Star Trek Virtual Tours and Starfleet Academy Experiences

If you are as big a fan of Star Trek (especially TOS) as I was growing up, then you probably fantasized at one time or another about roaming the corridors of the Enterprise and checking out all of those familiar places from the show (e.g., the Bridge, Engineering, Sickbay, Captain’s quarters). Well, to a limited degree, you can now take a virtual tour of the NCC-1701, thanks to the “Star Trek Continues” crew and the guys from Matterport, an immersive 3D scanning technology.

Kirk and Dr. McKennah on STC

Kirk and Dr. McKennah on STC

Of course, regular readers of this blog are probably aware of the excellent “Star Trek Continues” (STC) fan-production, since I have reviewed the first 4 episodes and mentioned it a couple times elsewhere. Their attention to detail in reproducing the original DesiLu sets from the 1960s has been uncanny. Fortunately for us, last year they allowed Matterport to bring their special camera on-set, which took and merged “still images with a virtual 3D model of the space created from infrared data”. The Matterport servers then rendered a 3D virtual tour of the sets for you and I to enjoy!

Just as with Google Street View and the like, you can direct the camera, as it were, to move, pan around, zoom in (sort of), etc. As of now, only the Bridge, Engineering, and the Main Deck — including Captain’s quarters, Sickbay, a briefing room, Auxiliary Control, even a Jeffries tube — are available. Hopefully, as more sets are built, they will be added to the “tour”. (Fwiw, when you circle around, you also see the lights, ladders, cables, unpainted wooden frames, etc., from “behind the scenes”.) Hey, it may not be the same as actually being there, and, yes, it can be frustrating in its limitations. But, it’s still fun for us Trekphiles! (Here’s a game to play: while exploring, spot how many times you can see the silhouette of the Matterport camera.)

I’d love to be able to embed the three parts of the virtual tour right here, but I’m not sure I can (or would be allowed). So, I’ll just direct you here: “Take A Stunning 3D Tour of the TOS Enterprise Sets With Star Trek Continues and Matterport Technology”.

Speaking of fan-productions, in case you haven’t already heard, Paramount/CBS dropped their suit against Axanar Productions, so the Star Trek: Axanar fan-film is a go! According to JJ Abrams, most of the credit goes to Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin for convincing the powers-that-be to back off and play nice. Without being cynical, I will just say that, with the controversy over their reboot films and the latest about to be released, plus a new ST series in the offing, Paramount/CBS (and Abrams and Lin) don’t need another reason for fans to be annoyed (or worse) with them. Smart move on their part!

One of the sets at Starfleet Academy - Ottawa

One of the sets at Starfleet Academy – Ottawa

As long as we’re talkin’ Star Trek… If you are in the vicinity of Ottawa, ON, or New York City, this summer, you might want to check out Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. It is an interactive and educational “exhibit”, where visitors/cadets attend “Career Day” at the Academy. They will “visit nine zones focused on the training center’s specialties: Language, Medical, Navigation, Engineering, Command and Science. [Yes, I realize that is only six.] Cadets then will be assigned a specialty and a demeanor based on their individual training.” They’ll also earn about real-world emerging technologies with a Trek connection.

The exhibit opened up at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa a few weeks ago and will be there until Sep. 5, 2016. The NYC version will be at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, opening on July 29, 2016, and continuing through Oct. 31, 2016. Both locations will have additional Star Trek-themed props, costumes, and programming to celebrate the franchise’s 50th Anniversary. (Check links for details.) Wish I could go!

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