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Star Trek: Discovery – Season 5
Episode 8 “Labyrinths”

The fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery finds Captain Burnham and her crew uncovering a mystery that will send them on an epic adventure across the galaxy in search of an ancient power whose existence has been hidden for centuries. But others are on the hunt as well … dangerous foes desperate to claim the power for themselves and who will stop at nothing to get it.

Cause and FX were invited to take on the “Eternal Archives” environment featured in episode eight. This magnificent physical location was transformed with an infinity architectural extension through a collaboration of 3D and 2D techniques.

“The chance to contribute creatively to a historical property of film and television such as Star Trek was quite an honor.”

John Walters, VFX Art Director – Cause and FX

The challenge laid before us was to build upon lavish worlds and characters from this amazing universe. The task of the never ending library and maze was a pleasure to create and the chance to build something spectacular.


We built upon the in-camera real world reference to ground the Eternal Archives and maze spatial design in reality.. We used quick-turnaround conceptual layouts and camera previz to visualise the scale and enormity of the vertical void. Building from a series of key shots, we quickly established that placement of the platforms and other scale features in certain positions enabled us to really sell the enormity of the environment.

Understanding the virtual area and where to break the space for CG takeover in relation to the camera move gave us a clear understanding of where the payoff in scale really was. Once the library was populated with details such as architectural features in keeping with the practical set and the vast amount of books, we then went to work on lighting, animation and atmospherics. With the main areas dressed with features, props and characters we could use light within the space against moving, animated digital doubles, book shelves and pillars to help draw the eye along the void and really sell the vertigo when we look across, up and down.

“Cause and FX was a great creative partner, quickly understanding and addressing our needs, but more importantly adding value with an eye for realism and drama in our shots.  EPs were excited to see how they extended the practical sets into our “Eternal Archives” making an interesting real location amazing and unique.  Flawlessly executed critical parts of the episode.”

Brian Tatosky, VFX Supervisor – Star Trek Discovery

The maze was an eye opening piece in which we offered up several concepts of varying floors and moving rooms. In the end the most iconic image became the never ending fractal of rooms and corridors spanning and stretching out of frame. This design became the physical embodiment of Michael Burnham’s current state of mind and the mission she had to overcome. Using a hexagonal design the lines of bookshelves and corridors formed a complex maze, building on from the on-set structures and expanded with varying patterns. The location materials for the floors, books, bookshelves and banners were established and matched in look dev to withstand extreme close scrutiny through the move of the shot right through to the expanse of the wide.

“Cause and FX is an outstanding visual effects vendor. Their artistry in the realm of visual effects is nothing short of exceptional. Their dedication to innovation, attention to detail, and seamless collaboration make them an invaluable asset to any creative endeavor. Their work on our final season of Discovery has been outstanding and the partnership has been incredibly smooth.”

Shawn Ewashko, VFX Project Manager – Star Trek Discovery

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