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Old December 23 2008, 12:56 AM   #16
The Badger
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Glad I could help!
There's also things like actors aiming off screen, or at some non existent target that will be put in with special effects later. They may not even know where they are supposed to be aiming. So they may be aiming downwards slightly on a target that might be slightly higher than them, or vice versa.
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Old December 23 2008, 01:29 AM   #17
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

The Badger wrote: View Post
Glad I could help!
There's also things like actors aiming off screen, or at some non existent target that will be put in with special effects later. They may not even know where they are supposed to be aiming. So they may be aiming downwards slightly on a target that might be slightly higher than them, or vice versa.
Which is one reason why the only time the 'dustbuster' ever looked like they were shooting where they were aiming was in the 'firing range' set where the targets were all CGI anyway They could place them where the actors had aimed.
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Old December 23 2008, 02:39 AM   #18
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

The only problem I have with phasers, as I see them used, is that the beams take too long to reach their target. You can actually see the beams moving. This shouldn't happen; it should be near-instantaneous. The only time we see THAT happening is in "Future's End", and even that was a 29th-century model.
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Old December 23 2008, 03:03 AM   #19
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

I prefer the Dominion phasers that snap off a bolt, instead of a long line that seems to need to hit the victim for a while. It slows down the firing. The Dominion weapons can hit multiple targets/areas faster, so I'm not sure why SF doesn't steal that.
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Old December 23 2008, 03:21 AM   #20
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
The only problem I have with phasers, as I see them used, is that the beams take too long to reach their target. You can actually see the beams moving. This shouldn't happen; it should be near-instantaneous. The only time we see THAT happening is in "Future's End", and even that was a 29th-century model.
We also rarely (if ever ) see a phaser being 'swept' as a weapon based on a beam of light could be, to take in a much larger target area.
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Old December 23 2008, 04:04 AM   #21
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

^ And apparently they can make one really wide beam... seems kinda practical, yet they rarely use it!
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Old December 23 2008, 12:54 PM   #22
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

I suppose a steerable beam could be an advantage for a moving target if the beam steers faster than swinging your arm or jerking your hand but again, has it been specifically stated phaser beams are steerable?
I don't see why it would have to be specifically stated. It's an explanation that fits the plentiful visual evidence, and it makes technological and tactical sense...

Anyway, what Kira says about the Federation phaser in "Return to Grace" includes these bits:

Kira: "A little less powerful, but with more options: sixteen beam settings; fully autonomous recharge; multiple target acquisition; gyrostablized; the works."
The fact that it can "acquire" targets heavily suggests that it can also lock on to those targets, i.e. aim itself. Else the feature would make little sense.

The only problem I have with phasers, as I see them used, is that the beams take too long to reach their target. You can actually see the beams moving. This shouldn't happen; it should be near-instantaneous.
Why? Water coming out of a hose won't reach the target instantaneously, either.

Nothing in the aired material necessitates phasers to be lightspeed weapons. Indeed, the material seems to establish that the beams are slower than most bullets. A fair exchange, I'd say, considering how much more useful the beam is in comparison with a bullet!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old December 23 2008, 01:35 PM   #23
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

But at times, beams were portrayed to move extremely fast, thus giving 0 time for the target to move.

If star-ship phasers have a maximum effective range of 300 000 km, then it can also be interpreted that phasers move at the speed of light.
If same principles are applied to hand-held phasers, then targets shouldn't have any time to move in order to avoid the beam (unless the aim of the shooter is bad).

Quite simple.
I don't see the reason why there should be any trade-offs.
The beams were likely portrayed as moving slower on screen for special effects and giving a 'chance' to our heroes (and their opponents) to survive.
Otherwise, it would have been a very short story (under the same circumstances).
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Old December 23 2008, 02:22 PM   #24
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

There's a one instance that sticks in my mind from VOY's "The Raven". After Seven's shielding has asserted itself, she passes two redshirts who fire at her.

The guard on the left manages to pull off hitting Seven at an odd angle, but most impressively he does it without actually pressing the fire button. He's holding the phaser with his thumb wrong in the wrong position, and just kinda jabs the phaser in her direction.

