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

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Old June 12 2013, 05:31 AM   #31
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
I thought one of the vfx houses did shoot the close shots of the E pivoting (like the ones seen on the 'next episode' intro) against a practical starfield. I mean, they're in really close and there's not a matte line I can see in standard def.
Looks pretty matted to me in HD.

http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x...yiushd1399.jpg

If you blink these two pictures, the stars are in motion:

http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x...yiushd1398.jpg

http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x...yiushd1399.jpg

It's definitely a bluescreen composite shot.
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Old June 12 2013, 06:37 AM   #32
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
And UFO:



The scene above looks brighter and sharper than the CGI of today. Boy does it look good.
It does look good, but I think one of the problems with it is that the depth of field isn't great enough. The ground in the bottom foreground being out of focus gives a definite vibe of "this was a model".

Another problem is that perhaps the lighting doesn't really seem bright enough for real daylight. Also, some of the shadows could be sharper.

Edit: To clarify, in real sunlight, the primary light source is, for all practical purposes, infinitely far away, and it's not a point source. But, in this scene, it looks to me like the light source is aimed at the mobiles, so that it doesn't strike the foreground with equal intensity, and it makes the shadows in the foreground more diffuse than those near the mobiles. The brush does a fair job of fudging that, I think, but it's not perfect.

One other thing is that I'm not convinced that the color of the sunlight is quite right, but that perception could be off and due to a lot of factors.
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Old June 12 2013, 06:48 AM   #33
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
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That's usually an artistic difference, rather than a technological one. Today's rendering engines are extremely good, but that's no guarantee the artist will use it in a photo-realistic manner. In fact, while CGI rendering engines have gotten better, moviemakers have trended towards a more stylized look even with live action—such as the dreaded "teal & orange" grading. Ironically, it is the CGI stuff that has realistic light and color, while live action is now filtered to death.

(Check out any of Andrew Price's tutorials.)

I believe that. I often find myself yearning for some natural brightness and, heaven forbid, some primary colors in today's sci-fi movies.

Stay clear of THE LONE RANGER, it looks like it was shot on the PITCH BLACK planet (director and DP didn't want blue skies or gold sands.)
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Old June 12 2013, 05:54 PM   #34
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
I wonder how the 33-inch Enterprise model might have looked on wires, in front of paintings.
Like a plastic model in front of a painting. If the 33-inch had the detailing of the new Round2 version of this scale, perhaps using it as a primary miniature would work, but it would still be a tough sale due to the fictional size of the ship. That's why the best Seaview miniatures for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea were of the larger scale, as the detail and scale in ocean surface shots played as real, while the smaller versions looked like someone pushing the Aurora model kit through a swimming pool.


Not only was the 11-footer too big to put in front of paintings, they say it was too big to photograph in a versatile way, period. Or the fx studio space they had was too small
I think the "limitations" of the 11 footer movement added to the idea that it was a massive vessel, which made the "warp" flybys even more impressive.

If the 11-footer were in a larger studio, they could have put it in front of a black curtain with lit pin-holes for stars. You could put a physical planet model in the shot. It would either look "wonderfully organic" or cheesy beyond all measure. Don't know which.
Cheesy. It would be no more convincing than a window display of AMT ST kits I recall from childhood--cool in a play value kind of way, but not anything to sell to audiences.
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Old June 12 2013, 06:59 PM   #35
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

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I think both shows would have benefited from mixing the approaches.
Agree. Based on the results we saw on both series.
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Old June 14 2013, 07:40 PM   #36
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

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I love the "organic" quality of in-camera miniatures, such as LOST IN SPACE or SPACE: 1999, but mixing them with opticals might have looked discontinuous.
Actually, Space:1999 did mix the methods. When taking off, flying through atmospheres and landing on surfaces, the Eagles were models on wires on tabletop sets in front of backdrops. However, for the most part, Eagles in space were composite shots. I don't have an image to put up, but if you get an opportunity to pop in an episode, space shots of Eagles and other crafts usually are in a part of the screen with no stars. There could be a starless path or the bottom third, say, of the screen would have no stars and the ship would be in that area. This way no stars would show through the shadowed portions of the models.

