Lauritson & Westmore On 22nd Century ChallengesBy Caillan
September 15, 2001 - 1:07 PM
The Enterprise production team have a difficult job - tackling a setting a hundred years before the Original Series, whilst still preserving contemporary technical realism. But according to two key members of the crew, they're more than up to the task.
"We are always trying to move forward with new technology and so forth," supervising producer Peter Lauritson told StarTrek.com. "Any new television series is birthing a new baby, we really try to - of course we have the experience of the other series behind us to guide us - but we're trying to create a whole new thing. The interesting part about this one is we're going backwards in time so it's kind of a retro approach."
For Lauritson, who supervises all the post-production elements on the series, the most attractive element is that Enterprise is more of a contemporary series. "What I find interesting about this series is that it's closer to our reality and I think everybody is responding to that all the way down the line," he said. "Everything's in its developmental stages and so are we. I think the effort is to try to do something that's prior to Kirk, but that doesn't mean it can't be very cool and very new to everyone. We've created the digital model of our new ship, Enterprise, and it's the most highly-detailed digital model we've ever done."
In the penultimate episode of Voyager, 'Renaissance Man,' the special effects team created CGI characters that ran up walls and bounced of the ceiling. According to Lauritson, these techniques will be put to good use in Enterprise. "It worked out pretty good, so we were more comfortable with going into this new series knowing that we could do more of that kind of thing," he said. "We've scanned every member of our cast so that we can do some stunts and put them in some environments that humans wouldn't be very comfortable in and so forth. There are new things like that that we're doing that challenge us."
Makeup designer Michael Westmore turned to the technological world when creating a look for the new genetically engineered species, the Suliban. "It was interesting in figuring out the development of it because the actual picture of research for their skin was a computer generated surface and we had to figure out how to duplicate that computer generated surface on the skin," he said. "There are actually three different layers in there. It just isn't like little dots on top of something, there's a low spot, a medium spot and a high spot."
Although much simpler, the makeup for Dr. Phlox proved to be equally as challenging because of the need to find the right balance. "I know that with Phlox it was a matter of literally trying to find - not to cover him up as we did with Armin [Shimerman - Quark] and Odo and Neelix - but to find a humanoid character where they have enough of a design that you know that it's not a human," Westmore said. "What his character will wind up doing over the period of the show we'll have to see, but we tried to come up with something to change his anatomy around without making him into something as far out as a Talaxian or a Ferengi or something like that."