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David Stipes

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David Armstrong Stipes (born 1948) is a visual effects expert who has worked, predominently as visual effcts supervisor, on the Star Trek spinoff series The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

Stipes was one of the very first members of Star Treks production team to fully realize the potential of CGI and, being its strongest advocate, has been instrumental in the transition from miniature photography to CGI in the franchise, already supervising one of its earliest applications in the episode "Emergence". Stipes has cited overwhelmingly practical reasons for his stance, "When I started at Star Trek in 1992, by the third script I saw that I could not deliver what the writers were asking for using the established approach to the visual effects. The approach to the visual effects work was based upon models and motion control photography. We were limited by track lengths and sizes of the models. I began looking at the software available at the time. As I remember, the leading software was about $40,000 a module and you needed three or four different modules to possibly do any film quality work." [1] His name appeared on several set artwork throughout the series.

His work on Star Trek has earned him the two Emmy Awards and two nominations, as well as an International Monitor Award in 1998.

For the publication Star Trek: The Magazine, Stipes has authored a series of articles, explaining to its readership, the various aspects of the creation of visual effects.

Prior to his Star Trek work Stipes worked on science fiction television shows such as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Galactica 1980 and V: The Final Battle (1984). His motion picture credits include Equinox (1970), Caveman (1981), Creepshow (1982), The Stuff (1985), Real Genius (1985), Night of the Creeps (1986), Deadly Weapon (1989), Arena (1989), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), and The Lawnmower Man (1992). From 1981 through 1992, Stipes worked as an independent contractor while operating his own company, "David Stipes Productions". The movie Night of the Creeps, on which he worked as visual effects supervisor, provided some unexpected after-the-fact Star Trek connections. Apart from having worked with Ron Thornton and Steve Burg, the studio model of the alien spacecraft, used in he movie, would three years later be loaned out to The Next Generation for use as the Cleponji in "Booby Trap". The model ended up in the possession of the Stipes family.

Currently only sporadically working for the motion picture industry, Stipes primary occupation is as teacher at the Art Institute of Phoenix, Arizona.

Star Trek credits

Star Trek awards

Emmy Awards

Stipes received the following Emmy Award wins and nominations in the category Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects:

International Monitor Awards

  • 1998 International Monitor Award win in the category Film Originated Television Series - Electronic Visual Effects for DS9: "Call to Arms", shared with Dan Curry, Adam Buckner, Steve Fong, Kevin Bouchez, Davy Nethercutt, and Don Greenberg

Star Trek interviews


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