Animated Series Blu-Ray Plans

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by FrontierTrek, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Allan Asherman noted in his Star Trek Compendium that these EVA suits are controversial among fans, you either like them or dislike them and that's all there is apparently to it. Had there been complaints from viewers that you couldn't see the actors' faces in the TOS space suits, I'm sure we would have heard or read about that.

    Like your most recent unfounded claim in the "Court-Martial" thread, that the Starfleet officers from the trial were "definitely" not seen earlier in the Starbase club?

    Or is it now something you learned from the experience?

    Bob
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The issue of character recognition is one that applies in cel animation more than live action, as I said. So the way the suits appeared in TOS was irrelevant to the point I was making. Look at animated adaptations of live-action films and shows and you often see that the character designs are modified to make the characters more easily recognizable at a distance -- for instance, the Ghostbusters. In the movie, three of them were brown-haired white men of similar build, and all four wore identically colored costumes with only nametags differentiating them. But in The Real Ghostbusters, they were all given different unform colors, hair colors, hairstyles, and body types so they could be easily distinguished at a distance or in rapid motion where subtle details would be hard to discern. When you're pointing a camera at real people, those subtle differences are still going to be there even at a distance, but animation cels would have less detail, less individualized body language, and the like, so you want more exaggerated design differences to differentiate your characters. This is a commonplace principle of animation design.

    Besides, even if TAS had used spacesuits rather than force field belts, there's no guarantee they would've used the "Tholian Web" spacesuit design, which after all only appeared once and was not standardized. TAS updated some design elements such as the shuttlecraft and the layout of engineering, so it's possible they would've come up with an updated spacesuit design as well. Indeed, I don't think the "Web" spacesuits would've worked well for Filmation at all, since so much of their composition relied on stock shots of characters in profile or turning their heads to and from profile, which wouldn't have worked at all with those suits.


    Actually I did base that on evidence, to the extent that I checked screencaps of the bar scene and looked at people's sleeves to see what rank stripes were there. There was nobody in the bar scene wearing captain's stripes other than Kirk; all the background extras, as I said at the time, either had a single stripe or none at all. I did, admittedly, overlook the fact that the extras who played the board members also appeared in the bar scene, but as I said, that doesn't mean they were playing the same characters, since there are multiple precedents for the same extra appearing in two different roles at different points in a TOS episode (in fact, I think there's one early case of Eddie Paskey appearing in two different, intercut parts of the ship during the same scene). And I did explain all this in the thread at the time; you must have overlooked it.
     
  3. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Had spacesuits been used in TAS, fishbowl helmets and color variations by division should have been more than enough to make the characters recognizable and distinguishable. The point that the diving suits in Sealab 2020 worked well enough is all the proof needed to show that spacesuits could have worked adequately in TAS.

    Regardless of the advantages in production to using the life support belts, and it's been clearly established that there were definite advantages in both character recognition and animation cost, it's worth emphasizing again that the concept of the belts was one originally conceived of for TOS, in order to demonstrate that it's unfair to assert that Filmation, say, "watered down" TOS tech to adapt it to animation. Additionally, the point that continuity issues with later shows exist only because the later shows failed to use something similar to the belts is a good one, I think.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sure, they could have, but that doesn't mean that character recognizability wasn't one of the factors that led to the decision to use force field belts instead. I never meant to suggest that the belts were the only possible result of that consideration -- just that it was probably one of the reasons behind the decision to use the belts, reasons which also included simplicity, economy, and perhaps the desire to take advantage of the freedom of animation to depict something more futuristic than TOS could've done. Although of course simplicity was probably the primary consideration.


    Might be worth mentioning that a DC Comics Star Trek annual written by George Takei and Peter David did have characters in the Enterprise-A era use force field belts of a sort, although they were for biohazard protection rather than taking the place of a spacesuit.
     
  5. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I already agreed with that.

     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    You did it...again. The "Tholian Web" spacesuit appeared the second time in "Whom Gods Destroy".

    The thing that really irritates me is that ever since I joined Trek BBS I've noticed your attitude claiming that the producers didn't really know what they were doing (quite an arrogant claim at the expense of the fine people who gave us Star Trek, IMHO) and that we'd be entitled to rewrite Star Trek history and/or technology the way we'd see fit.

    Already then I said I believed this to be a rather poor excuse to justify the neglect of in-depth research work and since I've joined Trek BBS there have been several occasions where I tried to prove that rather on the contrary the producers knew very well what they were doing (e.g. Kirk and McCoy's provisional window cabins on Engineering Deck 12).

    Please...the actors playing the Starfleet officers and the court reporter were wearing the same dress uniforms earlier in the Starbase Club as later in the trial. You claimed they "definitely" were not there. Period.

