There are many things to consider when creating the lightsaber effect.  Colors, settings, stage fighting, it all depends on how far you're willing to go.

 

Saber Handles

    Having detailed handles for your lightsaber is really a step that a hardcore fanatic, or someone creating a fan film would have to consider.  For most people a simple Hasbro toy lightsaber would be more than sufficient, but for those who wishing to make a better impression, there are many options at your disposal.

    -If you're a director in the process of staging a Star Wars fan film, then at one point or another the lightsaber hilt will be in view of the camera.  Obviously for such cases, a simple dowel rod would look just as it is, fake.  For the more serious of film creators, you could have lightsaber hilts custom made out of machined aluminum at fitted with a blade for combat fighting.  Or if you're not willing to design and pay for custom work, you could purchase metal sabers from places like Master Replicas, or Icons.  These can, however, be just as expensive as custom sabers at times.  Ebay typically has several auctions showcasing custom made fan lightsabers, some of them showing great details too.

    -Serious director or not, if you're on a tight budget the answer to much of your costumes and props will be, make it yourself.  Search the net for sites devoted to the construction of cheap lightsabers and you're liable to pull in more websites than you could possibly read.  Most sites like these have a parts list that is easily found at any home improvement store.  Lightsabers themselves are usually made from drain pipe, screws and various pieces that give off a convincing effect.

 

Blade Representation

    A saber hilt is only one concern.  What you choose to represent your lightsaber blade is of even greater concern.  Too many materials just don't fit the bill.  PVC piping, for instance, tends to bend during a fight scene, and lightsabers just don't bend.  Metal pipes are a bit more sturdy and will stand up to more resistance, but after a while they will also bend.  I've found that toy lightsaber blades are just too thick, and give off a very fake appearance when the glow effect is added later.  My personal solution for this is to use a wooden dowel rod.  If you think about it they are really the perfect choice.  A 3/4" dowel is the perfect size, they're very cheap, and they don't bend...they break.  After they break just go but another, they're less than a buck.

    Another concern with the blade is how it will blend into the background.  If you're using a dowel rod the wood will most certainly blend into any forest scene and tends to fade with many other backgrounds as well.  Simple, inexpensive solution to this.  When you purchase your dowels simply buy a packaged of 5 different colors of electrical tape.  The packs usually consist of black, red, yellow, green and blue.  Just put a single band of tape at different intervals on the dowel.  I usually put red at the top because it tends to stick out more.  In using this method with four distinctly different colors, you can almost always find at least two spots of the blade and therefore reduces aggravation

 

Environment

    Again this depends on your level of commitment.  Environments range from at forest behind someone's house to a full blown film set.  Regardless of the environment you are using, there are always factors that have to be taken into consideration.

    -Will I be able to see the lightsaber blade enough to put the effect on?

    -Will the environment blend with my lightsaber color (i.e. A yellow saber on a sandy set)

    -Could the set suffer damage from a saber accident?

 

Saber Colors

    Other than environmental concerns saber colors are very important.  Many fan films on the internet have elected colors other than what have appeared in the movies.  I personally don't like to do this, with the exception of yellow, because I like to keep true to the original effects.  There have been several films that have sported cyan, yellow or multicolored sabers and have done so with great success, but the decision is solely within the directors hands.  Just remember when doing any color that lightsaber choreography and effects take a great deal of planning in order to execute them properly.

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