Brad's Jedi Costume and Jedi Temple Footage

As mentioned last time, the Jedi belt pouches finally arrived the day before shooting. Upon their arrival, we finally had a complete Jedi costume for Brad. Here's Brad's Jedi costume compared to Obi-Wan Kenobi's costume:

Not bad, right?

Since we had a COMPLETE Jedi costume, we could finally shoot live footage below Brad's waist (before, we were limited to cockpit shots).

Here are a ton of before-and-after pictures using last week's live footage:

Here's Brad using The Force to distract 2 Clone Troopers guarding the Jedi Temple:

Not only have we replaced Brad's "Stormtrooper size reference" in the original animatic with live footage, but we've also improved the Jedi Temple model.

Although it wasn't in the original script, we shot a close-up of Brad using The Force to distract the Clone Troopers so that it would be more obvious to the audience what was happening. Otherwise, Brad's a tiny little figure in the background and it was easy to miss. So here's our new, unscripted close-up of Brad using The Force:

After distracting the Clone Troopers, Brad sneaks past them into the Jedi Temple:

I had to change the camera angle to match our live footage.

We may have to reshoot this scene anyway, because our green screen was too narrow to get enough footage of Brad running right-to-left. He could only take 2-3 steps before going off the green screen. We tried shooting this scene in parts, intending to hide the splice when Brad disappears behind each Clone Trooper, but it didn't work very well because his feet and speed were inconsistent between takes. Oh well, we'll figure something out...

Here's footage of Brad sneaking down the corridor towards the Jedi Databank. This footage appears on a security monitor in the background when an Imperial Officer is talking to a Clone Trooper:

I didn't have a screen shot of the original "security camera footage" (i.e. with the on-screen text, horizontal lines, and other effects), so I included the original animatic before adding the "security camera" effects.

The "after" shot shows the new-and-improved shot, including the "security camera" effects and a digital reflection in the floor.

Here's more security camera footage, this time inside the Jedi Databank:

Since we don't have a crane, and since I now live in a one-story house, we couldn't get the correct downward camera angle shown in the original animatic. That's why the camera angle changed in the new-and-improved shot.

Here's Brad removing the holodisc from the Jedi Databank:

After seeing this scene in the new animatic, I realized we need to shoot a close-up of Brad removing the holodisc from the databank. It's just too easy to miss in this shot, and it's such an important plot element that we need to emphasize it.

Here's Brad planting a Merr-Sonn command-detonated bomb in the Jedi Databank:

Here's Brad planting a second Merr-Sonn bomb, interrupted by the arrival of 2 Clone Troopers:

We had to shoot Brad from the waist up because he had to stick the Merr-Sonn bomb prop onto something so that it would stay in-place. Unfortunately, the only thing we had that he could stick the bomb prop onto was about 3 feet tall:

So... we had to cheat the shot by cropping it below his waist and digitally-moving him down so that it looks like he's standing up in the final shot (above).

Anywho, the 2 Clone Troopers shoot at Brad, but he deflects the blaster bolts back at them with his lightsaber:

Everyone used to make fun of the old animatic because it wasn't even animated. It was just the Stormtrooper size reference with his lightsaber in 2 different positions. I don't see what the big deal was... the shots pretty much look the same to me! ;D

BTW (Brad), I only did quick-and-dirty rotoscoping in this shot, so you'll have to do real rotoscoping if you want your lightsaber blade to look right.

After killing the 2 Clone Troopers, Brad leaves the Jedi Databank:

After checking the corridor to make sure it's clear, Brad exits:

(No, that is NOT final texture mapping on the "after" picture. Don't worry, I'll improve it before we have final footage.)

Also, we shot 4-5 versions of Brad's exit from different angles because the flow was choppy and confusing in the original animatic. After having lots of options to experiment with, this camera angle worked best.

Here's Scene C113c (after Brad exits his first flashback, interrupted by the arrival of 2 Clone Troopers):

Again, WAY temporary texture maps in the "after" picture. I haven't had time to re-texture map that model yet. Ditto on the lighting.

Here are the 2 Clone Troopers confronting Brad:

Brad uses The Force to pull the Clone Troopers towards him:

I moved the camera to show inside the Jedi Training Veranda (and the dead Younglings). It was a more interesting shot, rather than just seeing a wall behind Brad.

Here's Brad slashing through both Clone Troopers with his lightsaber as they fly through the air towards him:

Is it just me, or does Brad have anger management issues he needs to work on? :D

Here's Brad encountering a roadblock during his escape from the Jedi Temple. He's asking R7 (via comlink) to make sure there are no life forms behind that blast door on the left:

You may notice that the model in our "after" picture is totally crappy. I forgot that I hadn't yet cleaned it up, so that's yet another item on my infinitely long "To Do" list for this movie. :(

Here's a close-up of Brad after receiving R7's confirmation that there are no life forms behind the blast door:

Again, the lighting and texture mapping is totally messed up in our "after" picture. Sorry about that...

