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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old March 24 2011, 05:22 PM   #1
Melonpool
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Light Up Console Buttons

I was wondering if any of you set builders had any ideas on how to secure lights inside consoles on our little set pieces.

In the past, I used a painted Plexiglas surface for the console (similar to the way they did it on TNG), and then lit it from below with Xmas Tree lights duct taped to the bottom through a diffuser (piece of white translucent Plexi).

Is there a better way to do this? This time around, I'm using those wonderful transparent Bumpons for buttons and Xmas Tree lights again, but am hesitant to use the Duct Tape if there's a better way of going about it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old March 24 2011, 06:37 PM   #2
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

Have you considered animating the buttons in post-production?
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Old March 24 2011, 10:00 PM   #3
Melonpool
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

I want as much of it to be practical as possible. With all that fur and hair flying around, cutting mattes around puppets is more of a headache than I want to attempt.
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Old March 25 2011, 12:09 AM   #4
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

With the autorotoscope feature, it's not as difficult as you might think!
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Old March 25 2011, 12:58 AM   #5
Melonpool
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

I'm still real leery about animating the buttons by hand. We're going for a "so low tech it's cool" approach. I'm already storyboarding every shot in the film by myself, and the idea of also having to animate a bunch of buttons by myself after we've shot this thing is really daunting! Unfortunately, I don't have a volunteer staff to help out (other than the cast and director, I mean).
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Old March 25 2011, 01:18 AM   #6
Maurice
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

Unless you need the lights to blink on and off, you could put florescent banks behind the consoles to light up the buttons, etc. That was how the buttons were lit on parts of the Polaris bridge.
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Old March 25 2011, 01:54 AM   #7
Melonpool
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

That's how I've done it before as well. I've heard of people putting a layer of chicken wire inside the console and attaching the Xmas lights to it with twist ties. Has anyone tried that?

I was thinking about doing a combination of static and blinking lights on the set. Just wondering if anyone had any ways to do it that worked.

And I love the Polaris set (well, what I've seen of it).
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Old March 25 2011, 02:51 AM   #8
Potemkin_Prod
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

For the astrogator, we drilled 5/16th inch holes and inserted flatnosed LEDs into them from behind, hot glued them into place so that they were even with the surface, then covered the surface with our galaxy map. Works quite well!
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Old March 25 2011, 02:55 PM   #9
bob reed
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

Have you thought about hot glue? When I was building aircraft simulators, hot glue was my friend!
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Old March 25 2011, 03:03 PM   #10
LCARS 24
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

What I would do is use a flat-screen monitor connected to an old Pentium computer with my LCARS system installed. It can render any kind of LCARS panel and make any particular button light up when you press the space bar. And you don't even have to draw the buttons. You can just describe the screen you want with the system's LCARS-specific markup language, which is similar to HTML, by simply editing an example file to your liking. It can display a panel then overlay it with the output of another file that declares only the button you want lit and its new color.

Another thing it has that could be useful for fanflims is MSD-style schematics of many Trek ships.

Here are some examples with buttons I happened to have on Photobucket:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...4/SYSINFO8.png
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...4/GUIDEOLY.png
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...S24/TCARS3.png

And here's a page of clickable thumbnails of various screenshots:
http://lcars24.com/screenie.html
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Old March 25 2011, 04:33 PM   #11
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

That is really cool! I'm actually using flat panel displays for some of the monitors (I'm going for a ST:TMP - TSFS sort of look for the Bridge), but will probably be using FLASH to make the displays. If I had access to a PC, I'd totally use your set up though! It's perfect.

I'm on a Mac, though. Awesome stuff!

LCARS 24 wrote: View Post
What I would do is use a flat-screen monitor connected to an old Pentium computer with my LCARS system installed. It can render any kind of LCARS panel and make any particular button light up when you press the space bar. And you don't even have to draw the buttons. You can just describe the screen you want with the system's LCARS-specific markup language, which is similar to HTML, by simply editing an example file to your liking. It can display a panel then overlay it with the output of another file that declares only the button you want lit and its new color.

Another thing it has that could be useful for fanflims is MSD-style schematics of many Trek ships.

Here are some examples with buttons I happened to have on Photobucket:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...4/SYSINFO8.png
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...4/GUIDEOLY.png
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/m...S24/TCARS3.png

And here's a page of clickable thumbnails of various screenshots:
http://lcars24.com/screenie.html
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Old March 25 2011, 04:33 PM   #12
Melonpool
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

bob reed wrote: View Post
Have you thought about hot glue? When I was building aircraft simulators, hot glue was my friend!
I'll try hot glue. I hadn;t even thought of using that. Thanks!
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Old March 25 2011, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

I'm sure this stuff is expensive as heck (though I've heard it's not as bad as you'd think), but there really are light emitting panels and tapes that provide cool, even illumination. The "Applications Gallery" on this page is really inspiring. LINK
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Old March 26 2011, 12:53 AM   #14
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

EL material is expensive, and the inverters make an annoying high pitched whine. That's the downside.
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Old March 26 2011, 01:15 AM   #15
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Re: Light Up Console Buttons

Yeah -- I've used EL wire before. For some applications, it's perfect (like TRON and Back the Future type effects), but the whine is really annoying and they're not as bright as I'd like them to be.
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