Surfing The Lightwave…

The SQV is overjoyed to be once again bringing you both exclusive material and firsthand accounts from those who actually worked on the show.

SeaQuest was pioneering in its use of CGI for most all of its Special Effects work.  Though the technology and software used was primitive by today’s standards, Sci-Fi themed TV shows like Babylon 5, Star Trek, Voyager and Space, Above and Beyond had nonetheless moved beyond traditional model work for vehicles and environments generated entirely by computer by the 1990’s, setting the standard for what was to come.

One of the upcoming young visionaries responsible was Fred Tepper – a VFX artist who managed to put his stamp on SeaQuest from the very beginning, working on the pilot under director Irvin Kershner.  Fred recalls his experiences developing experimental CGI and the pressure of meeting deadlines for a big-budget Primetime Sci-Fi TV show at length here.

Fred has also exclusively uploaded two of his showreels from his personal archive featuring his work on SeaQuest and other projects. The first is  an Amblin Imaging VFX Reel –

Followed by an Amblin Reel of Playback Screens, showcasing Computer OS type displays as seen on the SeaQuest bridge and beyond…

My sincere thanks to Fred for sharing this content with the SQV and SeaQuest fans across the globe..!

ML


 

SpielQuest…

Do not adjust your set – normal service is resumed at the SQ Vault with this third in a series of vintage articles exploring the origins of SeaQuest DSV directly from series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.

The November 1993 Special Edition of very short-lived publication Not Of this Earth features a piece by Mark A. Altman (click for larger) contains a few more revelations about the show’s influences (citing the Hunt For Red October) and declares O’Bannon had already departed for ‘personal reasons’, which, in the fullness of time would be fully explored (in a future post!)

For all the great ideas about the future as depicted in 2018 and the courageous rejection of a dystopian vision, its seems apparent even at this point in time (midway through Season 1’s run) many of these concepts still to be fully explored and were off and running with only the ‘three sentence idea’ as outlined.  Among the casualties discussed here was ‘Earthnet’, the mock news TV channel intended to provide insight into world affairs.

While its easy to see how the subject matter lent itself so readily to Television, one can’t help but think that the movie as originally planned by Spielberg rather than a series of self-contained adventures may have been the voyage to a new frontier audiences would have craved…

ML 


 

Motion Sense…

Mark Simon may be notable for his current duties on The Walking Dead for AMC, but ask him what his favourite assignment was from the 4,500 productions he is credited with and he maintains it was one of his first, an ambitious Sci-Fi TV show produced by Steven Spielberg.

Indeed the young artist’s enthusiasm is evident in the superb piece by Bill Wilson taken from the pages of Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer circa 1995, where its clear that, while enjoying the creative freedom that can only be provided by a fantastical theme, there is much more to storytelling than mere imagery.  This became the basis of his first book Storyboards: Motion In Art and culminating in his own company Storyboards and Animatics. Inc.

Although referred to as ‘storyboard artist’ for SeaQuest DSV’s second season, his formidable experience accrued already in the field meant his collaboration with Production Designer Vaughn Edwards went beyond sequential art into concept illustration and eventually, second-unit direction (on the episode ‘Playtime’.) and would leave a legacy of illustrations for the show that still resonate today.

So it is with considerable pleasure that the SeaQuest Vault smashes the champagne bottle on the Mark Simon Portfolio – a permanent page not only featuring galleries of his work but a world-exclusive all-new audio interview where we catch up with Mark himself as he recalls his experiences on the show.   His candid recollections are in turn fascinating, insightful  and surprisingly poignant.  Be sure to read the above interview carefully and then jump to over two decades later here – its essential listening for ‘Questie’s and sci-fi fans alike..!

ML