back to article Star Wars revival secret: This isn't the celluloid you're looking for

The next Star Wars film is to be made using analogue film in a bid to evoke the glory days of the space saga. The excitement is Palpatine palpable among Star Wars fans, who will be hoping the return to the traditional methods of filmmaking heralds a move away from the digital, hyper-real – and hyper-rubbish – style of the last …

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Anonymous Coward

Originals were great?

Pah! Wooden acting, crummy sequences, laughably inept badies, etc. etc. Great? Give me strength.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Originals were great?

Yes. But had Star Wars started with Ep 1 then there would have been no chance of the rest of the films being made since it would have gotten such absurdly poor reviews that nobody would have gone to see it.

And it would all have been the fault of a dodgy bit of CGI and a poor director.

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Re: Originals were great?

You just described my favourite alternate history.

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LDS
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Re: Originals were great?

Wooden acting? It was often because of the "matte" behind. Matte are not tridimensional - are just bidmensional paintings lit from behind - thereby actors can't move that much or you understand what's behind is painted and not real. Here CGI helped a lot, because actors move freely in front of a green backgroud than later it is digitally removed and the proper background added.

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Re: Originals were great?

Alec Guinness had just a little acting experience and ability, but as (I believe) he said to George Lucas once during filming "You can write this shit, but you can't say it!"

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Re: Originals were great?

Misquote. Harrison Ford is quoted as saying "You can type this shit George, but you sure can't say it"

See http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/GeorgeLucas?from=Main.GeorgeLucas

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FAIL

Re: Originals were great?

Strong is the troll with this one. But powerful he is not.

Defeat him easily we shall.

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Happy

Re: Originals were great?

Nothing to do with CGI or the use of matte techniques: it's clear the actors have been briefed by their director to get the lines out as quickly as possible in order to explain the point and get the story onto the next bit of exciting blaster/lightsaber/spaceship action scene! And it worked a treat, at least it did for me and all the other 10 year olds who LOVED the original movies long after the VHS tape wore out.

Sadly adult eyes can't help but see some aspects of the originals for what they really are, even if they still love them with a passion!

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Re: Originals were great?

It is notable that one of the most memorable lines (Leia: "I love you", Solo "I know") was an ad-lib because the original was so crass. Possibly others as well. Maybe they should have just let Harrison Ford re-write the whole script.

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Flame

Re: Originals were great?

It was something new then, and great. However if there is no story, no plot and just a lot of shooting and exploding stuff it is shit no matter how you produce it.

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Re: Originals were great?

Just a little?!

Ahem!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Originals were great?

You have to bear in mind that Ford was an unknown back then. He actually started as a carpenter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Originals were great?

> You have to bear in mind that Ford was an unknown back then. He actually started as a carpenter.

Not exactly unknown in 1976/1977. You might want check, e.g., his bio on IMDB.

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Linux

Re: Originals were great?

Ford was doing bit parts before 77 and still getting more work as a carpenter.

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Re: Originals were great?

This the curse of the squeal , it’s the same with a bands ‘difficult second album’ it’s hard to name sequels that are considered better than the first part, Terminator 2 springs to mind, but the problem is people expect the sequels to get better and better, so if you end up with something as good, or slightly worse than the first, they are considered rubbish.

Example, Die Hard 2 is not a bad film, if that was the script for the first one, and Die Hard becomes Die Hard 2 then people would say the 1st film is great, and the second is greater, instead, they say the first film is great, the second is a bit crap.

So imagine if it were that way round, I know, the Phantom menace was poor compared to the original films, but if that had come out in the 70s it would have still captured the imagination of millions, and the series would have just been seen to get better.

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Pint

Re: Originals were great?

And that was 100% true.

Lucas can't act for sh*t. Harrison Ford however can claim to do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs and we believe him, despite his units of measure being all out of whack.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Originals were great?

"Ford was doing bit parts before 77 and still getting more work as a carpenter."

He was in The Conversation (by Coppola) and American Graffiti before Star Wars. If your point is his biggest role at that time was Star Wars, yes, that's right, if it's something else, not sure what your point is.

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Future Digital

Well, filming the next Star Wars at 1080 line resolution would make it obsolete in the UHDTV era of 3000 lines, but analogue film can be digitized at the higher resolution. So there may be a rational reason to use film now even though you're right that it won't give the film what a better script would give it.