    There also have been several occasions at Trek BBS where I was wrong. So what? It's human. If I screwed up I will either say so ("I stand corrected") or show the others that I realize I made an error ("Oops...Nebraska it is"). I'm not gonna make up excuses or explanations - especially if everyone can see how wrong I was - but accept responsibility for my error. Admittedly, the more you write the bigger the chances you make a mistake ("Somebody who doesn't make mistakes is a lazy dog"). But again, that's natural and human, in my own biased personal opinion. ;)

    Back to the original topic:

    I'm wondering how our TAS protagonists wearing these life support belts communicated with one another in the vacuum of space (no credibility problem with the TOS EVA suit).

    Did they already have 24th Century communicator insignias? Again, a design obviously quite ahead of its time but possibly not compatible with the context and standards of TOS.

    Bob
     
  7. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Good call. I thought its 2nd appearance would have been easy to recall. It was a new invention for the series, so that automatically calls attention to itself.

    That kind of mentality gave us the Berman years, where continuity (in relation to TOS) was sketchy at best...and that's before the disaster that was Enterprise.
     
  8. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    As CorporalCaptain acknowledged, the initial response was providing the evidence of Sealab: 2020. You attempted to skip over that to continue arguing a point already rendered false and not founded on historical evidence (your recogntion of characters as Filmation's reason for creating life support belts).

    Further, citing other series where main characters used regular costumes and spacesuits and/or helmets only hammered the point that TAS was not prevented from using TOS suits by your unsubstantiated claim of character recognition being the reason they were not used.

    If you are going to present a case, it would help to have evidence on hand to present from the start, rather than using opinion or preference, which is easy to pick apart.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's because you're completely misunderstanding what I mean by those comments. You're assuming that creator intent is an absolute gospel, that what ends up on screen is exactly, 100 percent what the creators wanted. That's misunderstanding the creative process. I'm a creator myself, and I'm trying to help you understand the way the process actually works. Of course I'm not saying that they didn't know what they were doing, because then I'd be saying that I don't know what I'm doing. What I'm saying is that what they were doing is not what you assume it was.

    The creation of a work of fiction is a messy business. It involves a lot of experimentation, trial and error. It relies on the ability to test ideas, refine them on the go, and discard the ones that don't work. And it's even more complicated in something like series television. First off, the creators have to balance their differing ideas with one another; they have to deal with network instructions and censorship; they have to make creative compromises due to the budgetary and logistical limitations of television production; and they have to work on a tight schedule and get the product out by a certain date even if they're not fully satisfied with it. This is true even of the most gifted and capable creators, so it's not a reflection on their talent or ability. It's just the nature of the process.

    There's a saying: "Art is never finished, only abandoned." Few creators are ever perfectly satisfied with the final published or released version of their work. There are always things you wish you could've done better, and as time passes you think of new ideas and go "Oh, I wish I'd done it that way instead," or you notice mistakes that slipped through the editing process, or you just get more skilled with experience and look back with regret on your earlier, less sophisticated work. This is why so many creators go back and revise their earlier work given the opportunity, or retcon or ignore elements of it in later works. Being unwilling to question your own work is death to a creator. When creators get so full of themselves that they assume they can do no wrong, you get stuff like George Lucas's cinematic output of the past decade or so. It's only by questioning and second-guessing our ideas that we can separate the good ideas from the bad ones and improve our skills.

    So while some fans may feel that every last tiny detail in the final work is absolute truth and perfection and must be strictly adhered to -- and that any departure from that attitude is an affront against the work and its creators -- the creators themselves would never feel that way. To the fans, the work only exists in one form, so that's what they assume is its true and only form. But to the creators, that form is just the endpoint of a long and messy process of experimentation and change, and often it's not the endpoint they wanted, just the one they had to settle for because of deadlines and lack of money. But that doesn't mean they didn't know what they were doing; on the contrary, it's impressive when TV producers can achieve anything really worthwhile and memorable given what a restrictive mess the production process usually is.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    No, on the contrary I'm very well aware what's happening behind the scenes and I believe I can distinct between "in-universe" and real life. For example: In my current trek tech thread some participants dissect the star map from "Balance of Terror" to prove that the Romulan ship had a faster-than-light drive. Most likely that map was thrown in as a visual effect with little or no consideration whether it actually matched exactly what we saw in this episode.

    However, this shouldn't be abused in the general sense "they didn't know what they were doing" as in that same thread I believe I've been able to show that even something as exotic as the power infrastructure of the TOS Enterprise is remarkably consistent and mostly free of contradictions throughout the first three seasons - coincidental, accidental or deliberate. Seems like they really knew what they were doing, once they decided its dilithium crystals and what these should look like.

