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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old May 15 2009, 07:52 AM   #1
J. Allen
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Great Cinematography Moments

I'm watching Star Trek Season 1 (Episode: Shore Leave), and there's this particular scene down on the planet where Kirk, McCoy and Yeoman Barrows are discussing plant life when they hear a gun shot out of nowhere. Startled and concerned, they run across a field and through some trees while the music plays the main theme. I love this sequence, as the camera tracks along side and in front, and gives us a sweeping view of them running across an open area in the woods. I just find it to be a great moment. It's the live motion scene of this shot:



And I just think it's bang on about the best camera work I saw that episode. Anyone else see any great cinematography moments for the original series?

J.
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Old May 15 2009, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

To be honest, unless it's bad, I don't notice the camerawork...but that is a nice action shot you captured there!
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Old May 15 2009, 05:40 PM   #3
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

There are definitley quite a few great camera moments but of course I can't remember them off hand...but I know they exist!

Shore leave is the episode where McCoy calls Esteban Rodriguez instead....
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Old May 15 2009, 06:19 PM   #4
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

I think this is my favorite shot. (At least today it is; tomorrow it might be something different.)

At the end of "Balance of Terror" as Angela Martine stands alone and crying in the ship's chapel, it's a close-up of her looking up towads the altar.



The doors then slide open to reveal Captain Kirk:



Shatner isn't seen approaching the doors or moving in anyway. He's just standing there motionless as the door opens to reveal him. (I think this shot probably reflects Shatner's old theater roots--where the curtain would open and would reveal him already onstage, rather then having him entering from the wings.)
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Old May 15 2009, 06:23 PM   #5
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Old May 15 2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

That's because Shatner is a badass.
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Old May 16 2009, 02:21 AM   #7
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

J. Allen wrote: View Post
I'm watching Star Trek Season 1 (Episode: Shore Leave), and there's this particular scene down on the planet where Kirk, McCoy and Yeoman Barrows are discussing plant life when they hear a gun shot out of nowhere. Startled and concerned, they run across a field and through some trees while the music plays the main theme. I love this sequence, as the camera tracks along side and in front, and gives us a sweeping view of them running across an open area in the woods. I just find it to be a great moment. It's the live motion scene of this shot:



And I just think it's bang on about the best camera work I saw that episode. Anyone else see any great cinematography moments for the original series?

J.
That is a great sequence. It's also humorous to me how long these trained, supposedly very fit, Starfleet offers huff out of breath in the following scene.

A "great" cinematography moment for me comes in, sigh, "Spock's Brain" (I think" where Kirk walks across the viewscreen.

It's great because the image on the view-screen is rear-projected onto it and I believe it's the only time in TOS we see a character walk infront of the screen with an image displayed. (Usually we're shown the viewscreen with the image put in during post) This was likely a very complex shot for them to pull off in the mid-60s and it looks great.
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Old May 16 2009, 02:58 AM   #8
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

I tend to think of cinematography as the quality of the photography and lighting more than the composition of a shot, but regardless pretty much anything in the first season stands up well.

When color TV first premiered, it mimicked technicolor films of the day, with rich tones and hues and multicolored, warm lighting that created atmospheric shadows without resorting to the "fluorescent" starkness that 2001 would make de riguer in films. By the mid-1970s, the cinema look would be replaced with a more "natural" look that took away, at least for me, much of the artistic gloss that made TV interesting to watch. Of course films were leaning toward a more documentary quality in the visuals, too, that gave them a kind of grittiness but robbed them of the magic that is so many Hollywood films of the 1950s and 1960s.

For something that is a bit of a blend -- mostly technicolor but with some of the starker lighting on occasion -- check out Robert Wise's "West Side Story." It's a truly beautiful film in many, many ways, but the cinematography is remarkable. It's amazing to me that 20 years later he made ST-TMP, which by comparison seems pretty washed out and monochrome.

