In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Timescape, the crew find the Enterprise frozen in time (actually moving imperceptibly slowly but that's beside the point). They then board the ship and wander around, and all of the characters are standing perfectly still as if it was a still photo.

How was this filmed? This episode was filmed several years before The Matrix after which "bullet time" using many cameras and composing a 3-D image became common-place. But the actors are very still, perfectly like statues, so it seems difficult to believe that they just stood still while the 'normal time' actors just walked around - except maybe the scene where Picard moves Worfs hand. And the camera moves around at different angles (and the main characters behind some of the extras in some cases) making a blue / green screen seem unlikely


2 Answers 2


I'm not sure this covers every single shot but, according to Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, the frozen-in-time effect made heavy use of blue-screen.

"It was very different," says [director Adam] Nimoy of the visual effects intensive episode which required several additional days of blue-screen work after wrapping principal photography to depict the Enterprise and Romulan ship's personnel frozen in time.

Incidentally, much of the rest of the episode's page-long entry is other members of the crew praising Nimoy for figuring out how to shoot the script.

"I think this is the longest optical memo we have ever had," says David Livingston of the sheet delineating all of the show's complicated visual effects. "It's over six pages long. Adam was very specific about what he wanted and I knew he was going to do great on it. He's got good genes."

(All quotes are from page 280 of Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, specifically the copy on the Internet Archive.)


There's no "word of god" I can find here, but it appears that most of the scenes were shot using actors standing still, with green screen and splicing used to produce the special effect scenes (such as those rewinding time). Take this scene

Troi and Picard over Riker

Special effects here aren't necessary. Both Jonathan Frakes (Riker) and the Romulan (hand in the top right) just needed to hold still. Remember, you needed to pay your special effects folks of the 90s a lot of money, and this episode was already very VFX-heavy. The costs of acting are already baked in.

Another dramatic scene is this one in sick bay

Crusher being shot

It looks freeze frame, but Gates Mcfadden (Crusher) is very carefully positioned to be leaning against the table behind her. This is furthered by the fact that Troi has to yank Crusher away in a subsequent scene where they rewind time

Crusher yanked

And compare it with this scene, where Data is fighting with an alien while time is rewinding. Note how the lighting doesn't match up with the other things in the scene

Data green screen

  • 3
    i am bothered by the fact that the romulan weapon's beam is not in line with the barrel, especially in the first screenshot, less so in the second...
    – ths
    Feb 2 at 16:41
  • 1
    @ths: It's a recurring problem
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 2 at 19:08

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