Musings & Interests of David Stipes
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  • Conspiracy bugs

    Posted on May 25th, 2009 dstipes 6 comments

    startrek-conspiracypic2

    Animating the “bugs” for the episode, “Conspiracy” was my first work on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Visual Effects Supervisor, Dan Curry, brought the job to David Stipes Productions, Inc. in April of 1988. The property master, Alan Sims, had commissioned another company to create the bug.  They had done a fine sculpting job but I realized we would have to re-build it for the stop motion animation.

     

    The creature was cast in a dense silicone material and was very stiff. The legs were small nubs that were not long enough to reach the floor to propel the creature along.  We set about re-sculpting the creature and giving it longer legs and defining the body segments a bit more.  A plaster mold was made and fitted with a simple wire armature and the creature was cast in rubber.

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  • Will the new cost us the old?

    Posted on May 14th, 2009 dstipes 36 comments
    Copyright 2009 Paramount CBS Studios Inc.

    Copyright 2009 Paramount CBS Studios Inc.

    Star Trek has had a special place in my heart over the years. It was often the most intelligent science fiction show on television at a time when Batman and Lost in Space were considered high quality entertainment.

    While I was appalled at the “Spock’s Brain” episode, I nevertheless tried to get onto the show during its last season. I still remember my 1968 interview with Edward Milkis, the associate producer on the third season of the show.  I was very young and “green” but Mr. Milkis was patient and gave me some encouragement and sent me on my way. 

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  • Romance, Deep Space Nine style

    Posted on May 1st, 2009 dstipes 7 comments

    Romance between a “changeling” and a “solid” was not going to be easy on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. For the episode, “Chimera,” Odo and Kira decided to take their relationship to a new level. Because she was a solid, Kira could never “meld” into oneness with the changeling, Odo, so they did the next best thing which was ….  what? 

    At this point the DS9 production team was stumped. What could Odo do?

    “Uh, anybody have any ideas?”  “How about Odo becoming a cloud and snowing on Kira?”  Nope. The women in the production thought it too cold sounding.  “Kira could snuggle into Odo as he morphs into a pillow or a blanket.”    Hmmm, Odo would have to morph through his goo state to become a pillow or blanket.  That didn’t sound warm or cozy. Nothing suggested felt visually beautiful or romantic. So production filming began without this sequence finalized.

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  • A new adventure

    Posted on March 29th, 2009 dstipes 4 comments

    Blogging is a new adventure for me. With many urgings by my friends and the universe, I can no longer sit on my tush and talk about writing again. Now I have to produce something on a regular basis. Several categories of articles are drawing my interest. Maybe some of you will respond to them as well … or you may give me some suggestions.

    Some considerations; film and effects history, my experiences with Cascade Pictures and CPC Associates, Universal Hartland and, of course, David Stipes Productions.

    Star Trek stories and behind the scenes on some of my favorite shots will be covered.

    Since I am now more involved in education, I may visit that topic as well.

    I hope former colleagues will contribute their information and recollections to these topics. It would be nice to document our history and techniques before they are lost. Since I have been teaching, I have seen how much information is slipping away. Many of my students rely on their computer as their only tool to solve visual problems.  I want to remind my students of the old tried & true techniques, and maybe keep them alive a while longer.

    So, it seems I have several topics to write about. I hope you will return, read along and add to the commentary and conversation.

    David

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