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Original Star Wars effects camera to sell in Prop Store London auction

A vintage movie camera used to shoot all three original Star Wars films is heading for auction in the U.K later this month.

The ILM Motion Control ‘Rama’ Camera was used by Industrial Light and Magic to film groundbreaking special effects sequences for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

The Motion Control system was originally designed to shoot the film’s complex space battles, created using animated miniatures, and revolutionised the world of visual effects.

The first camera ever used was known as the ‘Dykstraflex’, named after its inventor John Dykstra, an effects pioneer who won an Oscar for his efforts. The second camera ILM created to film the process is this camera, known as the ‘Rama’.

Not only was the camera used extensively to film battles between X-Wing and TIE-Fighter models, it was reportedly used to create one of the most famous shots in movie history – the moment the Millennium Falcon jumps to light speed for the first time.

In addition to the original Star wars trilogy, ILM also used the camera to shoot sequences for numerous other classic films of the era, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T, Dragonslayer and Poltergeist.

The camera, a true piece of movie making history, is set to cross the block with an estimate of £30,000 – £50,000 ($40,000 – $66,000), but some believe it could soar far higher if past sales are anything to go by.

The Panavision PSR 35 mm camera used by George Lucas during principle photography of Star Wars in 1976 currently holds the record as the world’s most expensive item of Star Wars memorabilia, having sold at auction in 2011 for $625,000.

The auction also features rare screen-used Star Wars props, including a rare TIE Fighter Pilot Helmet from Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, estimated at £50,000 – £70,000 ($66,000 – $93,000); an X-Wing ILM Model Miniature from Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, estimated at £60,000 – £80,000 ($79,600 – $106,000); and an original Second Unit clapperboard from The Empire Strikes Back, priced at £8,000 – £10,000 ($10,600 – $13,250).

The Prop Store Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction takes place at the Odeon BFI Imax cinema in London’s Waterloo on September 27.

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