I'm not sure a single moment stands out to me, but episodes with very good cinematography include "The Cage," "Conscience of the King," "The Man Trap," "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Mudd's Women," "Dagger of the Mind," "The Enemy Within," "The Omega Glory," and "Court Martial." I do like the way the director tracks the camera in "Shore Leave," and in terms of blocking and the like, it is a very good moment. In terms of action, I also like a lot of what is done during the Cestus III battle in "Arena," which despite its minimalist approach, is as inventive and framed as well as many films of the period, and in various moments in "Balance of Terror," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "This Side of Paradise," and "The Naked Time." Given the fact that "Balance of Terror" and "The Corbomite Maneuver" are essentially "bottle shows," I think the directors get a lot of mileage out of interesting camera work and effective use of close ups.
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Old May 16 2009, 07:46 AM   #9
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
A "great" cinematography moment for me comes in, sigh, "Spock's Brain" (I think" where Kirk walks across the viewscreen.

It's great because the image on the view-screen is rear-projected onto it and I believe it's the only time in TOS we see a character walk in front of the screen with an image displayed. (Usually we're shown the viewscreen with the image put in during post) This was likely a very complex shot for them to pull off in the mid-60s and it looks great.
Kirk and Spock scroll right in front of the main viewer displaying space at the tag of The Doomsday Machine in the previous season.
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Old May 16 2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
I'm watching Star Trek Season 1 (Episode: Shore Leave), and there's this particular scene down on the planet where Kirk, McCoy and Yeoman Barrows are discussing plant life when they hear a gun shot out of nowhere. Startled and concerned, they run across a field and through some trees while the music plays the main theme. I love this sequence, as the camera tracks along side and in front, and gives us a sweeping view of them running across an open area in the woods. I just find it to be a great moment. It's the live motion scene of this shot:



And I just think it's bang on about the best camera work I saw that episode. Anyone else see any great cinematography moments for the original series?

J.
That is a great sequence. It's also humorous to me how long these trained, supposedly very fit, Starfleet offers huff out of breath in the following scene.
To be fair.....this was probably like...take twenty or something And the actors were definitely out of breath.
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Old May 16 2009, 03:49 PM   #11
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

Have said this before, but THE single best sequence of the series, is the long tracking sot during Spock's breakdown in The Naked Time. Not only is beautifully written and acted, but Daniels and Finnerman NAILED it in ONE take - while the clock was ticking on the shooting schedule for the day!

There are a few other shots/sequences that Daniels and Finnerman also absolutely hit the bullseye on, that still reasonate emotionally to this day:

The entire last five minutes of The Menagerie after the viewer shuts off. Shatner and Nimoy have never been better, and when Spock wheels Pike out of the BR, after telling Kirk 'I believe I have handled this whole matter in a totally logical manner", THEN he lowers his head in a somber manner....it just gets ya right in the heart. And then, when the Keeper shows Kirk the rejuvenated Pike, after all the crap KIRK had been through, Kirk is able to show a smile for his old friends happiness, that too, is an amazing piece of acting and direction.

The business in MM where the MU Sulu tries to bully Spock about his orders to kill Kirk, and Spock totally sees through his 'threat', and basically tells him, "Don't fuck with me boy, I have Vulcans working for me!" - Sulu's reaction is PRICELESS....

When in DM, Decker trying to describe the planet killer, and then when Decker is in the shuttle, preparing himself for his doom,,amazing stuff!
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Old May 16 2009, 04:36 PM   #12
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

I've always like that Shore Leave sequence. The music is good then too.

If cinematography includes lighting, I will add two things that seem paradoxical. The red hue and shadows of the bridge lighting in season one; and the later splashes of pastels across the walls of sets.

Hey - how about the dolly shots from the point of view of Nomad, the Changeling?
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Old May 16 2009, 04:46 PM   #13
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

I could have done without the ubiquitous "Morticia Addams" light bars on Kirk's eyes...

But in general, Trek is quite well shot.
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Old May 16 2009, 09:57 PM   #14
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

Just to clarify, in this instance I consider "cinematography" to relate to anything on the screen that involves camera work (so that means lighting, tracking, coloration, etc.).


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Old May 17 2009, 12:41 AM   #15
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Re: Great Cinematography Moments

Neopeius wrote: View Post
I could have done without the ubiquitous "Morticia Addams" light bars on Kirk's eyes...
Ha! That is great. I actually like that effect. I wonder why.

I am glad to be back in this forum after spending some time in the very contentious STXI area. Be well!
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