Yellow “Star Wars” Opening Text Crawl Tutorial!
Written by Darel Rex Finley, 2007.  Notice: The title “Star Wars,” and other text, imagery, and graphic sequences described/simulated herein are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders, and are used without permission in this website/app for non-commercial, informational purposes.  Commercial use is prohibited.  Not affiliated with any companies or individuals.
This is pretty much the coolest software ever written.  Neal Acree, Music Composer for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis
SWTSG is a steaming hot plate of awesome!  Fan Cinema Today
You bestride the earth as like unto a god.  —Brian Pratt, Seattle WA USA
I am flipping out.  This is the best thing I’ve ever seen a home computer do.  —Ozzie Grenardo M.D., Denver CO USA
Brilliant.  Absolute class.  —Pete Hamilton, Herts UK
JAW-DROPPING.  That is phenomenal.  Better than expected, better than imagined.  —Rod Galindo, Simulation Systems Analyst, Kansas City KS USA
“Thank you” just doesn’t quite cut it.  I’d swear it was done in a professional studio.  —Dustin J. George, Burbank CA USA
Best software in the world, ever  —Nick, author of learnvst.wordpress.com, Nottingham England UK

Video demo created with Snapz Pro X
Result video
Demo on YouTubeResult on YouTube


Read this tutorial in Serbo-Croation, courtesy of Jovana Milutinovich.

Softpedia 100% Clean Award

So you’re making a Star Wars fanfilm, and you want that authentic-looking, opening yellow text scroll?  Plus all the other nice frills that go along with it?  You’ve googled the internet for tutorials that show you how to do those things, but it seemed like a lot of hard work, using expensive software packages that you didn’t want to buy?  And even then the results were a little bit less-than-authentic looking?

At ease, my fellow Jedi!  The Force is with you.  The search for your movie’s opening is over — with this tutorial, you can make a super-authentic looking opening sequence, super easy, and with no new software packages.  In fact, the only software package you will need to buy is a movie editing application, and you probably already have that since, after all, you’re making a movie.


1.


 
Grab a few blank CDs or DVDs, write down the URL to this tutorial, get in your car, drive to your nearest Apple store (preferably not during peak hours), and park yourself in front of one of their speedier Macs, such as an aluminum-enclosure, 12-core Xeon Mac Pro.  (If you happen to already have a Mac, you can skip this step. And no, a Mac Pro is not required; any Mac made after 2002 will probably work if it has a few gigs of free hard drive space and at least OS X 10.4.)

Congratulations!  You’ve just completed the hardest step in this tutorial; everything else is amazingly easy.

 
2.


 
Download SWTSG v1.2.3 and install it on the Mac.  Once it’s installed, launch it!

(Note:  It’s probably a good idea to Quit any apps that might be running on the Mac Pro, especially processor-hungry video players that might be playing massive, HD, demo movies.)  (Note:  Due to my recent update of Xcode, and a recompile necessitated by the Fox letter at the bottom of this page, version 1.2.3 requires OS X 10.6 and 64-bit.)

 
3. In the control window, enter the name of your fictional distributor and a tagline of distributor info.  The image preview window will show how your distributor logo will appear.



 
4. Enter the name of your fictional film company and a “limited liability” tag.  The image window will show a preview.


Note that this is just a simple, green silhouette of the logo — when you generate the whole sequence, it will look better.

 
5. Enter your intro text that will appear just before the big text crawl.  The image window will show an image that looks like this:



 
6. Enter your title logo.  The image window will then show this.  (Note:  In the final render, there will be stars in the background of this title logo — this preview image does not show them.)



 
7. Enter your crawl text.  The image window will then show this.  (Note:  In the final render, there will be stars in the background of this text crawl — this preview image does not show them.)


Any single-row paragraph will be automatically centered, and if it is also in all upper-case, it will be vertically stretched to about twice the normal line height.  This is useful for starting your text with something like this:
Episode THX
A NEW NAME

(If you want to manually control the positioning of the text, you can do it by putting any number of spaces at the beginning of the line.)

 
8. Click over to the “Generate” tab, and select your movie’s pixel dimensions, frame rate, destination folder, and starfield option.  (If you are using the SECAM system, choose the PAL options which are identical — mes excuses.)

Note that the default folder, “Star Wars TSG Frames” does not exist, and you will need to manually create it.

If you choose “Auto,” a starfield will be automatically generated for the Title and Crawl parts of the sequence.  Otherwise, you will need to choose a starfield image.  In the current version of the app, this image should be the same size as your chosen “Width” and “Height Used.”  (If it is not, it will be scaled, but only by a crude, nearest-pixel scaling method.)

Question:  I chose an “Anamorphic DVD” resolution, but the image is letterboxed.  Aren’t anamorphic widescreen DVDs supposed to be without letterboxing in their images?
Answer:  Not necessarily.  See this page to understand why.

 
9.


