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

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Old November 3 2009, 12:50 AM   #31
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
they should have stuck to the backgrounds, like the dark monitors in Tomorrow is Yesterday where the lighting reveals the paper.
I always thought that TOS-R did not go far enough in that regard. Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. All they usually did was just show random starfields. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens. (At the *very* least, they should have shown MOVING IMAGES.) Then they wouldn't have looked so utterly useless.

I mean, they replaced those old, clunky analog chronometers with digital ones, so why not this?
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Old November 3 2009, 03:21 AM   #32
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

You know, I have been watching and enjoying TOS since they were first aired, which ages me a little. In the late sixties, these were pretty state-of-the-art effects for a television series. Even in the seventies the fx still held up pretty well. I remember reading (in the Nitpicker book?) someone listing the nacelles "blinking out" in one of the shots as a blooper. I was really suprised at that. It wasn't a blooper, it was just one of the special effects shots that wasn't perfect. I always just sort of made an allowance for that. The original effects do not bother me at all, but I must say that most of the CGI enhancements are vast improvements over the old fx. While the CGI enhancements in The Doomsday Machine were not as good as they could have been (as stated earlier), they really made that episode much better. I found myself getting sucked into the story light I had just seen it for the first time! I watched Court Martial last night. While it is not an fx-heavy episode, some of the shots at the beginning and at the end are remarkable. It shows the ion storm damage and the missing pod.
Overall, I find myself enjoying the enhanced episodes even more than the originals. While the Enterprise herself frequently doesn't look quite right to me, I must say that the rest of the enhancements are fantastic. I think they really enhance the episodes.
Having said all that, they synthespian entering the elevator is not done very well. I do like the rest of the shot though. The original shot coming from the outside of the ship and onto the bridge was pretty rough. I think the new shot looks pretty cool........except for the synthespian.
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Old November 3 2009, 04:01 AM   #33
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
ssosmcin wrote: View Post
they should have stuck to the backgrounds, like the dark monitors in Tomorrow is Yesterday where the lighting reveals the paper.
I always thought that TOS-R did not go far enough in that regard. Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. All they usually did was just show random starfields. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens. (At the *very* least, they should have shown MOVING IMAGES.) Then they wouldn't have looked so utterly useless.

I mean, they replaced those old, clunky analog chronometers with digital ones, so why not this?
You want *more* motion in the monitor screens?

Being nominally in charge of set decorations for Star Trek Phase II, I can tell you that there is a tension that exists between making things look real and believable and functional, versus making them distracting to the scene. Especially in an era where things are shot in (or converted to) HD, it's tempting to layer in all kinds of detail--especially with regard to the bridge monitors. But it's a bit of trap: the audience ends up trying to read minute details on the bridge screens instead of paying attention to what Kirk and his crew are actually talking about. I'm not saying that the static astronomical art is the perfect degree detail. But I think there's not a lot of room to play with if you were going to "improve" the images. There's just not much that can be done to the images without them drawing undesired attention to themselves and becoming a distraction. It seems like a lot of expense to go through when the gain is effectively a pretty small little window. It's the same reason why the sensor moire op-cylinder at Spock's station is static in many shots: its motion is just too distracting sometimes.

All this is stuff people probably already know. But I think the CBS CGI team deserves a bunch of credit for taking on the thankless job of trying to upgrade the visuals a bit when absolutely *every* Star Trek fan knows for himself *exactly* how much improving should or shouldn't be done the episodes.
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Old November 4 2009, 01:07 AM   #34
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

I think the monitors on the Defiant's bridge "In A Mirror Darkly" struck the right balance?
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Old November 4 2009, 01:10 AM   #35
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I always thought that TOS-R did not go far enough in that regard. Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. All they usually did was just show random starfields. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens. (At the *very* least, they should have shown MOVING IMAGES.) Then they wouldn't have looked so utterly useless.
You want *more* motion in the monitor screens?
I just want them to look useful. All they ever did in TOS was show static images. So what the hell were they there for in the first place? Why did the set designers put them there if they didn't actually DO anything?

Okay, so they don't have to be filled with images that are distracting to the viewer. They should look from a *distance* like they are functional screens. They could be filled with the occasional icon, or das blinkenlights, or something that *looks* like scrolling text but only from a distance (i.e. the audience wouldn't be distracted by reading the text because there isn't any actually there - just looks like it).

