The fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery started production last November, bringing with it new COVID protocols, a star with a new significant rank, and some new production technology.
Season 4 is (almost) done
Series star Sonequa Martin-Green is taking a break from the production in Toronto this week tto promote Space Jam: A New Legacy in Los Angeles. In an interview with Collider, the actress offered this update on the production and what Michael Burnham’s promotion means:
Well, we’re just about done. We just have a little bit more to do. And it’s exciting as captain now, that’s a big deal to me and I think to everybody who watches and to the history of the franchise itself. I think it’s a really big deal to have a black woman as captain cemented in that lineage.
The actress also shared some pictures from the Space Jam red carpet on her Instagram.
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A new element introduced for season four is an AR Wall virtual set, which is being shared by both Discovery and Strange New Worlds. Using gaming technology and large LED screens, the actors can now perform in dynamic virtual environments, which has many advantages over greenscreens.
An article on American Cinematographer about how different shows are using this technology offers some details for the one being used by the Star Trek productions, revealing visual effects company Pixomondo has built them an LED volume with walls 30 feet high and 70 feet wide, wrapped in a horseshoe.
Visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman (who was just nominated for an Emmy) explains how this new technology is advancing how they shoot the show:
Getting something in-camera on the day is so much better than greenscreen in many ways. One major difference [in terms of workflow] is that the production-design and art departments are a lot more involved much earlier in the process, because they have to get assets ready to be photographed instead of waiting until after the shoot.
He also discussed how the AR wall is especially useful in the pandemic era:
In the COVID era, being able to shoot large-scale locations without having to leave the stage is a huge benefit. The LED wall is fantastic for creating environments, and on Star Trek, of course, traveling to different worlds is something we’re very interested in doing.
Check out ascmag.com for more on AR Walls and see their interview with Discovery cinematographer Crescenzo Notarile.
Star Trek: Discovery season four will arrive later in 2021. And as a reminder, season three arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Steelbook on July 20th. You can pre-order at at Amazon.
Find more news and analysis on Star Trek: Discovery.