In the first episode of the second year, The Metamorph, an Eagle breaks free of a magnetic force. we see it pivot and tilt away from the camera, but we can spot stars showing through the dark areas of the miniature.
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Old June 14 2013, 07:54 PM   #37
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
However, for the most part, Eagles in space were composite shots. I don't have an image to put up, but if you get an opportunity to pop in an episode, space shots of Eagles and other crafts usually are in a part of the screen with no stars. There could be a starless path or the bottom third, say, of the screen would have no stars and the ship would be in that area. This way no stars would show through the shadowed portions of the models.
That sounds like the same kind of in-camera compositing done by Filmation's Space Academy. Rather than using an optical printer and mattes to combine separate strips of film, which would result in loss of resolution, they'd film one image element, then rewind the exposed film in the camera, then double-expose the next element onto the same length of film, and so on until they had a final, first-generation composite shot. They used the same technique of leaving gaps in the starfield for the ships flying through the frame.

So that's not really the same as the bluescreen process ST used, because there are no mattes involved -- otherwise you wouldn't need the gap in the starscape to avoid image bleedthrough, since that's what the mattes are for. Unless what you're saying is that they created mattes using pure light/shadow contrast rather than a bluescreen, in which case the shadowed portions of the ship would just be missing from the image. That seems unlikely, though.
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Old June 14 2013, 10:15 PM   #38
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Christopher wrote: View Post
ssosmcin wrote: View Post
However, for the most part, Eagles in space were composite shots. I don't have an image to put up, but if you get an opportunity to pop in an episode, space shots of Eagles and other crafts usually are in a part of the screen with no stars. There could be a starless path or the bottom third, say, of the screen would have no stars and the ship would be in that area. This way no stars would show through the shadowed portions of the models.
That sounds like the same kind of in-camera compositing done by Filmation's Space Academy. Rather than using an optical printer and mattes to combine separate strips of film, which would result in loss of resolution, they'd film one image element, then rewind the exposed film in the camera, then double-expose the next element onto the same length of film, and so on until they had a final, first-generation composite shot. They used the same technique of leaving gaps in the starfield for the ships flying through the frame.

So that's not really the same as the bluescreen process ST used, because there are no mattes involved -- otherwise you wouldn't need the gap in the starscape to avoid image bleedthrough, since that's what the mattes are for. Unless what you're saying is that they created mattes using pure light/shadow contrast rather than a bluescreen, in which case the shadowed portions of the ship would just be missing from the image. That seems unlikely, though.
Yeah, the wind back and double-expose in camera is how nearly all of 1999's work was done. If you look at some of ALIEN, the same thing was done there (there is a different quality of black to the space the ship passes through than the rest of frame in some shots as well.) The 'sophisticated grid' work they talked about on ALIEN was the same grid they used in 1999 to make sure the ship wasn't overlapping anything.

It was done far more expertly in MOONRAKER, which has very few opticals, and has got one shot with about 45 passes in-camera.
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Old June 14 2013, 10:45 PM   #39
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

trevanian wrote: View Post
there is a different quality of black to the space the ship passes through than the rest of frame in some shots as well.
A "different quality black" is usually indicative of laboratory opticals, rather than in-camera latent image photography. I can't speak with any authority on ALIEN, as I don't remember much—if anything—I might have read about the VFX work.




