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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 February 25 2014, 01:47 AM   #31
Maurice
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

It sounds like some crazy filter box cum beam splitter.

The Lightflex consists primarily of an oversized filter-hood faced with optical glass. Dimmer-controlled quartz lamps built into the hood reflect into the lens and overlay a controlled amount of light on the scene to be photographed at the time of exposure. The device can be used to adjust the gamma curve of the emulsion, and also extends its photometric range without affecting grain. Francis would come to regularly use the Lightflex, which became an integral part of his photographic process. This acessory was later developed into the Arriflex VariCon. "I found the Lightflex to be an absolutely fantastic tool," the cameraman says.

The American Society of Cinematographers fetes legendary English cinematographer/director Freddie Francis, BSC with its International Award. (link)
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Old February 25 2014, 02:40 AM   #32
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

It takes a really light touch, otherwise it can flatten the image like you wouldn't believe (actually some of the desert stuff in DUNE looks too flat for my taste, but the painterly quality of the early scene with Paul's mother and the Reverend Mother are just gorgeous beyond belief.)

Supposedly the whiteout moment when Paul first gets a dose of the spice was not an optical but entirely achieved by dialing up the light on the lightflex, which means you could do incredible optical-looking effects in camera.

Man, just talking about this makes me want to get the blu ray of GLORY - that is one of Francis' best, and it has never looked right on homevid the way it did in the theater, at least not laserdisc or dvd.
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Old March 24 2014, 12:23 PM   #33
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

I do not understand this insistance on having a crisp, minutely detailed image in old movies - especially something like STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which is so gorgeous, as-is, and right out of the box. The softeness almost gives it a dream-like quality, which I find wholly appropriate. The Motion Picture is a work of art, like a moving painting. I don't have to see - or want to see - every pore in Persis Khambatta's skin ... it's just not necessary! Is it really such an aggregious offense to let an old movie look like an old movie? I don't get that ...
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Old March 25 2014, 12:09 AM   #34
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
I do not understand this insistance on having a crisp, minutely detailed image in old movies - especially something like STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which is so gorgeous, as-is, and right out of the box. The softeness almost gives it a dream-like quality, which I find wholly appropriate. The Motion Picture is a work of art, like a moving painting. I don't have to see - or want to see - every pore in Persis Khambatta's skin ... it's just not necessary! Is it really such an aggregious offense to let an old movie look like an old movie? I don't get that ...
Plenty of 'old' movies from the 70s showed pores in skin - look at CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (which won the oscar for cinematography) and the skin tones are amazingly detailed, almost like Melinda Dillon is wearing no makeup at all.
The soft look is a choice in TMP -- a screamingly wrong one IMO -- it isn't that this was the only option open to them. Shoot, compare how sharp TOS (esp 3rd season) is to TMP.

As for a soft dreamlike quality, I find that inappropriate in the extreme for a hardware/shipboard film ...
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Old March 25 2014, 02:11 AM   #35
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

trevanian wrote: View Post
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That would be a question for somebody with more technical knowledge than I have.

I do know that the production switched from projected film loops (in TMP) to CRT displays (beginning in TWOK). Would that have played into the sequels?
They should have done that from TMP in the first place. Even if the displays were just the standard green CRT graphics, that's what they should have done.
I don't think it was an option. Burbank Studios developed the 24fps video system, and I think it was around 1980 when it first started being used. Pretty sure it would not have been made available to a rival studio before it was in general use, and TMP shot in 1978. (the academy cited it for special commendatio in 1981, so that makes it very unlikely it would have been available in 1978.)
Just an update/clarification on this. I was rereading the old CFQ double issue on THE BLACK HOLE, which was in production at exactly the same time as TMP, and they DID use video playback on-set instead of doing the RP thing like TMP. They found an outside company to do the 24 frame video and synch it up, a company with a name I didn't recognize at all.

So this IS another case of TMP's look being compromised by bad planning after all. If they'd gone Disney's route, the low light look necessitated by RP wouldn't have impacted all the bridge shooting the way it did. (of course, this is also a show where the bulbs in the consoles kept making the plastic buttons melt, so they reduced the intensity of those by like 75% in order to not melt the buttons, so there AGAIN is an instance of the look being compromised ...
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Old March 30 2014, 07:23 PM   #36
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

trevanian wrote: View Post
Plenty of 'old' movies from the 70s showed pores in skin - look at CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (which won the oscar for cinematography) and the skin tones are amazingly detailed, almost like Melinda Dillon is wearing no makeup at all.

The soft look is a choice in TMP -- a screamingly wrong one IMO -- it isn't that this was the only option open to them. Shoot, compare how sharp TOS (esp 3rd season) is to TMP.

