Star Wars Trench Run

To play around with some techniques, and to analyze the editing of the scene, I’ve made a chart that breaks down the Star Wars trench run sequence, which I’ve made available as a PDF.

I figure I’d put together a quick “how-to” of how I made it:

  1. Ripped Star Wars off of a DVD into a format I could use in Adobe Premiere. This step may be technically illegal.
  2. In Premiere, I cut the sequence into shots, and organized shots into layers according to the subject of the shot.
  3. Used File -> Export -> Final Cut Pro XML to save the sequence to an XML
  4. Used XSLT to convert the Final Cut XML into Open Office Calc XML, as described here and writing this script.
  5. I opened that in Calc and played with the resulting data as a spreadsheet.
  6. The simpler bar and pie charts I could make with Illustrator’s graph tools, but to generate the timeline of colour-coded shots, I wrote an AutoIt script that would draw rectangles based on values copied and pasted from the spreadsheet. Here’s the script I used.
  7. The Movie Bar Code at the very bottom I made with the “Import Video Frames to Layers” tool in Photoshop. Note there is a limit of 500 layers it will import, so I processed the video in After Effects to smoosh each 20 consecutive frames into one.
  8. From there, I just played with the data and ways to visualize it that would interest me from an editing perspective.

I think I learned more about Illustrator and spreadsheets in the process. It was tricky to get some of the objects in explosions to read as a very tiny silhouette. I’m curious about generating randomized edits using the Final Cut XML format, that might be worth exploring in the future. I also know everything I might need to know about the Star Wars trench run.

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