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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old June 19 2009, 02:33 PM   #1
Urge
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Computer-animated, or models on strings?

When watching TNG episodes, it looks to me like they are computer-animated, something that I thought was a bold move, because computer-animation was so new in 1987 when they started the show (or was it 88?) Im also impressed with the learning-curve, it seems to me like the scenes from outside the enterprise are improving greatly in quality during season 1.

But when I watched the extras they said that it was all non-digital, and the extra-effects dude talked about how they had used different non-digital tricks in order to create some of the different things like stars, radiation hitting the shields, and other things happening outside Enterprise.

So is the Enterprise and the other ships in the next generation models hanging from strings like in the original series? It looks digital to me, but with more lights and detail. If Enterprise is a model-ship, it is probably a very big model.

Also (even though its slightly outside this sub-forum) Im wondering about the same things with Voyager. The effects are much better there, but on some close-ups on different ships it looks more like models then computeranimation.
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Old June 19 2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

The Enterprise miniatures used in TOS never hung from strings during the production of that series. TNG's miniatures didn't hang from strings either.
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Old June 19 2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

For the original series, the models were stationary. They were sturdily mounted so they didn't move. No strings, no wires. The camera was the only thing which moved.
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Old June 19 2009, 04:33 PM   #4
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

DS9 VGR and ENT were the only shows to use CGI and even then DS9 and VGR mostly used models

DS9 didn't begin to use CG until around halfway through the series (I'm talking for hero ships mainly)
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Old June 19 2009, 05:42 PM   #5
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Okay, not models hanging from strings, but models.

That means it has been a lot of improvement with that . Even though its the same technique, DS9, TNG and VGR looks a lot better then TOS.
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Old June 19 2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Of course it is going to look better. There was about 20 years of advancement in the field between TOS and TNG.
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Old June 19 2009, 07:24 PM   #7
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

backstept wrote: View Post
DS9 VGR and ENT were the only shows to use CGI and even then DS9 and VGR mostly used models

DS9 didn't begin to use CG until around halfway through the series (I'm talking for hero ships mainly)
Not entirely true. A very crude CGI model of the Enteprise was used in "The Ensigns of Command" when the Enterprise is up against a Shelliak ship, the alien space-baby "Junior" was CGI, there's a shot in "Masks" of the Enterprise vaporizing an asteroid with a hidden artifact in it that's CGI and most of the time when we see people in the "empty" holodeck the holodeck grid-room is CGI. (IIRC. they has smaller holodeck "room" in practical but they also at times used CGI to represent a much larger, and vaster, holodeck room.

Now, granted, they didn't use a *lot* of CGI. But they did use some.

But, yes, the vast majoirty of SFX ship shots were practical using models. The Enterpise had a Six-Foot and Four-Foot model that were used (and I believe even at times a small Two-Foot model) for SFX shots. It was sturdily mounted on likely a steel pole and was mostly stationairy. I don't think any legit production outside of Ed Wood movies or other horrendously low-budget movies from the early eras of film used "models on strings."
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Old June 19 2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Gerry Anderson made strings work like magic.
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Old June 20 2009, 04:59 AM   #9
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Did we ever find an independent reference for that model of the Enterprise in "The Ensigns of Command" being cg, other than one web article written by the person that originally posted that in another thread on this board?
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Old June 20 2009, 06:00 AM   #10
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Urge wrote: View Post
When watching TNG episodes, it looks to me like they are computer-animated, something that I thought was a bold move, because computer-animation was so new in 1987 when they started the show (or was it 88?) Im also impressed with the learning-curve, it seems to me like the scenes from outside the enterprise are improving greatly in quality during season 1.

But when I watched the extras they said that it was all non-digital, and the extra-effects dude talked about how they had used different non-digital tricks in order to create some of the different things like stars, radiation hitting the shields, and other things happening outside Enterprise.

So is the Enterprise and the other ships in the next generation models hanging from strings like in the original series? It looks digital to me, but with more lights and detail. If Enterprise is a model-ship, it is probably a very big model.

Also (even though its slightly outside this sub-forum) Im wondering about the same things with Voyager. The effects are much better there, but on some close-ups on different ships it looks more like models then computeranimation.
The E-D was shot with motion control rigs controlled by computers at Image G, much like the kind invented for Star Wars in 1977. Nothing new there. Most of ST was shot with physical models till late DS9/mid-Voyager.

http://www.imageg.com/

This was CGI:



So was this:



..and this:



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Old June 20 2009, 01:57 PM   #11
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I don't think any legit production outside of Ed Wood movies or other horrendously low-budget movies from the early eras of film used "models on strings."
The Romulan ship in Balance Of Terror was hung from wires.
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Old June 20 2009, 03:35 PM   #12
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

The Pilot/Season 1 Enterprise D was an awesome seven foot model created by ILM.
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Old June 20 2009, 04:14 PM   #13
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

TigerOfDarkness wrote: View Post
Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I don't think any legit production outside of Ed Wood movies or other horrendously low-budget movies from the early eras of film used "models on strings."
The Romulan ship in Balance Of Terror was hung from wires.
This is the first I've heard that. It's possible, but are we sure? They did all the other model that I know of work on pylons.

ManaByte wrote: View Post
The Pilot/Season 1 Enterprise D was an awesome seven foot model created by ILM.
Six-foot. They made it to 1/350 scale.
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Old June 20 2009, 06:53 PM   #14
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Forbin wrote: View Post
TigerOfDarkness wrote: View Post
Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
I don't think any legit production outside of Ed Wood movies or other horrendously low-budget movies from the early eras of film used "models on strings."
The Romulan ship in Balance Of Terror was hung from wires.
This is the first I've heard that. It's possible, but are we sure? They did all the other model that I know of work on pylons.
John Peel's Star Trek Files magazine issue called The Star Trek That Almost Was ((c) 1985 Psi Fi Movie Press Inc) has a number of "behind the scenes" photo's as illustrations. On page 20 (where he discusses John Meredith's The Lost Star) there is a photo showing the model suspended from some sort of rig that appears to be rotatable - there are signs of horizontal strings/ropes attached to the rig.

In the same series, the issue called The Star Trek That Never Was (same copyright), the photo on page 30 shows someone holding a clapper board under the model - there is clearly no pole supporting it.

In neither of these photos are strings visible, though they must be there.
Also neither of these photos are identified with any caption, however it is clear what they are.

(as a side note, the blurb on the back of these issues is the wrong way 'round - the cover for The Star Trek That Never was should be attached to The Star Trek That Almost Was and vice versa.)
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Old June 22 2009, 04:29 AM   #15
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Re: Computer-animated, or models on strings?

Trekfan21 wrote: View Post
Did we ever find an independent reference for that model of the Enterprise in "The Ensigns of Command" being cg, other than one web article written by the person that originally posted that in another thread on this board?
No we did not. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last posts in that thread pretty much nailed that it was NOT CG.

As for wirework, it was often used for lightweight models. A series of wires creates a surprisingly rigid suspension system for animation of miniatures.

Even THE ABYSS and HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER often used wire rig systems for small and very large submarine miniatures, in addition to the pole mounted stuff.
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