Vintage Empire Strikes Back footage reveals how they made the AT-AT walk

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Dec 13, 2013, 10:20 AM EST

One of the things that blew us away back in the early '80s was the absolute epic-ness of The Empire Strikes Back’s massive AT-ATs prowling the battlefield, and now this vintage footage shows how it was done.

The folks at Lucasfilm have been dropping some awesome classic featurettes from the original Star Wars trilogy — and the latest piece is from Empire Strikes Back, breaking down how Industrial Light & Magic animated the Battle of Hoth.

It turns out the effects crew originally considered creating a legit, walking robot for those shots — but that option was deemed too expensive. So, instead, they looked back at the stop-motion style of King Kong and decided to make it happen one laborious frame at a time. By shooting at 24 frames per second, the team averaged just five seconds of footage per day.

The piece also notes how they showed off the scale of the battlefield, as the crew used photo cutouts for background walkers and created smaller models to add some depth to the battlefield. Oh, and that snow? It was baking soda.

Check out the footage below and let us know what you think:

(Via Jedi News)