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Questions about FX in fan edits and the Starkiller Base

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 (Edited)

Hi, I’m new to the community. I have just recently seen my first fan edit, Hal 9000’s Restructure of The Force Awakens and my breath was taken away. Big congratulations to everyone involved in the project. I was especially taken aback by the custom-made special effects. I have never thought such modifications were possible.

The shot of a Star Destroyer in place of the Hosnian system in the sky, the reversal and recoloring of the Starkiller Base energy stream, the Millennium Falcon exiting hyperspace, the modification of Leia’s hairstyle in her restored scene are things I never thought would be possible.

With all that in mind, I would have a hypothetical question to FX geniuses like Hal 9000, NeverarGreat and Sir Ridley. These are not requests or suggestions, just questions about the feasability of such modifications.

  1. Would it be theoretically possible to insert the familiar elongated stars special effect to the background of the shot where the red plasma beams are moving away from Starkiller Base into empty space (to indicate it’s firing through hyperspace)?

  2. Would it possible to shrink the Death Star even further, to a miniscule ball in the holographic comparison with Starkiller Base in the Resistance briefing scene, to give it a more realistic scale?

  3. Would it possible to move Starkiller Base further away from the devoured star in the space shot when the star’s draining begins? (We wouldn’t see the small planet in the initial shot, only after the camera pans to the left, with the plasma stream also elongated.)

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Welcome to the community! Glad you liked the edit, I certainly enjoyed working on it.

To answer your questions, yes, I think these things could be done (but I don’t see the need to, except for maybe shrinking the Death Star). Why do you think Starkiller Base should fire through hyperspace?

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Very glad you enjoyed the project! I can’t speak much to the special effects, and I’m just as awed as you are by what Sir Ridley and NeverarGreat did.
Off the top of my head, the only special effect I did was recoloring the star sucking up after Hux’s speech, and that was just a color correction tweak.
I’m not sure about the changes proposed here, or why they would be necessary. Part of this particular project’s stated goal is to stick close to the theatrical except for the few areas targeted for alteration.
Thanks for the feedback and welcome!

Initiating self-destruct countdown…

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 (Edited)

I am a scientifically minded person. I never subscribed to the idea that Star Wars should be above criticism for its scientific implausibility just because it’s space fantasy, not hard SF. I firmbly believe that even fantasy stories should comply with the internal logic of their universe, even if the rules in that universe are vastly different than ours. Which means that I would criticize Star Wars if they had a scene where spaceships DIDN’T have noise.

For instance, one of the internal rules of the Star Wars universe is that there is no instantaneous travel between distant points of the galaxy. They need hyperspace to do that. Hyperspace in Star Wars is not inconsequential. It’s a big deal. It’s one of the most iconic special effects in cinema history! That is why Starkiller Base destroying a star system half way across the galaxy has bugged me the first time I saw the movie.

A Resistance technician clearly states that Starkiller Base is a “hyperlightspeed weapon”. The Visual Dictionary says the base is the result of the Empire’s research into “hyperspace tunneling”. If the utilization of hyperspace was implied with a shot that I described, that would, for me, make Starkiller’s technology fit into the internal logic of the Star Wars universe.

The size of Starkiller Base is less of an issue but it’s still bugging me. We know the Death Star was 120 km in diameter. That makes the Starkiller about 1200 km in diamater, which is only 1/3 of Earth’s moon. A planet that size could not possibly retain an atmosphere. I wouldn’t care about it if Return of the Jedi didn’t get it right with the Death Star being relatively in scale compared with Endor.

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Interesting. I’m with you on the Starkiller planet size.

Let’s say the Starkiller beam moves at lightspeed. I guess the stars would be elongated or look like that cloudy blue tunnel from the “point of view” of the beam itself. Would the beam be visible for “outside” viewers? And would it travel through lighspeed “lanes” or freely in a straight line from point A to point B? Do objects in lightspeed enter a different dimension or are they simply moving too fast to be seen? If it’s just moving fast but is a long continous beam I assume it would still be visible and look about the same as it does in the movie.

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 (Edited)

In my head canon, objects in “lightspeed” are in a different dimenson. Whether they travel in a straight line or not, I have not given it much thought. (Yet.😃) In this particular case, SKB fires the plasma beam in real space. Some distance away from the station, it enters hyperspace and travels to the destinaton sytem. Upon reaching it, it exists hyperspace and hits the targeted objects in normal space again. The beam is visible in the first and final stage, but not visible when it is travelling in hyperspace.

