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RIP Ron Thornton

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  • B5-Stefan
    replied
    Thanks Triple F!
    Very impressive profound summarization.
    And I wasn't aware of the b5scrolls pages long time ago.

    But the mega-gig would be: these 56 secs on Youtube

    Stefan


    --
    Delenn: "If the universe puts a mystery in front of us as a gift,
    politeness requires that we at least try and solve it."
    [Atonement]

    Leave a comment:


  • Triple F
    replied
    Copeland approached Ron to bid on doing the FX via conventional miniatures and motion control, for an upcoming pitch to Warner Bros. Looking at the budget Ron said he could do it, but after building a model of the station you’d only have enough for a handful of shots. He’d been looking at CGI for a couple of years at that point and had been developing techniques to get the most out of the software and hardware (memory was the biggest problem) – so rather than bidding on miniatures he suggested CGI was the way to go. Copeland said show me.

    Ron then sat down with Paul Bryant (who lived next door at the time) and worked out if it could be done. He then put together a basic station (that looked a little like B4) and created a shot roughly a minute long (that’s simplifying the process greatly) showing the virtual camera zoom in from a few hundred miles on a ship approaching the station. So at the WB pitch meeting jms and Netter took the 1 minute of animation (and Ron) along with them – and when the inevitable question arose about doing the FX Ron played the animation. Warner execs loved it, and it was the promise – and now proof - that B5 could be done without a runaway FX budget which finally got the show the green light after 5 years of trying to sell it around town. That’s why (in the past) I’d sometimes be known to say that if there was no Ron Thornton there would have been no B5. Remember, it was only a few years earlier that WB nearly went to the wall due to runaway costs associated with V.

    He was a good few years ahead of everyone else, basically, and literally wrote the book…… it’s just kinda sad that this kind of thing remains largely unknown amongst much of the fan base (this is only lightly brushing over things) – B5’s greatest and furthest reaching legacy is how it acted as a proof of concept for a whole range of technologies that would usher in the modern era of desktop visual FX.

    As Kevin Kutchaver said, referring to the impact this would have on the industry, “this would change everything” when he had seen what Ron had been quietly persevering with for the year or so before Copeland had approached him..

    It’s only partially back up (lot of sections empty). But here’s a link to B5Scrolls.

    http://www.b5scrolls.com/B5ScrollsWo...m#Screen1_01_1

    Check out the interview with Ron, Paul and even Kevin Kutchaver and John Copeland. Page 14 of Ron’s shows a couple of frames from the video…….. might even to show some of it on the new video section.
    Last edited by Triple F; 11-25-2016, 01:29 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • B5-Stefan
    replied
    It's very sad to hear of another loss in the B5 family.


    But I can't help to be curious:

    You may or may not know that Ronnie's :56 seconds of animation that was essentially a shot that could not have been done with models, was what finally pushed the executives to give Babylon 5 a shot with a pilot.
    Now. Which exactly are the 56 secs, Copeland mentioned?

    If nobody knows - could someone be so free to kindly ask him? Jan?

    Stefan


    --
    Delenn: "If the universe puts a mystery in front of us as a gift,
    politeness requires that we at least try and solve it."
    [Atonement]

    Leave a comment:


  • Satai with Punsch
    replied
    The sad news just keep piling up these days. Ron was one of the unsung heroes of the show I think. We fans are aware of his role, but I guess beyond that few have even heard of him.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ubik
    replied
    I might re-watch an episode tonight in tribute. Seems overdue since Jerry passed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    John Copeland has posted a message:

    Originally posted by John Copeland

    Many of you are finding out this morning that Ron Thornton passed away. The Babylon 5 ranks keep thinning. We had a rolling coaster ride of a friendship, lots of laughs, a few tears and thank god, memories that no one can take away.
    Ronnie, you were such a mad visionary and hopefully a little rubbed off on the rest of us.

