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Old March 13 2011, 05:32 PM   #1111
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I don't recall making the fallacy of equating materials with design. In case my point wasn't clear, I'll rephrase. I was saying that there are many reasons why TOS-faithful designs cannot be used on the big screen, including but not limited to what materials the set appears to be made out of. I listed several other additional reasons. There are probably more.
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Old March 13 2011, 05:43 PM   #1112
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Show me where the bridge was INTENDED to look like painted plywood. Because that is precisely the case you're making, that it wasn't just made from conventional materials available at the time, but that it was INTENDED to look like it was made from conventional materials.

Otherwise, Farmer Ted, there's the Sinai, get crackin'.
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Old March 13 2011, 05:55 PM   #1113
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

No, you misunderstand what I said, pal. Of course they didn't intend it to look like plywood. At the magnification of the big screen, it simply does look like plywood. Anyway, what you think I said is not what I said, and nor was it what I intended to say.
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Old March 13 2011, 06:13 PM   #1114
USS Intrepid
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
No, you misunderstand what I said, pal. Of course they didn't intend it to look like plywood. At the magnification of the big screen, it simply does look like plywood. Anyway, what you think I said is not what I said, and nor was it what I intended to say.
For what it's worth I thought you were pretty clear on that point.

I also agree that making the exact same set out of metal wouldn't make much difference. The original series designs would not work in a modern, multi-million dollar, commercial motion picture.
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Old March 13 2011, 06:38 PM   #1115
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Thank you, Nick. And thanks for pointing out that being a critic is easy, but being responsible for $150M takes more than a big mouth.
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Old March 13 2011, 07:27 PM   #1116
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Having seen remastered The Menagerie on the big screen, I can tell you that when seen on the big screen, the TOS sets look like they were made out of wood.
That seems pretty clear to me... you think the design (no matter what it be made of) will turn that material into wood.

Like I said, I'm unable to follow how you see the original designs performing this form of alchemy.

Do you fix the fact that not all of the controls are, shall we say, practical or functional? Don't you think that on the bridge more informative and especially dynamic graphics should be present in at least some of the panels of blinking and flashing lights, besides and including the engineering station?
The sets in STXI weren't any more or less functional than TOS... less so if you consider that the characters in STXI would have had to fight to see anything on the bridge through the lights being shined in their eyes. The audience could hardly see any details in STXI because of how it was filmed.

People who didn't get Star Trek before aren't going to be watching to see if the controls are practical/functional in any way... in fact, the background stuff should only be enough to place the characters in the story, and then the characters become the focus. Normal audience viewers don't need realism that can't be seen on screen, and the stories don't need props to include functionality that isn't part of the plot.

It is funny, if you take apart TOS design elements (to the basic elements), and then examine them, you can filter out aspects that truly are dated without having to do something completely different. If we look at Jefferies' original design for a standard bridge station, and look at the cross-sectional curve... what about that curve is "60s" or non-functional or unrealistic (or could turn gold into wood)?


Other than it having been around in the 1960s, what makes it unusable today?

Doing something different to do something different is great... if you are really doing something different. Why not do something non-Trek if that was your goal?

There seems to be a lot of laziness in Hollywood these days... or attempts to ride on the successes of past artists. And even if studios wanted to keep things like Star Trek around, it would be refreshing to only make a movie if a compelling story pops up first... rather than trying to compel a story to meet a release date.

Unfortunately, that is the real failing of any movie franchise (and why Trek isn't really good movie material... the best Trek stories would never make it to the big screen anyways).
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Old March 13 2011, 08:04 PM   #1117
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Shaw wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Having seen remastered The Menagerie on the big screen, I can tell you that when seen on the big screen, the TOS sets look like they were made out of wood.
That seems pretty clear to me... you think the design (no matter what it be made of) will turn that material into wood.

Like I said, I'm unable to follow how you see the original designs performing this form of alchemy.
I just don't know how to reply to this.
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Old March 13 2011, 08:19 PM   #1118
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I"m not getting involved in the debate, except to say that the design of the TOS bridge does not scream "1960s" to me, with the exceptions of the "Burke chairs" and the control panels, given the current trend toward touchscreens, "glass cockpits" and the like.

