Production Timeline

Production

A Tale Of Two Galaxies Timeline

Christmas ’06

Rob Owens buys a model Tie fighter Advance, and Philip Davis receives a large model kit Starship Enterprise as a gift from his girlfriend Danielle.

January 07

Rob Owens has began modelling a Tie Advance in Lightwave 3D, a software package he was shown at university, and looking to expand his animation skills, Phil decides to try Lightwave for the first time and with Rob’s help begins to (slowly) model a Constitution Class Starship based on his kit.

February 07

With the two models complete and looking pretty darned cool, Rob and Phil decide to try and make a Tie vs Trek style battle animation for our animation portfolios.
After looking at fan films on the internet, particularly New Voyages and Broken Allegiance, Phil made the bold decision to plug about £600 of his own money into the project, and write a script incorporating live action into the story. Because we’d decided very early on it was to be a Trek v Wars crossover, research was needed.

March 07

With the script researched and well on it’s way, Phil starts to organize the tin of worms which is a live-action film, he arranges for costumes, props, ropes in his girlfriend and friends to play various parts evolving in the fledgling script, (chiefly Danielle Grenier as Lt Salaya, Rob Lloyd as Lt Helmsman, and Alexander Harrison as Director Hastings, thank you all) and begins to plan the sets, which are all in the same tiny dining room in their house in North Bristol, UK. Special thanks to Steve and Julie for giving me the walls of their garden shed when they pulled it down!

April 07

With the script fleshed out, and as Phil is (somewhat reluctantly) playing a part in the film, it was obvious they needed someone with more camera and lighting experience to film the live-action segments of the movie. He called his old university pal, Jim Rathbone, and asked him to be involved in the project. Jim agreed, and there began a very fledgling Straitjacket Productions.
A meeting between the friends produced several important decisions, such as to do the film in widescreen. Jim was also able to borrow some professional camera and lighting equipment which went a long way to transform the final look of the movie. Meanwhile work on the sets had begun, with invaluable help and feedback from his friends, Phil’s dining room was slowly transformed into a (slightly) scaled down corner of a refit Constitution-class bridge.

Privately though, Phil was worried; the script had evolved and there was a large segment of the film involving the crew of a Klingon warship yet to film. With the budget gone, mainly on Starfleet costumes and various Hood set dressing, and no more friends (boo hoo) able or willing to play the roles either convincingly or for free, Phil threw himself at the mercy of Star Trek fans everywhere and appealed for ‘Konvincing Klingons’ on a Yahoo Star Trek forum. Until this point the team had maintained a strict internet silence about the movie, so he gave minimal details saying he needed up to four Klingons for an afternoon’s filming on a no-budget (unpaid) in-production movie based in Bristol. Meanwhile Phil was also chasing the final parts for the set, and Rob began working on Flash animations for the bridge set consoles, into which we had incorporated our home computers.

May 07

Incredibly, and through nothing more than the kindness and decency of Star Trek fans everywhere, Phil had a positive response from several Klingons across the UK. Script extracts and emails flew around, and in the end Stu Lucas contacted Phil and agreed to bring two warriors with him to film, and despite growing pressure for time, a weekend in June was set that suited both the filmmakers and the Klingon actors. Meanwhile the set dates for filming the Hood bridge scenes were fast approaching, and despite frantic rehearsals and last-minute prop chasing (including Danielle’s Tribble-making, cheers babe) Phil and Rob were steadily working through the 3D modelling process for the CGI parts of the movie.

June 07

Because of work and university commitments from virtually everyone involved, and logistics problems to circumvent, mainly based around Phil and Rob being in Bristol and Jim being in Birmingham, and Phil’s strict organisational schedule, we literally had one weekend to film all the Hood bridge sequences, so we began on Saturday morning and filmed almost solidly in intense heat with only a few hours sleep right through until Sunday night at about 3am. When a woman we hoped would play the part of Lt Hooper cancelled, Lisa Everett stepped into the fray at the last minute with only a few hours to learn her lines! Cheers Lisa! This cancellation also meant Lisa and Danielle were left not only to play roles but be in charge of hair and make-up on the movie. Thanks ladies!
Although there were still bits left to film such as the turbolift sequence, we felt we had what we needed and after the weekend, the Hood bridge set was deconstructed for the last time. Whilst Jim took the raw footage home and began the laborious process of ordering, editing and treating of the video and sound.
Immediately Phil turned his attention to the fact that he had only two weeks to devise and build the interior of a Klingon Bird Of Prey in the same space that Hood’s bridge had occupied. Some outside-of-the-box thinking, several trips to B&Q and the IKEA scrap pile, and dozens of cardboard boxes produced the Klingon bridge set. But would the warriors who’d agreed to partake turn their noses up at the set? If they did, the film’s progress ended right here. Phil was nervous.
Luckily when the weekend of the Klingon filming arrived, three of the nicest people in the world; Stu Lucas, Keith Dennis and Alan Durward, turned up at 10am on Saturday morning. The crew sat around talking as Phil explained the project in more detail, went over the Klingon’s script modifications and showed the guys some of the CGI ships that were in progress. When Jim and Lisa arrived from Birmingham, Jim began setting up the lights and camera he’d managed to borrow, the Klingons made a frankly unreal transformation from real nice human guys to fearsome alien warriors, and Phil added some last minute set dressing to the Bird of Prey bridge, including moving in the large console which took up the entire room that had been languishing in the garage until that day. In an incredibly hot room and with little time to prepare, the Klingons left the team with some truly stellar material that was more than Phil ever could have hoped for when he pencilled the script and storyboards just a few months before. Thanks guys! After the Klingons left we filmed the turbolift sequences and a few other bits that we’d missed the first time round.

