I have viewed several tributes to the legendary series’ of Star Trek over the last year as the franchise prepares this month for its unprecendented 40th Anniversary. Some of those tributes have been done by professional studios, but most were created by fans.
I have run across one such video tribute presentation made by a fan named Christopher Roberts, and it is the most moving, touching, and brillant piece of work I have had the pleasure of watching.
Chris took, what is certainly my favorite piece of music from any STAR TREK series, the “Inner Light” theme from, again, my favorite of the STAR TREK: The Next Generation episodes and has woven it into a cinematic fabric that turns hundreds of individual pieces of the entire STAR TREK universe into one flowing, beautiful spectacle of whole cloth.
Read what Chris had to say about the development of this stunning project:
“It probably took me around a couple of months off and on to complete. I used plain old Windows Movie Maker which ended up more than a bit frustrating. It must have crashed a hundred times or more, so I don’t recommend it! This was because of the sheer number of video files I sorted through. Whenever I attempt something like this again, I’ll definately try different software. My main aim was to do a sort of timeline to celebrate 40 years of the show’s mythology. In the end, it became a sort of compromise between that and highlighting as many of the characters – heroes and villains, as I could. It was a pretty tough job deciding and in the end some didn’t make it into the finished version. Ironically I had loads of clips which didn’t make it like Kirk’s son – David, Saavik, Valeris and others all lined up but felt adding more would out pace the music. It came down to trying to tell a story using as few key images as possible. I understand exactly how difficult this must be for professional editors working on trailers, having to sacrifice one or two shots in order to keep the timing down.”
How To Start
“To begin with, I imagined a framing device, using clips of Kirk and Spock watching history unfold through the ‘Guardian of Forever’ and then returning back from their mission. One of the disappointing things was the limited software I experimented with. Ideally, some of the events would have been seen inside the Guardian portal with the characteristic mist seen in the original episode. But the closest I came up with was a zoom in and out, to give a similar impression. Lack of software forces you to be creative with what you’ve got!”
“I deliberately avoided using instantly recognisable tunes like ‘The Motion Picture’ theme or ‘First Contact,’ partly because they’ve been done many times before and seemed a bit too obvious. A few bars from ‘Generations’ which evok TOS do end the montage though… The main melody used is heard in TNG episodes ‘The Inner Light’ & ‘Lessons’, whenever Picard is seen playing the Ressikan flute. The tune always stuck with me because it really made an emotional impact to the story. The music from DS9’s ‘The Visitor’ too, now I come to think of it.”
“This all began a few months back when I was listening to a CD compliation, it struck me how the music might work alongside the timeline. It starts off quietly and builds to a crescendo before going back to the beginning again. The way the music keeps on building inspired me and reminded of how each series has added something to the foundation created by The Original Series. For me, Star Trek in all it’s guises are essentially the same show and while TOS is undeniably the most important part, for half it’s life now, it’s grown much larger than that. ”
“So for the trailer, we see history unfolding beginning with The Phoenix breaking the warp barrier, then ‘First Contact,’ followed [by] one of the NX project ships joined by Enterprise NX-01’s launch. This then goes through as many ENT characters [as] possible, through the Xindi crisis, a Romulan clip or two (foreshadowing the unfortunately unseen war) and building [up] to the Federation. Here I snatched a shot from the fan made Direct-to-DVD trailer featuring the Federation logo because it summed up prefectly where the series was heading. Gratitude to the fan who actually made that. From there it blends with a shot of what is actually the Defiant at warp from ‘In A Mirror, Darkly Part II’. But here it represents the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, simply because it goes by so quickly and the registry isn’t ledgible, so it’s a close enough match. DS9 reused the Galaxy class Enterprise model to represent other ships afterall.”
“Eventually, it seemed fitting to link the series together with crossover shots where the Enterprise would be at DS9, then Voyager leaving DS9. I cheated a bit by leaving the TNG movies until near the end, when of course they actually happen while both these series are happening. Somehow, I felt putting them in the right order would break the flow and make it much more confusing to watch.”
“Many happy returns to Star Trek, which celebrates it’s ruby anniversary on September 8th. Some say life begins at 40 and I certainly hope that proves true for my favourite TV/Film series. In honour of this event, I put together this tribute video which spans the whole history of Trek universe set to my favourite piece of music.”
Chris, all fans are indebted to you for the work, effort, heart and soul you poured into this wonderful tribute to, not only a franchise, television series and movies, but to an idea that will outlive us all, and hopefully, one day become a reality for generations yet to come.
You can watch “STAR TREK: 40th ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE” by clicking on any of the links provided below.