The remaining TOS sets scream not so much "1960s" as "1960s TV show," given their plainness. I love the use of colored lighting in the sets, but the plain, light gray walls of virtually every set except the bridge just look cheap today. The sparseness of the engine room's control panels along the side wall is particularly indicative of a show that didn't have a lot of money to throw around.

TOS is my favorite Trek TV series, but it, like its successors, is very much a product of its time.
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Old March 13 2011, 09:45 PM   #1119
Shaw
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Shaw wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Having seen remastered The Menagerie on the big screen, I can tell you that when seen on the big screen, the TOS sets look like they were made out of wood.
That seems pretty clear to me... you think the design (no matter what it be made of) will turn that material into wood.

Like I said, I'm unable to follow how you see the original designs performing this form of alchemy.
I just don't know how to reply to this.
You said something looks like they were made out of wood... if no wood is showing, and everything is painted, how does a design look like wood?

I've made a number of props/replicas, and I often started with wood, got the shape/contours I wanted, then made a mold and made the final pieces from plastic/urethane. The final pieces looked identical to the original, and many times after making the mold I painted the wood master like the copies. Without holding them, you couldn't generally tell which was which.

I'm guessing that you are seeing wood because you are expecting to see wood... not that you are actually seeing wood. Because you know that the sets are made of wood, you associate wood with the designs. So it wasn't poor design, you decided to ruin the magic for yourself.

That is a bias on your part... not on the average viewer. If the average viewer doesn't know (or care), then they aren't going to be seeing wood. They are going to see the design.

A few years back Ptrope did a beautiful reworking of the bridge stations starting with the basic elements from the design as seen in The Cage. Of course, much of what he incorporated the producers of TOS wanted... but couldn't afford (as every active display on the bridge required a projectionist by union rules... and I think there are nearly 60 displays on the TOS bridge).

To date, I can only think of one instance where I saw wood (actual wood, not imaginary wood) in TOS, and that was in a hole in the deck that Charlie was looking through.



I noticed that size was brought up... spacecraft should feel cramped and claustrophobic. Space is a hostile environment, which is why you need spacecraft... and it is part of the drama. That has been lost today.

I mean, maybe audiences don't want to see things like that. I thought that Master and Commander was the best Trek movie to make it to the big screen, but I guess it didn't do that well because it wasn't realistic enough for modern audiences.



USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
The original series designs would not work in a modern, multi-million dollar, commercial motion picture.
Actually, the original designs would work just fine... if you actually had a compelling story. The problem with space movies these days is that movie companies aren't concerned with story... they want as much flash as possible.

Any setting... even the original set designs for Forbidden Planet would work today if they are supporting a compelling story.

Weak stories need a lot of things to distract the audience from their shortcomings... and under those circumstances, no, the standard TOS designs aren't flashy enough.

While I liked STXI, it lost a lot by the third viewing because it was more of a ride than a compelling story. And it needed everything Hollywood could provide to keep the audience's attention off the story (the weakest part of the movie).

All movie productions could learn from Pixar... story is king!
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Old March 13 2011, 09:52 PM   #1120
USS Intrepid
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Shaw wrote: View Post
USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
The original series designs would not work in a modern, multi-million dollar, commercial motion picture.
Actually, the original designs would work just fine... if you actually had a compelling story. The problem with space movies these days is that movie companies aren't concerned with story... they want as much flash as possible.

Any setting... even the original set designs for Forbidden Planet would work today if they are supporting a compelling story.
Then we'll have to agree to disagree, because while I agree that story is king, I doubt most members of the movie-going public would pay to see a *serious* multi-million dollar movie using those sets. What fans will pay for, and what fans want to see, is not the same as what the general public is willing to pay for. And it's the general public who will make or break any movie, not a subset of hard core fans.