July ‘07

With all the live action filming done in one incredible month, Jim returned to Birmingham with the untreated raw footage and began work on ordering the video and adjusting the sound levels. Phil let out a deep sigh of relief, washed off his spots, hung up his uniform, tossed the sets in the garage then his attention immediately turned to rejoin Rob in their spare bedroom, which had become a home 3D CGI studio.
There began the summer of modelling for Rob and Phil. It literally was a summer of staying in, hunched in front of a computer, learning Lightwave as we went, hell-bent on producing the CGI graphics you see in ‘A Tale of Two Galaxies’ as quickly as possible. Phil and Rob had decided in the earliest stages that we wanted all our CGI to be 100% original, meaning every ship and animation in the film is made by one of us from the ground up. This meant several problems, including the mammoth task for poor Rob of modelling a Star Wars Imperator Class Star Destroyer, and chiefly rendering times on the three hopelessly inadequate home PC’s we had at our disposal! Special thanks are due to Rob Lloyd and Alexander Harrison for the loan of their laptops for rendering. For more details on the vessels seen in ‘A Tale of Two Galaxies’ see the ‘Ships’ section of the site. Meanwhile Jim had progressed with the film editing and we set a date where we should get together and integrate the animations for the first segment.

August 07

A really positive meeting produced the first look for each of us at the first part of the film in its near-entirety, moving all the bits we’d been working on individually together and integrating sound effects and music from a variety of sources. With a good feeling, the team returned to their respective departments and continued work.

September 07

With the initial schedule set for completion at the end of October, work continued on the setting up and lighting of the CGI scenes for the second part. All the modelling for the film was complete with the exception of the Star Destroyer, so as Rob pressed on with that Phil worked on scenes in the second part that didn’t require the massive ship. Another meeting with Jim at the end of the month meant the first part of the film was very near completion, and the team pressed on.

October 07

The Star Destroyer was completed! With Rob able to work on scenes again, momentum on the second half of the film rolled on, and primary post-production completion by the end of October started to look more realistic. Toward the end of October the team released ‘Part 1 – Long Live The Empire!’ on youtube, Stage 6 {now defunct} Google video and Dailymotion and in the following few weeks it was viewed by people all over the world, including Italy, Germany and Japan.

November ‘07

Unfortunately Rob suffered a catastrophic computer failure slowing down work on the CGI, but with many of the animations complete for Part 2 Jim was able to get stuck in and piece together the second part, with an early edit ready near the beginning of the month. Robs problems were resolved, and work on the CGI continued without affecting the schedule too badly!

Christmas ‘07

Work on the ‘Revenge is a Sith Best Served Cold’ was complete, with a worldwide release onto the internet in the last week of January 2008.

Smiler_grin2

In 2007 when we made the movie there was a 15 minute upload maximum on Youtube forcing us to break the movie into four parts, although it’s only about 35 minutes long. The Youtube version of the movie has been stripped of some of the sound at time of writing because of recent changes to CBS’s attitude toward fan movies – basically we misunderstood the fair usage rights and although all the video is totally original, we had neither the time or expertise to compose an original score. I’ve complained about this, because this was a not-for-profit fan tribute just to show what we could do, and I’ve NEVER monetised it, but the Internet Gods don’t want to know. At time of writing the Dailymotion version of the film hasn’t been affected, and is in one part and higher quality, so this is the best place to watch it.

Watch ‘A Tale of Two Galaxies’ on Youtube now! – click here

Watch ‘A Tale of Two Galaxies’ on Dailymotion now! (higher quality) – click here

PS – Being a one-off, half hour movie with original characters, ATOTG does subscribe to virtually every one of CBS’s new fan-film guidelines, even if it is by chance. If you work for CBS and Paramount, rather than get the hump over my movie, why not offer me a job?