Star Wars - The Test Awakens

AvengingEagle
AvengingEagle Website User Posts: 33
edited March 2016 in Practical Filmmaking

It's been more than 10 years since I last attempted to make a Star Wars fan film, and while I don't have the time or the budget to make a decent one right now, I did spend much of the winter making this: a Star Wars-themed visual effects test where I try out greenscreening, 3D animation, matchmoving, matte-painting, and compositing...to varying levels of success.



Also, make sure you watch the breakdown here:


During the production of this, I did experiment with using Hitfilm for some of the 3D shots. I particularly wanted to do the matchmoving in Hitfilm but, apart from not having the budget, I also had lots of problems with 3D models in the Hitfilm 4 Pro demo. Any time I introduced directional lights into a scene with multiple objects, I'd get a crash...and not just a BSOD, a full-on power outage from my PC. This may or may not be a hard drive issue, but apparently it's due to a recent install. Hitfilm 4 Pro IS my most recent install, and this recurring problem (which now happens regardless of whether I'm in Hitfilm or not) only started happening after I'd installed the demo. Anyway, just thought I'd mention that.

Software used:
Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 11.0
Adobe After Effects CS4
Anim8or (mostly version 0.98)
Kerkythea
Voodoo Camera Tracker
Mocha for AE

Hope you like it!
AE

Comments

  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,941 Ambassador
  • BobDiMarzio
    BobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Enthusiast
    edited March 2016

    This is very cool, you've inspired me!

    Kevin

  • StephansBilderwelt
    StephansBilderwelt Website User Posts: 523

    Very good one, a lot to learn in the breakdown. 

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,468 Enthusiast

    Looks like the time invested is paying off.

    Thanks for the inspiration! 

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,728 Ambassador

    Awwwwe, I wanted to see what happens next!  Great job! The breakdown is a nice touch to see all you put into it.

    Someday I will sit down and calculate how many hours/days/weeks/months of my life I've spent listening to the Star Wars main title. It's gotta be into the years of time by now. lol

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,948 Ambassador

    Fun! Now to watch the breakdown. 

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,976 Ambassador

    Great work, so from your comment re HF4 pro demo and the list of software not featuring Hitfilm, am I right in saying Hitfilm didn't feature in the above?

    Sorry if this is in the Breakdown vid, not had time to watch that yet.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,948 Ambassador

    (Completely unrelated to this thread, but, I just wasted too much time on this argument.

    Question asked: Why do Stormtroopers wear armor? My answer? To recycle stuntmen.

    Counterarguments 1) I am no fun, 2) Stormtrooper armor absorbs kinetic energy.

    My rebuttal A) That makes no **** sense, however if you want to argue that Stormtrooper armor reflects and refracts radiant energy then we have lip service to physics, plus a reason for the white.

    Counterarguments 3) No a Blaster Bolt is plasma and has kinetic energy. 4) You're no-fun and an idiot.

    Rebuttal B) You want kinetic energy? Fine, plasma is ionized gas--here's the densest gas we know of for mass, here's an estimate of the size of a bolt for volume to get final mass, and here's two estimates of blaster speed form WIRED and Adam Savage. Plugging these values into a kinetic energy equation we get 0.9 Joules. The kinetic energy of a .45 ACP is about 450 joules. The kinetic impact of a blaster bolt is negligible. Rebuttal C) and now I increase the volume of the bolt by a factor of six [twice as wide, three times as long, and still get a kinetic energy of fewer than 6 joules, compared to 450 for the bullet.

    Waiting for Counterargument 5), which will probably be a personal insult, since one can't really argue with the math here.

    Fanboy arguments get ugly.

    We end this digression and return to discussion of "The Test Awakens.")

    After watching the breakdown I compliment you again--certain elements I thought were 3D models were 3D planes, so you really did a good job with object placement and camera moves!

    What I DON'T get is how Youtube didn't ban your video. I put up something a couple of months ago using the Star Wars theme, and no-one could view it, since the Youtube auto ID picked up on the Star Wars Theme and banned my video in 140 countries within 5 minutes, forcing me to re-record myself singing (poorly) into my laptop's mic lyrics about "fair use," to the tune of the Star Wars theme.

    Maybe the US software is pickier than other nations?

  • johnnyjelko
    johnnyjelko Website User Posts: 93

    I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this. And I might be even more thrilled that you also did a vfx breakdown. Thank you so much for making this! Even the cinematography/ shot composition had great vision.

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,976 Ambassador

    @Triem23 re armor, I thought about this recently and concluded that because in this latest film we see a storm trooper remove his helmet, we are introduced to these troopers being individuals and not faceless canon fodder. My thinking is that the Empire actually want them to be faceless as it is much easier (in my opinion) to control a faceless person than an individual. After all why do the military's of the world all have uniforms, to bond them together, to make them less individual and to tow the line (sorry again my own non expert thoughts). Errr back to work.