Wrath of Khan was a compelling story, but do you *really* believe it would have broken even if it had used exactly the same sets as the original series? And that was almost 30 years ago. Today's audience is vastly more demanding.
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Old March 13 2011, 10:21 PM   #1121
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

I've seen movies that had better stories and characters than the blockbusters bomb simply because they didn't have the visual scope to compete. There is nothing that can be put into a commercial theatrical movie story that can't be done just as well on television now - what makes a skiffy movie competitive in the current market is mainly visual - delivering things that you can't see on television, because they're still beyond budget practicality for that medium.
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Old March 13 2011, 10:39 PM   #1122
Shaw
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
Then we'll have to agree to disagree, because while I agree that story is king, I doubt most members of the movie-going public would pay to see a *serious* multi-million dollar movie using those sets. What fans will pay for, and what fans want to see, is not the same as what the general public is willing to pay for. And it's the general public who will make or break any movie, not a subset of hard core fans.

Wrath of Khan was a compelling story, but do you *really* believe it would have broken even if it had used exactly the same sets as the original series? And that was almost 30 years ago. Today's audience is vastly more demanding.
Demanding of what?

They don't know what the future is like, and most aspects of the tech should be kept vague.

Are you arguing that because people saw it 45 years ago that it won't work today? Or are you saying that people who would go see a space movie today are really looking for something more like a video game?

I ask the question earlier... you could answer it now... what is wrong with the curves drawn by Jefferies?

As for what people are willing to watch... 99% of movies don't work from that formula. Are you saying that Pearl Harbor would have been a better movie with nuclear carriers and stealth fighters? Where is all the shiny stuff in the Harry Potter movies? Why didn't they set Sherlock Holmes in a contemporary environment?

These are multi-million dollar movies... and they work.

I've never argued that the original sets (as built for the series) should be used... but there is nothing wrong with the original designs. And a multi-million dollar budget could do those designs the justice they deserve.

And no, I didn't find Wrath of Khan that compelling a story. To date, no Star Trek film has had a truly compelling story. A compelling Trek story, should be compelling even if it wasn't a Trek story. If the story can't stand on it's own without Trek attached, it isn't truly compelling.

But yeah, I think it would have done just as well had the original set designs been rebuilt using the technologies of the 1980s. I'm not suggesting keeping the limitations of the 1960's (or a television show)... I'm suggesting using the designer's vision of the future with what we have available today. That might not work for some "purists", but there is nothing that would hurt it with an audience.

There is nothing wrong with the cross sectional curve shown in that Jefferies drawing... there is nothing that dates or compromises it. And it is functional. Should it be implemented the exact same way today as they did in 1966... of course not. Fan films do because they are catering to the fans... but then again, most fan films are as limited budget wise as TOS originally was.

So, I'll ask again... looking at the Jefferies drawing (and nothing else from TOS, just the drawing by itself), what is wrong with it that audiences wouldn't accept today?
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Old March 13 2011, 11:18 PM   #1123
USS Intrepid
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Shaw wrote: View Post
Demanding of what?
Of something that doesn't look like it was made on a shoestring for a TV budget. Something that looks substantial, and that isn't going to fall over if you lean on it. Really, if you can't get that then there's no pint even debating this.

Shaw wrote: View Post
They don't know what the future is like, and most aspects of the tech should be kept vague.
Which is also completely irrelevant. There isn't a right or wrong 'vision' of the future, but that's got nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Shaw wrote: View Post
Are you arguing that because people saw it 45 years ago that it won't work today? Or are you saying that people who would go see a space movie today are really looking for something more like a video game?
Hardly. I'm saying those sets will not work today because they do not and will not look in any way convincing compared to contemporary designs. I'm not saying they are right or wrong, just that they will not sell.

Shaw wrote: View Post
I ask the question earlier... you could answer it now... what is wrong with the curves drawn by Jefferies?
Nothing. I never said there was anything *wrong* with it. Nobody did.

Shaw wrote: View Post
As for what people are willing to watch... 99% of movies don't work from that formula. Are you saying that Pearl Harbor would have been a better movie with nuclear carriers and stealth fighters? Where is all the shiny stuff in the Harry Potter movies? Why didn't they set Sherlock Holmes in a contemporary environment?

These are multi-million dollar movies... and they work.
Which again is completely beside the point. Those are period pieces, of course they should use authentic designs. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. Star Trek is not a period piece. It's a work of fiction that needs to look good enough that its intended audience will suspend belief. Expecting anyone other than dedicated fans to take the original sets seriously is just blinkered.

