Marshall Barnes joined Edutopia.org http://www.edutopia.org/
Marshall sees both, a sense of irony and nostalgia, with his selection as Edutopia Featured Member of the Week. This is because he was both an avid Star Wars fan in the '80s, and learned special effect production techniques, that he revolutionized for video, by studying George Lucas documentaries on the capabilities of his Industrial Light and Magic film studio. The innovations included Marshall's design for the creation of a Paul Rousseau built, physical special effect sword that lit-up like a light saber, which was more effective and far less expensive than the rotoscoping approach used by Industrial Light and Magic (which also resulted in a famous goof in the Darth Vader/Obi Wan Kenobi light saber duel in the original version of Star Wars). His best though, was his use of X,Y,Z axis digital effects generators to manipulate models to make them appear to fly, and to create laser bolts using colored lines from the line key on the keyboards of Chyrons, that would streak across the screen from all angles. This was accomplished with a complex arrangement of keying, invisible wipes and digital placement over live action footage - all that Marshall calculated in his head. These innovations slashed production costs and were all accomplished without the expense and use of computer animation, which in that day was $2,000 to $3,000 per finished second.
"Part of my extremely eclectic background is in video special effects", Marshall said, "and I became so good that I was called the George Lucas of my town. This of course is all happening around 1980 to 1986. So, I am rather amused, as well as obviously honored, that an organization created from George Lucas' success as a filmmaker, has selected me the member of the week, because my skills in video and creative thinking came in large part from my studying Industrial Light and Magic from 1980 to 1983. And it was that experience, along with my background as one of the original Arts Impact students in the country, that has led me to see the potentials in innovative learning techniques and programs, which the George Lucas Educational Foundation is all about".
Along with plans for the next school year, which include a national tour of a multi-media event for all high school physics students in each city (public, private and parochial), Marshall, who is also a physics conceptual theorist, is working on three books. The first is his work concerning his 4th dimensional hypothesis for space and time, which reinforces and expands upon Einstein's theories, the second is based on his lecture, Spacewarps and Time Tunneling: Everything You Need To Know About Spacetime That Stephen Hawking Doesn't, and the last is Freeways To Space, concerning his research in electromagnetic field propulsion. He has just been offered a distribution deal for the TV version of that book.