Star Trek represents all of the best parts of us. It's a show about people (and aliens) coming together for a greater purpose. It's about cooperation to make the universe better for everyone that lives inside it. It's hard to think of a show whose message matters more than this one.
That's why people were worried when the pandemic struck and shows like Star Trek: Discovery had to halt production. They had filmed most of the third season, but how can you do post-production when all the high-powered VFX and editing software is in the office?
Well, when showrunners Sonequa Martin-Green and Alex Kurtzman talked to Indiewire, they explained how their post team was able to make the season work.
“Our editors, miraculously and heroically, took their editing bays into their living rooms,” Kurtzman said. “And we cut the entire season, in collaboration, just the way I’m talking to you right now. We also scored the entire season, mixed the entire season, color timed the entire season, all from this laptop [over which this Zoom interview occurred].”
So how was it done?
Within the article, we find out that composer Jeff Russo sent microphones to each of the orchestra members’ homes so that they could record, and their parts could all be mixed together later on, as if playing in unison. The visual effects were then reviewed with VFX supervisor Jason Michael Zimmerman several times a week.
These are all laborious tasks.
In any normal year, creating VFX takes 8-10 months per episode. When you have to do it from home... it takes a little longer.
They're still doing VFX on the third season now, with shooting starting in November on the fourth season.
Martin-Green said, “You see this crew go into this brand-new world that we’ve never known before, and, you know, we [in 2020] are also now in a world that we’ve never known before. No one alive has ever experienced this.”
This is a groundbreaking look at how people are adjusting to the new world. While I think post houses will always exist, we're getting more power to do these things at home and share them over the Internet.
Star Trek is obviously a VFX heavy show as well. So this is not just adding small details, it's real work being done to create universes and sometimes even characters.
Time will tell if this starts a trend, but I think some of this work will remain within offices. Especially for stories in larger universes (like the MCU) that want security.
Let me know what you think in the comments.