In the film, there is a panning shot where the beam is coming from the right side then flies past Kylo’s ship and continues to the left. (As far as I remember, this shot is already altered in the Restructure, as the the Star Destroyer is deleted.) In my mind, this would be the altered shot. We would begin to see elongated stars when the beam is coming towards the camera, and the transition to the cloudy blue tunnel would be completed by the time the camera turns and the beam is moving away to the left. (The beam’s exit from hyperspace doesn’t have to be shown.)

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I actually considered having the beam travel through Hyperspace in this shot, after deleting the Star Destroyer, but I don’t know of an easy way this could be done.

To make the Falcon exiting Hyperspace I blended two shots where the Falcon was in a similar position in each, so the best bet would probably be to find a shot of something else going through hyperspace at a similar angle and replace the ship with the beam. If the camera movement was similar enough in both shots, it might work.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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I don’t see how the beam could enter hyperspace partway through. The speed of the beam should come from how fast it is pushed out from the weapon, unlike a ship which propels itself forward and can enter hyperspace using its hyperdrive.

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Sir Ridley said:

I don’t see how the beam could enter hyperspace partway through. The speed of the beam should come from how fast it is pushed out from the weapon, unlike a ship which propels itself forward and can enter hyperspace using its hyperdrive.

I agree, it is a stretch. A big one. But I don’t see any other way to reconcile two things: 1, the plasma beam being fired from SKB and hitting the targeted planets visibly and clearly at a sublight speed and 2, it travelling across the galaxy almost instantaneously. In my head, SBK has some sort of tunelling device that creates a hyperspace wormhole, the “entrance” of which is near the origin and the “exit” near the destination.

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Theatrical TFA suggests that the FO didn’t wormhole the laser’s way there, since you can see its trail in the sky.

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Collipso said:

Theatrical TFA suggests that the FO didn’t wormhole the laser’s way there, since you can see its trail in the sky.

True enough, but I banished that from my head canon during my very first viewing. I used to close my eyes during the Takodana skygazing shots until I found this fantastic version of the film. Alan Dean Foster did his best to come up with suitable technobabble to explain that sequence in the novelization, but it’s still embarassing. JJ Abrams has a great sense for fun and adventure, but can be really patronizing to his audiences…

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NeverarGreat said:

I actually considered having the beam travel through Hyperspace in this shot, after deleting the Star Destroyer, but I don’t know of an easy way this could be done.

To make the Falcon exiting Hyperspace I blended two shots where the Falcon was in a similar position in each, so the best bet would probably be to find a shot of something else going through hyperspace at a similar angle and replace the ship with the beam. If the camera movement was similar enough in both shots, it might work.

Reassuring to know that this idea occured to someone else, too!

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Dr. Krogshöj said:

  1. Would it be theoretically possible to insert the familiar elongated stars special effect to the background of the shot where the red plasma beams are moving away from Starkiller Base into empty space (to indicate it’s firing through hyperspace)?

  2. Would it possible to shrink the Death Star even further, to a miniscule ball in the holographic comparison with Starkiller Base in the Resistance briefing scene, to give it a more realistic scale?

  3. Would it possible to move Starkiller Base further away from the devoured star in the space shot when the star’s draining begins? (We wouldn’t see the small planet in the initial shot, only after the camera pans to the left, with the plasma stream also elongated.)

1: Probably

2: Probably too

3: Without completely redoing the shot, I’m not sure.

Death of the Author

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Looking at the star draining shot again, it appears that Starkiller is actually behind the star based on how much of it is in the light. This would mean that it would have to be extremely small indeed, compared to the star.

I think it would be possible to move the planet, but even if that’s not feasible, it should be a simple matter to shrink the planet so that it would be a believable distance from the star.
Here’s a mockup of these two ideas:
Small Only
Small and Distant
http://www.framecompare.com/image-compare/screenshotcomparison/01FNNN8U

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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 (Edited)

NeverarGreat said:

Looking at the star draining shot again, it appears that Starkiller is actually behind the star based on how much of it is in the light. This would mean that it would have to be extremely small indeed, compared to the star.

