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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old August 21 2008, 06:13 PM   #91
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Sheridan wrote: View Post
3D Master wrote: View Post
Sheridan wrote: View Post
I would also like to point out that Moore's re-imagined Battlestar Galactica show with all the radical changes he did to the story and characters still kept the original design of the ship. I'm guessing it was updated a bit but overall its basically the same design that they used in 1978.
No, he didn't. The Galactica only has a barest resemblance of a similar shape. The two ships are nothing alike.
Yeah, I've only seen one episode of the old BSG so I didn't realize just how different they were but they still are more similar to each other than what you portray. My point is he didn't throw out the old design and pick a completely different one. He took the basic design of the old ship and updated it which is what I expect they'll do with the Enterprise.
The dictate by the "powers that be" was that the ship had to look NOTHING like the original design. The people who did the new version snuck in tiny little "homages" to the original (ie, the area between the four aft engine nacelle elements is copied fairly closely from what was the engine array on the original series ship) but the entire point of the design, as INSTRUCTED, was to abandon the original design entirely.

The folks making the show obviously weren't as big on that as the folks in the nosebleed-level offices were... since they did as much as possible to deviate from that later on. But the view which was presented to the "suits"... the side view... is totally and completely unrelated. And the front and rear views are unrelated as well. Only the top view is "slightly similar." That's because they never showed that view to the studio/network guys 'til the "miniseries" had been green-lit and the money committed.
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Old August 21 2008, 06:32 PM   #92
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Sheridan wrote: View Post
3D Master wrote: View Post
Sheridan wrote: View Post
I would also like to point out that Moore's re-imagined Battlestar Galactica show with all the radical changes he did to the story and characters still kept the original design of the ship. I'm guessing it was updated a bit but overall its basically the same design that they used in 1978.
No, he didn't. The Galactica only has a barest resemblance of a similar shape. The two ships are nothing alike.
Yeah, I've only seen one episode of the old BSG so I didn't realize just how different they were but they still are more similar to each other than what you portray. My point is he didn't throw out the old design and pick a completely different one. He took the basic design of the old ship and updated it which is what I expect they'll do with the Enterprise.
They better not, because if it's that much of a departure, I won't be watching, and Star Trek has become officially dead to me.
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Old August 21 2008, 06:51 PM   #93
Eric Cheung
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Even if the teaser isn't an exact version of the ship we see in the movie it was an announcement of the filmmakers' intentions. In other words, they already have taken the basic design of the old ship and updated it.
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Old August 21 2008, 09:26 PM   #94
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

The new Galactica maintains the basic design of the old one while being very different in detail. Frankly, it's unlikely that the new "Star Trek" can be as big an improvement over the old as Moore's BSG is over the disco-era original - but if it is, that'll be a very good thing.

Trek's dead now. Abrams can't hurt it.
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Old August 21 2008, 10:43 PM   #95
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

ST-One wrote: View Post
3D Master wrote: View Post
Eric Cheung wrote: View Post
To get the point across to a new generation, changes may need to be made.
No, they don't. All you need to do is look at the picture of the Doctherman model above to understand that one. If you're incapable of grasping just how magnificent a model the original Enterprise is, maybe you should look for a different genre of storytelling.
You may like it. I may like it.
But that is because we are already fans.
Todays audiences want something that looks modern. And despite how much you and I like the original design of the Enterprise, it just doesn't look like something that would be designed for a film in 2008 or 2009.
It does look dated.

The movie-era Enterprise on the other hand...
Bullshit. I defy you to point out any design element that is inherently dated in any way.