    You may or may not know that Ronnie's :56 seconds of animation that was essentially a shot that could not have been done with models, was what finally pushed the executives to give Babylon 5 a shot with a pilot.
    Godspeed 'ol friend.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jonas
    replied
    Tragic. Just tragic.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ubik
    replied
    Ahhh man. Sad news indeed. Ron really worked wonders with his FX work on B5. I mean, B5 just wouldn't have been the same without him. A true pioneer. Too many now beyond the rim.
    Last edited by Ubik; 11-22-2016, 02:08 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    Originally posted by John Hudgens
    5 hrs
    Please take a moment in memory of my friend Ron Thornton, who passed away earlier today. He changed the face of television visual effects with his work on BABYLON 5, and inspired a whole lot of us.... Rest in peace, pal....
    From the GoFundMe page:

    I am grieved to tell you that Ron Thornton has passed away this evening. Ron has meant so much to so many of us over the years; he is indeed a VFX legend but he was also an incredible human being, a true friend, a great mentor to so many, and just so alive. He relished life and came at it with so much energy and creativity and openness, at work and at play. He will be so missed, by so many, but most especially by his beloved wife, Lada. In keeping with your own spirit, please send your thoughts and prayers for strength and comfort her way.

    I thank everyone for their contributions to this fund. It is still open for the expenses and assistance that Lada needs at this time of loss.
    Best wishes to those who loved him as well as to the B5 family.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    Word is spreading of a post by Mike Okuda:

    Originally posted by Michael Okuda
    5 hrs
    Visual effects wizard Ron Thornton played a pivotal role in harnessing personal computer technology to bring amazing CG effects to mainstream productions. You probably know his groundbreaking work on Babylon 5, as well as on numerous Star Trek productions including the Director's Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ron has been suffering from a very serious illness. He's home, in a coma, from which he is not expected to regain consciousness. Please keep my friend in your thoughts.
    Sad news.

    Jan

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    New update has been posted:

    Just a quick update: this is the latest of several recent hospital stays. Ron is feeling better after treatment and is back home for the moment. There may be a possibility yet that a living donor partial transplant could be effective, and I and others are urging Ron to look into this, and if it is a possibility and he is willing, then we may put out a call for volunteers to test and to be a donor. I've already heard privately from several who are willing to do so, and I checked into it myself, but I'm disqualified for being over 55. Grrrrr. Who made that rule?!

    Again, many, many thanks to all those who have contributed and who have shared the news. Ron and Lada are quite moved by this outpouring of both generosity and of kindness and affection in the many contributions, messages and posts.

    Leave a comment:


  • sense8ional
    replied
    The good news is over 3/4ths of the campaign's goal have been raised in 1-2 days. Hopefully the rest will be as well soon.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    replied
    Tom Smith/Triple-F/the B5: Behind the scenes guy posted:

    Just got an update on Ron’s condition….. It’s not good news,
    You might want to check out his post on FB here:
    https://www.facebook.com/B5Scrolls/p...type=3&theater

    Jan

    Leave a comment:


  • Ubik
    replied
    Damn, it really hasn't been a good year for B5 alumni.
    Last edited by Ubik; 09-16-2016, 03:55 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jan
    started a topic RIP Ron Thornton

    RIP Ron Thornton

    Ran across this link on FaceBook. Most of you know that Ron Thornton was a visual effects designer on B5. Without him, the show might well not have been possible.

    I don't know any details but apparently he's in the hospital in critical condition. There's a GoFundMe page here:
    https://www.gofundme.com/2pbngrnc

    Ron Thornton is one of the fathers of CGI animation for television and an Emmy-winning visual effects artist and supervisor. Beyond that, however, he is one amazing human being who is a delight to work with or just to know. He loves life, lives it with energy and wry wit, and with an incredible appreciation of friends. And he is a mean gourmet cook.

    Ron has been ill for some time, and is now in the hospital in critical condition. He and his wife, Lada, need help with medical bills and expenses that are piling up.


    I'm setting up this fund for them, so that I and his many, many friends and colleagues can help them at this time of need. Lada and Ron will be deeply grateful for any assistance, and so will I. I love Ron and Lada. I think everyone who truly knows them must.

    Please help, if you can.
    Help spread the word!
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