ST: TMP blurry film

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by JJohnson, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Captain Captain

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    Ladies love Riker's beard.
    I wasn't being literal, I was saying that's how it came off.

    After this film, I think it's totally fair to question his technical competence by this point in his career. I wouldn't put THE MOTION PICTURE as a great example of his work.
     
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Don't overcredit him on KANE; there are editors who contribute massively, editors who contribute to a degree, and folks who execute instructions, and Wise would be in that middle category on KANE (and fall into the latter category on AMBERSONS, when he followed studio instructions to butcher the film and didn't ever even think about sneaking a copy of Welles' cut out for posterity, which cancels out ALL of the enormous goodwill I have for him on the basis on DAY THE EARTH.)

    He was very good at picking collaborators most of the time. His longtime illustrator, Zuberano, is a good example, somebody who had a better eye than he did in terms of imagination, but who didn't go TOO crazy on things.

    Wise's organizational strengths are undeniable, and I don't think all those people saying TMP would never have come off without him ramrodding it to conclusion were blowing smoke up our skirts. But the dubious artistic decision to light from the floor and the side with soft light was unflattering as hell most of time, and THAT came from his production designer and was allowed by his DP, and so the thing is compromised visually right from the get-go.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^Exactly, and filmmaking is a team effort, so you can really pay for it if you make the wrong decisions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, that's a more nuanced explanation than "He didn't understand how a lens worked." People are often too quick to attribute to incompetence or ignorance what can be explained in other ways.
     
  5. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I happen to like the "soft" look of The Motion Picture. It's probably the closest thing to "art" that STAR TREK's ever done - and is awesome, as a result. And if you edited out the crew watching the viewscreen for half an hour, what's left is really not bad, at all and works quite well, in fact. Padding - even with all of the money and top talent in the world thrown at it - is still padding. Otherwise, I cannot criticise the look of TMP. The Art Direction, the Costumes, the Models ... everything's just gorgeous to behold! And if softening the lens helps make the old and aging crew look "young," then ... great ... so much the better. I'm all for it. But this movie is absolutely beautiful and I'm quite fond of it, for that reason.
     
  6. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Captain Captain

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    I think what many are trying to put out isn't that Wise didn't understand how lenses worked, but that he didn't know how to appropriately use them, which is pretty evident in TMP.

    I don't think soft lenses/diffusion were used until the later films, particularly TVH.


    [​IMG]
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's called hyperbole. I exaggerated the charge to show how implausible I think it is. The point is that either way it's assuming ignorance on the part of a man who'd been directing movies for 35 years, and that doesn't seem a reasonable assumption to make. (How many of us here have been doing a job for 35 years? How many of us have even been alive for 35 years?) No, not every decision a veteran filmmaker chooses to make is a good decision, but that isn't automatically the result of not knowing how things work. Bad decisions are one thing, ignorant decisions are another thing. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't.
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sometimes you make bad choices and you're stuck with them. This is one of those cases.
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps stating the obvious here, but it seems likely the effect may have been less jarring with the viewing technology available at the time than it is on our 50" plasma HDTV's...

    ...can anyone who was around when TMP was originally released speak to this one way or another?
     
  10. Trimm

    Trimm Captain Captain

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    Given that the native resolution of 35 mm film is significantly higher than HDTV, I am sure it was noticible on screen in 1979. Heck, it's noticible on my 20 something year old VHS copy of TMP.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was noticeable on the big screen, but, admittedly, I bet most people never noticed it back in those days before we watched the same movies ad nauseam in our homes.
     
  12. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am most definitely not one of those TREKKIER THAN THOU types at all, believe me, but that's a fog effect you are referring to ...

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Klingon_Bird-of-Prey

    During the production of Star Trek IV, each set used for the interior of the Bird-of-Prey was designed by production designer Jack T. Collis and was filled with oil fog, a non-toxic substance that created a thin, smoky veil over the entirety of each scene that was set aboard the Klingon craft. Because some people find it unpleasant to be surrounded by oil fog, the film's special effects crew opted to use a maple-scented fog that caused the Klingon ship setting to have an incongruously sweet smell.
     
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    It looked awful in the theater and fairly awful in the fotonovel too, even though it was just massmarket sized.
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I think Peterman also used some diffusion on the lens, besides the smoke (which is insane on the aircraft carrier, there is a fog bank Chekov runs through at one point.)

    On TMP, Kline shot mostly clean but did use some diffusion on the lens, especially to cover Ilia's 5 o'clock shadow. Most of the TMP softness has to do with the quality of light though.
     
  15. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Amen. Add to that the technique of just running around the actors with wobbly steadicams like you're a news crew documenting a play rather than actually framing shots with a tripod and thinking about composition. Unfortunately, a diminishing amount of theater-goers care. :(

    (One thing I appreciated about Rise of Planet of the Apes, btw, is it was, by and large, shot in a traditional locked-off-camera way.)
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    You just sold me on catching APES in the theater, that's really good to hear. I was worried it would be just the opposite, since the director's other pic CLOVERFIELD was designed as a camcorder kinda thing.)
     
  17. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    An understandable concern given that shaky cameras can mostly be associated with a director's art style above all else. Paul Greengrass for example loves shooting his films in a very shaky manner and it kills me every time I notice it because outside of that, his films are really good. The recent Apes movie was a refresher to say the least. I'm almost willing to call it the best shot film of the year.