Inside Star Trek: Into Darkness Post Production
If you enjoyed JJ Abrams fun filled Star Trek sequel and wanted a closer look at some of the post production that went into the film then this round up should have all the bases covered, from editorial to sound design. If you’ve not seen the film yet, you probably want to bookmark this post for later to avoid any spoilers!
Editing Star Trek Into Darkness
If you haven’t yet seen the Avid Rough Cut webinar held at Bad Robot then you’ve been missing out. The video above played before the webinar which you can watch now on this link. It’s a great opportunity to get an inside detailed look at Bad Robot’s facility and hear some of the challenges the team faced in finishing the film.
Studio Daily also have a great interview with the films two co-editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey (who also cut the first Star Trek, Mission Impossible 3 and Alias) in which they share plenty of great details about the film and working with JJ.
How do you collaborate? Do you work on the same scenes alternately or simultaneously?
MM: Neither. We divide up the movie and Maryann has her section and I have mine. When the film is all cut together we do make comments on the overall film, and that involves us both commenting on the other’s work. This is the stage when we try to figure out where the film is working and where it’s slow or where characters aren’t coming across as they need to. But we never cut on each other’s sequences. We maintain ownership all the way through of our sections.
Update: Studio Daily has another follow up article on the post production work on the film, this time focusing on the constantly updated 5.1 surround sound temp mixes and the 3D work.
“J.J. has been wanting to do more of a finished 5.1 temp mix on his last few movies and the technology just hasn’t been there. Now that they have the ability to edit 5.1 directly in the software, we used it so much and it was so extremely helpful.”
For a overview of how you can edit 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound tracks in Media Composer check out this 10 minute Avid tutorial.
Visual Effects on Star Trek Into Darkness
FX Guide has a brilliantly in-depth article on the visual effects work that went into the film including details on the opening planet Nibiru sequence, the attack on the star fleet headquarters, Kronos and all the space ships flying around in space and much more. It’s well worth a read and a watch of all the embedded behind the scenes clips. There’s also plenty of links to other great Star Trek content.
Creating lens flares, in stereo: Established in Abrams’ first Star Trek as part of that film’s visual style, lens flares are again a feature of Into Darkness. ILM had to ensure this time around they also worked in stereo. To do that, explains co-visual effects supervisor Pat Tubach, they would break the flares into different components “and try to separate out what seems like a piece of the light. For instance, if you have a light on a ship that’s pretty far away, you want to be able to tell the difference between what you would expect to be attached to the light and what is attached to the volume.”
UPDATE: Andrews Kramer of Video CoPilot fame has released this 6 minute video all about the final title design that he created for the film. It’s a great demo of Andrew’s talents inside After Effects and his custom plugins Element 3D and Optical Flare.
Composing Star Trek Into Darkness
Tim Simonec is a Music Conductor and Orchestrator who has worked with composer Michael Giacchino on projects including “video games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty; TV series like Alias, LOST, Fringe; and feature films, The Incredibles, Mission Impossible 3, Star Trek, UP, and most recently, Super 8, MI4: Ghost Protocol, and John Carter. For his arrangement of the end-titles of UP, Tim was nominated for a Grammy.”
Its a really interesting look at a role that doesn’t traditionally get covered in behind the scenes featurettes.
5.1 Temp Mixing on Star Trek Into Darkness
This marvellously in-depth tutorial from Editor and Assistant Editor Evan Schiff explains in great detail how he and the Bad Robot team used Avid Media Composer’s 5.1 surround sound mixing capabilities to create “the most complex temp soundtrack ever contained within 16 mono tracks.” It’s a fascinating ‘how-to’ read and well worth a look.
Graphic Design on Star Trek Into Darkness
If you’re a geek for all the UI design seen through out the film then you’ll love this post from Inventing Interactive which features an interview with Jorge Almeida on his work on the film. It is a fascinating interview, packed with plenty of concept drawings, early versions and technical production details.
My goal with the HUD was to minimize the interface as much as possible. I wanted to frame it around the actors face in a way that didn’t feel too tech. I was trying to make it feel soothing, with a steady pulse- that way the animation had somewhere to go when things get dangerous.
Update: PVC also have a good post on the various uses of After Effects throughout the post-production of the film, featuring interviews with some of the artists featured in this post.