Making a fan movie with blockbuster VFX
3D World UK|June 2020
Making a fan movie with blockbuster VFX
Flipbook Studio tell 3D World how they delivered over 100 VFX shots for Star Wars: Origins
Fan film Star Wars: Origins is the culmination of three years’ work by director Phil Hawkins, executive producer Gary Cowan, Velvet Film and VFX facility Flipbook Studio. Filmed in the Sahara Desert, Morocco and featuring over 100 VFX shots in 4K resolution, Star Wars: Origins is far from a typical fan endeavour. The film gives viewers a unique interpretation of where the Star Wars saga began, borrowing some of its inspiration from Indiana Jones and telling an action-adventure story based on earth during World War II.

Executive producer Gary Cowan approached Flipbook Studio shortly before the Morocco shoot began. The footage arrived at the studio several months later, giving Flipbook just seven to eight weeks to complete their shots. Director Hawkins adds: “I’m not one of those filmmakers that can do VFX themselves, so handing over some of the most important and ambitious sequences to someone else makes me a little sick thinking about it. It’s the lack of control that I find difficult. But, these talented artists have created ILM-level effects for this film. They’ve done it purely for the love of Star Wars and the challenge of creating full-scale, ambitious sequences, and all in 4K.”

VFX supervisor Ben Haworth, who is also the art director and co-founder of Flipbook Studio, had previously worked with Phil Hawkins on several advertising projects. “We first worked with him over a year ago making car salespeople into superheroes and again on a Vanquis advert that needed a film-quality dragon at the centre of the piece,” recalls Haworth. “He created a previz of the film which was presented to us with a VFX breakdown. Having said that, until we saw the first cut we didn’t really know the magnitude of the task ahead.”

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June 2020