The Panavision PSR 35mm movie camera that was used for most of the principal photography in the original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ movie has been sold at auction for $625,000 — the highest price ever paid for a movie camera. While the price is record-setting for both Star Wars memorabilia and film movie cameras, it still pales in comparison to prices seen in the world of still photography — the most expensive camera was auctioned earlier this year for $1.9 million.
Now here’s something we haven’t seen before: a Star Wars-themed engagement shoot. All you need are two working lightsabers and a couple crazy enough about the franchise to do it. These photos were shot by San Jose-based photographer Michael James. Read more…
Here’s an interesting factoid: to make the Star Wars scenes containing AT-AT walkers and tauntauns more realistic, a new stop motion technique called “go motion” was created:
Stop motion animation can create a disorienting, and distinctive, staccato effect, because the animated object is perfectly sharp in every frame, since each frame of the animation was actually shot when the object was perfectly still. Real moving objects in similar scenes of the same movie will have motion blur, because they moved while the shutter of the camera was open.
Go motion was designed to prevent this, by moving the animated model slightly during the exposure of each film frame, producing a realistic motion blur. The main difference is that while the frames in stop motion are made up by images of stills taken between the small movements of the object, the frames in go motion are images of the object taken while it is moving.
So how did they go about adding motion blur to still photographs of inanimate objects? Well, their methods included smearing vaseline on the camera lens and bumping the puppet or table while the exposure was being made.
It’s a big no-no when newspapers or photographers manipulate photos to alter reality, but when a father playfully does it to mess with his kids there’s a big potential for awesome. Graphic designer Anthony Herrera recently did just that, and his story is now making the rounds on the Internet:
A year ago we took a trip to Sequoia National Park. I wanted to excite my daughter while being in such amazing surroundings. Being the Star Wars geek that I am (so is she), I told her that this is where the Ewoks live. She spent a good chunk of our time hiking keeping a lookout for any Ewoks. Coming home I can’t say that she wasn’t disappointed that we didn’t find any. I had to explain that they are extremely shy and hardly ever let anyone see them. After we got home, and after I had a little time alone with the photos, I told her I thought I saw something strange in a few pictures. We viewed them on the TV to get a larger image. You can imagine how surprised and excited she was when we discovered that we didn’t see any Ewoks, but they saw us, and had certainly taken an interest in her and her little brother. Maybe I’m a little wrong for lying to her and falsifying the pictures, but I don’t care. She’ll never forget the time she spent in the big woods with Ewoks.
Did you know that the original Star Wars lightsaber was made using antique camera parts?
For A New Hope, the original film prop hilts were constructed by John Stears from old press camera flash battery packs and other pieces of hardware. [#] The 3-cell Graflex flashgun was modified and used as the prop for Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. A black grip was added and the circular bulb housing was obviously removed, but little else was changed to create the lightsaber prop. [#]
Do a search on eBay and you’ll find plenty of people selling these flash units as “lightsabers”.
As the cameras on mobile devices are used more and more for augmented reality applications, one thing we’ll undoubtedly see more of is augmented reality gaming, where the real world becomes part of the game. The above video shows some test footage of the upcoming game “Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner”, which uses the camera on the iPhone (or iPod Touch) to turn real locations into places you need to defend from the Empire’s attack.
Here’s a really imaginative short film called AT-AT day afternoon, created by Canadian filmmaker Patrick Boivin. Boivin took a vintage Star Wars Walker toy and transformed it into man’s best friend. The film was created using a blend of stop-motion animation, puppetry, and clever household green screens that aren’t always green. Boivin, who is self-trained in filmmaking and effects, said in an interview that he shoots primarily with a Canon 5D Mark II.
Check out the behind-the-scenes video below. Read more…