Or how about this: The new FX could have eliminated the monitor screens completely. Covered them over. Removed an entirely useless affectation. How's THAT for not being distracting?
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Old November 4 2009, 04:03 PM   #36
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post

I just want them to look useful. All they ever did in TOS was show static images. So what the hell were they there for in the first place? Why did the set designers put them there if they didn't actually DO anything?
When the story called for the monitors to be used, they were. The rest of the time, what we saw was the 23rd century equivalent of a "screen saver".
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Old November 4 2009, 04:23 PM   #37
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I always thought that TOS-R did not go far enough in that regard. Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. All they usually did was just show random starfields. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens. (At the *very* least, they should have shown MOVING IMAGES.) Then they wouldn't have looked so utterly useless.
You want *more* motion in the monitor screens?
I just want them to look useful. All they ever did in TOS was show static images. So what the hell were they there for in the first place? Why did the set designers put them there if they didn't actually DO anything?

Okay, so they don't have to be filled with images that are distracting to the viewer. They should look from a *distance* like they are functional screens. They could be filled with the occasional icon, or das blinkenlights, or something that *looks* like scrolling text but only from a distance (i.e. the audience wouldn't be distracted by reading the text because there isn't any actually there - just looks like it).

Or how about this: The new FX could have eliminated the monitor screens completely. Covered them over. Removed an entirely useless affectation. How's THAT for not being distracting?
Well, the moment you introduce motion or color changes or data being updated, you've also introduced something that needs to be consistent from one shot to the next for continuity purposes. "Spock has a long line of scrolling blue text over his shoulder in the two-shot with him and Kirk, but then when it's just a close-up of Spock, it's a short line of red text with a little graph next to it. Can't the Continuity people do their jobs better?" Heck, we have a hard enough time remembering if the ship was a red alert from one scene to the next (since we film scenes out of order). I can't imagine even trying to make sure all the ever-changing monitors match up from one shot to the next. Probably easier just to make them static so that they will *always* match.

As to why the monitors are there at all, putting up spacey astronomical pictures reminds the viewer we're in space--and they look pretty I guess (which is probably reason enough right there). But they are used occasionally to further the plot: by putting up static pictures of John Gill or Roger Korby or to show the Talos Star Group or the path of the flying parasites across the galaxy, or even to put up moving pictures of McCoy discussing Simon van Gelder's condition or to replay the children's happier times on Triacus or to show the Karidian Company's performance of Hamlet, or to show a Klingon ship just outside the range of resolution. It would really slow down the storytelling if you had to adjourn to the briefing room everytime you wanted to show something to someone.
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Old November 4 2009, 04:29 PM   #38
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

The TOS-R versions simply provide one more variation of the original series for folks who are distracted or put off by the original effects - especially in high definition. There's no reason in the world that people who prefer the original versions shouldn't continue to do so.

I admire most of what was done with TOS-R, but I have the original versions on DVD and when I want to watch a TOS episode that's what I watch.

But then, I've even been known once in a great while to turn the color off on my TV so that I can watch a particular episode the way I first saw it on NBC in the 60s.
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Old November 4 2009, 04:29 PM   #39
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Well, the moment you introduce motion or color changes or data being updated, you've also introduced something that needs to be consistent from one shot to the next for continuity purposes. "Spock has a long line of scrolling blue text over his shoulder in the two-shot with him and Kirk, but then when it's just a close-up of Spock, it's a short line of red text with a little graph next to it. Can't the Continuity people do their jobs better?" Heck, we have a hard enough time remembering if the ship was a red alert from one scene to the next (since we film scenes out of order). I can't imagine even trying to make sure all the ever-changing monitors match up from one shot to the next. Probably easier just to make them static so that they will *always* match.
That's the thing about ever changing monitors, though...if they are shown to change constantly, then their continuity won't matter, since, well, they change a lot.

I once saw a picture of the TOS bridge pretty much as it was, except the upper areas - the place where all those little screens are - had been totally reworked. Now instead of a series of smaller screens, there was one large screen above each crewperson's station. That looked a LOT better, IMHO. I think it might have been for Ptrope's reanimation of TAS. I realize it would not have been possible to do that for TOS-R, but hey, I can dream...
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Old November 4 2009, 05:14 PM   #40
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Well, the moment you introduce motion or color changes or data being updated, you've also introduced something that needs to be consistent from one shot to the next for continuity purposes. "Spock has a long line of scrolling blue text over his shoulder in the two-shot with him and Kirk, but then when it's just a close-up of Spock, it's a short line of red text with a little graph next to it. Can't the Continuity people do their jobs better?" Heck, we have a hard enough time remembering if the ship was a red alert from one scene to the next (since we film scenes out of order). I can't imagine even trying to make sure all the ever-changing monitors match up from one shot to the next. Probably easier just to make them static so that they will *always* match.
That's the thing about ever changing monitors, though...if they are shown to change constantly, then their continuity won't matter, since, well, they change a lot.

