Updated for 2009!
Ahh, the joy of ancient, abandoned Web pages. If you have googled your way here (or are following an old link from a forum post long ago), I have, unbelievably UPDATED this tutorial (better, simpler Vegas 8/9 masking technique) and generalized it with a super nerdy deluxe video as well:
(on videopia.org, of course)
Transporter - Introduction
The transporter effect in Star Trek was initially a cost-saving measure: Roddenberry and Co. couldn't afford to build shuttle craft for planetary landings. While the transporter is a pretty miserable plot device at times, presents all kinds of philosophical problems (e.g. clones) and is one of the more improbably technologies on the show, the effect is remarkably easy to execute. Over the next few pages, I'll show you how to adjust your pattern buffers and tweak your Heisenberg compensators using Vegas (such as in this clip: vsubspace.mov (1MB)). We'll progress from the most basic transporter effect (which you can learn and execute in about ten seconds) through advanced multi-layer compositing. Even if you aren't particularly interested in a transporter effect, this is a great tutorial for understanding compositing in Vegas.
Over the years, the transporter effect has evolved through a number of different variations, through the movies and the various television shows. The average normal transporter effect in Star Trek takes about four seconds to execute, although the sound effect lasts a little longer. In my opinion, the original effect is the most authentic and also the most low-tech. It can be recreated authentically in Vegas in a three-layer composite, with the only difference being that you won't need to shoot film. We'll start at a much more basic level, however.
The source video is probably the easiest to shoot in the history of special effects. All you need is a before shot, empty of your subjects, and an after shot, with your beamees striking a dramatic pose. The critical element here is a tripod, locked down so that the camera does not move a pixel. You should also turn off the automatic features on your camera, especially the automatic exposure. Shoot at least 20 seconds of before footage. You can then use the remote to pause the camera if you want (do not touch the camera) or you can just walk into the shot and edit later (that's what I usually do). Again, hold your pose for about 4-5 seconds before you react to the strange planet you've just beamed down to.
The effect then is to execute a crossfade (dissolve) between the footage of the empty shot with the shot of your talent. In Vegas, you merely overlap the clips. If you just let the camera roll, as I usually do, you'll need to split the clip (press "S" to split), trim a bit of material (drag the edges of the clip) where the talent walks into position and then do the crossfade.
Nothing could be easier. The result is a subject that magically fades into (or out of) view, like a ghost. I've found lots of dramatic and gratuitous places to use this effect in my videos besides amateur SciFi.
Here's a small demo (104KB WMV file) of the result.