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15MADE FROM CAMERA PARTS

lightsaber prop camera

How were the original lightsabers in A New Hope designed? The glow was rotoscoped by Korean animator Nelson Shin, who would later go on to found Akom animation and direct the original Transformers series. The actual on-set props were designed by effects artist John Stears, who also worked on the

early James Bond films. Two parts were needed to be designed: the hilt and the blade.

The blade was coated with retro-reflective sheeting to create an on-set glow, and was replaced with the rotoscope animation in post-production. The main materials used for the building the hilts were the flash battery packs of old Graphex press cameras. These tube-shaped camera components were already designed for lightbulbs to screw in at the top. It made perfect sense to use them to build a light-based weapon.

Ben Burtt
Next 14 THE SOUND WAS FOUND BY ACCIDENT

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