I once saw a picture of the TOS bridge pretty much as it was, except the upper areas - the place where all those little screens are - had been totally reworked. Now instead of a series of smaller screens, there was one large screen above each crewperson's station. That looked a LOT better, IMHO. I think it might have been for Ptrope's reanimation of TAS. I realize it would not have been possible to do that for TOS-R, but hey, I can dream...
It's worth noting that out of the eight stations that ring the bridge (Communications, Library-Computer, Naviagtion Subsystems, Weapons Subsystems, Defense Systems, Engineering, Environmental Systems, and Engineering Subsystems), only two stations--Spock's and Uhura's stations--have two overhead monitors. The other six stations have only one monitor over each crewperson's position.
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Old November 4 2009, 06:15 PM   #41
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

The original plan was to have a slide projector behind each of the screens, automatically changing the image every few seconds. Unfortunately union rules demanded that each machine be controlled by its own technician, which the budget of a weekly TV series couldn't afford. So sadly, it was dropped in favour of the still images (and occasional use, as mentioned above)
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Old November 4 2009, 06:46 PM   #42
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens.

I mean, they replaced those old, clunky analog chronometers with digital ones, so why not this?
Here's how I understand it, though I could easily be mistaken.

The chronometer replacement was a close-up shot done completely in CGI. Not just the device itself, but the helm housing and everything else. If you saw a hand nearby that was CGI too.

My understanding is that CGI was mostly used only when the entire shot could be replaced (i.e. no live actors in the scene). Exterior shots, matte painting replacements, close-ups, etc.

It was a more difficult and expense process to insert bits & pieces of CGI into the original footage with the live actors and so forth, so it was rarely used.

I think in most cases, any given frame is either 100% CGI or 100% original remastered footage, with only a few exceptions here and there.

Like the example that started this thread for instance. All the actors in the Cage scene were CGI apparently, not a case of inserting CGI elements into a live shot.

I'm not saying it can't be done...Luca's did that Jabba The Hut scene for Star Wars...but probably wasn't in their budget to use very often. Especially since those Bridge monitors are in every episode.

Again I could be wrong, but that's how I understand why some things got replaced and others didn't. If it was original footage they generally left it alone, except for the remastering of course.

Not sure if anyone has more detail on this aspect or not.

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Old November 5 2009, 03:30 AM   #43
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

JoeFromEarth wrote: View Post
are you talking about the guy that walks into the turbolift?
This was Space the other night it looks to me like he turns to the left of the turbo lift as the doors close and he just goes out of sight of the camera.
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Old November 7 2009, 02:11 PM   #44
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

its funny. i was just saying on another thread how much i liked the remasterd eps... then i saw this tiny nugget... and it FREAKED ME OUT! its true they do look like corpses.. but they still move? OMG THE APPOCALYPS!!! ship of the living dead!!! they crave brains.... luckally theyl take the red shirts first
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Old November 8 2009, 04:17 AM   #45
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Re: Synthetic actor in the Cage???

I think the walk-cycle on the turbo lift guy looked like keyframe animation and it can look a bit odd if the animator was rushed or not given enough time/budget for revisions, or drunk :*) Because he's moving in the middle of the shot it catches your eye a whole lot more before you scan around the rest of the scenery.

Maybe they don't have the equipment to create some mocap or it was deemed too expensive to farm out for a three step walk. Critique aside I think the other models transitioned very nicely as they were mostly in shadow.

Does anyone know if the turbo lift doors were shut in the original, or just barely closing before the cut? I forget.
Even if they were just closing it might have worked better if they tracked in some shut doors and avoided putting in a synthetic guy altogether since they're already altering the scene directing within the remastered sections. It does looks like a reason just to fill in the space or to (tr)explain why the doors are shutting, or to show off a bit.

It's still harmless and done for entertainment/remastering purposes but it's a little disappointing to see the boards pick up on some of those things, specially cgi that's supposed to be invisible. Sometimes that walkcycle will work depending how you view the scene, hopefully its not a deal breaker for some. I try not to break down these shots when I'm watching the actual show but when its noticeable I start thinking how I would approach the shot myself.

I thought a partial 2d solution for the actors might have worked for that scene but it would be fairly expensive to implement compared to the minor miracle the guys pulled off there

Last nitpick is I don't think I like the shader on the model or its a lighting issue, but youtube is not a fair way to view that kinda detail.

Anyway I'm sure once its seen full screen in hd the scene will flow along nicely & be gone before you know it. Even in big budget Hollywood films I can always spot the synth actors a mile off, so I don't think the Trek versions could have been done much better given the current software and ridiculous deadlines the cgi guys have to hit.

Wow, long post, probably too long for cgi-turboliftguy
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