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    Trying to be objective and in universe storm trooper armor's primary protection is probably insulation from and dissipation of heat. It's not very effective against kinetic energy attacks in fact none of the imperial hardware stands up well to kinetic energy attacks. For reference please review the Battle of Endor. 

    Ewoks aside when we see storm trooper armor in action it's against rebel terrorists using military grade weapons likely chosen because of their effectiveness in penetrating imperial armor but a storm trooper's day job isn't combating rebel terrorists it's being a beat cop in an imperial police force. In that capacity storm trooper armor is probably very effective as the vast majority of imperial citizens aren't packing illegally modified blaster pistols. There's also one huge tactical advantage to storm trooper armor rarely mentioned and that's hands free comms 

  • SteveKarstensen
    SteveKarstensen Website User Posts: 336
    edited March 2016

    @triem23 lol, generally when people rail on about what poor shots Stormtroopers are I like to shut it down by pointing out how short a movie it would have been otherwise.

    Anyhow my own understanding of the lore is that the primary function of trooper armor is as environmental protection (the body glove is insulated) and intimidation.  And although the armor doesn't generally render blaster bolts ineffectual, a lot of times it turns a killing blow into merely a wounding blow, which is good enough.  Kinda like how even if you're wearing Kevlar it's still not a good idea to encourage people to shoot you.

    On topic, @AvengingEagle dude you did a bang-up job concealing the fact that your armor is made out of cardboard.

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Website User Posts: 4,063 Enthusiast

    Maybe the troopers had face covering helmets since they were all clones at least initially. The rest of the suite going with the helmet. Intimidation can go with it. Intimidation harkens back to the Persian Immortals in the ancient world.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,948 Ambassador

    (Stormtroopers being clones is a prequel-era retcon. Original trilogy had different voice actors for different troopers. Therefore, NOT clones. Intimidation is an "in-universe" reason... AT-AT's were originally designed with tank treads. The legs and neck were chosen on the grounds of the Empire using intimidation as a tactic--the walking and the laser cannon on an articulated head make an AT-AT a giant stalking beast of prey! Stormtrooper helmets are stylized skulls. "Force Awakens" nicely uses the helmets as part of the brainwashing their Troopers undergo, and Andy correctly notes the psychological reasons armies use uniforms--although @Andy001z forgot that the second purpose of a uniform is easy ID of friends on a battlefield. Unfortunately for the fun side of nerd speculation, Stormtrooper armor has closed-visor helmets to allow stuntmen to double and triple up. Period. Of course aesthetic and "in-universe" considerations are in the design, but there are only 12 Stormtrooper armors in "A New Hope." And a TIE Pilot's helmet is a Rebel flight helmet with a Stormtrooper faceplate. We're talking a fairly low-budget film for the time and a lot of re-use/recycling was used all over that trilogy. Look for IG-88's head in Owen and Beru's house and the bar in Mos Eisley. IG-88's head is a recycled beverage dispenser prop!)

    Eagle, sorry, I seem to have hijacked your thread. ;-) So let's do another comment on your video---let's see... You did a really good job on your saber blade, since every shot of your lightsaber is obviously tracking the handle. A lot of lightsaber shots without a stick to roto over tend to wander. Yours was nice and solid.

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,728 Ambassador

    @Andy001z - The stormtroopers for the First Order are clones given numbers not names so are they technically individuals or are they all one in the same? Since no other trooper took a helmet off they all may look like Finn or there may be several repeating types. Are they genetically programmed/brainwashed/controlled with injections or do they have free will? They're being controlled somehow is how I read it. Finn evidently broke through whatever was controlling him- which was quite well done considering when it happened we couldn't see his face but we could figure out what was going on.

    @Triem23 - Just a theory- perhaps your vid was tagged for not accrediting the original composer or acknowledging the current copyright holder. That's the only difference I see between your vid and the one here posted by AvengingEagle  and my Snowdance/SW parody which remains posted and unmolested. My vid or AvengingEagle hasn't been tagged.......yet. Once they are that will blow this theory all to smithereens.

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,728 Ambassador

    @Andy001z - The stormtroopers for the First Order are clones given numbers not names so are they technically individuals or are they all one in the same? Since no other trooper took a helmet off they all may look like Finn or there may be several repeating types. Are they genetically programmed/brainwashed/controlled with injections or do they have free will? They're being controlled somehow is how I read it. Finn evidently broke through whatever was controlling him- which was quite well done considering when it happened we couldn't see his face but we could figure out what was going on.

    @Triem23 - Just a theory- perhaps your vid was tagged for not accrediting the original composer or acknowledging the current copyright holder. That's the only difference I see between your vid and the one here posted by AvengingEagle  and my Snowdance/SW parody which remains posted and unmolested. My vid or AvengingEagle hasn't been tagged.......yet. Once they are that will blow this theory all to smithereens.

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