 
Click the “Go” button.  Your sequence will now generate.  This may take a while, so you might want to hide the app (Cmd-H) and go find a Starbucks.  (But first tell a store employee that you’re running a long render, so maybe they won’t stop it while you’re gone.)

 
10.


 
Your sequence is now a very large number of individual BMP files, each showing one frame of video.  This is not the best format to work with, so let’s turn it into a single, reasonably small QuickTime file which can be imported into any movie-editing package and converted into whatever your movie’s final format needs to be.

Click the QuickTime logo in the dock, close its advertising window that appears, choose File > Open Image Sequence (not Open File), then select the first frame (frame number zero) from your destination folder.  You will also be prompted for a frame rate — be sure to choose the exact same frame rate that you chose in the SWTSG app.  After what might be a long pause with no progress bar (be patient!), your sequence will now open in a QuickTime video player window.

At this point, you might be able to actually play back your BMP files in real time, if the images are small enough and the Mac is fast enough, but don’t bother with that yet — instead, choose File > Export to save your sequence as a single, QuickTime movie file (i.e. an .mov file).

Warning:  Do not use File > Save As!  That works too, but makes an enormous file.  Using Export allows you to use a good codec and choose a compression rate and other settings.

The compression settings will probably be defaulted to the H.264 codec with high image quality.  That’s what we want; just go ahead and render it with those settings.

(Note:  If you’re doing this at home, and you don’t have QT Pro, you will need to use another app, such as iMovie, to render your sequence as an .mov file.  That can be done as described here by Karl Petersen.  Or use this very nice tutorial by Duncan MacIver, that completely replaces this step 10 of my tutorial.  Or, if you use Matlab, try this simple technique.  Or try this image-to-movie processor sent to me by Rich Louie.)

(Note:  If you are running Snow Leopard, you will find that QuickTime X does not support Open Image Sequence — and there’s no “Pro” version to buy, either!  However, QT7 can be found in the Utilities folder, so you should still be able to use Open Image Sequence with it — although I’ve received reports that QT7 can crash when attempting to use large image sequences in Snow Leopard.  Hopefully all this will be fixed when some future version of QuickTime X brings back support for image sequences.)

 
11.


 
Now just burn the .mov file to a blank CD or DVD, like so:  (a) Insert blank disc and wait for it to appear on the desktop;  (b) drag the .mov file to it;  (c) open the blank disc’s window, then click the Burn button.

 
That’s it!  Hope you enjoy it, and don’t hesitate to send me feedback.


Unsolicited e-mail is public domain.  Here is an unsolicited e-mail I received on 2011.03.08:

Dear Mr. Finley:

I am writing to you on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and its related entities (collectively "Fox"). Fox is the exclusive owner of copyright and trademark rights in and to the 20TH CENTURY FOX Pedestal Design Trademark ("TCF Logo"), including U.S. Trademark Reg. Nos. 1838435, 1854239, 1884026, 1916509, 1932593, and 3550261.

It has come to our attention that you own and operate the http://alienryderflex.com/crawl/ website, which displays an altered version of the TCF Logo and instructs users how to further modify the TCF Logo for their own use (collectively the "Infringing Use"), without Fox's permission.

Your use of an altered version of the TCF Logo in the Infringing Use creates consumer confusion because users encountering those marks will assume that Fox sponsors, endorses, or authorizes the content on your site and/or your use of the TCF Logo, when it in fact does not. Accordingly, your website violates Fox's trademark rights and constitutes unfair competition under the Lanham Act. See 15 U.S.C. 1114 and 1025. Additionally, your website's instructions to users on how to modify the TCF Logo for their own use constitutes contributory infringement. This willful infringement entitles Fox to your profits, Fox's damages, a trebling of those damages and reimbursement of its attorney's fees. See 15 U.S.C. 1117(a).

We, therefore, demand that you immediately:

1. Cease all use of the TCF Logo, and any other property to which Fox owns intellectual property rights;

2. Remove all use or display of the TCF Logo from all websites that you own, control or contribute to, and from all media, including but not limited to, from the http://alienryderflex.com/crawl/; and refrain from future use of any property to which Fox owns intellectual property rights;

3. Identify the total revenue that http://alienryderflex.com/crawl/ has generated to date as a result of your use of the TCF Logo, and,

4. Confirm in writing to the undersigned no later than March 11, 2011, that you shall fully and promptly comply with each of the foregoing demands.

Should you fail to comply with the above demands by the close of business on March 11, 2011, we will consider taking all appropriate action against you without further notice to you.

This letter is without prejudice to Fox's rights and remedies, all of which are expressly reserved.

Very truly yours,

/Kasimira C. Verdi/

Kasimira C. Verdi
Director Intellectual Property
Fox Group Legal
Fox Plaza/2121 Avenue of the Stars, Rm 2234
Century City, CA 90067
310-369-3110
foxip@fox.com



Sourcecode now available here — if you are attempting a port to Windows, Linux, iPhone, or any other platform, please e-mail me your homepage so I can post it in this box.

2010.03.20 — Darth Revan is planning a port to Windows!