Macs Used to Create Empire Strikes Back Fan Documentary

| Reports

When he rediscovered the original Star Wars trilogy years ago, Jambe Davdar recalled that The Empire Strikes Back immediately struck him as his favorite because "it seemed so much more than the other two." Later, he went on to be a freelancer in the U.K. TV industry, and his discovery of Deleted Magic, a fan-created documentary that digs into the making of the first Star Wars movie (also known as A New Hope), inspired him to make one of his own.


The main menu includes images such as this pre-production art by Ralph McQuarrie

Mr. Davdar employed a Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4 equipped with over 500GB of storage to make a DVD called Building Empire. Like Deleted Magic, which was also made with a Mac, he set out to chronicle the making of the movie by incorporating archival materials -- behind-the-scenes footage, old interviews and laserdisc and DVD commentary tracks, and rare photos -- into the film itself. The extras on the disc include restored music sequences, the audio of the original radio drama and "story of" album, and even an alternate version of the crawl that was described in an early draft of the script.


The recreated crawl from the third draft of the script

To assemble the project, Mr. Davdar employed Final Cut Pro HD 4.5, DVD Studio Pro 3, Miraizon Cinematize, and "a number of freeware programs where necessary." He also used A.Pack, an audio encoding utility included with DVD Studio Pro. He said that he had been a PC user until 2002, when he realized that he had been spending "more time fixing [PCs] and altering them than I did using them." Thatis when he made the switch to Mac, noting: "I just loved the contrast between Windows and OSX. Everything just seemed to flow so much better."

He explained that he set out to create Building Empire because of his dissatisfaction with the VHS and DVD versions of the movies. "Each successive one seemed to ignore what fans really wanted to see," he said. "I for one wanted to see more behind the scenes footage and more anecdotes and facts from the making of the films." He found many like-minded people at the forums on the Web site originaltrilogy.com, where Deleted Magic creator Garrett Gilchrist is a regular contributor.


An example of the behind-the-scenes footage found in the documentary

Mr. Davdar noted that response on originaltrilogy.com "has been very positive." He added: "To my knowledge nobody of an iofficial capacityi has seen Building Empire yet. The copyright issue does concern me slightly, but as I say on the DVD and on the forum, I have never and will never accept any money for this project. It was done purely out of a genuine affection of the films."

Anyone who wants their own copy of it should visit myspleen.com, where Mr. Davdar said that a third party has uploaded it. "So far itis been isnatchedi nearly 1,000 times," he said. "A figure that I find absolutely amazing!"

Heis currently at work on Returning to Jedi, a documentary that will explore Return of the Jedi in the same vein. This week, he posted a trailer for it on his blog.

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