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Re: Future Digital

"Well, filming the next Star Wars at 1080 line resolution would make it obsolete in the UHDTV era of 3000 lines"

The current generation digital movie cameras shoot at over 5000 lines

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Re: Future Digital

....apart from the actual resolution that you can achieve is limited by grain in the film. If you were talking about a larger frame size you might have a point, but he's talking about using 35mm stock film

Have you noticed how the whole film vs digital debate died out in the photography press several years ago.

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Re: Future Digital

Yes, and you get extremely detailed enlargements of film grains :)

Take your best slide and have it scanned at different resolutions at a pro shop, drum scanners and such, and then compare.

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Re: Future Digital

Film has very real grain. Film responds differently to different light frequencies than digital sensors. Digital can emulate those attributes perfectly well if needed.

Film, however, is elitist as progressing is so darn expensive and all the labs have tooled down. Probably more of a symbolic act in this case purely as a way to distance from the CGI overload in parts 1-3.

War Horse, one of Spielberg's most recent big budget movies was shot on 35mm, no fuss, no press releases, just the tool chosen for the job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Future Digital

Simple reason why, people can't take pictures these days.

With a DSLR you can shoot about 15 photos in a second and pick out the best one. No need to meter as you can shoot multiple exposure levels (bracket exposure). Shoot RAW and play around with the exposure later on.

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Re: Future Digital

"Simple reason why, people can't take pictures these days.

With a DSLR you can shoot about 15 photos in a second and pick out the best one. No need to meter as you can shoot multiple exposure levels (bracket exposure). Shoot RAW and play around with the exposure later on"

You mean photographers can actually concentrate on making great shots and not spend 90% of their time faffing about with camera settings?

Please elaborate how that prevents people from taking great photos luddite...

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Re: Future Digital

> You mean photographers can actually concentrate on making great shots and not spend 90% of their

> time faffing about with camera settings?

> Please elaborate how that prevents people from taking great photos luddite...

To be fair, if you use a medium format camera (or DSLR on a tripod) and need to spend a few minutes getting the shot set up exactly, there's more chance you'll take time to look through the viewfinder long enough to check the composition and sometimes pack up the camera after deciding the photo is not worth taking. Or notice the tree sticking out of someone's head, or change the composition to something better than any of the 15 DSLR shots. Pus it saves time fixing up the shot on your computer later.

Although I agree that you can go to extremes with a view camera and spend all of your time on settings.

Having said that, being able to verify shots taken on the camera screen is invaluable, and I probably haven't shot film for nearly 10 years and now come back with my hundreds of DSLR shots like everyone else :).

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Alien

Re: Future Digital

Lines? Analog term.

Most movies these days are shot in 8K and 35mm isn't fit for purpose. Can do what he wants - it's going to be crap in 20 years when people are going to want to buy it in 8K.

As much as I love JJ's work, the reason he's so right for Star Trek is the same reason he's wrong for Star Wars - he fetishises it (like most star wars fans do) and can't take a step back and see the overall picture - and this is proof unlike Star Trek which he was never really into.

I hope I'm proven wrong (it'd be nice to see a star wars movie that didn't have serious flaws in one way or another) but I don't foresee it.

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Pint

Re: Future Digital

Yes, at about the same time that digital pixel resolutions finally caught up with the detail resolution of film grain... approximately 16MP on a 35mm sized sensor. But it isn't a direct comparison.

When you blow up a pixel-formed image too far you get ... pixelation, which looks horrible.

When you blow up a grain-formed image you get the grain revealed which can be incredibly pleasing.

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Re: Future Digital

"the reason he's so right for Star Trek is the same reason he's wrong for Star Wars"

Personally I would say *exactly* the opposite.

He's absolutely wrong for Trek, but perfect for Wars.

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Re: Future Digital

Most movies are not shot in 8K. Most movies are still shot on 35mm film stock and scanned to digital. Movies shot on digital cameras are still the minority, and while the major studios using digital are using amazing equipment such as Red Epic MX and Arri Alexa, you'll be sad to hear that neither of these incredible camera systems yet support 8K.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_shot_in_digital

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And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

CGI has never IMO come close to the models and painstaking animated composite action scenes of the original episodes. Yes, yes, yes.

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Happy

Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

"CGI has never IMO come close to the models and painstaking animated composite action scenes of the original episodes. Yes, yes, yes."

Trouble is it costs an arm and a leg to get it done right.

OTOH modern desktop fab techniques mean some of it should be cheaper.

