Stunt double madness

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Dale Sams, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, however easy it is to sprain an ankle or break a hip, Shatner did the whole Kirk vs Air Force dudes fight in Tomorrow Is Yesterday, complete with a handful of stunt guys, punches, falls, jumps and swings off the doorsill. They even tackled him and slammed him to the floor. Made the brawl that much more exciting, and it the primary reason for my wondering why he didn't do more simple fights.

    As for whether or not the stunt guy in Space Seed or Court Martial was noticeable before HD, damn straight he was. When Kirk does the running kick to Khan, the guy looked totally different; different body type, different hair, totally different face. Khan also got like 6 inches shorter. If they would have just matched Shatner's hair, it would have gone a long way. Again, like they did in Whom Gods Destroy. Maybe they only had one wig at the time.

    What's even more funny is how Shatner tries to convince people in Star Trek Movie Memories that he did this moves himself and resurrected them for his Kirk vs Kruge fight in Trek III. and then Jimmy Doohan did the same thing by claiming to do the "thrown by Apollo" stunt in Who Mourns for Adonias? in Beam me Up Scotty. Such fun....
     
  2. Myko

    Myko Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I hope the book helped pay for Jimmy Jones' hospital bill then. :)
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    According to Solow & Justman's Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Shatner had a habit of taking his hairpieces home after each season. Though they were expensive, custom fitted for him, they were legally studio property. But you'd think they would have built some artificial hair wig cap for the stunt guys.
     
  4. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I noticed that Spiner seems to do a pretty drastic 'pull across the room' stunt for The Most Toys.
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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  6. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    That's right. I cringed when I learned that Jones had head and back injuries from his spectacular stunt in "Who Mourns."

    Nowadays there might be an ethical rule to prevent a show from using such footage. I'm not sure.
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    He also got hospitalized during "The Apple", when (as Mallory) he stepped on that rock in a spectacular explosion.

    I think footage is usually withheld only if the stuntman is killed in an accident.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, consider the environment. This wasn't the bridge. This was a simpler, more open set -- just a floor, walls, a few shelf units in one corner, and a bin in another corner. It's not as tricky an environment as the bridge set where you have the two-level floor and the railing and the helm console to worry about. Simplicity or complexity isn't just about the performers' moves, it's about the circumstances they're in. It's safer to do a fight scene on a level surface than an irregular one, because there's less risk of your footing going awry, or of your head hitting some protruding edge if you fall down.

    It's also a smaller set, requiring the camera to be closer to the performers, so that doubles would be more easily spotted. Even in the "Operation: Annihilate" scene we evaluated earlier, they cut to the regular actors for the close-in portions of the fight scene, and only used doubles in the long shots. Here, it was all medium or close shots, so doubling wasn't really an option.


    That depends on the TV. For the kind of sets people grew up watching TOS reruns on in the '80s or '90s, sure. For an expensive 24-inch color set with good reception in the '60s, probably. But for the dinky black-and-white set I grew up watching TOS on in the '70s, or with the kind of static or image distortion I often had to deal with when the antennae and knobs weren't adjusted just right? I doubt I could've told the difference. We're spoiled by the TV sets we have today. Not many people remember what it was like in the days when you had to wrestle your TV into submission to get a halfway decent picture out of it, and then just hope it would hold that way for the duration of the show.

    (Good grief, I sound like an old fogey.)
     
  9. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    You're in good company. My father purchased our first color set in Fall of 1969. And merciful Mogg, do I remember him struggling with those bleedin' rabbit ears to reduce the "snow". Not eliminate it, simply reduce it to tolerable levels.

    I never experienced "cable" (and thus a "snow free" image) until 1977 the year my father died I and I had to move where I still had family. Until then, intermediate "snow" was just part of the experience.

    Today, I'm with DirecTV and oddly enough, things have come full circle in a way. When the weather turns foul, the image does not display "snowy" static, but it will begin to "pixelate" with the "blocks" growing ever larger until the signal is lost totally. While definitely annoying, I have to chuckle at the irony.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  10. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps it is a matter of eye, rather than technology. As noted a page ago, I watched TOS on a B&W TV, and eventually a color set in the early 70s, and noticed Kirk's stuntman with no problems (along with stunt performers in other TV series). Reception was not always great on the B&W, but some stuntmen just stood out (another obvious one was Fred Gwynne's for The Munsters).
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, this is one way in which digital TV is definitely not an improvement over analog. At least with analog, you could still basically see and hear the program through the static. With digital, the picture and sound just freeze until it clears -- it's more all-or-nothing (as is to be expected from a system based on 1s and 0s, I guess).
     
