Star Wars fans know that the Lightsaber is the signature weapon of the Jedi order and their Sith counterparts, both of whom can use them for close combat, or to deflect blaster bolts. Its distinct appearance was created using rotoscoping for the original films, and digitally for the prequel trilogy. Continue reading to see five of the greatest fan-made lightsaber battles.
5. First Person
The Lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film (1977) and every Star Wars movie to date (except The Star Wars Holiday Special) has featured at least one Lightsaber duel. In 2008, a survey of approximately 2,000 film fans found it to be the most popular weapon in film history.
4. Man Fights Goose
Some exotic saber-proof materials have been introduced in the Expanded Universe. An active Lightsaber gives off a distinctive hum, which rises in pitch and volume as the blade is moved rapidly through the air. Bringing the blade into contact with an object or another Lightsaber’s blade produces a loud crackle.
3. The Cat Unleashed
Animator Nelson Shin was tasked with drawing the Lightsaber to match the film scenes that the film producers brought. Shin explained to the people from Lucasfilm that since a Lightsaber is made of light, the sword should look “a little shaky” like a fluorescent tube. He suggested inserting one frame that was much lighter than the others while printing the film on an optical printer, making the light seem to vibrate.
2. Jedi Squirrels
The Lightsaber sound effect was developed by sound designer Ben Burtt as a combination of the hum of idling interlock motors in aged movie projectors and interference caused by a television set on a shieldless microphone. Burtt discovered the latter accidentally as he was looking for a buzzing, sparking sound to add to the projector-motor hum.
1. Jedi Ninjas
The pitch changes of Lightsaber movement were produced by playing the basic Lightsaber tone on a loudspeaker and recording it on a moving microphone, generating Doppler shift to mimic a moving sound source.
Bonus Video – Jedi Kittens
In A New Hope, the original film prop hilts were constructed by John Stears from old press camera flash battery packs and other pieces of hardware. The “switched-on” sword props were designed with the intention of creating an “in-camera” glowing effect. The “blade” was three-sided and coated with a retroreflector array, the same sort used for highway signs. A lamp was positioned to the side of the taking camera and reflected towards the subject through 45-degree angled glass so that the sword would appear to glow from the camera’s point of view.