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

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Old January 25 2013, 11:02 PM   #76
Metryq
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Christopher wrote: View Post
No, they just would've painted colored outlines onto animation cels and layered them on top of the existing cels of the characters.
Filmation apparently got fancy enough, at least with some of the shots, to use back-lit animation on the force fields (see below). This image also shows the offset I was talking about—notice the looseness on Sulu's right, the crowding on his left, and the wild offset on Spock. I would say this shot used a rotoscoped (hand-traced) outline. When it was backlit, the camera was soft-focused, rather than filtered with a diffuser. And that created the offset. Spock is farthest offset because his figure is small enough in the frame and farthest from center. I ran into this problem myself the first time I did some multiple exposures of exactly this sort on a slide duplicator.

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Old January 25 2013, 11:13 PM   #77
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

I don't think it's backlit; that technique was a little more advanced than what Filmation was working with in 1973-4 (though they did some pretty cutting-edge stuff with it starting with Flash Gordon in '79). Note that the yellow aura around Spock isn't really any brighter than the white crags of ice behind him. That looks more like a simple double exposure to me, with the aura cels shot out of focus to create the fuzzy quality. So yeah, they would've been shot separately, explaining the misalignment. But it might've been an in-camera double exposure rather than something involving an optical printer.
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Old January 25 2013, 11:33 PM   #78
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

If the premise is that misalignment must be explained by cels being shot separately, then how does one explain misalignments such as those of the elevator doors in the shot of Cyrano Jones standing on the bridge?

TrekCore images:
row 3, column 2 at http://tas.trekcore.com/gallery/thum...lbum=5&page=14
http://tas.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...rouble_246.jpg

Couldn't they have just airbrushed paint on cels to make the belt auras and shot them in one exposure with the rest of the elements, the way I assume they shot most every other frame?

Does anybody actually know how they did it?
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Old January 26 2013, 12:37 AM   #79
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

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If the premise is that misalignment must be explained by cels being shot separately, then how does one explain misalignments such as those of the elevator doors in the shot of Cyrano Jones standing on the bridge?
Just because that's one way images can be misaligned, that doesn't mean it's the only way. See what I said above about registration errors. That would be the reason for a misalignment most of the time in cel animation. Double exposures are a separate technique that would have their own distinct causes for a misalignment. In the former case, the misalignment would result from haste -- in going through the mechanical motions of switching out one cel for the next for the next and photographing them one at a time, a hurried animator might not notice if a cel is misaligned. In the latter case, the animators can't actually see the images together until the film is printed, so they'd be estimating their placement by measurement, and differences in focus or film printing might throw off the relative sizes of the two images, creating a misalignment as seen in the "Slaver Weapon" screencap above.


Couldn't they have just airbrushed paint on cels to make the belt auras and shot them in one exposure with the rest of the elements, the way I assume they shot most every other frame?
They probably did that on some occasions. But the blur on the auras around Spock and Sulu in the screencap above looks like an out-of-focus image, not an airbrushed line. Look how much fainter the Spock aura is -- it's a thinner line, so the width of the blur overwhelms it more than the thicker line around Sulu.

And if it had been airbrushed in a single exposure, it wouldn't explain the misalignment in that screencap. Note how the position errors get bigger the farther you get from the center of the image, as if the "aura" artwork was zoomed in more.

Although I suppose it's possible that it could be a cel that was positioned a bit closer to the camera rather than resting right on top of the others, so that it would be slightly out of focus. That would also explain the positioning issue. But it does look like a double exposure to me.
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Old January 26 2013, 12:41 AM   #80
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

So, the bottom line is that you don't know how they did it, correct? I don't know either; welcome to the club!
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Old January 26 2013, 01:13 AM   #81
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

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So, the bottom line is that you don't know how they did it, correct? I don't know either; welcome to the club!
No, that's not the bottom line at all. Lack of absolute certainty is not remotely the same as total ignorance. I've explained to you what the most likely possibilities are, based on general knowledge of the subject matter, observation of the data, and deductive reasoning. Or rather, I've explained what I'm reasonably certain the explanation is, but since I think intellectual honesty demands openness to alternatives, I've offered a second possibility as well, though I don't consider it as probable. I think if the "auras" cel were far enough above the other cels to be out of focus, it would also be far enough away that the difference in image size would be much more pronounced.

One cannot be intellectually responsible -- or honest with oneself or others -- if one does not admit the possibility that one's conclusions could be wrong. But that is not the same thing as knowing nothing. Honest doubt is not ignorance; it is simply willingness to question and learn.
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Old January 26 2013, 01:50 AM   #82
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

They should release the blu rays with one "track" being the regular show and the other being claymation. They should do that with TOS as well.
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Old January 26 2013, 02:06 AM   #83
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Christopher wrote: View Post
Lack of absolute certainty is not remotely the same as total ignorance. I've explained to you what the most likely possibilities are, based on general knowledge of the subject matter, observation of the data, and deductive reasoning. Or rather, I've explained what I'm reasonably certain the explanation is, but since I think intellectual honesty demands openness to alternatives, I've offered a second possibility as well, though I don't consider it as probable. I think if the "auras" cel were far enough above the other cels to be out of focus, it would also be far enough away that the difference in image size would be much more pronounced.

One cannot be intellectually responsible -- or honest with oneself or others -- if one does not admit the possibility that one's conclusions could be wrong. But that is not the same thing as knowing nothing. Honest doubt is not ignorance; it is simply willingness to question and learn.
I don't recall accusing you of being totally ignorant or knowing nothing.