As for a soft dreamlike quality, I find that inappropriate in the extreme for a hardware/shipboard film ...
The youthifying effect for the rapidly-aging crew seemed to demand a softer focus, certainly. Also, as so much of this film is gorgeous eyecandy, from the models, sets, uniforms and props, that it only seems to have followed to use some artistry in the cinematography. Especially since The Original Series was known for making use of this soft-image approach, especially - but not exclusively - for its leading ladies. STAR TREK's so fantastical and make-believe, anyway. Unfortunately, I do not see this kind of visual approach being repeated in this franchise. I for one am disappointed by that ...
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Old March 30 2014, 08:15 PM   #37
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

dub wrote: View Post
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
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Old March 30 2014, 08:32 PM   #38
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
I do not understand this insistance on having a crisp, minutely detailed image in old movies - especially something like STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which is so gorgeous, as-is, and right out of the box. The softeness almost gives it a dream-like quality, which I find wholly appropriate. The Motion Picture is a work of art, like a moving painting. I don't have to see - or want to see - every pore in Persis Khambatta's skin ... it's just not necessary! Is it really such an aggregious offense to let an old movie look like an old movie? I don't get that ...
This is why: Film is fully capable of being a good source to transfer to HD (its actually superior, but age, etc can make it look inferior) . Therefore there is no reason to not make it look as good as it was originally intended to. Since film-making has so many technical elements to it, isn't it logical to make those elements look their best?

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Old March 30 2014, 08:38 PM   #39
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
If you mean the three interlocking hexagons, according to my ST:TMP Peel-Off Graphics Book, they're the logo for the security department. The station shown there is the internal security station.
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Old March 30 2014, 08:49 PM   #40
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
Going back 35 years to the TMP sticker -- excuse me, "peel-off graphics" -- book, those were symbols to identify stations and departments aboard ship. What I can't remember is what that symbol was for. Security?

ETA: Christopher got it while I was researching.
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Old March 30 2014, 08:50 PM   #41
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

Christopher wrote: View Post
LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
If you mean the three interlocking hexagons, according to my ST:TMP Peel-Off Graphics Book, they're the logo for the security department. The station shown there is the internal security station.
Oh, that's good to know they had a meaning. It's all a throwback to my graphic design days, I guess. There were always critical observations of things like, "That's nice...except aren't those the colors of the Miami Dolphins?" or "This is high-end merchandise, and that layout looks like a seed catalogue."

Guess I wasn't on the ST:TMP design team!
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Old March 31 2014, 03:06 AM   #42
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

RAMA wrote: View Post
2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
I do not understand this insistance on having a crisp, minutely detailed image in old movies - especially something like STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which is so gorgeous, as-is, and right out of the box. The softeness almost gives it a dream-like quality, which I find wholly appropriate. The Motion Picture is a work of art, like a moving painting. I don't have to see - or want to see - every pore in Persis Khambatta's skin ... it's just not necessary! Is it really such an aggregious offense to let an old movie look like an old movie? I don't get that ...
This is why: Film is fully capable of being a good source to transfer to HD (its actually superior, but age, etc can make it look inferior) . Therefore there is no reason to not make it look as good as it was originally intended to. Since film-making has so many technical elements to it, isn't it logical to make those elements look their best?

RAMA
That's almost word-for-word what cinematographer Amy Vincent told me back in 2001, with respect to delivering the cleanest sharpest negative up front, even if it was going to be messed with during post (which is even more of a concern these days, since during the digital intermediate process you can pretty much almost wreck a DP's work.)

It even ties in with ILM and EEG's vfx work, which was so pristine that they sometimes had to downgrade the image to make it match with the live-action. But you're in a much betteer position to be doing that than to have inferior looking stuff that can't be upgraded after the fact (if you look at the probe sequence in TMP, that's a classic example of having to do so much to the image that you essentially destroy most of what makes it look like a real movie ... it really looks like Super8 at times, there is so much detail lost due to all that 'hands-on' reworking of the image to get the guy carrying the light pole out of the shot.)
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Old March 31 2014, 03:08 AM   #43
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

Christopher wrote: View Post
LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
If you mean the three interlocking hexagons, according to my ST:TMP Peel-Off Graphics Book, they're the logo for the security department. The station shown there is the internal security station.
Internal security station is on the opposite side of the bridge from Chekov's security/weapons station? Geez, why not put the helm right behind Kirk and navigation inside the turbo-lift?
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Old March 31 2014, 03:34 AM   #44
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

I think the idea I had for why the internal security and tactical stations were so far apart was so that if a weapon hit to the bridge took out one of the security posts, the other one would probably still be there.
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Old April 1 2014, 07:52 PM   #45
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Re: ST: TMP blurry film

trevanian wrote: View Post
But you're in a much betteer position to be doing that than to have inferior looking stuff that can't be upgraded after the fact (if you look at the probe sequence in TMP, that's a classic example of having to do so much to the image that you essentially destroy most of what makes it look like a real movie ... it really looks like Super8 at times, there is so much detail lost due to all that 'hands-on' reworking of the image to get the guy carrying the light pole out of the shot.)
Overall, I concur, but I almost don't mind how terrible the image looks, it's as if the brightness of the probe is washing out the image. I think it also makes the switch to the crystal clear image of the tricorder clattering to the floor, combined with the instant quietness, more effective at selling the shock of Ilia's abduction.
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