(written from a Production point of view)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Parenteau (born 1 August 1965; age 54) – usually credited as John F.K. Parenteau or simply as John Parenteau – is a digital visual effects (VFX) and post-production artist and supervisor who has contributed to two Star Trek series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, as a member of two different VFX companies, firstly at Amblin Imaging and subsequently at Digital Muse he co-founded with Amblin co-worker John Gross. His work on the pilot episode of Voyager has earned Parenteau an Emmy Award.
Having been an early adapter himself where the then fledgling technique of CGI was concerned, Parenteau and his partner Gross became instrumental in convincing Star Trek Visual Effects Supervisors David Stipes and Dan Curry that the new technique was the future of VFX after they had met the pair at a December 1993 Christmas party, thrown by NewTek (the company that owns and markets the LightWave 3D software, the software package of choice at Amblin). John Gross recalled, "David was always interested in getting 3-D incorporated into Star Trek. He saw the benefits of that probably before many of the other producers over there did. And so we invited him over here and showed him the facility and when Voyager came up he saw the opportunity to get this stuff involved. He and Dan Curry came by and we talked about what we can do and showed them some examples and eventually we gave them a bid to build a virtual Voyager." To prove their skills, Gross and Amblin employee Grant Bouchet took some stock footage of a Maquis raider with the accompanying motion control data, provided by the studio, and added some CGI ships. They matched flight movements so perfectly that the Star Trek producers were unable to distinguish between the physical models and CGI models. Vice-president John Parenteau related further, "That meant a lot to Dan Curry, because Dan was weary. I think he had some bad experiences with CGI in the past and didn't feel it was quite there yet. But when we turned out their flight tests and people couldn't tell the difference, Dan started to realize that maybe we have finally conquered whatever barrier there had been before." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 80)
Subsequently contracted for Voyager, Parenteau served in a supervisory capacity of the digital modellers at Amblin, whose most notable contribution was the digital USS Voyager studio model, which was continuously improved upon throughout the entire run of the show, for it to become one of the most sophisticated CGI models utilized in Berman-era Star Trek. Prominently featured in the series' title sequence, it co-earned Parenteau his Emmy Award, and for which his partner Gross, who had actually worked on the model, had ironically not been nominated for – though he did receive three Star trek nominations later on, none of which won though.
In the fall of 1995 Amblin owner Universal Studios decided to close down the company after a major project was canceled. Parenteau and Gross bought the majority of Amblin's equipment and restarted the effects house under the name Digital Muse. They were rehired by the franchise but now to work on Deep Space Nine, as Foundation Imaging had in the meantime been hired for Voyager to fill in for the temporary void left by Amblin. Parenteau continued his supervisory functions until Digital Muse itself went defunct in February 2000 due to a hostile take-over. This time around Parenteau decided not to follow Gross when the latter went on to found Eden FX, which became the primary and sole CGI vendor for Star Trek: Enterprise, instead striking out on his own.
While in the later employ of Pixomondo, Parenteau has chalked up one additional latter-day Star Trek contribution for the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness as "VFX Executive Producer", though he was not given an official credit for his work on this film.
Emmy Award Edit
Parenteau won the following Star Trek Emmy Award,
- 1995 Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series" for VOY: "Caretaker", shared with Michael Backauskas, Joe Bauer, Edward L. Williams, David Stipes, Joshua Cushner, Don B. Greenberg, Scott Rader, Adam Howard, Don Lee, Dan Curry, Joshua Rose, and Robert Stromberg