The Visual Effects of Star Trek Beyond are being handled by the excellent crew of Double Negative. Their work has won them acclaim and a couple of Oscars too (for Ex Machina and Interstellar). Kevin H. Martin, a Trekkie, and active member of online Trek communities – including TrekMovie, has a new article for HD Video Pro Magazine where he interviews co-founder and VFX supervisor Peter Chiang about Beyond.
Tweaking the model of the Enterprise for this outing:
…there was a lot of shader work needed to translate that into the ship we wanted to see onscreen, which is the Justin Lin version of the Enterprise. It goes back in time a bit stylistically, looking closer in appearance to the original TV version, which always seemed a little vulnerable with those slender segments linking the saucer, engineering and the nacelles.
Seeing the Enterprise from new perspectives:
Justin wanted to attain a definite 35mm Panavision camera lens feel—but not as ‘flare-y’ as the Abrams vision—with plenty of camera artifacting that would help convey a grainy grittiness on a subconscious level. We also took the opportunity to give fans close looks at parts of the ship they’ve never previously seen from these angles, a way to pay tribute to the fantastically original design of the TV ship [created by series art director Walter ‘Matt’ Jefferies].
On the new warp effect (no doubt their ground breaking work on Interstellar helped):
Right from the outset, I was presenting Justin with ideas on how this could look, we did studies on how light is bent by gravitational lensing, then looked at high-speed shooting of 3000 to 4000 fps to see how bullets create a wake as they travel through water. We also scrutinized images of planes and their vapor trails as they go beyond the sound barrier. I imagined multiple shock waves building up and stacking on one another, forming this layer ahead of the vessel. That tells us we’re traveling at high speed and gives a dimensional quality to it.
There’s more to read over at HD Video Pro including designing the giant starbase Yorktown.
You can also check out Double Negative’s website for more examples of their work.