David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

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Re: David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by VinceFX on Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:00 am

great pictures !!!
and interesting article Wink

Swiss Visual Effects Association

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Re: David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by Adam on Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:29 pm

Creative, solutions. David is another one of the good guys.


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Re: David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by Timmay on Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:22 am

Wow that was awesome.
Nice bit of history there.

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Re: David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by Darkee on Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:38 pm

Great !!


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Re: David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by Swoop on Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:37 pm

Don't hesitate to leave your comments here !

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David Stipes - Visual effects supervisor

Post by Swoop on Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:22 pm

David Stipes is a two time Emmy®️ Award winner with over 30 years of experience in the film industry in various aspects of visual effects and animation.

David worked as a Visual Effects Supervisor on four Star Trek
series: "The Next Generation," "Voyager," "Deep Space Nine," and
"Enterprise". David championed the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) for Star Trek, which completely changed how the visual effects are created for the shows.

Prior to Star Trek, David created visual effects for a number of science fiction television series including "Buck Rogers," "Battlestar Galactica,"
"The Flash," "V" and "Intruders."
David also operated his own studio for more than 12 years producing visual effects for such feature films as "Circuitry Man," "Creepshow," "Lawnmower Man," and "Real Genius."

David has had over twenty industry related articles published and is currently an instructor at The Art Institute of Phoenix.

He accepted to share with us some of his photos and tell us more about it.

Buck Rogers in 25th Century" TV show. (1979) I am standing in front of
a multi-plane matte painting set-up. Painting is by Dan Curry who later
went on to become a Visual Effects Supervisor and Producer on "Star
Trek." This kind of set up allowed layers of glass to slide and provide
drifting cloud effects.

Buck Rogers in 25th Century" TV show. (1979) I am checking the lighting
values for one of the motion control Buck Rogers fighters.

Battlestar Galactica" (circa 1979) The live action footage of wire
suspended, stunt doubles was rear projected into photo collaged image
of a Galactica Viper fighter. The entire image was part of a huge
motion controlled pull back to emphasize the isolation of the two men
stranded in space.

"The Magic Treasure" Amid the Magic Treasure village (circa 1975) (L-R)
Linda Duron, David Stipes, David Allen, Jim Duron) This was a
collaborative effort between David Allen (writer, director, producer,
key animator) and some of his friends: David Stipes (co-producer, sets,
props, some armatures), Jim Duron (associate-producer,sets, art
direction) Linda Duron (costuming) Margo Stipes (sets and props) and

The project spanned more than a decade with David Allen
finishing it in 1980s. In spite of its uplifting message and charming
look, David could never find a market for it. Fortunately it was
included as a special feature in the Criterion Collection 2006 release
of "Equinox."

"CBS Special White Paper Report: In Defense of the US" (1981). This was
a documentary projecting the effects of a nuclear strike on Strategic
Air Command in Omaha, NEB. We looked at a real local family, The Allen
family, and filmed what would happen to each member of this extended
family at different distances from ground zero. Here is the Allen house
miniature at moment of destruction. Model was blasted with compressed
air cannons.

David painting on “V” water tower matte shot for "V-The Final Battle" (1984)

(L-R) Joe Bauer, Dan Curry and David Stipes hold Emmy Awards for
'Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects' on "Star
Trek: The Next Generation episode: All Good Things." (1994)

"American Airlines" commercial (circa 1986). David is aligning a front
surface mirror to reflect image of train to camera positioned below the
tracks. The client needed a specific style of train with American
Airline colors to roll over the camera and mimic a real shot.

"Kenner Toys: Heroes Collection" commercial (circa 1985). This is a
high speed shot of break-apart miniature city just prior to its
destruction at the hands of some super villains. The miniature
buildings served as backgrounds for cartoon Super Heroes.

Thank you very much David. Do you have any story you'd like to share with us ?

Here is one bit of ‘behind the scenes’ ... An unusual application of matte painting.

For the “CBS Special Report: In Defense of the US” project, we were filming
the Allen family to show on a personal level what a nuclear strike would look like.

The CBS representative arranged to have us film the Allen children and a few of their friends at the local school play ground. The kids were maybe 10 or 11 years old. We set up the camera, positioned the children laying on the ground and looked through the lens. All the kids look nice, clean and sweet. Since it was to be post
nuclear strike, I suggested that we dirty them up and darken their skin with make-up. “No way! That was too ‘Hollywood’. ”

I looked at the sweet children and saw in my mind’s eye what they would look like after we worked them over with a matte painting. I visualized how the parents would possibly react … and I knew it would work well.

One of my favorite people I worked with at Universal Hartland was Dan Curry. I wanted to work with him again so I asked him to help make the children into “crispy critters.” As Dan turned lovely children into disgusting burned corpses with the magic of matte painting, I made three dimensional shapes of the children to smolder and smoke.

On location I had documented the camera height, lens and tilt angle. After reproducing that info and scaling it down to my miniature needs, I took a frame of the film and projected the image of the children out onto a
table representing the school play ground. I build up shapes that matched the profiles of the children in the projected image.

When satisfied with the accuracy, I covered the shapes with black velvet. This allowed me to put light on the scene and not have the shapes to actually show up on film. What I was interested in was making post-burn smoke drift off each of the bodies. We used to have access to a toxic two part chemical kit that would smoke when combined. I coated the velvet "bodies" with part one of the chemical, ran film and sprayed
part two on the miniature. The "bodies" erupted in nasty, drifting smoke, all in proper perspective.

When the drifting smoke was combined with the scorched (matte painted) bodies, the effect was both horrifying and effective.

We're very happy to have you as moderator on DmpWorld.org forum !

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