That is: Assuming you didn't know it was designed in the 1960s, what specific aspects of the design ethic would clue you in to the notion that it was an older design, rather than something that was designed as recently as last week?
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Old August 21 2008, 11:01 PM   #96
Eric Cheung
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

The design is inherently 1960s, at least on an aesthetic level. The lines reek of it. I like it, you like it, most of us do. But just look at design, architecture, and aerospace engineering books of the era and it's pretty obviously mid-20th century modernist (as opposed to the combination of modern and post-modern design we currently see in new buildings on the inside and out). Sure Starfleet could be going through a retro-futurist movement in the 2240s but to a 21st century audience it'll look like old technology. Some of the spy shots seem to indicate that there's a slight 60s look to the clothes and hair, but that's different because it's more believable to a 21st-century audience that those kinds of aesthetics are cyclical. Again, we're not the only audience for this movie.
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Old August 21 2008, 11:51 PM   #97
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Eric Cheung wrote: View Post
The design is inherently 1960s, at least on an aesthetic level. The lines reek of it. I like it, you like it, most of us do. But just look at design, architecture, and aerospace engineering books of the era and it's pretty obviously mid-20th century modernist (as opposed to the combination of modern and post-modern design we currently see in new buildings on the inside and out). Sure Starfleet could be going through a retro-futurist movement in the 2240s but to a 21st century audience it'll look like old technology. Some of the spy shots seem to indicate that there's a slight 60s look to the clothes and hair, but that's different because it's more believable to a 21st-century audience that those kinds of aesthetics are cyclical. Again, we're not the only audience for this movie.
Excuse me?

Other than throwing in the term "modernist" you really haven't said anything there, have you?

Every time that this comes up, I always ask the same question as was asked of you... to define SPECIFIC THINGS which are "dated." And there has never once been a serious attempt to actually answer that.

Simply restating your premise "the design is 60s, the lines reek of it" and so on is meaningless babble, not anything that provides any further information beyond your original claim.

Everything on the 1701 was designed to look like it was something functional. Much of latter-day trek is designed to look "graphics-art cool" (the color scheme of the 1701-E is a particularly egregious example of that, but it's by no means the ONLY example of it).

If by "60s" you mean "looks functional" then by all means, GIVE US THAT GOOD OL' 60'S LOOK!

If, on the other hand, what you mean is "doesn't look like the style of the more recent Trek series" (which is usually what people saying that really mean)... then my answer is "So what? What's so spectacular about the "day-glow-LED-lighting on blobby shapes" design ethos of latter-era Trek ship design?" It's just another artistic style... maybe no WORSE than the original style, but no BETTER either.

SO... give examples, please, of what specific elements of the design you object to, and why.
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Old August 22 2008, 12:04 AM   #98
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

chardman wrote: View Post
what specific aspects of the design ethic would clue you in to the notion that it was an older design, rather than something that was designed as recently as last week?
Cylinders butted up against rectangles butted up against disks with no transitions; exterior lamps fastened to the hull, a great big round dish antenna jutting out the front - the appearance of the TOS ship compares to, say, the TMP or particularly the TNG ship in the same way that a 1954 Chevy sedan compares to a 1996 Ford Taurus. You can argue about which design is "better" or more "classic" but it's not at all difficult to assign a chronology to them based simply on the sophistication of manufacture and finish.

Or, if you prefer:





Now, you know what? I'd rather own the older of those two Mustangs, but that's just me - there's still not any doubt which one dates from the mid-1960s and which is contemporary. You can tell by looking, and you could tell from your general knowledge of cars and design even if you'd never seen a Mustang.

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; August 22 2008 at 02:58 AM.
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Old August 22 2008, 12:23 AM   #99
Eric Cheung
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Every time that this comes up, I always ask the same question as was asked of you... to define SPECIFIC THINGS which are "dated." And there has never once been a serious attempt to actually answer that.
Well, by 60s I mean the emphasis on smooth lines, basic shapes, primary colors, a clean uniformity of design. It's often been cited that Forbidden Planet is an influence on the design. I'd agree with that. Both Gene Roddenberry and Matt Jefferies were very familiar with mid-20th century aerospace design. One of the hallmarks of the planes of that era are that the wings were positioned at right-angles from the fuselage, whereas current planes bend them backwards at acute angles. The pylons on the 1701 mimic mid-20th century wings. By no means am I casting judgement on the old designs.

