Monday, October 13, 2008

Not very long ago

in a galaxy not at all far away...

Star Wars fans are excited about this video of the Death Star making an appearance in the skies over San Francisco. Check it out:

While I've never been a rabid fan of the space opera franchise, to me this is a neat transreality tribute, and for a homemade effort, it's exceptional, playing the home-video approach completely deadpan (thereby making a virtue of necessity), which is just great. It also illustrates the point, noted here last week in relation to producing in-scenario fragments, that "the artifacts of documentary (jerky camerawork, imperfect vantage points, bad sound fidelity) can sometimes lend a more nuanced and lifelike texture to the story than squeaky-clean realist cinema".

The clip is reminiscent of what to me stands as the gold standard of high-tech, lo-fi "future documentary" -- South African director Neill Blomkamp's shorts Tetra Vaal and Alive in Joburg.

However, what really excites me here is that this kind of visualisation is becoming so accessible, a sign of the rapid democratisation of the means of production of video artifacts "from" the future. Says the filmmaker, Michael Horn, in an interview for The Official Star Wars Blog:

I shot everything on my junkie DV camera, did motion-tracking and comping in After Effects, and basic sound design in Final Cut.

Now that's cool.

Related posts:
> Neill Blomkamp, visual futurist
> Death of a President

(Thanks Bryan Boyer!)

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