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Old November 1 2013, 02:13 PM   #414
Fleet Captain
Mytran's Avatar
Location: North Wales
Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

I'm not trying to de-rail the thread with this, but since Praetor has joined in I'll carry on for just a little longer

The "bridge zoom" presents an awe inspiring start to the series - swooping in across the massive saucer, and into the bridge atop it! The effect works reasonably well given the FX constraints of the time, and gives a nice (approximate) sense of scale. However:

(1) As I mentioned in my earlier post, the turbolift alcove does not line up with the "nub" at the back, perhaps suggesting a "bridge faces forward" setup. However, the bridge does not face directly forward either, nor is the floor completely level to be in line with the decks. The zooms do not match at one point, making the crew suddenly expand in size. All or any of these could be chaulked up to the aforementioned FX limitations, so take your pick about what is "real".

(2) The bridge ceiling appears to be just a huge window! Structural integrity and security are just 2 of any number of reasons why this is a silly idea. Plus, we'll see in the next episode the same ceiling from inside, and it is comfortably solid. Even if it is only a part time transparency, it's still a large area of the structure which would have to be made from a thinner (and weaker) material. What's so important up there that people need to stare directly upwards at it?

So, along with the peculiarities introduced by the FX, I attribute the transparent ceiling to be just a conceit of the camera to get from outside the ship to inside. The principle function of the transition is to show both the scale of the ship and the location of the bridge. In both regards; it works fine.

* * * * * *

So, where does that leave us with the size of the ship, and design of the Bridge?

Regarding the nub, Robert_Comsol is right that there are no details that mark it out as an airlock or any other mechanical device - in fact, it is the one area of the bridge dome that has NO MARKINGS AT ALL, even in the blinged-out Cage version. Lack of details mean that Captain Robert April's subspace antenna would fit in just fine . Or maybe its an additional shield generator for the bridge. Or a turbolift-lifeboat emergency ejection system? Or an extendible docking tube? Or a resupply conduit?

I dunno.

I'm really in two minds over this - the appeal of a larger Enterprise is incompatible with a centred bridge having the nub as its turbolift. I suppose there could be a short horizontal track at the top of the shaft, maybe even space for a spare turbolift. And yet "clear this tube" says Kirk to Uhura in Naked Time when he is forced to wait for a lift, apparently because the turboshaft is blocked through heavy usage. If a spare turbolift is usually present it certainly wasn't then! It was an unsual time on the ship though, and neither Bele nor Lokai seemed to suffer the same problem of waiting for a cab. The Naked Time situation also indiciates that the bridge is at the top of the main shaft, with no redundant shafts around - classic Starfleet design!

Praetor wrote: View Post
{the nub} fits too well to not be accurate, one need only rotate the bridge, sink it a bit into the superstructure and scale things accordingly to make it work.

When I say it like that, it almost sounds convoluted to make it work, doesn't it?
Indeed. The typical FJ arrangement has the bridge rotated 35.5 degrees to line up with the nub, something that (if we were to bring up design lineage again) was never repeated on any later starship. In addition, there are several episodes which suggest the viewscreen faces forwards (specifics in my notebook at home, sorry!) If this is true the nub cannot be the turbolift entry point. But, at the same time there's a turbolift shaped lump RIGHT THERE. Ah, well. I'm sure the truth is out there...

* * * * * * *

ADDENDUM: While many focus on the Bridge as the means to scale the Enterprise, there is actually a great deal of "wobble" room due to the uncertainties I've briefly listed - and I'm sure there are others.

I believe that the focus instead should be on the shuttlebay. It is the ONLY part of the ship where we see both an interior and exterior of the same thing and (as I was reminded upthread) where the door segments severely limit the scale increases that can be achieved. We know the size of the 22' shuttle prop and we know that the shuttlebay miniature is of a scale to match.

Unless - the 22' shuttle is in fact a (shuttle interior set corrected) 30' shuttle!
Well hello, 1485' Enterprise...
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