First of all, I want to say thank you so much for this long, detailed help post. I really, really appreciate it!
Edits that add fan film footage aren’t really my cup of tea, but for some reason your thread sparked my imagination so I thought I would share some ideas with you. I definitely think it will be impossible to blend fan film footage seamlessly with the original, but I think if you, and anyone who watches this, can accept that, then we can have a lot of fun with it at the very least.
I think there might be a few more ways that can help make the difference feel a little less jarring.
You’re already looking into ways to regrade the fan film footage to feel more “filmy”. I’d definitely say keep doing research on that.
I’ve never tried this before myself, but another way you might be able to make the CG space battles blend more with the original footage is to cut frames out of the CG footage. I think sometimes the new footage looks too smooth in comparison, so maybe experimenting with that could find something that works well. The ships in some of the new footage move a lot faster than in the theatrical film, so slightly slowing some of those shots down might help make it feel more consistent.
Interesting idea! I’ll give those techniques a try.
There is a bit of deleted material you could use to help extend the runtime of the film, if you’re basically wanting to make a Return of the Jedi: Extended Edition with as many deleted scenes and new scenes as possible, with overall pacing being less of an issue.
You can probably notice that a lot of the deleted scenes are extremely grainy. Having old grainy footage AND new footage next to each other will likely be very jarring, so maybe you could add a ‘grindhouse’ grain to the entire film, which would be easier than trying to clean all of that footage up.
I’ve heard there’s already versions out there that people have cleaned up, if true, those would be my first choice.
Some notes regarding the test clip you showed:
That shot of the inside of the Falcon flying around the Star Destroyer is not high quality enough to use in this edit at all, I would suggest cutting it.
Yeah, that was Star Tours footage with a Falcon cockpit greenscreen over the top, I agree it isn’t the best, I’ll definitely remove it.
I’d also suggest not using that music you’ve inserted the latter half of the clip. I honestly would only use music from the original trilogy, and MAYBE the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack or Gordy Haab’s Battlefront soundtracks if you were just desperate.
Some of that music was Gordy Haab, some was the unused Sail Barge track, and some was fanmade sounddtracks I’d found. I think the fanmade soundtracks made it all sound off, since the instruments sound more artificial in those. I plan on using familiar cues from the OT mixed in with Gordy Haab’s music, so the soundtrack is mostly original and not associated with other scenes in the OT, unless the OT theme is appropriate to what’s happening on screen in the new fanfilm footage.
I would also use less, or none, of the X-Wing interior shots with the fan film actors. I feel like it doesn’t match the way the pilots in the OT were filmed. I did like seeing the Rodian pilot that is in the original cut of that fan film.
Also noted! One of the cockpit shots is from a battlefront commercial for the X-wing VR, that one was probably the best of the bunch. I’m also waiting on Howard Day’s animated battle scene, his CGI looks almost exactly like old ILM models, it’s crazy. This is some of his work, it’s phenomenal.
Originally, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was going to start with a opening montage of battles happening across the galaxy. We see a fragment of this with the Order 66 montage. From what I understand, we would’ve originally seen most of these planets in that opening montage, then later return to them for the Order 66 sequence.
Maybe you could implement this idea into ROTJ for your added runtime, as well as to add a sense of scale to the Galactic Civil War. I was thinking you could build this idea off of the Special Edition ending of the film. In that ending, we see a montage of Bespin, Naboo, Tatooine, and Coruscant all celebrating the death of the Emperor. So maybe we could see these planets being attacked/liberated by the Rebellion at the beginning of the film in a 3-5 minute montage.
You could use footage from Destroyer to show Bespin being liberated, and some footage from Battlefront 2 for Naboo. It might be hard to seamlessly blend game footage with other footage, but you can try.
It’s so funny that you bring this up, because I’ve been working on a montage scene like this for the past week, and I’m posting up a rough edit now. It has Odyssey and Destroyer and some others, cut-down and re-contextualized. I meant for this to be a mirror of Order 66, except showing the Rebels rise up against the Empire (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) all across the Galaxy after having been given a rousing speech by Admiral Ackbar (all made with Battlefront audio), who calls for the Rebel cells across the Galaxy to do anything they can to divert the Empire’s attention away from their impending attack Endor. Instead of in the beginning of the film, I was planning on putting it the middle of the film, placed between when the Ewoks capture Han and Luke, and when they are all brought into the village. This is mainly because the second act can be pretty slow and boring, and needs something to make it feel exciting.
