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Old October 16 2013, 09:03 AM   #1156
Maxwell Everett
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Season THREE OFFICIAL TNG Blu-Ray Discussion Thread

MakeshiftPython wrote: View Post
Quite beautiful. I was always curious about something, I heard that while TOS was shot with 50 ISO, it was later shot with 100 ISO. I always guessed it was the third season that did the latter, because it stuck me during a viewing of "The Enterprise Incident" that the shadows didn't quite look as strong as earlier episodes. I've never had this confirmed, because I can't seem to find any reliable info about it. Would you know anything?
It would definitely have to be the 3rd Season. 5251 (50T) was discontinued in 1968 and replaced with 5254 (100T). The arrival of 5254 was a kind of watershed moment for cinema, actually. After that point, films began to experiment more and more with naturalistic low-light shooting. The faster speed really emboldened directors and cinematographers. Just look at some of the films of the 1970s like "prince of darkness" Gordon Willis' exceptional work in Coppola's The Godfather, Part I & II, John Alcott's amazing candelight scenes in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon or Michael Chapman's seedy New York nighttime scenes in Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

From what I recall, director/cinematographer Haskell Wexler got some of the first batch of 5254 for use filming the roller derby sequence in Medium Cool. If you're not familiar with the film, Medium Cool was shot in a vérité documentary style in real locations, so studio lights were out of the question. Anyway, it turned out that actor Robert Forster's father worked at Eastman Kodak and he told Wexler about a new color negative stock they had made which was faster than any film currently on the market, i.e. 5254. This was in late summer, 1968, I believe. Late August, something like that. (There's an ultra-comprehensive 6-hour making of the film here in four parts, if you're brave enough to sift through the footage and find exactly when they shot that particular sequence.)

Now, as for TOS, the last episode of Season 2, "Assignment: Earth," was filmed between January 2 and January 10, 1968 according to Memory Alpha, so that's off the table. The first episode of Season Three, "Spectre of the Gun," began filming on May 23, 1968. "The Enterprise Incident" began filming on June 19, a bit too early for this stock to be available to a TV show that was already deep into production at that point. It's possible, but not very likely.

However, we know that the show's primary DP, Jerry Finnerman, left to shoot a feature after "The Empath" wrapped on Friday, August 2nd, 1968 and Al Francis took over starting with "The Tholian Web," which started on the following Monday, August 5th. I suppose it's possible that this is when the film stock changed. On the other hand, it's also possible that the production had already bought all the 50T 5251 they would need to finish the series. "Turnabout Intruder" began filming on the last day of 1968. claims that "Whom Gods Destroy" was filmed on 5254 100T stock in early October, 1968. So, if that claim is true, my guess would be somewhere between "The Tholian Web" and "Whom Gods Destroy," if at all.
"Shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion." -Thomas Jefferson
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