Having a lightsaber duel at the SoraNews24 office ended up being a ton of fun AND a ton of work.

Last weekend, The Rise of Skywalker debuted in theaters, finally bringing Star Wars’ Skywalker saga to a close. It was an emotional moment for a lot of fans, including SoraNews24’s Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun.

How big of a Star Wars fans is P.K.? Well, remember that Star Wars kabuki play they had in Tokyo last month? P.K. was, naturally, in the audience, and because he wanted to be as close to the action as possible, he was actually in front of the front row, sitting on the theater floor for the entire performance. He’s also interviewed director J.J. Abrams and received life advice from Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

So with the Star Wars movie franchise as we know it winding down, P.K. wanted to give something back. He also wanted an excuse to get paid to play with his lightsaber toys, and those overlapping goals led him to direct, and star in, his very own action-packed Star Wars tribute video.

P.K. had two major goals for his video:
1. He wanted tons of intense lightsaber dueling.
2. He wanted Kylo Ren to be his opponent, because his three-bladed lightsaber looks awesome.

Unfortunately, flailing around with plastic props didn’t quite satisfy the “intense” part of his plan, so P.K. decided to spice things up with some digital effects (plus some comedy), resulting in:

But what P.K. at first expected to be a quick little project ended up taking far more time and effort than he’d expected. Filming along took him a couple hours, but the real challenge came when he started adding the CG lightsaber effects. Even though his editing software has a tracking function that’s supposed to keep CG overlays on top of whatever they’ve been placed on, in practice it couldn’t keep up with the movement of the camera and lightsabers at all.

So in the end, the digital effect had to be manually pasted into just about each and every frame, with corresponding adjustments to the lightsaber’s angle and thickness depending on the position and distance to the camera. Editing the first three seconds of fighting took a full hour, but even as P.K. started to get the hang of things, he still couldn’t get his time own below 15 minutes of editing for three seconds of video. It was also here that P.K. realized the true, terrifying power of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber: since it has three blades, it takes three times as long to apply its CG.

“Ugh, this would be so much quicker if we hand’t used Kylo Ren’s lightsaber,” though P.K. But no sooner did he start grumbling about his workload did he remember that there are now nine Jedi-centric Star Wars movies, stretching back 42 years. All those scenes he’d watched with simple joy, thinking, “Wow, those lightsabers look so cool!” were created through the hard work of hundreds of visual effects artists spending thousands of hours getting every frame just right, and so the appreciation and gratitude he wants to express in his video isn’t just for Star Wars on-screen actors or household-name directors, but for every single person who helped create a truly unforgettable part of movie history.

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