Here’s the link for it:
For Coruscant, I had a bit of a different idea. First, you could have an establishing shot of Coruscant city or specifically the Jedi Temple (which is now the Emperor’s Palace by the time of OT) from one of the prequels, then use footage from Rebellion to imply that they’re sneaking in to attack it. You could reuse the shot of the bomb at 1:05, then cut to something like this, one of the temple towers blowing up,then some of kind of Imperial reaction shot, then cut back to an exterior of the smoking Jedi Temple from Revenge of the Sith (perhaps the establishing shot used when Yoda and Obi-Wan sneak back into the temple). If that temple explosion test is too low quality, you could just have the shot of the bomb, then hard cut to a close-up explosion, then to Imperials running around or reacting to the explosion with klaxons blaring.
Interesting idea! I might try a rough cut of that soon.
You also could use some footage from Battlefront 2 to show Sullust being liberated, since the Vader mentions the Rebel fleet amassing near Sullust in the film. Maybe you could insert a shot of a volcanic-looking planet in the Rebel fleet establishing shot, or you could see a glimpse of it outside the hangar as they’re getting ready to leave. The Battlefront 2 campaign also has cool shots of the attack on Fondor shipyards that could be use for the montage, either implied as Coruscant or just a random shipyard. Not sure if they would fit though.
Battlefront II footage is great when it comes to ships, vehicles and environments, the only problem is when the footage shows humans, it just doesn’t look right.
After this 3-5 minute montage (I would find one good music track to use for this montage to help you edit it together), I would cut to the first scene of the film with Vader going to the Death Star. And since we saw a montage of the Empire losing battles and being attacked, it might add to why the Empire wants to build another Death Star. The growing rebellion and the necessity of the Death Star could be touched on in a new opening crawl as well.
In the Coruscant scene I’m working on right now, with Battlefront audio and Vader: Extinction footage, Vader reports on the growing threat of the Rebellion to the Emperor, who then remarks that their resistance will be futile, and that their homeworlds will all burn - the scene then goes to the new Death Star. My completely out there dream for an opening scene would be something that would have to be filmed. It would be Vader leading Stormtroopers against Rebels in a backwater city, something similar to Mos Eisley or Batuu but colored gray. One of the problems with ROTJ is some people consider Vader less dangerous than the other films, and showing Vader being ruthless on the battlefield as both a warrior and a commander would help his image. It also gives an extremely exciting opening, and parallels Luke’s scene on the Sail Barge where he takes out the skiff guards. This way we see both Luke and Vader show their prowess above the average trooper, and wonder even more how intense their face-off would be and who would have the upper hand. This scene is also much more in-line with Disney’s new canon version of Vader, who’s extremely powerful and consistently gets his hands dirty on the battlefield.
For the Battle of Endor itself, I think what you’re trying to do now, by adding more to the space Battle, is good. You also could use footage from fan films like Scout and Bucketheads to add more to the ground battle as well. Again, this will take a lot of cutting and tweaking to make this not feel extremely jarring with the original footage.
Thanks for the ideas! I currently plan on using bits of both.
There is also some deleted footage that could used for the battle, like the Mon Calamari or Sullustan Pilots, the shots of General Madine, or the Rebels on the Millennium Falcon. Maybe Madine can be killed by the Death Star destroying his ship.
I’m hoping on using the deleted Endor footage once Howard Day’s animated battle scene comes out, for pilot footage.
Keep in mind that there are quite a bit of deleted scenes you can use throughout the film, too. If you want to beef up runtime I would use as much as possible. You could transition from the first scene of the film to Vader calling Luke as he builds his lightsaber. Reinsert the entire Moff Jerrjerrod subplot (also, audio of the Emperor giving him the command to destroy Endor does exist), and maybe use snippets from the sandstorm without the dialogue.
Do you know where I can find versions of these that are a bit more cleaned up?
This is all I can think of so far. Again, I think the big things to remember is to be forgiving when it comes to cutting footage from ROTJ, but be merciless when it comes to what you keep from the fan films. I would HIGHLY recommend rebuilding the audio for these fan films from scratch, and completely reinsert brand new sound effects and music that feel more appropriate to Return of the Jedi. This might also be necessary for snippets of the actual film in order to blend new and original footage together better.
I definitely agree about rebuilding audio from scratch. This will be done last, after making sure everything fits to a high enough standard visually.
Here is a longer video about trying to match the filmic look using digital footage. The latter half of the video focuses on the post-production side of things, and he uses Davinci Resolve, which is a free editing and color grading program that you could use too. This might be useful when it comes to trying to match the ROTJ-look. And since you’re using deleted scenes, I would look into using a grindhouse overlay for the sake of having a little more consistency.
Thanks for the link! I downloaded resolve about a week ago but the problem is it won’t let me import any video files onto it to be edited.