I think it would be possible to move the planet, but even if that’s not feasible, it should be a simple matter to shrink the planet so that it would be a believable distance from the star.

Both versions would work in my opinion. Great mockups!

NeverarGreat said:

To make the Falcon exiting Hyperspace I blended two shots where the Falcon was in a similar position in each, so the best bet would probably be to find a shot of something else going through hyperspace at a similar angle and replace the ship with the beam. If the camera movement was similar enough in both shots, it might work.

I sensed that finding suitable hyperspace footage of other stuff would be the key here. Could it be alleviated by slightly tilting the plasma beam shot in either direction?

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Dr. Krogshöj said:

Sir Ridley said:

I don’t see how the beam could enter hyperspace partway through. The speed of the beam should come from how fast it is pushed out from the weapon, unlike a ship which propels itself forward and can enter hyperspace using its hyperdrive.

I agree, it is a stretch. A big one. But I don’t see any other way to reconcile two things: 1, the plasma beam being fired from SKB and hitting the targeted planets visibly and clearly at a sublight speed and 2, it travelling across the galaxy almost instantaneously. In my head, SBK has some sort of tunelling device that creates a hyperspace wormhole, the “entrance” of which is near the origin and the “exit” near the destination.

I think if it was the SKB itself creating a lightspeed tunnel or wormhole that the beam enters and exits, this is a lot more believable. Also if the SKB has the capacity to compress an entire star into itself / its “modulating capacitors” (or whatever the explanation was again for being able to do this), you could say the SKB has the capacity to also use this energy in a further compressed form to generate a small black hole like wormhole out front of it that links to just outside of the destination they want to fire on, providing the means for the energy beam to pass through within the time shown in the original movie.

The fact that the star itself does not have enough mass to form a black hole yet the SKB can suck it in from that distance and compress it that much speaks to the power of SKB and its potential for other uses of that power.

Val

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http://www.astronomy.com/news/2017/07/tiny-new-star

Interesting tidbit:
Smallest Star

It’s an ultracool M-dwarf star, slightly bigger than Saturn, so if we assume that Starkiller Base is about the same size as Earth, that would bring this into the realm of the comprehensible:
Saturn and Earth

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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NeverarGreat said:

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2017/07/tiny-new-star

Interesting tidbit:
Smallest Star

It’s an ultracool M-dwarf star, slightly bigger than Saturn, so if we assume that Starkiller Base is about the same size as Earth, that would bring this into the realm of the comprehensible:
Saturn and Earth

Very interesting! The diversity of stars in the universe is breathtaking, from this one to the uncombrehensible hypergiants.

By the color of the star Starkiller Base is draining, and how it appears in the sky from the planet’s surface, I always assumed it was a yellow, type G main sequence star. However, it could be argued that it’s an orange or red dwarf, and SKB is orbiting relatively close to it.

Now that I think about it, it’s also peculiar that once the star is half way drained, it appears even whiter than originally. Shouldn’t it get redder as it’s losing mass and heat…?

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Valheru_84 said:

Dr. Krogshöj said:

Sir Ridley said:

I don’t see how the beam could enter hyperspace partway through. The speed of the beam should come from how fast it is pushed out from the weapon, unlike a ship which propels itself forward and can enter hyperspace using its hyperdrive.

I agree, it is a stretch. A big one. But I don’t see any other way to reconcile two things: 1, the plasma beam being fired from SKB and hitting the targeted planets visibly and clearly at a sublight speed and 2, it travelling across the galaxy almost instantaneously. In my head, SBK has some sort of tunelling device that creates a hyperspace wormhole, the “entrance” of which is near the origin and the “exit” near the destination.

I think if it was the SKB itself creating a lightspeed tunnel or wormhole that the beam enters and exits, this is a lot more believable. Also if the SKB has the capacity to compress an entire star into itself / its “modulating capacitors” (or whatever the explanation was again for being able to do this), you could say the SKB has the capacity to also use this energy in a further compressed form to generate a small black hole like wormhole out front of it that links to just outside of the destination they want to fire on, providing the means for the energy beam to pass through within the time shown in the original movie.

The fact that the star itself does not have enough mass to form a black hole yet the SKB can suck it in from that distance and compress it that much speaks to the power of SKB and its potential for other uses of that power.

Val

I like this explanation also.