-iron base and has two Randle projectors, Grafton optics, an Acme camera, and electronics by Kris Brown and Jerry Jeffress. Edlund says it is the third printer he has built from scratch and he believes it is the best optical-composite printer in existence."