  12. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    After reading that we come back around to...(regarding *some* of the work) "Spiner couldn't do that?"

    I'll bet in todays work enviroment there is MUCH less leeway in letting a star do his own stunts*. Especially on a TV show with a tight work window. So much like the Captain he portrayed, the days of a Shatner being a freewheeler are over.

    *I wonder if some studios are actually contractually obliged to use a union stuntman if a stunt is done.
     
  13. Navigator_NCC2120

    Navigator_NCC2120 Captain Captain

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    So does Uhura's stunt double stand out a bit in "Mirror, Mirror", in the Sickbay fight scene now, but not back in the 1960s as others have said. Here is a hd picture of her stunt double, you can see the rolls of fat on the stunt double that actress Nichelle Nichols did not have.


    Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
    /\
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually I'd say it's more common today for stars to do their own stunts. In the past decade or two, we've had a number of the great Hong Kong fight choreographers come over and train the stars of American movies and TV shows to do their own stunts, in things like Hercules/Xena and The Matrix and Elektra and so forth. Tom Cruise famously did his own climbing stunts outside the tallest skyscraper in the world in Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol. It's actually pretty commonplace to watch a modern movie's making-of features on the DVD and see the actors talk about the weeks or months of fight training they did so they could do their own stuntwork. Audiences today are so critical of imperfection that it's become increasingly necessary for the actors' own faces to be visible in the stunts. So doubles are generally reserved for the really strenuous and dangerous stuff.
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    That pullback stunt is potentially dangerous. A cable is attached to the stuntman's harness and then he's suddenly pulled backward. Whether it's done by manpower or mechanics, I don't know. A similar stunt appears in The Outer Limits: Sixth Finger, when Edware Mulhare (doubled by a stuntman) is telekinetically attacked by David McCallum.

    Variations of it in other media occur when a character is knocked off horseback or a vehicle by a sword or a club, and I think one of Chris Nolan's Batman films has a bad guy knocked off the Batmobile or something from colliding with a post. In those cases, the action is staged at the point where the cable runs out of slack, so it looks like the guy is knocked backwards. Camera angles and timing is everything.
     
  16. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oy watching Emergency! with my mom was a real endurance test. She was never happy with the reds of the fire trucks and we'd spent so much time adjusting the color. By the time she was satisfied, the show was over. I was actually happy as a kid with the 12 inch Zenith black and white set.
     
  17. Bumbles861

    Bumbles861 Admiral Premium Member

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    In 1969 we moved to Ottawa and for the first time had cable. IIRC we had about 6 or 7 channels. It was great not having snow any longer and having such a clear picture compared to the rabbit ears. What wasn't so great at the time was that I was still the remote control.
     
  18. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    These days they can put the star's face into any stunt:

    - A star does an aerial stunt wearing a harness attached to nice, thick safety cables. In post production, all the safety equipment is erased via "digital support removal."

    - Even safer: a star does a stunt on a green stage three feet off the floor, and along with digital support removal, the whole "dangerous" or high-in-the-air environment is composited in.

    - A stuntman does something dangerous, and later the star's face is composited over the image in post production.

    - The star does a "high speed" fight or stunt at slow speed, and the film is digitally edited and manipulated to seem like a frantic and dangerous thing was happening. [The fistfights in QUANTUM OF SOLACE are framed so tight and edited so rapid-fire, I literally can't tell which man is Bond. And I know they didn't bother with any real fight moves.]
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In movies, yes. I believe it was first done in Jurassic Park, in the shot where the girl was climbing up into the air vent with the raptor snapping beneath her. But the techniques you list still cost money, and are easier to do in big-budget features than on series television.

    A lot of movies these days just dispense of stunt performers altogether and use digital models of the actors in the action scenes, but the animation isn't always convincing. I was struck by a shot in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, during the big underground fight against the goblins, where the Dwalin character just looked so artificial in his motions as he waved the other dwarves across a bridge or something -- he looked like a video game character, and it was bizarre that they'd use a digital double for such an ordinary motion.

    Of course nobody's claiming that you could expect any actor to do all their own stunts; even Jackie Chan is past the age when he could do that. I've already acknowledged that doubling would still be used for the more difficult or dangerous stunts. Indeed, I'm sure everyone else involved with M:I--GP would've preferred it if Tom Cruise had let a stuntman climb the Burj Khalifa instead of doing it himself. But the point is that it's become increasingly common for actors to train to do many of their own stunts, even the majority of them. Kevin Sorbo was doubled a lot less in Hercules than Shatner was in TOS.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To show you how dangerous it is, Ellen Burstyn received a permanent injury from just such a stunt in The Exorcist. The harness yanked her hard away and the screams you hear when she landed are not acting.