If anything a 1960s aesthetic is something I've always been fond of. Even though I was born in 1981, I grew up watching Get Smart and Beatles movies and Looney Tunes and Star Trek. I fell in love with anything 60s and still love the design of the period whether it's architecture, interior design, clothing (especially Mod and British Invasion stuff), sound design, and music.

But I'm not the audience for the film.

Actually I think the latest wave of Ford Mustangs are a good idea of what we might expect for this film. Besides the fact that the lines are evocative of the old Mustangs, there's an aggressive sense of power there.

As much as I'd like to see a highly detailed replica of the original ship (and it's taken me a while to get used to the idea of a redesign), I think we're in very good hands.
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Old August 22 2008, 07:50 AM   #100
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

chardman wrote: View Post
ST-One wrote: View Post
3D Master wrote: View Post

No, they don't. All you need to do is look at the picture of the Doctherman model above to understand that one. If you're incapable of grasping just how magnificent a model the original Enterprise is, maybe you should look for a different genre of storytelling.
You may like it. I may like it.
But that is because we are already fans.
Todays audiences want something that looks modern. And despite how much you and I like the original design of the Enterprise, it just doesn't look like something that would be designed for a film in 2008 or 2009.
It does look dated.

The movie-era Enterprise on the other hand...
Bullshit. I defy you to point out any design element that is inherently dated in any way.

That is: Assuming you didn't know it was designed in the 1960s, what specific aspects of the design ethic would clue you in to the notion that it was an older design, rather than something that was designed as recently as last week?
What Dennis and Eric Cheung said.
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Old August 22 2008, 02:35 PM   #101
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

chardman wrote: View Post
Bullshit. I defy you to point out any design element that is inherently dated in any way.
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Every time that this comes up, I always ask the same question as was asked of you... to define SPECIFIC THINGS which are "dated." And there has never once been a serious attempt to actually answer that.
A design is more than the sum of its parts and I think you both know that. The question is disingenuous because I'm sure you can find a modern example of any one specific thing that someone attempts to toss out.

Lets take the satellite dish as an example. I'm sure that comes to mind for a lot of people when you say "dated things on the original Enterprise." It'd take you about 5 minutes to go outside and take a picture of a satellite dish and post it saying "This dish is no more than 5 years old."

Big deal. It's all the little things like that taken together that make it obvious that the design is 60s era.






That being said, I will now agree with you on at least one level. I am 25 years old and I think the original design can work on the big screen with little changes. Why? Because industrial design can be cyclical too. I have on my desk a shiny new (less than a year old anyway) Mac Pro. It is extremely well designed and it's basic exterior appearance was designed in 2004. But, had you seen it on the bridge of the Enterprise in 1967 it you probably wouldn't have noticed it (assuming it didn't have the big apple on the side which would have made you ask "Why is there a big apple on the side of that thing?")

Here's the basic design circa 2004..


It's very TOS in that it's clean, simple, and very "form-following-function (which isn't always Apple's design mantra)
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Old August 22 2008, 03:41 PM   #102
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Your point about design being cyclical is entirely valid.

As an example, go to the local appliance store (or Best Buy or Search or Home Depot or whatever). Look at what all your new appliances look like.

They're almost all brushed stainless or something in that vein, aren't they? That's the "artistic" style element that people are calling "modern" today.

Now, go back and look at the style of appliances which were being sold in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. And what do you see? You see stuff which is almost INDISTINGUISHABLE from the current design styles!

Of course, the underlying technology has changed, in some cases with minor tweaking and in some cases in fairly dramatic ways (glass-top radiant stoves, for instance... that's an actually innovation and a damned good one at that!). But the STYLE is simply... well... a matter of artistic taste, not functional design.

I'm glad to see that this topic is finally getting some rational discussion... to those of you who've attempted to seriously answer (instead of what's always happened in the past... ie, just more unsupported "well if you don't' get it, you're part of the problem with Star Trek" stuff!).