Shaw wrote: View Post
I've never argued that the original sets (as built for the series) should be used... but there is nothing wrong with the original designs. And a multi-million dollar budget could do those designs the justice they deserve.
And on that we disagree. Those sets, updated, *might* look good for a TV series, but not for a major motion picture.

Shaw wrote: View Post
And no, I didn't find Wrath of Khan that compelling a story. To date, no Star Trek film has had a truly compelling story. A compelling Trek story, should be compelling even if it wasn't a Trek story. If the story can't stand on it's own without Trek attached, it isn't truly compelling.
Whether you found TWOK compelling or not isn't the point. It's purely an example.

Shaw wrote: View Post
But yeah, I think it would have done just as well had the original set designs been rebuilt using the technologies of the 1980s. I'm not suggesting keeping the limitations of the 1960's (or a television show)... I'm suggesting using the designer's vision of the future with what we have available today. That might not work for some "purists", but there is nothing that would hurt it with an audience.
Which is really no different from what anyone else has been saying. So why are we arguing about it?

Shaw wrote: View Post
There is nothing wrong with the cross sectional curve shown in that Jefferies drawing... there is nothing that dates or compromises it. And it is functional. Should it be implemented the exact same way today as they did in 1966... of course not. Fan films do because they are catering to the fans... but then again, most fan films are as limited budget wise as TOS originally was.
Most fanfilms are vastly more budget-limited than the original series. And again, I never said there as anything wrong with Jefferies' work, please stop implying otherwise.

Shaw wrote: View Post
So, I'll ask again... looking at the Jefferies drawing (and nothing else from TOS, just the drawing by itself), what is wrong with it that audiences wouldn't accept today?
I'd argue we got just that anyway with the Kelvin bridge.
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Old March 13 2011, 11:20 PM   #1124
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

Shaw wrote: View Post
I'm guessing that you are seeing wood because you are expecting to see wood... not that you are actually seeing wood. Because you know that the sets are made of wood, you associate wood with the designs. So it wasn't poor design, you decided to ruin the magic for yourself.
Please don't presume to know my thought processes.

Given the smoothness of the surface, its polish, and the look of the reflections, the helm and navigation console, for example, looks like wood painted black to me. Unpainted molded colored plastic is often not as smooth and hardly reflects at all. Unpainted metal surfaces might be that smooth, but they produce sharper reflections. Sure, I don't know what it is made of based on appearances alone, but there are plenty of things in my everyday experience that this does look exactly like, and those things are all wood painted black.

And before you say, but it could be painted plastic or painted metal, I have to ask why would it be painted at all? Paint will chip, and a starship should not allow even the possibility of chipped paint on the surface of its consoles. If color is a feature then it should be the alloy or plastic itself that has the color, and that's my expectation.

And anyway, I wouldn't expect console surfaces to be pure metal. I imagine plastic would make a better insulator. Goodness knows how often the crew gets shocked. All this means that the consoles appear too smooth in the TOS sets.

There are many other examples worth discussing, but not in what feels like a highly adversarial climate. So, I'm going to follow Intrepid's lead and agree to disagree. I've spent enough time on this issue for now.
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Old March 13 2011, 11:52 PM   #1125
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Re: Whatever happened to Starship Exeter?

It's not even a matter of "thought processes." It looks like wood...because it looks like wood. More precisely, examined in HD most of the TOS sets either have visible wood grain or are finished in the kind of matte interior wall paints that are hard to mistake for anything else and which betray all kinds of imperfections and seams in the material surface.

I'm guessing that some people don't see this because they choose not to, just as they choose to imagine some possible "control interface" logic to backlit plastic cubes placed in arcs and crosses that are duplicated from "station" to "station" and set to set.

The essential design and visual appeal of Jefferies' bridge has in fact continued to be the template for every "Starfleet bridge" up to and including the bridge of the JJPrise, and that's what reveals the guy's design genius - his reported complaint that, for example, the control center of the Enterprise D was a conversion of his military operations center into a hotel lounge really missed the point. We've still got the big window/TV up front, the navigator and weapons guy in front of where the captain sits in the middle of the circle, an elevator or two or three and all the other stations arranged in arcs of however many degrees around them, all in contrasting colors and all installed on several levels to make things interesting for the camera - and that's always the same.
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