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Dave Stewart

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David "Dave" K. Stewart (27 August 193716 October 1997; age 60) was a visual effects (VFX) photographer who worked as director of photography for the photographic effects on Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, while employed by Douglas Trumbull's Future General Corporation (FGC). Stewart's main responsibility was shooting the effects shots of the various studio models used in the movie, those of the Enterprise model and the Spacedock model in particular.

The work done on the movie garnered him and his team an Academy Award nomination, as well as, though not personally nominated, helping others of the visual effects team win the movie's only award, the 1980 Saturn Award for "Best Special Effects".

Career outside Star Trek

Dave Stewart started his professional career in the motion picture industry in 1966 as an assistant cameraman at the Hollywood company Dickson-Vasu Camera Service, operating an Oxberry camera stand. The type, being called a "downshooter" camera stand, was utilized for the production of animated films, main titles, rotoscoping and traveling mattes. In 1971 he switched over to Robert Abel & Associates, working on that company's groundbreaking visuals for period commercials, honing his skills as a VFX cinematographer. [1]

In 1976 he entirely switched over to theatrical features, when he went on to work for FGC (ironically the same company that was to replace Robert Abel & Associates on The Motion Picture). Directly prior to his involvement with The Motion Picture he was responsible for the UFO photography on Steven Spielberg's 1977 science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind where he worked in the VFX department of the company with fellow artists David Berry, Cy Didjurgis, Don Dow, Jim Dow, Glenn Erickson, Rocco Gioffre, Joyce Goldberg, Larry Albright, Mona Thal Benefiel, David Gold, David R. Hardberger, Alan Harding, Jack Hinkle, Robert Hollister, Thomas Hollister, Paul Huston, Joseph A. Ippolito, Don Jarel, Gregory Jein, Tom Koester, Michael McMillen, Bill Millar, Alvah J. Miller, Harry Moreau, Conne Morgan, Max Morgan, Bruce Nicholson, George Polkinghorne, Robert Shepherd, Scott Squires, Robert Swarthe, Ken Swenson, Don Trumbull, Douglas Trumbull, Hoyt Yeatman, Matthew Yuricich, Richard Yuricich, Gregory L. McMurry, Christopher S. Ross (who was an intern at the time), and Jonathan Seay. Like Stewart, most of them went on to work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well.

Upon conclusion of the work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but before FGC was brought in to work on The Motion Picture, the company soon found itself in dire straits as holding company Paramount Pictures withheld funding for a project Douglas Trumbull had lined up, and he subsequently was forced to let a large part of his staff go, Dave Stewart amongst them. One year later however, Paramount was forced to hire FGC, and the company went into full swing again, enabling Stewart to rejoin. In between, during 1978, Stewart worked on Universal Studios' 1979-1981 science fiction television show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, albeit uncredited. [2]

Remaining in Trumbull's employ after The Motion Picture, now at the Entertainment Effects Group, Dave Stewart worked the subsequent years as visual and special effects unit director of photography on Ridley Scott's science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), Francis Ford Coppola's crime drama The Outsiders (1983), Douglas Trumbull's science fiction thriller Brainstorm (1983), the science fiction film 2010 (1984), the science fiction film Solarbabies (1986), and the thriller The Hunt for Red October (1990, Trumbull's company now having become Boss Film Studios).

In 1984, Dave Stewart was inducted into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

As free-lancer Dave Stewart worked as miniature photography director on David Fincher's science fiction sequel Alien³ (1992), as director of photography for Mass Illusion on the science fiction film Judge Dredd (1995) and the action film Eraser (1996, starring Vanessa Williams) and for Boss Film Studios again on the action thriller Turbulence (1997) and the action film Air Force One (1997).

Prior to his death in 1997, caused by a heart attack, he completed his work as miniatures cinematographer on the science fiction thriller Event Horizon.

Academy Award

Robert Swarthe received the following Academy Award nomination in the category "Best Effects, Visual Effects":

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