Musings & Interests of David Stipes
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  • Voyage Trekkers: The Great Hall VFX

    Posted on March 15th, 2019 dstipes No comments

    This is another guest article by Diane Cook from 2011.  It is slightly revised with Diane’s permission.

    At the end of July (2011), David once again asked if I would like to help him on another one of Nathan Blackwell’s web series, Voyage Trekkers. The premise for this show is not a parody of Star Trek, but homage to all sci-fi. The twist being, “With all the starships in the galaxy, somebody’s gotta be the worst”…or as the tagline goes, “These are the voyages that don’t make the captain’s log”.

    Blackwell gave us the footage for episode nine, “Fabulous Technology”, filmed entirely with green screen background. David chose to do physical models for these shots instead of digital. I was in charge of making the models, while David was responsible for prop designs and post-production effects.

    Our assignment was to create a columned great hall similar to one in Star Wars (c).


    We had a few recyclables to choose from so David decided that Gatorade bottles might work. I began cutting the bottles to form the base of the columns. We were going to use 2” PVC pipe and caps for the columns from Home Depot. I figured we were only going to use the top part of the bottle until I tore the labels off and discovered a more interesting top for the column.


    After cutting and painting the various parts of the Gatorade bottles, they looked like this:


    When the parts to the hallway were finished David and I began to assemble them. David wanted to do that on top of a table so he could get the proper angles for the shoot. I was a little nervous for fear that we would accidentally knock one or more of the columns off the table. The columns looked good, but they were quite fragile and barely put together with super glue. We carefully spaced each column in two rows and hot glued a 1″x 3″ board with decorative trim across the tops…so far, so good.


    Next, we placed the foam core ceiling arches and hot glued them. Once we did that, we felt fairly safe that the whole thing wasn’t going to fall.


    More foam core was painted and added behind the columns as walls. Slots were cut to allow lighting of the set.


    Several sheets of poster board were layered across the arches to enclose the ceiling.


    A 2’x8’sheet of Masonite, with door and trim, was placed for the end of the hallway. Now were ready to set up the lighting for the hallway shots.


    After weeks of running around in the Arizona heat for supplies, much hard work, and a few other minor setbacks, we finally got the shots we needed.


    Now it was time to carefully deconstruct our model to be used possibly in the future for another project. Unfortunately, sometimes your greatest fears come true. As David was removing the arches, he hooked one up on the column bridge. The whole thing fell! Oh well, easy come… easy go!


    The final composite:   Lamps, door and wall details were added with Photoshop and finished in After Effects.


    We invite you to come see our efforts at:


    “Star Wars” and “Voyage Trekkers”  are copyright (c) by their respective owners. Images used for educational purposes only. No infringement intended.


    2 responses to “Voyage Trekkers: The Great Hall VFX”

    1. It was a lot of fun working on this project! It is always a pleasure to create with you, David!

    2. Great to see how you did the shot and I really like that it’s a miniature.

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