Friday, August 27, 2010

Star Wars as a Silent Film

First the video, with an explanation to follow.

As you may have noticed here, I've mentioned Star Wars a number of times before. If there is one single film in history that has more actively fueled the fire of fan-made films --and by relation, all home video-- then I'd be very surprised. Some of these homages are funny parody, some are just practice and some approach the level of real art. I love them all.

The video linked above uses only footage from the original film, with a very specific filter (I'd assume) that gives it the right silent film look. I don't know all the technical details, but the appearance is spot on. It's in black-and-white, but also has a layer of scratches, muting and noise added to give it old style film resonance. Additionally, the frame speed was slightly sped up in most of the action sequences, giving it a much more herky-jerky movement (technical term, ahem) to the actors. Stylized dialog cards are added for each spoken line. I like that these have the Imperial logo at the bottom and that there are a few misspellings, perhaps purposeful.

The best possible detail used to give this video an authentic silent film theme is the soundtrack, played on an old-fashioned grand piano by itself. If you listen at the right moment as Luke plummets down the ventilation shaft, a descending chromatic scale plays exactly where it is most expected. The entire package comes together perfectly with the scratchiness of the video and audio in sync. It's funny and beautiful at the same time; a very good job.

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