In honor of the recent release of Star Trek Into Darkness, The History Channel has aired a special documentary titled "Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe." Originally broadcast last Wednesday, May 15th, the special is now available on History Channel’s website via streaming for free. See below for mini-review and screenshots plus a link to more BTS with ILM.
Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe on History
The History channel has a new documentary titled "Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe" which ties together Trek and real life science. Of particular interest is a significant amount of behind the scenes footage of the making of Into Darkness, as well as clips from the movie not seen in TV spots or trailers. The most notable bit of new footage is a very beautiful extended shot of the Enterprise silhouetted against a distant nebula, which was featured in the film itself, but substantially cut down in the final edit.
There is more eye candy in the form of detailed looks at the Enterprise interior sets and other locations. We are also treated to interviews of the cast, crew, including a lot with director JJ Abrams. But instead of hyping the film, Abrams and his cast discuss how real science inspires their stories of Star Trek, and how in turn Star Trek itself inspires future scientific research.
Also covered is an extensive look at the filming of the Enterprise warp core scenes at the National Ignition Facility. Many of the facility’s staff talk about how Star Trek inspired them to take up their careers in science, and influenced the type of research they do. Other scientists weigh in on the plausibility of faster than light travel using warp drive, the possibility of first contact with alien life, and humanity’s need and desire to venture into the stars.
And woven throughout the special are discussions with a dozen real life scientists from SETI, Berkeley, Columbia, MIT and other prestigious institutions talking about real-life science and how it releates to the fiction of Star Trek. They cover topics such as warp drive, alien life, time travel, planet hunting and more – all the while showing how Trek has had an impact on many people who work in these fields.
Bottom line is that this special is highly recommended. Come for the great behind the scenes look at Star Trek Into Darkness and stay for the insight into real-life science.
Head over to History Channel to check it out:
Note in order to watch the show online you must be US resident and you have to log in with details of your cable service provider. The show is also repeating on the H2 channel and available On Demand with some cable systems including Comcast.
fx Guide Behind The Scenes Looks At Into Darkness and ILM
If you are interested in some more behind the scenes details, fxGuide has 3 articles looking at how the film’s visual effects were created. Covered are how the film’s environments, vehicles, starships, and worlds were masterfully fashioned by visual effects vendors Industrial Light and Magic, Atomic fiction, and Pixomondo.
- Part 1: Article with videos and stills from the film.
- Part 2: video interview shot at Industrial Light and Magic with Into Darkness vfx supervisor Roger Guyett as well as other ILM staff
- Part 3: podcast interview with ILM’s Jay Cooper, compositing supervisor on Into Darkness