In a pre-digital age, laboratory opticals had the advantage of control, while in-camera latent image composites had the advantage of "latitude"—the light energy of the real scene is quite different from the limited bandwidth that can be captured on film. So again, mis-matched blacks are usually a sign of lab work. Although the cinematographers may have used a matte box on the camera to control the exposure zones.
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Old June 14 2013, 11:02 PM   #40
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

trevanian wrote: View Post
It was done far more expertly in MOONRAKER, which has very few opticals, and has got one shot with about 45 passes in-camera.
Those shots are beautiful - Adam's design for the Moonraker-station is just epic, IMO.
It's really a shame there is a boom-arm to which one of the Moonraker-shuttles is fixed to is so damn visible.
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Old June 15 2013, 09:39 PM   #41
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Metryq wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
there is a different quality of black to the space the ship passes through than the rest of frame in some shots as well.
A "different quality black" is usually indicative of laboratory opticals, rather than in-camera latent image photography. I can't speak with any authority on ALIEN, as I don't remember much—if anything—I might have read about the VFX work.




In a pre-digital age, laboratory opticals had the advantage of control, while in-camera latent image composites had the advantage of "latitude"—the light energy of the real scene is quite different from the limited bandwidth that can be captured on film. So again, mis-matched blacks are usually a sign of lab work. Although the cinematographers may have used a matte box on the camera to control the exposure zones.
Just to clarify, what we're seing there are the outlines of the garbage mattes used to obliterate anything non-blue in the element (light stands, etc.). The lighter areas around the objects are the areas which are not garbage matted out, which are exposed to more light than the matted out areas.
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Old June 15 2013, 11:43 PM   #42
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

^Right. Ideally the blue should've been completely filtered out and left only black behind, but a little bit of light did make it through the filters.

However, it should be noted that the garbage-matte halos were more subtle on the feature film screen, otherwise ILM never would've found the results acceptable. The halos became far more visible once the film was converted to video and broadcast on television, due to, I guess, the conversion process increasing the contrast somehow.
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Old June 16 2013, 01:06 AM   #43
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Christopher wrote: View Post
The halos became far more visible once the film was converted to video and broadcast on television, due to, I guess, the conversion process increasing the contrast somehow.

When I saw STAR TREK III in HD on a cable channel, I recall that the spaceship fx at the Genesis planet were a wreck. Those roughly shaped "garbage" halos were hugely noticeable. And when the Klingon ship is cloaked and all you're supposed to see is a twinkle of stars on the bridge viewscreen, you can instead see the whole Bird of Prey, plain as anything.
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Old June 16 2013, 01:47 AM   #44
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

I understand garbage mattes. The exposure between the extracted matte and the garbage matte can be adjusted by pushing the contrast—which affects only the matte, not the element being matted—but there are trade-offs from this approach. I agree that the STAR WARS shot was not an ideal example.

The image below, from George Pal's THE TIME MACHINE, better illustrates what I meant by mis-matched blacks. There are three elements here: the park on the left, the city street on the right, and the matte painting of the city in the background. Even if the matte lines between the elements were not visible, the "black" levels between the trees in the park and those in the matte painting do not match. (To say nothing of the color difference.) Actually, the blacks don't match between the two live-action elements, either.

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Old June 17 2013, 05:53 AM   #45
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Re: Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Metryq wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
there is a different quality of black to the space the ship passes through than the rest of frame in some shots as well.
A "different quality black" is usually indicative of laboratory opticals, rather than in-camera latent image photography. I can't speak with any authority on ALIEN, as I don't remember much—if anything—I might have read about the VFX work.
Sorry I'm getting back so late. I wasn't referring to garbage mattes (and if you want to see some REAL bad ones of those, 2010's are just jaw-dropping), but rather that the half of the frame the ship inhabits is lighter black space, as if it had been contaminated somewhat -- which it has. When you make multiple passes in-camera, exposures can build up and contaminate the image, which is one of the reasons why the quality of blackness is a real sticking point for me on space movies.

I'm pretty sure this is most evident on shots of the ship and refinery going away from camera towards the system. I will check my fotonovel and see if there is anything visible on that (unlikely, the pic quality there is not exactly blu-ray!)

The articles on ALIEN kept talking about tons of roto work for the ship shots, but I think that was only done for a few shots, with the rest DXed.
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