Watch the Painstaking Process it Took to Animate AT-ATs in ESB


The Star Wars YouTube channel has released another bit of archived footage from the original trilogy today, and it focuses on the AT-AT walkers from The Empire Strikes Back. In the clip Dennis Muren of ILM discusses the process it took to bring these hulking walking tanks to life, which involved a very meticulous stop-motion filming process. 24 frames of footage were shot for each second of film, which meant only 5 seconds of usable footage was created each day.

The video shows ILM painstakingly lining up each walker in between every shot, which just goes to show how precise and intense this process is. Muren also mentioned that at one point ILM thought about using a robotic model, but the build ended up being too complicated and costly, so that’s why he and ILM went with stop-motion filming.

Personally, seeing the AT-ATs on Hoth’s horizon is easily one of the most iconic images to come out of the original Star Wars trilogy, and since then the 4-legged walkers have always resonated with me. With that being said this behind the scenes clip is magical to behold for fans of the Empire’s All Terrain Armored Transport. Check it out after the break.

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Tags : BTSESBILMStar Wars
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.