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Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

Yeaah!! I'm so glad it's not just me that harps on about this! I'm really not into CGI for space scenes, ship et al. I watched some of the old Star Trek movies a little while ago in HD and seeing the models and the painstaking detail that went into them, even from the early 80's, it was just awe inspiring.

Conversely, I saw the latest Star Trek movie the other day and whilst the CGI was 'smart' we're talking about two totally different levels here. Star Wars using models and stop motion would be a fantastic move. Probably won't happen, but it would make things interesting for sure.

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Re: "I'm really not into CGI for space scenes"

I found that it was done right in the Battlestar Galactice series remake.

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Re: CGI has never IMO come close to the models

This is the biggest reason (among many others) that I mourned the passing of Jim Henson.

If you wanted a believable on-screen alien that could interact with the rest of the cast, that's the guy you went to.

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Re: CGI has never IMO come close to the models

Even without Jim Henson himself, his company did it quite well in Farscape.

Unfortunately that meant that Rygel had to be seated at all times, the couple times he wasn't it was done with CGI

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LDS
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Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

Models look great and have more a "realistic" feeling, but they are far more complex to build and to animate in complex scenes. When it comes to moving them - or moving actors against a "non existing" background - CGI is far better - but often what happens is that writer and director becomes mad and start to make totally unrealist scenes - which they couldn't do with models and eventually delivered better scenes because they looked less ridicolous.

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Re: CGI has never IMO come close to the models

Or the creature effects team from the Harry Potter films. Sadly the creature effects only gets a small corner of the studio tour at Leavesden compared to the sets (although the sets are a marvel in themselves for the attention to detail and love that was lavished on them over the decade of shooting). The craftsmanship on display is utterly breathtaking, as is the castle model that they used for composite shots of the outside. The place is well worth a visit even if you're not that into Potter just to look at sets, props and displays from the art department (they've got something like 20k+ visualisations and concept art pieces tucked away somewhere. They had a lot on display but I'd love to go trawling through their archive).

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Re: CGI has never IMO come close to the models

Having seen some of the original Death Star sets and other models used in the originals up close I would prefer it if they made a return. I can appreciate the effort put into them by craftsmen who really were peerless.

The CGI in the later films, to me at least, made the ships seem fake and to lose that sense of realism from the originals just to have a chrome spaceship was a great loss.

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Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

They can 3D print all the guns...

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Linux

Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

"CGI has never IMO come close to the models and painstaking animated composite action scenes of the original episodes. Yes, yes, yes." --- Hmmmm, like the ones used in Sinbad? I enjoyed them, but, they look primitive nowadays.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

The added cost of physical models is part of the advantage. It means you'll only do it when it adds value, not just as cheap filler.

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Unhappy

Re: "I'm really not into CGI for space scenes"

But the simulated camera shake is terrible. Every time I see camera shake I jump out of the realism feel and just think 'get a steadycam' instead. I really hope it is just a temporary fad to have drunken virtual cameramen taking CGI videos.

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Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

Primitve ? Maybe

Emotionless and full of character ? Absolutely not.

The greatest folly of the CGI industry was to get the movie industry to believe that looking "real" was the key to success, as if the 100 year history of cinema counted for and taught us nothing about an audience's ability and willingness to invest emotionally in visuals that on their own were clearly unreal but which when presented as part of a well formed narrative were completely convincing.

They are only now starting to learn the lesson that it doesn't matter how real or impressive your visual are if you don't have the foundation of story and character for those visuals to build on.

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LDS
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Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

I would promote a "CGI budget cap" for any sci-fi movie - this way directors coudn't just fill it with silly CGI scenes and screenwriters would be forced to think about a decent plot and actors to act...

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Happy

Re: And use real stopmotion special FX, while you're at it

I mean, does anybody know what the budget was for 'Star Trekkin' ? Best use of Stop-Motion if i ever saw.

Hums 'there's klingons on the starboard bow'...

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"hardcore analogue-lovers"

I heard this is going to be included in next edition of Websters..

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Coat

Re: "hardcore analogue-lovers"

Just try typing that phrase into a search engine.

Damn you Google autocomplete!

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JJ? It's Jim Jannard on line one… he says he's going to make you an offer you can't refuse...

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Anonymous Coward

How many re-releases this time round?

Two or three "directors cuts" are a given, but there aren't many physical media formats left release it on - how on Earth will they ever make a profit? Could this revive VHS and laser disc?

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