I've been interested in the Star Wars: Uncut project ever since I heard about it last October. The premise: let fans pick their favorite 15-second scenes from the original Star Wars: A New Hope movie and re-film it—fan film style—and then stitch together everyone's scenes to recreate the movie. Sound ambitious? It was. Sound awesome? It is.
And now it's finished. Oh, and it just over the weekend.
I've written a couple times about the project, which I think is perhaps the most ambitious crowdsourcing video project I've ever heard of—though Ridley Scott's Life in a Day project will ultimately leverage the content of a higher number of video creators.
The finished film represents the work of over 430 individual directors, and runs the gamut from stop-motion scenes using food and kitchen utensils to scenes with pretty good production values and acting.
What's interesting is how easy the movie is to follow, despite the varied actors, styles, and levels of quality. That's due to the subject material, of course. There's nothing quite so beloved and well-known as Star Wars, with maybe millions of fans able to recite the film's story and dialogue from memory.
I actually think this was half the point of the project—to illustrate how ubiquitous Star Wars really was… how the story could transcend the medium. And in this regard, it works brilliantly.
Of course, it's also a community art project… a chance for individual fans to re-imagine some part of film history and put their stamp—their twist—on something so universally adored. And it succeeds in that regard as well.
They're still ironing out some legal issues before they're able to "release" the full film. Translation: They haven't quite convinced George Lucas to let them distribute a recreation of his work. Hopefully, they will straighten that stuff out—you would think by now that Lucas has learned that allowing this kind of thing is only going to further his film's legend and further endear it to the hearts of fans.
Until the actual final edit can be released legally, the project's creator, Casey Pugh, has come up with a pretty clever alternative—it's a playlist of sorts, where each 15 second clip loads one-right-after-the-other in a stream. You can actually watch the entire film that way, and I very nearly did—though there's no easy way to jump directly to a certain section of the film.
I originally just intended to watch a few scenes to get a feel for the overall quality of the submitted works. But even though the quality can be very poor at times, I found myself sucked in. There are scene recreations that are truly absurd, and they're mixed right in with the scenes with higher quality performances and effects. And it leads to a fairly addictive game of wondering what kind of scene you'll see next, which makes it hard to look away.
So while Ridley Scott may be trying something truly unique with Life in a Day, and may be leveraging more total users to his cause… Star Wars: Uncut is something else altogether… a fan-made remake of a beloved film, where every fan involved had complete creative control over their scene. If we can't embrace this project as the celebration of online video and online collaboration, then I'm not sure I understand this world anymore. To me, this represents everything we video marketing people should be about. I look forward to seeing the next evolution in video crowdsourcing, and fully expect it to have been inspired—at least in part—by Star Wars: Uncut.