Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out this week, and like most people, we couldn’t be more excited. To celebrate the release of the film, we recently unveiled our “Race for the Republic” project — a series of spoof political ads for some of our favorite Star Wars characters, all made using video, music, and sound effects from the Pond5 library.
Since we’ve had such a great response to the videos, we thought we’d give you a glimpse into how we were able to create some of the scenes and effects using nothing more than the media already at our (and your!) disposal. Check out three deconstructed scenes from our “Race for the Republic” videos below to see how we compiled the source material from our media library and turned it into something otherworldly.
Making an Ewok Village
For the “Green Party” ad supporting the candidacy of the Ewoks, we wanted to create a visual of their home on Endor. To do that, first we had to find a forest, so we searched for “redwood forest” in our video collection. After all, Return of the Jedi‘s Endor scenes were filmed in Northern California. We came up with this great clip:
Below, you can see how we started with the base video clip:
The post-effects started with “painting out” the people walking through the forest:
The next step was adding in a bunch of the masked-off huts from the village and hut videos.
We then continued to add bridges and more huts to the composition for context.
And here’s the final composition layout with huts, bridges, and glow!
From Viking to Vader: Recreating an Icon
Then we needed a foreground subject — a silhouetted figure, preferably. We searched “cape” and “warrior” and this Viking rose from the search:
The viking was already wearing something suitably cape-like, so I simply removed the chromakey background and placed him into the ship’s bay door, then darkened him down.
The fact that he’s holding a sword makes the lightsaber easier to animate, since I could use the motion of the sword for reference. With that in mind, I built the lightsaber on top of the sword:
I added a shadow, because we see a light coming in through the bay door:
And I added a helmet to give it a more recognizable look:
Which all resulted in this final shot:
Turning Day into Interplanetary Night
For the opening of the Chewbacca/Solo video, we needed an exterior shot of a house — ideally a dolly or tracking shot. Since detail is often lost in nighttime photography, we decided to find a daytime exterior shot and convert it instead.
I found this shot in our collection after searching “suburban home”:
Some simple color correction, brightness, and contrast softening enabled us to create a more general nighttime look:
To further the effect, I added some stars to the “night” sky:
Then I added the two moons, just to make it clear this was no longer taking place on Earth:
And as a final touch, I added some ambient lights on the home’s exterior. Good citizens of the universe always leave a light on.
Of course, these are just three small examples of what went into these videos, and what you can do with the combination of Pond5 media and your imagination.
If you haven’t already seen all the “Race for the Republic” videos, check them out now and vote for your favorite! And if you have, be sure to take a look at our first blog post on the project, where you’ll find bonus poster art for all the campaigns, as well as a collection featuring all of the media used to create this project.
And if there other scenes that left you wondering how we made them, let us know in the comments! Or you can just tell us how you’re celebrating the big debut of The Force Awakens!