ILM does visual effects for "Star Trek"

May 12, 2009 12:36:51 AM PDT
The number one film at the box office this weekend was "Star Trek," earning more than $79 million -- far exceeding studio projections. ABC7's arts and entertainment reporter Don Sanchez gave the film a full bucket and one of the reasons was because of the visual effects from San Francisco's Industrial Light and Magic.

More than half of the two-hour film is ILM visual effects. The U.S.S. Enterprise was created by a computer. No models were used in the film. It took more than a year and a half to create the look.

"You're trying to contribute to the story. That's the big thing for me. You're not just doing gratuitous things that are totally contrived. They have a place in the story," says ILM visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett.

For example, take the space jump sequence.

"Essentially you're sky diving down to this platform which is tens of thousands of feet above the surface of Vulcan, so there are all these different stages," says Guyett.

There were complicated logistics and the big battle on the platform was shot at Dodgers stadium.

"This was actually photographed in the Dodgers car park," says Guyett. "The sun is beating down, it's 90 degrees and you're wearing heavy costumes."

Also there were some creative techniques used in the blizzard scene.

"We did this at Dodgers stadium, too. We had a small piece of ice planet, very small with Chris running around. We're blowing snow all over the place," says Guyett.

Paramount provided ABC7 with director J.J. Abrams' impression of ILM's work.

"Visual effects are a quality that it deserves and I think will be potentially groundbreaking," says Abrams.

"He uses visual effects as a tool, it's a film making tool. He's trying to tell a story," says Guyett.

The stunning visual effects from the geniuses at ILM in the Presidio are inspired by familiar landmarks that have supporting roles in the film. They made choices about what would be in San Francisco hundreds of years from now. He thinks the Golden Gate Bridge will be a historic landmark.

"Star Trek" hit number one at the box office and Guyett says he's very pleased about that.


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