Here's Brad right after the blast door opens:

Nothing against Brad's acting -- he's never claimed to be an actor -- but I wish he could evoke the same emotional response that our Stormtrooper size reference has in our original animatic. ;D

Here's what was behind the blast door, as Brad runs off-camera to the left:

R7 was correct, there were NO life forms behind that blast door! :)

BTW, I am NOT looking forward to animating those battle droids! Maybe we'll let Brad do it...

Here's Brad running out of the Jedi Temple:

We'll have to re-shoot this scene because Brad could only run a few steps before going off our green screen. However, please note that I still added a digital shadow, even though this isn't a "keeper" shot! :)

As you can see, I just did quick-and-dirty chroma keying and color-correction on these shots, so they're still animatic quality. I didn't want to waste a bunch of time in post-production in case we end up re-shooting.

Nevertheless, our new-and-improved master animatic looks WAY better than the previous version. Almost the entire first half of the movie now has live footage (well, for Brad at least -- the Clone Troopers are still temporary CG stand-ins). Progress is good.



Improved Props and Backgrounds

First of all, thanks for the comments on the previous post. It's funny how shots that were state-of-the art for us a year or two ago now look totally amateur. It will be interesting to see what our final footage looks like. I can't wait!

Brad and I built new Jedi comlink and Merr-Sonn bomb props. Here are before-and-after pictures:

The 1st picture shows the original Jedi comlink (a store-bought "Star Wars: Episode 1" walkie talkie) and the original time bomb prop (which I clunked together, mostly from a battery charger).

The 2nd picture shows the re-painted Jedi comlink (which more accurately matches the Jedi comlinks in "Star Wars") and a completely new time bomb prop (we'll probably add a countdown display on that translucent screen in post-production).

Even though we only re-painted the Jedi comlink prop, it looks much more accurate:

There are slight differences between our repainted Jedi comlink prop and the real props used in "Star Wars," but I think ours look good enough. Also, in case you were wondering, we went with gray instead of silver because silver creates too much green spill, which means we can't chromakey the footage.

On the CG side, I had to go back and retrofit a bunch of our CG-only scenes to match our new live footage scenes (i.e. Brad in the Jedi Starfighter cockpit). Here are a bunch of before-and-after comparisons:

Scene B100 (Brad flying over the Coruscant cityscape on the way to the Jedi Temple):

If you remember, that's a whip-pan shot where the camera moves quickly from left-to-right as it follows the Jedi Starfighter. The new scene looks so beautiful that I had to include another shot from the end of that scene:

I added an arrow so that you can see the Jedi Starfighter as it banks to the left. What a gorgeous shot! :D

Here's Scene B102a (the Jedi Starfighter landing at the Coruscant spaceport):

Hmmm... I just realized that 2 of our new-and-improved shots (Brad in the Jedi Starfighter cockpit, and the Jedi Starfighter landing at the Coruscant spaceport) are in our blog header graphic (above). Pretty funny that we've already improved those shots...

Anyway, here's Scene B102b (close-up of the Jedi Starfighter landing at the Coruscant spaceport):

Yes, I removed the Outrider model from the new shot. (You can see its blue engine and fuselage in the "before" shot -- it looks kind of like a runt Millennium Falcon, and it's facing 2 o'clock in the "before" picture if you're having trouble spotting it). I decided the Outrider just added visual clutter and unnecessary size to our 3ds file, so I deleted it. I don't think the scene is lacking from its absence...

Here's Scene C118 (Brad climbing into the Jedi Starfighter cockpit as he escapes from the pursuing Clone Troopers):

Like the previous shot (Scene B102b, above), I removed an unecessary spaceship (in this case, the blue/silver concept Jedi Starfighter model) for the same reasons as above.

Scene C119b (Clone Troopers shooting at the Jedi Starfighter as it lifts off from the Coruscant Spaceport):

Scene B121 (close-up of the homing beacon getting shot onto the Jedi Starfighter's fuselage):

And finally, Scene B122 (the Jedi Starfighter streaking away as Brad escapes from Coruscant):

Looking at all of the new-and-improved scenes, you may have noticed continuity issues between them -- mostly with color-correction, but also with traffic streams and other details. I know... I know... I'll fix those later...

In fact, I think some of those shots are too dark, so I'll probably brighten them too... later.

We're shooting more live footage of Brad tomorrow, so we should have more super-cool pictures in the next blog post. We almost had to cancel because I ordered Jedi belt pouches for Brad's costume, but they didn't arrive until this afternoon. Talk about last minute!