Video of the Week: Recreating Star Trek Spacejump Shot On Shoestring Budget

The most spectacular sequence for the 2009 Star Trek movie was probably the space jump sequence, which was so expensive it needed special budget approval. However, some segments were done using old school techniques and our video of the week has a "backyard fx" crew recreate a Star Trek shot on a shoe-string budget. 


FX Reboot – how to do your own spacejump effect

This week the Indy Mogul web series posted a never before seen episode of "FX Reboot" where the "Backyard FX" team recreate a shot from the spacejump scene in Star Trek which actually used some old-school tech, including actors standing on a mirror to simulate their skydive. Check out the cool video below.


Transporter effect using a fish tank

Back in 2009, the Indy Mogul Backyard FX team also took on doing a retro-style Star Trek transporter effect without having fancy computer equipment.

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God love the amateurs!

Great stuff! (Uh, LeVar Burton showed the same transporter effects with gold glitter and a tank of water back in the late 80s on Reading Rainbow: )

Cool !

It just goes to show that there’s been a lot lost in effects work.

Back before computers were feasible for a lot of things, effects artists had to think outside the box to accomplish things. While there’s much that only computer graphics can do, I feel like you miss the “happy accidents” that occur by doing things the “old-fashioned way”.

(Plus, in the case of starships, the old models still look more realistic, although I think that’s finally starting to change.)

I heard it wasn’t glitter, but alka celtzer

Ingenuity looks better than typing skills on a cgi-puter.
The tornado from The Wizard of Oz is a muslin stocking. And that sucker’s kewl!
The cgi snakes and snow in the new True Grit look awful.
And yes, I’ll say it… R2D2 was NOT meant to fly. Bastard, Lucas.

#4 – I agree. A lot of special effects breakthroughs were made because of necessity on a film set somewhere. Plus, a “real” effect has more of a realistic quality to it – because it IS real.

Take the “rotating hallway” scene in “Inception.” That was done without any wires or CG, and it looked more realistic as a result.
(They built the set on a giant “drum,” and rotated it around with the actors boucing around inside, with the camera bolted down to a fixed position.)


Or, to take your tumbler further, the Jupiter mission ship effects from 2001: A Space Odyssey. All that sort of constantly shifting persp. and such is still hard and annoying to do, in real life or on a 3D set–so they still continue to wow, in an understated way.

Very nice article. Loved the vids.

Those were fun.

Pretty cool stuff

yah Neat! Yeh with Computers they dont have to use much imagination anymore….reminds me of how great old school things can be like Disney Sound Effex men, or how cool they made the black hole movie look with dyes and spinning water tank….We used to make mini epic movies with our super 8 camera….did extensive copying of scenes from Omega Man which we did on a budget….Firecrackers taped on metal table legs look like submachine gun firing heeheh

As a vfx artist, I have to say that some of these anti-CGI comments are somewhat wrong. CGI is a tool, nothing more, the ingenuity, happy-accidents and out-of-the-box thinking are still very much present. The best fx use real and cg elements and techniques, combining the best of both worlds: the naturalness and inherent organic randomness of real elements, with the repeatability and unrestricted-ness of cg.
There is, of course, bad, cheap cg, just as there is bad, cheap practical fx.

Oh, and the TOS transporter was alka-seltzer, the TNG one was aluminium dust in water with angled mirrors behind it.