Pacific 201 Props

While production for “Pacific 201” is still a ways off, I’ve found myself already looking at solutions for the high-tech props we’ll see in the film.

I’m somewhat stingy, so it should come as no surprise that I would try to avoid hiring a prop designer, or ordering a 3D printer. Instead, I thought it might be profitable (and fun!) if I assembled believable props out of real-world objects.

Let’s take a look at some of the props I’ve already prototyped!


 

Data PADD

Star Trek fans will know what a PADD is – a Personal Access Display Device. For the rest of you, the PADD was the iPad before the iPad was invented.

The PADDs in the Original Star Trek series were huge black brick-like machines referred to by the staff as “Electronic Clipboards”. Obviously, these huge, clunky devices look pretty outdated by our standards, but they’re a staple of the look of the show. I was wondering how I might maintain the look of this prop while still updating the sensibilities a little bit.

What I came up with is actually just an old plastic VHS tape case. Its size and texture was just right, and it even had a little “window” for a label, which was the perfect place to mount a high-tech graphic. Add some buttons, and you’ve got an instant sci-fi prop that hearkens back to the original.


 Tricorder

The tricorder is an essential tool for any Star Trek excursion. It lets you scan anything that the plot requires! In my opinion, the tricorder isn’t outdated just yet, so my goal was to make the “Pacific 201” tricorder to simply look like an older version of the tricorders found in the original Star Trek series.

My journey for this prop started when I entered an antique store (actually looking for potential¬†communicator props) and came across a camera vendor who had some Kodak Colorburst cameras. My mind immediately said “this looks like a tricorder!” Unwilling to “ruin” a functional camera, I ordered myself one that was broken, and began the transformation process. All that said and done, I think I was left with a pretty reasonable “vintage” tricorder.