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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Putting together the Battle of Mac Field

It was the quintessential ending to what could become one of the most memorable Titular Head movies of all time. Alex Reich ’11 has halved Kyle Lynch-Klarup ’10 to end their lightsaber duel and prepared to take on an AT-AT and an onslaught of storm troopers in an epic Mac Field showdown. Suddenly, the camera panned back to the dining hall to find a Sith Lord . . . the Emperor . . . Dining Supervisor, Lyle Bauman.

The scene is was composite of about 20 layers of material brought together using After Effects, Adobe’s post-production video and visual effects editing tool, along with about three to four hours of intensive editing by director Henry Reich ’09. Each individual shot was taken using a fixed tripod, giving Reich a static image and allowing him to place images where they needed to be without altering the background.
The original shot (photo #1) finds Alex Reich, lightsaber ready, staring across an empty Mac Field. Not much there. Then Reich adds the AT-AT (photo #2).

“I had already figured out the AT-AT for my prior shot [crushing bounty hunter and campus bike rider Dan Krauss ’12], had animated it walking and got it textured,” Henry Reich said. The AT-AT model, like the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing, is available free online. Reich just had to make it move.

Next came the 11 stormtroopers, all played by Charles Packard, a local resident who just happened to have a costume. Each stormtrooper was Packard, shot separately and then brought together in the editing process.

Add in blasters and explosions, and finally, the camera zooms back to Lyle.

“We went into the dining hall with a camera on our shoulder,” Henry Reich said. “The people sitting with him were like ‘it’s that time of the year, Lyle.’ We just told him that we’re making the movie and he’s the emperor and all we needed him to do was turn around and do the lightning move.”

The original shot has Lyle, but eliminates the background, replacing it with the layers that Reich had made for the final fight scene. With the pieces in place, the crew just needed to add the lightning, cue the Imperial March, and wait for the crowd to go berserk.

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