Welcome to the first Babylon Five flashback! I served as a visual effects artist and supervisor on the series when it was with Foundation Imaging (we began work on the original pilot in 1992 and continued through the end of season three). B5 was my “big break” and I will be digging through my archives – and memory – to bring you stories and neat stuff that has been gathering dust since…. well, since The Gathering! For this first installment, I bring you a few photos from my personal collection.
This was taken in late June of 1992 at Santa Clarita Studios (the series was shot in North Hollywood, but Valencia was the home of the pilot). Foundation Imaging (the visual effects facility formed to create the computer generated space scenes for the show) was a short walk from the sound stages, so I took the opportunity to document the construction of the central corridor, our biggest set.
Note the curve upwards at the end of the corridor; this was meant to simulate the curvature of the station (when the set was finished, a forced perspective painting was put at the far end to simulate the corridor continuing up and into the distance). I think I’m the only person who grabbed any photos of the sets being constructed, so this may be the first time anyone has seen images from this early in the series’ life.
This is the very first time the set was illuminated with stage lighting; it was a basic test to make sure everything was working so the director of photography could begin tweaking it for the final look. The pilot had a very moody, cinematic feel (note the shafts of light, a result of filling the set with smoke). When the show was moved to North Hollywood, the main corridor’s lighting became a little more flat and sterile, mostly due to the time and budget constraints of a weekly series (more complex lighting generally takes more time to shoot).
I hope you enjoyed our first peek into B5′s past… next time we’ll take a look at a visual effects miniature (that’s right, CGI fans – a miniature) that was never used!
[Note that you can click to view and/or save these images in hi-res]