I'm just trying to separate speculation and theory--however well informed and otherwise--from actual knowledge. I enjoy trying to figure out how things are done, but no matter what I come up with, I wasn't there looking over the shoulders of the artists watching all their techniques.

Maybe some of the books listed at http://www.danhausertrek.com/AnimatedSeries/Refs.html have some of the answers we're looking for here, according to people who were actually there and involved. Besides the new book Lou Scheimer: Creating The Filmation Generation, by Lou Scheimer with Andy Mangels, there's also Animation by Filmation by Michael Swanigan and Darrell McNeill. But I don't know what's in those two books, because I don't have them.
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Old January 26 2013, 03:59 AM   #84
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

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I don't recall accusing you of being totally ignorant or knowing nothing.
That's sure how that "welcome to the club" line sounded. It was needlessly dismissive.


I'm just trying to separate speculation and theory--however well informed and otherwise--from actual knowledge. I enjoy trying to figure out how things are done, but no matter what I come up with, I wasn't there looking over the shoulders of the artists watching all their techniques.
But we can narrow down the possibilities. I'm certain that the auras in that screencap are out of focus rather than airbrushed or backlit; all three look different, and that is definitely a focus effect. And there are only two possible ways that two images in the same frame of an animated cartoon could be differently focused. One is if they're double-exposed, and the other is if a multiplane camera was used. So we can say with confidence that it was done in one of those two ways. And I'm not sure Filmation had a multiplane camera at the time. I don't recall TAS doing any focus tricks to give a 3D appearance, with foreground and background objects being in different focus. And from the transparency of the yellow color in various other screencaps, I'd say it's far more likely a double exposure than a multiplane overlay.

However, in this screencap from the same episode, Uhura's force field aura definitely looks airbrushed instead:

http://tas.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...weapon_023.JPG

You can see that the edge of it has a subtly speckled effect, a telltale of airbrushing which is not present in the earlier screencap.

Looking over the force field belt shots in other episodes, like "Beyond the Farthest Star," shows clearly that the look of the auras differed from shot to shot. So I think we can reliably conclude that they used more than one technique. Some shots did indeed use airbrushing, others probably used double exposure. So some could've used some kind of multiplane effect as well, though that's iffy. As is usually the case in animation and special effects, they used whatever technique worked best for each shot, rather than relying on only a single technique throughout.
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Old January 26 2013, 08:52 AM   #85
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Christopher wrote: View Post
There's also the matter of visibility. Characters in animation need to be easily distinguishable on sight. Putting them in spacesuits would've made it harder to tell who was who in a long shot. The force field belts let viewers see the characters just as clearly as they could normally.

I'm not sure that is entirely true. Hanna-Barbera's Sealab: 2020 (1972) regularly featured characters in the oft-used "duty" uniforms, but had the smae characters in diving suits where the face was covered save for the mask, whether it was a close-up or wide, and this period of H-B animation was as cost-cutting (already produced out of America) as other U.S. animation houses. That said, I don't think TAS risked breaking the budget or confusing viewers with TOS-styled spacesuits.


Certainly, the force field version took less labor to execute, but this was a series where a host of new aliens, TOS characters, etc., with elaborate costume designs were the rule, not the exception.
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Old January 26 2013, 01:53 PM   #86
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

No relevance to the interesting discussion but I'm a big fan of the animated series.
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Old January 26 2013, 03:29 PM   #87
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
I'm not sure that is entirely true. Hanna-Barbera's Sealab: 2020 (1972) regularly featured characters in the oft-used "duty" uniforms, but had the smae characters in diving suits where the face was covered save for the mask, whether it was a close-up or wide, and this period of H-B animation was as cost-cutting (already produced out of America) as other U.S. animation houses.
I watched plenty of '70s Hanna-Barbera animation growing up, so just because H-B did something, I don't consider that to be evidence that it was a good idea artistically.
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Old January 27 2013, 08:21 PM   #88
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Christopher wrote: View Post
I watched plenty of '70s Hanna-Barbera animation growing up, so just because H-B did something, I don't consider that to be evidence that it was a good idea artistically.
You were not arguing the artistic value with:

Characters in animation need to be easily distinguishable on sight. Putting them in spacesuits would've made it harder to tell who was who in a long shot. The force field belts let viewers see the characters just as clearly as they could normally
That was an argument of being practical for the sake of character recognition. The point was that character recognition (your point) was possible and proven in a series which mirrored ST to some degree. The TOS spacesuits could have been used for continuity's sake, and not sacrifice the audience's ability to recognize characters no matter their placement in a scene, just as it was accomplished on Sealab: 2020.
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Old January 27 2013, 08:32 PM   #89
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

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The TOS spacesuits could have been used for continuity's sake
I think I would have gladly tossed continuity aside in the case of the environment suits. The design from TOS was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. What the heck were they thinking with that helmet?It was like horse blinders on the sides and two or three times as tall as necessary.
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Old January 27 2013, 10:36 PM   #90
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Re: Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Metryq wrote: View Post
I think I would have gladly tossed continuity aside in the case of the environment suits. The design from TOS was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. What the heck were they thinking with that helmet?It was like horse blinders on the sides and two or three times as tall as necessary.
Let's remember that the series aired during the height of the space race. Audiences were well aware what a real NASA EVA suit looked like, so the producers had to go for an exotic look.

I think the tall helmet and the silver suit were deliberately designed to evoke allusions to robots. After all, in zero gravity and space your movement becomes different, so I think the design was rather good than bad (maybe in real life the "horse blinders" would have shiffted position depending on your eye movement).

However, the name tags were somewhat odd. In case you got lost or separated, someone else finding your body would at least be able to identify you by your name.

Bob
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