Gene Roddenberry’s personal archives are a treasure trove of insight into the early eras of making a science fiction legend in Star Trek. Now, those archives are being comprehensively digitized on an unprecedented scale—with the hopes of doing some interesting things with the material.
It’s a joint collaboration between the Gene Roddenberry estate, cloud graphics company OTOY, and Light Field Lab. The Roddenberry Archives will use OTOY’s blockchain-based computer rendering network to extensively digitize the Roddenberry estate’s collection of documents, props, and filming miniatures from the producer’s work on Star Trek, its movies, and continuations including The Next Generation and beyond. Collaborating with long time Trek writers Denise and Michael Okuda, as well as artists Mike “Beeple” Winklemann and comics legend Alex Ross, OTOY hopes to preserve thousands of photos, documents, and physical assets (like starship models) used in filming in unprecedented digital detail, preserving it for future study and recreation at the most faithful level of detail.
Beyond the historical importance of maintaining the extensive archives, OTOY intends to leverage the assets for fan experiences. A press release provided to media notes that the company will work with display startup Light Field Lab to recreate a 1:1 scale holographic replica of the U.S.S. Enterprise as seen in the original Star Trek. It claims to be able to use the original models seen in filming the series to create a projected replica “indistinguishable from reality” for “one of the world’s first fully immersive holographic installation experiences.”
While the press release didn’t mention it, an earlier Variety report mentioned a more “immediate” benefit of digitizing the collection will be to sell fans replicas of models and documents as NFTs. That’s the controversial crypto format that has become a hot trend for brands looking to merchandise digital assets (and do shocking amounts of damage to the environment in the process). More information about the plans for the Roddenberry Archive will be made available tomorrow, August 13, at a panel taking place at Creation Entertainment’s unofficial Star Trek convention, 55 Year Mission, in Las Vegas, attended by the Okudas, Rod Roddenberry, Daren Dochterman, and Jules Urbach.
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