I don't necessarily agree with everything being said... as a major "form follows function" sort of guy, and a fan of the "modular" design which MJ had in his mind when he laid things out... I've never had any problem seeing a reasonable design looking at the TOS E. I've also never had any problem with any of the Probert work on the TMP E... though I've never particularly liked the engine nacelles we see there (a lot of detail, but most if it seeming to be there to "look cool" rather than to serve any rational function... tiered skin structure and so forth... FINS, for crying out loud... and so forth!).

You're right, Dennis, about being able to tell which era different ships came from... but I'd argue that it's not so much a matter of being in line with the prevalent OTHER design philosophies of the time.

If the design of the 1701 had been made with 1960s aviation ideals in place... it would have been bare metal in appearance and more "dart-like," or perhaps with a big "scoop" up-front. You can't draw any parallel with 1960s naval design... because naval design still looks almost identical today. However, there are STRONG influences of naval vessel design which are very evident in the 1701 design. You can't draw any parallel with space vessel design, either to contemporary real spacecraft or 1960's era space vessel concepts. The ship doesn't resemble either... which makes sense, since none of our current past or current spacecraft designs really have ANYTHING to do with the sort of ship Trek is trying to present... it's like comparing a log raft to the Q.E.2.

Then, you can look at "popular" styles. This is most commonly reflected in automobile designs. Well, cars in the 1950s and 1960s tended to have lots of fins, bulges, and so forth which provided no function except to "look cool." (Sort of the like the 1701-refit's engines, really.) Today we've got a "retro" design chic which gives us some of that, again... but with a subtly different spin (Dennis' car example is a great example of that... two cars which are very similar on first glance but aren't quite identical). But the things that these cars share in common are the "non-functional fins and bulges" aspects... under the hood, they're very much different.

For me... the idea of engine nacelles being generally cylindrical makes perfect sense. The idea of having them be mounted at a distance from the hull makes perfect sense. The idea of not having lots of nooks and crannies (aka "stress concentrators") in the exterior of each principle section makes perfect sense. The idea of having two separate hull sections makes perfect sense as well. And the logic behind having as little on the outside (read "in a hostile environment") of the ship as possible is, I think, unassailable.

If I were going back and redesigning the 1701 with MJ back in the 1960s, the only real changes I'd have suggested would be to increase the design robustness of the separate section interconnections. That is... change the engine pylon and primary-secondary-dorsal elements.

If I were doing that, I would NOT go with a TMP-style "aft-swept" engine pylon... which is really weaker than a similar-mass rectangular one like seen on the TOS ship! What I WOULD do is make the pylons about two and a half times longer, but with the same thickness,and keep the (structurally-most-practical) rectangular cross-section. They're essentially BEAMS, after all... the strongest beam is the shortest one, all other matters being equal. Put it in at an angle and you've got a longer... read WEAKER... beam! Make it wider in cross-section (ie, along the length of the vessel) and you dramatically increase the structure's strength with even a small increase.

As for the primary-to-secondary "dorsal" interconnect... this is really a pretty bad design, honestly... if I were redoing that from scratch, I'd have TWO "dorsals"... going from the centerline of the secondary hull upwards, at angles, to intersect the saucer in two locations. That would result in any bending moments between the primary and secondary hulls resulting in only tension or compression in the dorsals, not in torsion at a narrow joint! (I also think that this would have given a design which would be every bit as reminiscent of "tall ship" sailing vessels, and would have had a nice parallel between the dorsals and the engine nacelle pylons.)

That said... the design is the design. It is what it is, and it's so widely recognized, worldwide, that any change to the design will inevitably result in people not seeing it as the same ship. It might be a BETTER design, or it might be a worse design, but it's not the SAME design.

See, nobody's claiming that the original design is perfect. We DO claim that it "looks great" (and that's a matter of taste... so nobody can say "you're wrong"... only "I disagree"). And nobody is claiming that other designs can't be made... only that you can't replace one design with another and expect people to accept it as the same thing. And nobody is saying that the design as it was originally presented on 1960s TV screens was perfect... some of the "superdetailed revisions" we've seen over the past few years have illustrated that nicely... same ship, same design, but much improved presentations.

The one thing that I still don't accept is that the design has 1960's specific design elements. (You can argue that the interior sets do... that's a different conversation, though.)

