March 2014 Update

Here’s the latest update from Adywan:

Things may have been pretty quiet from us recently, but i can assure you that this isn’t the case behind the scenes. Everything is at full throttle.

For the past couple of days i have been filming the speeder flaps. Now you would probably think that this would be something that is quick and easy to film. Just set up the camera and lights and film the flaps opening and closing. Hell no…..

To give you an idea of what is involved with something like this i will give you a small run down of the process.

First, you need to plan out what each flap will be doing in each separate shot. There are around 16 shots in total that each need to have their own flap movements. You need to split that into the different speeders. There are three in total; Luke’s, Wedge’s and Zev’s. Each of those speeders have 2 flaps. Now, the easy thing would be to film the model flap doing various opening and closing movements and use them for all 3 speeders and just flip the shot for the opposite flap. Unfortunately that just isn’t the right way to go around things. It would be noticeable that each flap was exactly the same one. So, a lot more has to be involved.

First you need to film every shot for Luke’s right speeder flap. The set up process involves matching the lighting, setting up the green screen and then you have to set up the camera and model so that exactly matches the angle of the original full scale speeder set. That isn’t as easy as you would think. Now you are ready to film.

So now you have all the footage for one speeder flap. With there being 3 speeders and each speeder having 2 flaps, that is 5 more versions to film. So, before you can start filming the next one, you have to make the flap visually different. So that means repainting and redoing all the weathering and damage 5 more times. Then, once that is all done, you have to reset the whole shot each and every time.

So, with all the setting up, filming, adding the footage temporarily into the composite to make sure that each shot you need is without any problems ( because once you have repainted the model there is no going back to refilm any needed pickup/ replacement shots) and then disassemble the flap from the main frame and then repaint/weather/damage. With all this happening and allowing for drying times, it takes a full day just to film the footage for just one flap. So, in total, this leads to at least 6 days of work just to film what amounts to a few seconds of screen time.

It may well seem an absurd amount of work for that short amount of screen time, but if you are going to do something, then i feel you have to do it right without cutting corners.

Now there will be some that will say that i could have done it quicker with CG. Well i say, why would i even want to use CG when i can use a real prop? Something that is in the real world and really moving will look so much better than something that is created in the computer ( well CG is getting there as long as you have a multi million dollar budget and FX house of course)

After all this section is completed then there is not much left to complete, shoot and then complete the composite;

Han in Carbonite
Hoth Hangars

…and that is it.

How long will this last stage take? It’s difficult to put any sort of estimate on this as there are so many factors that could slow down or speed up the process. I don’t want to give any more dates because it is just a waste of time, especially when, apart from a few CG effects left to do, all the rest of this is being done solely by me. But 2014 is a pretty good bet.


About doubleofive

Curator of Star Wars Visual Comparisons, webmaster for Star Wars Revisited, former co-host of Standard Orbit podcast, all around nerd.
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