BlogStar Trek Visual Effects Workshop – a piece of Hollywood in Krefeld

Star Trek Visual Effects Workshop – a piece of Hollywood in Krefeld

Trekkies can hardly wait for the dawn of the new year. The reason is simple: On January 18, the second season of Star Trek Discovery will be released on Netflix. Hardly any series inspires with such fantastic images and effects as Star Trek. The trailer for the new Discovery season already has everything a Trekkie’s heart desires: spaceships, holograms, explosions and – of course – battles in the breathtaking expanses of space are just a few of the impressive scenes.

40 participants received an exceptionally detailed insight into the series

Ante Dekovic gave exciting insights into the job as VFX Supervisor

However, hardly any series relies on visual effects (VFX) as much as this one. VFX refers to digital effects in films and series that are created in post-production – so for a science fiction series set in space and on alien planets in a distant future, they are essential.
But who is responsible for this? How does it work? And what are the biggest challenges in the process?

In the Maxon Cinema 4D workshop with Ralf Paulzen, amazing things were accomplished: Building the Discovery in only 2 hours!

Um solchen Fragen auf den Grund zu gehen, haben wir niemanden geringeren als den Star Trek VFX Supervisor Ante Dekovic persönlich zu uns nach Krefeld eingeladen. Er ist keineswegs fremd im Rheinland: Ante ist hier aufgewachsen und wurde bereits mit 19 Jahren der jüngste Inferno-Artists Deutschlands.

In the Adobe After Effects workshop with Sven Esch, you were beamed from Discory!

The attendees of the event were a mixed bag of Trekkies and/or VFX enthusiasts. At the end of the event, however, they were both: Ante knew how to turn the VFX enthusiasts into Trekkies and get the Trekkies excited about VFX. In his presentation, he gave them very individual insights into his work and everyday life on set with a lot of humor and exciting anecdotes. In addition to his career and hard facts, such as the workflow at CBS, he talked about challenges, such as scenes that are particularly difficult to realize, minor and major disasters, as well as success stories, and the multitude of daily decisions that have to be made. The outstanding performance of everyone involved on set also became clear: Did you know that the Klingons spend an additional 5 hours a day in makeup in addition to the 12 hours of filming? Not only do they have to endure the heat of makeup and costume, but they also can’t eat solid food all day.

Take a look at the Discovery in virtual reality in the space dock: That was the topic of Robin Hasenbach’s Unreal Engine Workshop.

Of course, the second season of the series was also a topic, but we all kept quiet about that 😉 Although the lecture lasted 3 hours, the visitors were bubbling over with questions and were almost disappointed when the round had to be cut short in order to still get to lunch on time. However, since Ante came along and was available for questions and conversations the whole day, the disappointment didn’t last long.

Joint lunch buffet at the nearby Tryp Hotel

After lunch, the visitors gathered in different workshops – all about VFX and Star Trek, of course. From our in-house trainers, participants learned to build realistic models of the USS Discovery in Cinema 4D, in a VR Experience HTC Vive/Unreal Engine workshop they explored the Star Trek Discovery in space dock, and with After Effects they let the Discovery fly over Krefeld and beam themselves on board.

Ante Dekovic and Markus Hoppen explain the challenges of camera work in the VFX environment

Participants filmed in front of the green screen – like here the founder of Trekdinner Krefeld, Ralf Hammerschmidt – could be beamed aboard the Discovery.

Ante also offered a workshop together with Markus Hoppen about practical camera work in a Star Trek scene with greenscreen.

The transformation of humans into Klingons – by Burkhard Schulz

Another highlight: Throughout the day, visitors could have Burkhard Schulz draw them as members of Starfleet or Klingons using a WACOM tablet. This offer was also intensively taken up, so that he created an entire Klingon army at the end of the event.
The whole day was accompanied by debauched discussions about Star Trek and VFX, which ended in a common evening with Klingon blood wine and Andorian ale.

The 4K Cintiqs from our partner and exhibitor WACOM invited visitors to try them out.

Overall, the response to the event was consistently positive: According to their own statements, the visitors went home happy and inspired, with new knowledge, skills and contacts – in their pockets, of course, the individual Klingon/Starfleet Warrior drawing and in their LinkedIn contact list one Hollywood bigwig richer.

The green screen was a bit too small for the crowd… 🙂

Finally, thanks to Ante, who was star, expert and buddy in one person the whole day. Thanks to the workshop instructors Ralf Paulzen, Sven Esch, Markus Hoppen and Robin Hasenbach for their great efforts. Thanks to Burkhardt Schulz for the power painting on this day and to Guido Möller from Wacom. And of course all the guests and Incas employees, without whom the day would not have been possible!

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