    I can't really hear this awful # 1 retcon excuse any more that gave us the special manipulation of Star Wars and a version of Blade Runner that gives me the blues. True Art like the works of Picasso, Van Gogh or Francis Bacon is "Art" because its raw, spontaneous, straightforward and born in the moment of the mindset the artist was in at the time of the creation. You cannot recreate that spontaneous monent and mindset at a later time. But, again, that's my personal biased opinion. I respect yours and I can only ask you to respect mine.

    First of all, I believe the creators cared about the stories they wanted us to tell and considered "tiny details" secondary or less. However, the "new" Star Trek creators set up new rules and technology (no problem here) but also retroconned these things into past creations (they had never been involved with) which now seemed to contain contradictions and make it look like the (TOS) creators didn't know what they were doing. The simple truth however: The new creators didn't do proper research and that's why the contradictions are there.

    Example: In "Balance of Terror" Spock is very specific that he has no clue where the Romulans came from, however "The Savage Curtain" establishes that Vulcan recorded its history at least since the arrival of Surak.

    The fact that the Romulans a) come from the outermost part of the galaxy and b) only have impulse drive is a hint that these were Vulcans exiled to the far reaches of the galaxy and left on a planet with no warp drive technology (to ever come back to Vulcan even if they desired). Interestingly the Romans (oh, what a coincidence!) did the same thing with aristocratic noblemen they wanted to get rid of but didn't care to execute.

    The "new" creators suddenly claimed that the Romulans were Vulcans that didn't like Surak and left. Hmm...this probably would have been recorded in Vulcan history. And now it looked like the TOS creators didn't know what they were doing.

    Storywise (desire for re-unification) both concepts would have worked, but the TNG one is, apparently, one that is owed to ignorance and...lack of research. ;)

    Bob
     
  11. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Captain Captain

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  12. ACE

    ACE Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think you hit the nail very close to the head on this.

    Coming from the production side of things, it looks as if they were using a capping shutter in order to double-expose the forcefield outline over the first image.

    The capping shutter allows for multiple exposures on a single frame of film before advancing the film to the next frame. The character cells and background would be exposed first and the shutter closed. The forcefield outline (colored outline against black) would then be placed over the cell and background, and the shutter would again be opened to expose this. That cell would then be removed and the film would be advanced to the next frame, with the same sequence repeated over and over until the shot was complete.

    Now, as to the misalignment - it looks as if the lens was turned slightly out of focus for the forcefield exposure to make it softer. This would have the side effect of also changing the size of the forcefield image slightly - enlarging it so that it no longer precisely fit the background image - as evidenced by the outline shifting slightly and no longer fitting exactly over the smaller Spock image, and creating a slight inconsistency over the separation distance of the outline around Sulu's head.

    Using this technique allows for every element to be on the original neg and keep the image quality high, and therefore save time and money on unnecessary opticals to achieve the same result.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Thanks for the explanation. Yeah, Filmation did a lot of in-camera, latent-image FX work rather than using an optical printer. On Space Academy in 1978 they did some impressive in-camera compositing with miniatures for their space shots. In the following year's Jason of Star Command, they upgraded to bluescreen mattes, which gave them more flexibility in how the ships moved and interacted, but looked a lot worse in some ways because of the obvious matte lines.
     
  14. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    That could account for the belt FX in Beyond the Farthest Star, but many of the belt FX in The Ambergris Element look like they were done using a different technique. Maybe they needed a different technique in that episode (possibly airbrushed cells placed behind the character cels?), in order to have the "rippling" water wave distortion effects apply to all the elements in a frame.

    By the way, how did they do the "rippling" water wave distortion effects? Was a refractive medium placed between the cels and the camera?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, as I said, it's clear they used different techniques for the belts in different scenes and episodes. Looking at the force field aura around Scotty in "The Ambergris Element," it looks like an outline airbrushed onto the cel.


    If I recall my vintage FX techniques, there's a thing called a ripple glass which is basically just a piece of irregular clear material that's placed in front of the camera lens and moved to create a distortion. You can achieve much the same effect by holding a drinking glass in front of your eye and rotating it; the irregularities in the glass will distort the light as it moves.
     
  16. I am not Spock

    I am not Spock Commodore Commodore

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    I have all Star Trek movies and TV shows on DVD, including TAS, so not sure if I need to buy them all again
     
  17. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Burnett is wrong of course, but he's starting to come around a bit to JJTrek going by his Twitter feed.

    As for the bluray, I won't be buying the animated series on bluray without some significant changes or they re-animate it.

    RAMA
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    No, he was dead on. It is just pablum.
     
  19. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    He raved about the last two STID trailers;)

    Sorry, your opinions will never compare to the critical mass reactions and viewer reactions. Might as well face it.

    RAMA
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Why does his opinion on the 2009 film even matter in a thread about a possible TAS HD release?