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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old December 15 2013, 11:38 AM   #1
Maurice
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ST:TMP Model work (video)

I don't see this having been discussed here before, but there's a documentary called Sense of Scale about motion picture model work, and they have an extended clip of the section about ST:TMP on YouTube which has some photos I'd never seen before and some insights into how some of the effects were accomplished.

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Old December 15 2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

That's a very instructive and informative video, but I could have benefited from knowing who all those people were!
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Old December 15 2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Coach Comet wrote: View Post
That's a very instructive and informative video, but I could have benefited from knowing who all those people were!
Pete Gerard, Mark Stetson, Patrick Mcclung, Mike Joyce, Leslie Ekker, Ron Gress, and Lisa Morton.

Their names are listed in the description of the video, but there are no lower 3rd texts to identify who is whom.
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Old December 15 2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Maurice wrote: View Post
Coach Comet wrote: View Post
That's a very instructive and informative video, but I could have benefited from knowing who all those people were!
Pete Gerard, Mark Stetson, Patrick Mcclung, Mike Joyce, Leslie Ekker, Ron Gress, and Lisa Morton.

Their names are listed in the description of the video, but there are no lower 3rd texts to identify who is whom.
Thank you!
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Old December 15 2013, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Holy moley. The lightning on the Klingon ships and Epsilon 9 was real electricity from a Tesla coil??? I always assumed it was hand-animated. And I suppose the laser-scanning they were talking about was how they created the ripple of light running along the models and "digitizing" them, although there would've had to be an additional optical step to vanish the models. That thing about the dangerous mixture they used to create the V'Ger energy bolts sounded interesting too, but I was unclear on the specifics.

And V'Ger's surface was carved out of surfboard foam! (Well, the initial mold, with the final model vacuformed over it.) Good to know who's responsible for the intricate, organic textures on V'Ger; they were Syd Mead's designs. Not surprising.
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Old December 15 2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

If you're interested in TMP's effects you really should get your hands on a copy of Cinefex #1 and #2 which goes into a lot of this. TMP included a lot of tesla coil and laser effects. There was a crude clay model of Ilia which got lightning zapped, for instance. There's also hand animated lightning in some sequences.

The lasers were used for the photon torpedoes (shot through a rotating crystal), the wormhole (all of it), the transporter beam (laser shot through crystal fragments), the digitization effect (first run the laser over the model "clean" to get the ripples, then wrap the model in foil and run the laser across it again, which creates all these flashes across the uneven surface for the foil), the cloud above V'ger during the flyover [Christopher mentions this in his reply, below, but I missed it at first, hence this edit], etc. There were also tests done to try to use the laser to actually create V'ger itself that Trumbull thought promising but ultimately they went for the huge physical model.

There's a hilarious photo of the Klingon ship wrapped in aluminum foil in preparation for the laser scan passes in which you can see some card on the Apogee crew affixed huge turkey leg frills onto the tail end of the nacelles...that ship's goose is cooked!

As to the V'ger energy bolts, to clarify what was described, image taking a film can and setting it on a hotplate with this liquid in it full of bits of metal and having the camera directly above it and shooting down into it. What you get is all the moving strange sparkles spreading out from the center (hottest spot) but confined in a circular area. From his description I think these were the BIG bolts fired into Earth orbit rather than the ones fired at the ships (which I believe were tesla coil lightning with a blinding xenon light), but it's possible that same element is in both.
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Last edited by Maurice; December 15 2013 at 10:03 PM.
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Old December 15 2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

I knew about the use of lasers for the torpedo and wormhole effects. The clouds above the V'Ger surface miniature were also done by a laser sweeping conically through smoke from a smoke machine, IIRC.

What I still don't get about the film-can energy bolt effect is, where is the light source? Is the film can hot enough to be incandescent? That seems unlikely, since then it would melt or ignite the liquid. Or is there a spotlight shining down and reflecting off the liquid and the metal bits?
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Old December 15 2013, 10:01 PM   #8
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I knew about the use of lasers for the torpedo and wormhole effects. The clouds above the V'Ger surface miniature were also done by a laser sweeping conically through smoke from a smoke machine, IIRC.

What I still don't get about the film-can energy bolt effect is, where is the light source? Is the film can hot enough to be incandescent? That seems unlikely, since then it would melt or ignite the liquid. Or is there a spotlight shining down and reflecting off the liquid and the metal bits?
Probably a light and likely photographed with high contrast film.
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Old December 15 2013, 10:20 PM   #9
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Yeah, and they mentioned shooting through various gels to tint it -- I guess that's where the green came from.
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Old December 15 2013, 10:46 PM   #10
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Ah, the good old days, when special FX were more interesting than a guy sitting at a computer...
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Old December 15 2013, 10:56 PM   #11
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Really, really interesting, thanks!

I wrote to them to get a copy of the DVD. I wish they included the pictures as high resolution files on the DVD, but this is not the case. Never mind.

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Old December 15 2013, 11:49 PM   #12
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

"Never mind" meaning you're not buying it?
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Old December 16 2013, 01:28 AM   #13
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
Ah, the good old days, when special FX were more interesting than a guy sitting at a computer...
Yeeeup. CGI has come a long, long way, but I'll always throw my lot in with classic physical miniatures.
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Old December 16 2013, 01:56 AM   #14
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

They did all kinds of tricks in TMP to try to make things look more real, like putting bits of foil in the camera to refract out of shot lights through the lens during the drydock scenes...sorta like JJ lens flare courtesy Doug Trumbull.
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Old December 16 2013, 04:46 AM   #15
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Re: ST:TMP Model work (video)

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
Ah, the good old days, when special FX were more interesting than a guy sitting at a computer...
Agreed. The ingenuity of the "old school" VFX guys never ceases to amaze and impress me.
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