From the Professionals:  Notes on how ILM created Endor

ILM at Endor (6K)

In December, 1982, Denis Muren and other effects staff went up to northern California to scout locations for the live action forest scenes of Endor. "We stood around shaking our heads and telling each other this was going to be a really tough thing to try and build. Branches were sticking out all over the place and there was this canopy over the forest. Even if we could duplicate it, just moving the camera through would be a real problem. While we were up there, I took a Bolex and shot some 16mm footage -- about eight frames a second -- as I walked through the trees. I figured it might be useful for reference. Driving back, I started looking out the side of the car, and suddenly realized that we could probably do all the side shots from a car. As long as we were close to the trees, there wouldn't be any way of knowing. Also, about half of the scenes are closeups of actors, and we figured if the road went through the forest we could still shoot straight on -- forward or backwards -- and you wouldn't be able to see the road because the actors' bodies would be in front of it."

"Not all of it's real simple, though. We're doing some pretty complex stuff. From the tons of plate material we shot, George is picking shots and saying "Let's stick a walker back in there." So we'll shoot the walker, and the roto department will make sort of a matte of some ferns or something in the foreground that'll cut off the walker's feet and make it as though it's back in the shot somewhere."  

- CINEFEX MAGAZINE, Number 13, 1983.