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Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning

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All the king's versions

Pirk and Sherrypie fighting for the future Q: So what's the deal with this "Imperial Edition"? What's the normal version then?

A: There are two different versions of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. The original version, or "net version", is the one we released online on 2005. There's also a self published DVD and this version is under a Creative Commons license - so it's the version you'll find on the file sharing sites.

Then there is the Imperial Edition and that's the version released in the shops for the first time in 2006. It has completely new special effects with the newly designed ships that look more Russian. From Imperial Edition there are several DVD releases around the world that have somewhat different extra materials. You'll find more info about those in the distribution page.

First things first

Pirk and Sherrypie fighting for the future Q: You've just spent seven years of your life making Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning - and now you're giving it away for free! What's the point?

A: This movie was never intended to be a money-making machine. We've had over three hundred people working for this project for free over the last few years - so we also wanted to offer it for free to watch.

Q: Well, what took you so long? Seven years is a long time...

A: Because we never had an actual idea what we were doing - we had to learn everything from scratch, banging our heads against a stone wall and see which one would be the first to give.

The quality questions

And every star was an exploding ship... Q: Ehh, doesn't your 6 year old footage look just plain bad compared to recent footage?

A: Yep, it certainly did. That's one of the reasons we've reshot some parts of the movie 2-3 times! We have learned a lot during these years.

Q: I see a lot of talk about the effects and other technical details. But how about things like the script and the editing?

A: This movie is not about the special effects. But the truth is, it's the one thing that gets noticed. The effects alone are enough to make Star Wreck unique among Finnish films. It's the one thing we can show you quickly, and a good tool for getting people dragged into the story, which is, in the end, the main thing that Star Wreck stands on.

The script is very important and something we've put a lot of effort into. The script we started filming was as good as we could make it seven years ago. We've enjoyed a freedom that filmmakers usually don't have. We have learned a lot while making the movie and have been able to use that experience. When we made a mistake we have been able to fix it, even if it has meant doing reshoots. It has made the film better and it has made us better filmmakers.

Still, the core of the story has changed very little. It really is the center of this film. Hopefully you will find it told in a witty, funny and entertaining way. What we can promise is that it's a story worth telling.

The fan film question

The good ship C.P.P Porkustart Q: Why don't you create a original science fiction movie? A fan film is just a fan film...

A: For us, this is first and foremost, a film. There is no way we could have found motivation for this if we weren't creating something original. This was not made to imitate something, it was made to be something nobody had done before.

Some people would certainly take the film more seriously if it was a completely original (if there is such a thing) film about a couple fighting over some pudding. But it isn't, and the reason is simple - this movie is what we wanted to do, seven years ago. An entertaining film that pokes some fun at popular science fiction series, mankind in general, and even us fans. We remained determined to do just that all along, and will expand the subject in forthcoming movies as well, that's for sure!

Now we've made the parody, so our ambitions are very different. You can rest assured that whatever comes after this will be something completely original.

The legal question

During the battle the crew relax in a hot steam bath Q: Aren't you worried about legal issues..? The ships (in the original version) look very much like in Star Trek or Babylon 5.

A: We respect the finnish laws and we are working with a legal counsel to observe them. We take legal issues very seriously. All the names, logos etc. have been changed. The world is full of parodies that look very much like their targets. Even the very strict US laws give parodies certain freedoms. If they didn't then most Leslie Nielsen films be illegal. Also, you should note that european copyright laws are somewhat different from US laws, usually meaning that they are less strict.

The money question

Q: Damn, you must be very rich when you can afford a film like this...Huge sets, studios, actors and render farms!

A: What sets? The bridge sets are all virtual. The on-location shoots were made at locations that didn't cost any money (schools, public places etc). The "bluescreen studio" is actually a small piece of blue linoleum in Samuli's living room...

For Samuli this is a somewhat costly hobby, but as a movie it's still very close to a zero budget. The most expensive part of the production has been keeping the computer equipment up to date.

The studio question

Q: So this movie really has been made in your living room?

A: Let's take a small photographic tour of the studio:

The bluescreen used for chroma key

The bluescreen studio/post-production facilities during filming.

The studio

Atte showing off the re-configured studio, now dedicated for post-production.

Our workstations and the wheelchair used as steadycam

Additional workstations and most of our lighting equipment. The Wheelchair has been used for pretty much everything.

Our render farm

The render farm, located in the kitchen because of the unbearable noise of whining fans and hard drives.

So the movie was shot agains a makeshift bluescreen in a makeshift studio, good thing that we cold borrow the camera, so we didn't have to make that as well. So basically what we couldn't afford we improvised or borrowed.

Making a movie is not about the money any more, but the will to do so and the wits to make best of the available resources. A computer, a camera and couple of programs (Adobe's Premiere and After Effects and Newtek's Lightwave 3D) were the bare necessities for Star Wreck. Desktop video is here to stay.

The art of compositing

Q: So how do you turn a piece of linoleum into a spaceship bridge?

A: The technique is called chroma key. Basically, the color blue is removed from the images and replaced with a computer generated image. The theory is very simple. In practice it's a lot more complicated.

The process goes like this:

The raw bluescreen footage
1. All the people on the bridge are shot separately in front of a bluescreen. This shot comprises seven people shot during the last five years. Camera angles have to be carefully planned in advance to create the illusion that it was all shot at the same time.

A rough preview of the virtual bridge set
2. A virtual model of the bridge is created in Lightwave 3D. 3D "dummies" help match the lighting and camera angles to the video. Several previews have to be made since rendering the final image can take as much as 9 hours.

The final composite
3. The rendered image and the live footage are then combined in Adobe After Effects. The different elements have to be resized, color corrected and filtered to form the final composite.


The distribution question

Q: Can I download the movie? Can I get it on DVD?

A: Yes, the original version of the movie is available on the internets. It's released under a Creative Commons license. You can spread the movie, as long as you don't change it, or use it in a commercial way (ie. charge money). If you are in doubt if something qualifies as commercial use, contact us.

The movie is also available on DVD and it has extra material not released anywhere else - a making-of document, some deleted scenes, etc. You can order the DVD from our store.