ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett explained how ILM wanted to improve the special effects for Star Trek into Darkness.
“We wanted to find that number eleven on the dial,” he said. “It gave us a great opportunity to revisit these pieces—keeping them very familiar but to reinvent them every so slightly and give them a new level of energy.”
Set extensions and virtual environments were used to make things seem bigger and more complex. For the red forest seen in the beginning of the film, “the budget for the forest got smaller as the jungle got more complicated,” said Guyett. “J.J. is very good at using small sets and making them feel big.”
On the Enterprise, set extensions brought scale to the Enterprise interior. “This time, we decided to built a much more complex series of corridors, which allowed [the audience] to travel with the crew around the ship a little bit more,” said Guyett. “There’s large atrium that allows you to see down to the multilevels of the ship and it gives you an understanding of the scale of the ship.”
Guyett took advantage of the 3D filming to bring warp to the audience. “We added a dimensional element to warp,” he said. “When the ship goes into warp we do a camera movement, which is a play on the concept of the Hitchcockian dolly zoom. [Just before] the ship goes into warp you get this lens distortion; In 3D we were able to pull the ship off the screen and into the audience and when it is released we created these trails left behind and [the audience] travels through it.”