The questions everyone asks first
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
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
Q: Why don't you create something original? 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 will be something you have not seen 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
Q: Aren't you worried about legal issues..? The ships 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 art of compositing
Q: So how do you turn a piece of linoleum into a spaceship bridge?
A: 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:
1. All the people on the bridge are shot separately in front of the 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.
2. A virtual model of the bridge is created. 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.
3. The rendered image and the live footage are then combined. 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? Can I spread it for free to my friends?
A: Yes, the movie is available for free on our website. For free of course, under a Creative Commons license. You can spread the link, the movie and the word as much as you like, as long as you don't change it, or charge people for watching it.
The movie is also available on DVD. The price is 22 euros and it has extra material not released anywhere else - a making-of document, some deleted scenes, etc. You can order the DVD from here.