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Films and FX tests

Disaster at Naboo

View Film: YouTube
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This short film gives a glimpse into two previously unseen parts of the Star Wars universe. The evening news and the airshow.

The time is somewhere after Episode III (yet unnamed), and just before Episode IV "A New Hope". On the small planet of Naboo, a horrible disaster occurs at an airshow, killing one pilot and his R2 unit.

It is a tragic event that stuns the crowd and has enough impact to make the Galactic Network News Channel's evening news.
Remember that the Naboo N-1 Fighter, though forgotten in the later years of the Rebellion against the Empire, was extremely important in galactic history at the time.

About the film:
I started working on this project after going to an airshow in Millville, NJ. After spending all day walking around filming stuff, I thought, "wouldn't it have been cool if I caught a good crash on film?" And then I thought, "wouldn't it even cooler if the plane that crashed was not a normal fighter plane, but a Star Wars fighter ship?" And the idea snowballed from there.

All I really wanted to accomplish with this flick was to produce a fan film that no one has EVER seen before. No lightsabers, Tie Fighters, Darths, Jedi, or any of the other things commonly seen. As much as I love that stuff, I wanted to produce something totally original. What you see here is the result of 5 months worth of work - not including the time it took to build the models!
I sincerely hope you enjoy it!!!

About me:
I am probably one of the very few producers of fan film that is not a film student or some sort of aspiring director.

I have always had a love of special effects. I have always been a huge Star Wars fan. At 33 years old, visions from those movies are still imprinted in my mind. I'm sure that anyone reading this far into this can relate.
I have produced a huge number of small animations and special effects for various video projects. But this is by far the biggest project I've ever developed.

For the real techy nerds that give a crap:
The movie was shot entirely on my Sony digital Hi-8 camera. The best $1000 I ever spent. Some of the footage came directly from that airshow in Millville. The rest was shot at various locations like, the office I work in, Princeton Battlefield park, and my buddy T's back yard.

The 3D models were all built, animated, and rendered in RayDream Studio. A terribly underrated and since discontinued product by Meta Creations. I never quite understood that. In many important ways, it's a better modeler than a lot of other more expensive, overrated packages.

I started working on the models right after Phantom Menace came out. I didn't have any purpose in mind at the time. A few of the ship designs in that movie really caught my eye.
I loved the Droid fighter, probably because it reminded me a lot of the Tie Interceptor. That was the first one built. It's kind of a shame that I had it walking by instead of flying, but the ability to walk was one of its greatest design aspects, I thought. So, in my film, I decided that's how it should be shown.
The Naboo N-1 is also a great design. Not a terribly complicated model by comparison, but I tip my hat to the Lucas Arts designer.
The Republic Cruiser stands out as one of the most complex models I've ever built. Again, a great, great design. I put a lot of work into the small details on that one. I've only used the model in still life scenes up till now.

There are 2 different models of R2 Units. The green one was built in RayDream by me. It was originally just the head used in the N-1 fighter. It is not nearly as detailed as the blue one. That's actually why there are 2 different droids. The green one was not detailed enough for a close-up, so I needed a much better model than what I had.
So, I went searching for a new model to use. After a time I actually ran across an excellent model. The original mesh was developed by some unknown author and converted to Bryce 4 by A. Ravenwood. So, R2-F6 was born. He is the only model that was developed outside of RayDream. It's also the only model that I cannot take complete credit for. I reconstructed it and did the animation. I also added a couple of parts. I had to do the animation in Bryce. That was fun. As well as I know that program, I hadn't done much animation with it before.

Once all of the elements of the project were developed, I used Adobe After Effects 4.2 to do all the post production and layering. Now, there is a program that has few rivals in my opinion. In all the years I've been working with After Effects, I've never taxed it this hard. And, it didn't even flinch. I rave about the programs' stability, but its real power lies in the ability to put so many different effects on any given object at any time.

Part 2 of this technical section:
All the above information is true for the first version of this film. But, I had to replace a couple of scenes with new ones. So, there is a second version of the movie now.
In the original version, there was one scene that was ripped directly from The Phantom Menace. I got a lot of flack for that and was denied hosting in a couple of places. So, I decided that to increase possible exposure to the film - including an entry in this year's SciFi Channel Fan Film Awards, I needed to replace that scene. Since I was doing this anyway, I decided to replace the clip that immediately preceded the TPM clip also. I only put that there to fill some time anyway.
The new clips that I used were a flythrough of an asteroid field and huge battle sequence. The Queen's Cruiser is another model from A. Ravenwood. The models for the Naboo N-1's and the Droid Fighters are .3DS files from SciFi-3d. I used different models for the N-1's because I used Bryce 4 for those clips instead of RayDream. Since this film was first released I've started using that program a lot more. I've come to find that it is a really great tool for this type of work!
For the post production FX work, I upgraded to version 5.0 of Adobe After Effects. I raved about version 4.2, this version is even better!!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about any of this stuff. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoy the short flick.

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