Simple shapes, to me, does not "date" the thing to the 1960s... quite the opposite, in fact. "Curvy, fin-ridden" shapes with blocks of contrasting colors say "1960s" to me.

When I see the big, broad "graphics arts" panels on the 1701-E design... you know what it makes me think of? The big inset wood panels we used to see on the sides of station wagons! VERY 1960s! The simple shapes and coloration of the 1701 makes me think "modern" far more than that does.
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Old August 22 2008, 04:08 PM   #103
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
For me... the idea of engine nacelles being generally cylindrical makes perfect sense. The idea of having them be mounted at a distance from the hull makes perfect sense. The idea of not having lots of nooks and crannies (aka "stress concentrators") in the exterior of each principle section makes perfect sense. The idea of having two separate hull sections makes perfect sense as well. And the logic behind having as little on the outside (read "in a hostile environment") of the ship as possible is, I think, unassailable.
From what we've seen they seems to be maintained as design elements.
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
If I were going back and redesigning the 1701 with MJ back in the 1960s...What I WOULD do is make the pylons about two and a half times longer, but with the same thickness,and keep the (structurally-most-practical) rectangular cross-section. They're essentially BEAMS, after all... the strongest beam is the shortest one, all other matters being equal. Put it in at an angle and you've got a longer... read WEAKER... beam! Make it wider in cross-section (ie, along the length of the vessel) and you dramatically increase the structure's strength with even a small increase.

As for the primary-to-secondary "dorsal" interconnect... this is really a pretty bad design, honestly... if I were redoing that from scratch, I'd have TWO "dorsals"... going from the centerline of the secondary hull upwards, at angles, to intersect the saucer in two locations. That would result in any bending moments between the primary and secondary hulls resulting in only tension or compression in the dorsals, not in torsion at a narrow joint! (I also think that this would have given a design which would be every bit as reminiscent of "tall ship" sailing vessels, and would have had a nice parallel between the dorsals and the engine nacelle pylons.)
Well, that seems like it look off, even if it's a more realistic design. I think that form can't completely follow function in the case of a ship representing the United Federation of Planets. It is after all supposed to represent the Federation and Earth. To that end it makes sense that it convey the aesthetic sensibilities of its citizens as well as its functional engineering expertise. There will always be a Tom Paris that wants to put fins on a Delta Flyer and a Tuvok that argues that it diminishes warp field efficiency by some fraction of a percent. It's just a matter of balancing those design economics.

And another point I thought of that places the TOS ship at least some time in the past in terms of sci-fi design. The blinkies that don't seem to have much of a function. I liked what "In a Mirror Darkly, Part II" did with the computers by ret-conning them into sort of ENT's computers with TOS's color scheme.

Also, in terms of design modernism generally reflects a movement that lasts from the industrial revolution to the 1950s and 60s (modernism in art has a starting point of a century earlier). After that it begins to fade as post-modernism takes over. Ironically post-modernism is a movement that focuses a lot more on form, in large part because of the technology available. Designers can afford to spend some more time spreading their wings, or pylons, creatively.
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Old August 22 2008, 04:20 PM   #104
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
I've also never had any problem with any of the Probert work on the TMP E... though I've never particularly liked the engine nacelles we see there (a lot of detail, but most if it seeming to be there to "look cool" rather than to serve any rational function... tiered skin structure and so forth... FINS, for crying out loud... and so forth!).
Probert did not design the TMP E's nacelles.
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Old August 22 2008, 04:26 PM   #105
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
I've also never had any problem with any of the Probert work on the TMP E... though I've never particularly liked the engine nacelles we see there (a lot of detail, but most if it seeming to be there to "look cool" rather than to serve any rational function... tiered skin structure and so forth... FINS, for crying out loud... and so forth!).
Probert did not design the TMP E's nacelles.
I know... that's why I said I never had any problem with HIS work on the ship. The nacelles were done by someone else, with the intent not to make them look mechanical but instead to make them look "art deco." (which is an early-20th-century artistic style)
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