Drones, Clever Hacks, And CG Come Together For Star Wars Fan Film

We weren’t certain if this Star Wars fan film was out kind of thing until we saw the making of video afterwards. They wanted to film a traditional scene in a new way. The idea was to take some really good quadcopter pilots, give them some custom quadcopters, have them re-enact a battle in a scenic location, and then use some movie magic to bring it all together.

The quadcopters themselves are some of those high performance racing quadcopters with 4K video cameras attached. The kind of thing that has the power to weight ratio of a rocket ship. Despite what the video implies, they are unfortunately not TIE Fighter shaped. After a day of flying and a few long hikes to retrieve the expensive devices after inevitable crashes (which, fortunately, provided some nice footage), the next step was compositing.

However, how to trick the viewer into believing they were in a X-Wing quadcopter? A cheap way to do it would be to spend endless hours motion tracking and rendering a cockpit in place. It won’t look quite real. The solution they came up with is kind of dumb and kind-of brilliant. Mount a 3D printed cockpit on a 2×4 with a GoPro. Play the flight footage on a smartphone while holding the contraption. Try to move the cockpit in the same direction as the flight. We’re not certain if it was a requirement to also make whooshing and pew pew laser noises while doing so, but it couldn’t hurt.

In the end it all came together to make a goofy, yet convincingly good fan film. Nice work! Videos after the break.

[via i09, thanks Itay for the tip.]


12 thoughts on “Drones, Clever Hacks, And CG Come Together For Star Wars Fan Film

    1. No, it’s trademarks you have to actively defend, or lose them. Not copyright, that’s now automatically protected, the moment anyone creates anything. From creation, until Steamboat Willie’s copyright expires, which will be never.

      There’s a ton of confusion over this among laymen. Including myself, I just happen to have looked it all up once.

      But Star Wars is both, full of trademarks and copyrighted stuff and indicia and all that other sort of rubbish. And now the Dark Side own the franchise, I expect I’ll see a C&D on my doorstep just for mentioning the title.

  1. nice writeup! just a few small things like , corridordigital didnt give rotor riot custom quads. RR used their own quads. the only change was that they mounted their gopro’s backwards :P

    1. Exactly, not being a quad pilot you’re unlikely to be able to set up something with the performance to match the skills of these racing/freestyle fpv pilots (Chad Nowak or Steele), much less guess the personal settings and quirks those pilots use on their machines. BTW Rotor Riot have a different “making of” video about this project if you’re interested in the piloting part.

    1. They wouldn’t be in focus then. Bit of movie magic. We feel like everything is in focus all the time. In reality our eyes are no different than a camera. When we focus on something close the background blurs. We just don’t notice. So when you do a shot like this sometimes it’s better to give people what they think they see rather than what they actually see.

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