That's the kind of weapon you need in a firefight
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Old December 23 2008, 03:44 PM   #25
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

bullethead wrote: View Post
In TNG's "The Vengeance Factor," Riker phasers some girl and the beam goes at an extreme downward angle to hit her in the chest. However, it appears that Jonathan Frakes was aiming at her head, so the outrageous angle was because the guys in post decided that having a girl get shot in the head wasn't family friendly or something.
Seen here:

http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...efactor290.jpg
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Old December 23 2008, 04:48 PM   #26
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

SonicRanger wrote: View Post
bullethead wrote: View Post
In TNG's "The Vengeance Factor," Riker phasers some girl and the beam goes at an extreme downward angle to hit her in the chest. However, it appears that Jonathan Frakes was aiming at her head, so the outrageous angle was because the guys in post decided that having a girl get shot in the head wasn't family friendly or something.
Seen here:

http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...efactor290.jpg
wow that totally wrecks my suspension bridge to disbelief island . . . hehe
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Old December 23 2008, 05:04 PM   #27
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

I've always liked that scene in 'Return to Grace', though the comparison of the two weapons seems like a thinly veiled analogy to the difference between an AK-47 vs the M-16
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Old December 23 2008, 05:50 PM   #28
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Timo wrote: View Post
A fair exchange, I'd say, considering how much more useful the beam is in comparison with a bullet!
Well except that a beam traces a line back to your exact position for the enemy to aim at
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Old December 23 2008, 06:32 PM   #29
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Sure, that's a drawback all right. Then again, not that big a drawback when one considers how assault rifles are used nowadays: scared recruits squeeze off bursts long enough to pinpoiont their own positions by muzzle flash and noise, or even by the pile of spent cartridges growing next to them...

But at times, beams were portrayed to move extremely fast, thus giving 0 time for the target to move.
Not hand phaser beams, not really. The speed is more or less constant: across the field of vision in three frames of film. Because that's what looks good.

Which incidentally means that phasers fired across greater distances travel faster. Which isn't all that illogical, since the distances involved are more or less constant anyway: hand phasers only fire across the set, while starship phasers fire across a few kilometers.

If star-ship phasers have a maximum effective range of 300 000 km, then it can also be interpreted that phasers move at the speed of light.
An equally if not more reasonable assumption is that phaser speed can vary, perhaps as a function of input power. After all, we know for a fact that phasers can travel at warp when necessary.

If same principles are applied to hand-held phasers, then targets shouldn't have any time to move in order to avoid the beam (unless the aim of the shooter is bad).
Why should the same principles apply? A naval cannon today doesn't have the same characteristics as a revolver today, either.

I don't see the reason why there should be any trade-offs.
Because technology isn't omnipotent? If there were no tradeoffs, why would not all starships travel at infinite speed, be impervious to all threats, and capable of destroying the universe with half a shot?

The beams were likely portrayed as moving slower on screen for special effects and giving a 'chance' to our heroes (and their opponents) to survive.
Otherwise, it would have been a very short story (under the same circumstances).
Right. And that's the Trek reality that we have to live with. Similarly, starships are portrayed as shaking a bit when hit, rather than falling to tiny pieces, because that allows our heroes to survive (and on budget, without requiring expensive pyrotechnics and constant rebuilding of sets). This by no means obligates us to think that the ships should "really" be realistically fragile in the face of antimatter bombing or death rays.

All of Star Trek is just one big dramatic conceit. That's the "reality" of the show, especially of its fictional technology.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old December 23 2008, 06:37 PM   #30
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Re: Why don't phasers shoot straight?

Timo wrote: View Post
All of Star Trek is just one big dramatic conceit. That's the "reality" of the show, especially of its fictional technology.

Timo Saloniemi
Quoted For Truth.

Problem I have is everyone wants the hero ship to be nigh perfect in every respect, that eliminates a HUGE chunk of storytelling possibility. What fun is it to travel the universe in a God-like starship that can overcome every obstacle at the push of a button? Problem-solving (man vs ____) is an essential (imo) plot element in most of the stories I enjoy.
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