As wheeled toy icon Radio Flyer celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, Chicago video production company Richter Studios is also proudly observing its 20th birthday. The two organizations, which have been creating innovative Radio Flyer product videos together for years, marked their milestones with a witty, sophisticated promo film launching Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer.
“What better way to celebrate our respective anniversaries — and our successful collaboration — than with a truly magical promo film rolling out another groundbreaking Radio Flyer product?” said Jeremy Richter, CEO of Richter Studios. “This production represented what a great creative team and 20 years of dedication to outstanding craftsmanship can translate into. Working with Radio Flyer and Disney on a Star Wars-themed production is a nod to just how far Richter Studios has journeyed over our first two decades.”
The Force Is Strong In This Realistic Ride
Interest in Luke Skywalker is booming right now, with the Star Wars hero set to return to the big screen this December in The Last Jedi. Launched at San Diego Comic-Con in late July, Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer is the first drivable kid-sized Landspeeder, modeled after the sand-pocked and sun-faded X-34 craft from Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s sold exclusively through Toys R Us. No watered-down toy, this exceptionally detailed Landspeeder for ages 4 and up has seats for two riders (total 130 pounds max), an interactive dashboard with lights and real movie sounds, and a 5mph driving speed. The gearshift switches between 2mph forward, 5mph forward, or 2mph reverse.
Photography for Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer was captured by Richter Studios
A Creative Approach To Production
Richter Studios provided full creative services for the film, including casting, location scouting, wardrobe design, filming, directing, editing, color, sound mixing, and graphics. Luke and Obi-Wan outfits for the production’s small stars were custom-created by theatrical costume designer Janice Paytel.
The Richter team custom rigged a jib arm with a Ronin onto the rear of a golf cart for certain shots, and utilized it to create a remote head operated by Director of Photography Joe Martinez Jr. “With the jib arm and remote hand, we could physically move the camera up and down as well as pan and tilt the camera. That helped us get dynamic angles, as well as track the kids with smooth movements,” said Martinez.
The production was filmed over two days at 4K resolution in 4:4:4 color space with an ARRI ALEXA Mini and Leica Summicron lenses.
Millions Hover Over Coverage
In the first few weeks after launch, the film garnered millions of views on YouTube and Facebook, with exposure continuing to expand steadily The film has also been featured by Entertainment Weekly, CNET, The Verge, Nerdist, Gizmodo, Travel and Leisure, Syfy, Mashable, and the Los Angeles Times. Arrow actor John Barrowman and entertainment geek locus The Mary Sue have included links to the video in their tweets.
— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) July 21, 2017
“Time Flies — Enjoy The Ride”
For a century, Chicago-based Radio Flyer, founded by Antonio Pasin, has given wheels to kids’ imagination through its constantly evolving lines of high-quality wagons, scooters, racers, and other ride-on toys. Last year, Richter Studios created a polished, upbeat rollout video for the unveiling of Radio Flyer’s kid-friendly version of the famous Tesla Model S. The video quickly went viral and now has been viewed more than 10 million times following coverage by CNN, BBC News, CNBC, ABC News, TIME magazine and numerous other outlets.
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ visionary CEO, himself tweeted about the Model S for Kids, linking to an Engadget story that featured the video. As part of its 100-year celebration (anniversary tagline: “Time flies — enjoy the ride”), Radio Flyer also hosted the first-ever online kids’ travel agency and displayed their 15,000 pound wagon on Pioneer Court in Chicago. The vehicle is so large that it can hold 75 children.
“As we celebrate our first century, we’re proud to debut Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer, the latest in our long line of pioneering wheeled toys,” said Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer for Radio Flyer. “Our history of successfully partnering with Richter Studios meant they were our first choice to create a memorable promo film that delivered on our goal of inspiring children’s imagination.”
A Long Time Ago In A Production Studio Far, Far Away…
In Richter Studios’ first 20 years, the Chicago animation studio has amassed broad experience developing commercials, brand films, and corporate videos for the toy, leisure, and automotive industries, among other clients. Richter is a trusted creative partner to some of the world’s most iconic brands and prominent companies, including Brunswick, Cobra Electronics, DeVry, Federal Signal, Haworth, Life Fitness, Radio Flyer, TransUnion, and The Walsh Group.
“We’ve managed over 3,000 productions and created more than 10,000 videos, but I have to admit this one was very, very special,” Jeremy Richter said. “We started as a small company, built a production powerhouse, and now we’re proudly working with Radio Flyer on marketing campaigns that promote Disney and Star Wars-themed products. Our team put a lot of hard work and ingenuity into this production — and it shows in how tremendously the film has been received.”
Cast and Crew:
Executive Producer – Jeremy Richter
Senior Producer – Eric Schmidt
DP – Joe Martinez, Jr.
Director – Jessica Batson
Editor/Compositor – Jessica Lawheed
Colorist – Luke Sheldon
“Luke Skywalker” – Giovanni Marrero
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” – Aria B.
“Luke Skywalker’s Father” – Matt Young
Gaffer – Tom Scott
Camera Assistant – Christian Mejia
Grip – Brendan
Deane Grip – Renato Verlarde
Production Assistant – Dalton Traina
Hair/Make-Up – Susin Ross Greenberg
Wardrobe Design – Janice Paytel
Audio Engineer – Slavic Livins
Special thanks to Ozinga for providing the desert location.
About Richter Studios
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Richter Studios. The company has managed over 3,000 productions, 10,000+ videos and has won over 50 international awards, including the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards in Cannes, France in 2016 and 2017. Widely regarded as pioneers in digital cinema, Richter Studios first opened its doors for business in June of 1997 when it created one of industry’s first-ever desktop videos to play full screen (1024×768 resolution) on a laptop for the McClier Corporation. The company now has extensive experience filming up to 8K resolution and creates a range of video content for it clients, including commercials, brand films, explainer videos, corporate videos, testimonial videos and animations. Richter Studios is also approved to legally fly drones for commercial use and has coordinated extensive nationwide and global video productions for its clients, filming on location in over 45 states and 12 countries.
Below are several behind-the-scenes pictures from the production.