DECEPTION III technologically goes where no fan film has gone before! (interview with LEO TIERNEY)


“Yer a wizard, ‘arry.” I realize that’s a totally different franchise than Star Trek, but when Hagrid says those words to Harry Potter, he might as well be talking to fellow Brit LEO TIERNEY, as well. Y’see, when it comes to making Star Trek fan films, Leo is totally a wizard…a cutting-edge innovator.

A still from the first Deception fan film

Fans got their first look at what Leo was capable of back in 2013 with his release of STAR TREK: DECEPTION. Clicking that link will take you to my full blog about that fan film, which I hardily suggest you click on and check out, as it includes some awesome “making of” videos along with the production itself. At a time when nearly all 24th century fan films and series were either using green screen and static backgrounds or very simplified sets, Leo constructed a near-perfect and very believable runabout cockpit. And along with some standout performances, top-notch VFX, great camera work, and very tight editing, Deception was a gem of a fan film that made many viewers’ jaws drop with its professional quality.

The amazing Starfleet bridge set from the second Deception fan film

Leo returned five years later with DECEPTION II— if anything even MORE jaw-dropping than its predecessor! Indeed, Leo’s construction of a duo of sets (one a Klingon bridge and the other a Federation starship bridge) in what was an emptied out one-car garage in a quiet English village south of Manchester became interesting enough to merit its own two-part blog. And that blog is worth checking out for the construction photos alone!

It’s been six additional years, but Leo the Wizard is back with DECEPTION III, yet another jaw-dropper. The opening shot alone is enough to make fans go, “How the heck did he do that????” But Leo also did something else truly revolutionary for a Star Trek fan film. However, before I tell you what it was, why not take a look for yourself…

Could you tell what it was? Often, the most game-changing innovations are barely even noticeable at first. And indeed, you might have to look more carefully in this case. Obviously, virtual 3D backgrounds were used for the starship interiors, as is common for many fan films trying to save money on set-building by shooting against green screen and then compositing the backgrounds. And when that happens, even the best chroma-keying has trouble with things like stray hairs, which can either disappear or get pixely unless the actor has a very short, clean haircut.

But with Deception III, all stray hairs are 100% visible! The outer contours of the actors are perfect, showing no hint of aliasing or cropping. As I said, it’s almost unnoticeable beyond something in the back of your head thinking, “Wow, this looks amazingly clear and realistic for a fan film with virtual backgrounds!” So how did Leo manage this? I’ll let him explain in this short-but-fascinating “making of” documentary…

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