On the way of interpreting visual shots, I have some points.
Let's take some of the stock footage of the TOS Enterprise
orbiting a planet. You all are aware, aren't you, were such a scene photographed in real life, that the ship would not
appear to travel in a curved path, right? What I mean by this is that the ship often looks like it's a model a few feet long that's circling a beach ball a few feet in diameter that's sitting only a few feet away from it. I regard this as a trope intended to help the viewer realize that the ship is circling the planet.
But in real life, the planets would be many, many thousands of times larger than the ship and hundreds or thousands of miles away. As the ship is cruising through its orbit, over the period of several seconds it would appear to be going in a straight line, and not
in a curved path.
This is one example when what we see in the visual FX is all wrong.
TNG was guilty of another sin many times. Ships are said to be hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart; then we switch to exterior visuals and they couldn't be separated by more than a few hundred meters.
Come on, you all know what I'm talking about right?
The visuals, as a general rule
, can only be sketchy at best in Star Trek
. In most cases, attempting to interpret the visuals literally and concoct in-universe explanations based on precisely what is seen is looking at it all wrong IMO. The intent was never to dissect things that accurately, but rather only in general terms. For example: the two ships are in proximity and facing each other, close enough to do damage if they start shooting, nothing more specific. Or, the ship is orbiting the planet, nothing more specific.
Of course, some particular cases do seem more realistically composed than others. But the fact that some of these exist doesn't mean that every FX shot was constructed with the same attention to scale and realism.