Lightsabers & Blasters Saber length and tape question

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by SpoonofBombadil, Mar 4, 2011.

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  1. SpoonofBombadil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2011
    How long should the blade be from the top of the hilt to the end of the blade? The saber blade I have is around 38 inches and it feels way too long.

    Also what tape is best to be used on the blade itself? I want to use a bright red orange color for easier rotoscoping but don't quite know what tape to use.
  2. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Blade length is really up to you. Whatever feels right and proportional.


    I used painters tape when rotoscoping. It's not the brightest, but it doesn't leave any residue and is easy to take off.
  3. SpoonofBombadil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2011
    I actually was thinking about using painters tape. I have blue colored painters tape. We are going to be filming against green screen so I would think a bright red would be better.
  4. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    It would, most definitely. I was shooting in a forest and using blue tape wasn't the best of ideas. [face_laugh]
  5. SpoonofBombadil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2011
    I'm thinking about just using masking tape and spray painting it red. I hope that would work. I have masking tape everywhere and red spray paint is a dollar.
  6. VaporTrail Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Speaking from years of experience on the fanfilm forum:

    Lightsabers are best at about 10" on the hilt and approx one meter for the blade. Diameter of the hilt is usually 1-1/4 to 1-1/2". That's considered standard.
    If you're short/tall, you can adjust it as you see fit. The white energy core, were it real, is thought to be about 3/4" in diameter, so having your blade as a 3/4" or 1/2" dowel/tube/etc is about right.

    Roto:
    The name of the game is contrast. Red works well because it often stands out in motion. However, when I've shot night scenes it disappears into the environment. My solution was to use white duct tape. That catches and reflects light where other colors won't. It also shows up really well in the days shots, so long as I'm not shooting against a blown out sky (which you should avoid anyway). However, just to make sure I could see where it ends in motion I do put a band of red and white tape about 5-6 inches from the base and tip of the blade.
    However, if I were shooting in a bright daytime I may forgo tape altogether as I use gray carbon fiber blades.
  7. TaunTaunHerder Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 26, 2007
    star 3
    On some tutorials it says to use alternating bands of red and white tape on the blade to make it easier to see when rotoscoping, especially when the blade is being swung and it's fan-shaped in some frames. Tape residue left on the blade can be removed with rubbing alcohol or probably white vinegar.

    Length is a matter of feel. Probably about 32 inches. Perhaps a pvc pipe with a wooden dowel inside of it. The pvc for strength and the wooden dowel to keep the blade straight because pvc is bendy. Put silver or black tape around the pvc pipe where the hilt would be to simulate a hilt.

    If in post-production the blade seems too short, you can adjust the mask to make the blade longer. If you use too long of a blade during filming you cannot make the blade shorter in post-production.

    Dorkman Scott has some pretty sweet stunt sabers with carbon fiber blades and with three thumb screws holding the blade in the hilt so the blade won't go flying out during filming.

    For an Extra or Deleted Scenes you could do some "outtakes" that show the blade flying out of the handle and hurting someone or killing a bird flying overhead, or something.

    [face_thinking]







  8. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
  9. MiricaEclipse Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2011
    This is directly from Wookiepedia: "Usually 8-12 inches" that's the typicall size of the hilt, as quoted here from the same source: "The standard lightsaber consisted of a straight hilt approximately 20 to 30 centimeters long.". Unfortunetly, i don't know the exact measurments of the the blade, but if you look at some pictures of people like Obi-Wan Kenobi, you should be able to stand, and have it not touch the floor with your arm down.

    I hope i helped!

    Mirica
    May the force be with you... always!
  10. Magellan_the_Cat Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 4
    "Official" has always been said at 1 meter of blade. But then some of the EU added 'multi-phase' sabers, where a flick of a switch realigned the crystals to make the blade longer.
    So, let's switch around.
    If your arms are hanging straight down, with your saber in hand at a comfortable angle, the point of the blade should almost reach the ground.

    Electrical tape comes in nice multi-colored packages at some hardware stores.
    Duct-tape comes in lots of colors. You can always get that goo off with peanut butter... But squirrels may attack you if you film in the woods afterwards.

    Good luck!!!
  11. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    For my rotoscoping, I used painters tape on the blade, since it comes off very easily. We luckily were in an area where blue stood out very well, but I recommend that kind of tape that doesn't leave residue.
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