Synthetic actor in the Cage???

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Cheapjack, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dude, seriously.. turn the tv on too.. not just the PS3...

    :P
     
  2. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The CGI in that shot is superb, especially given what must have been a minuscule budget.
     
  3. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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    My only problem with ST remastered was the M-5 battle, I wanted to see just how fucked up the Excaliber was.

    Though it was nice seeing each ship with some subtle variations to them. :)
     
  4. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The title of the thread reminds me of Scotty's line in "Relics":

    "Synthetic scotch. Synthetic commanders."
     
  5. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I was one of the old fogies complaining about the new effects a couple of years ago when we started seeing the episodes on SD TV. However, now that I've had time to view the BDs, it truly is hard to go back and watch the original effects. First, as we know, the original shots are in terrible condition and are jarring when compared w/ the live footage.

    Second, I've really come to love the new effects. They genuinely look beautiful, other than a few shots that look too "plastic." They took some creative liberty to give us more varied angles. And, the increased detail is very impressive. Sometimes I rewind and watch a shot 2 or 3 times to give my eyes/brain more opportunity to enjoy it.

    So, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when your hubby gives you the BD. Enjoy!

    Doug
     
  6. Hambone

    Hambone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You saw it; you can't un-see it. You old fogey.
     
  7. Bertie

    Bertie Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Although "The Cage" may be a natural starting point for a TOS-R viewing, it really isn't a good episode to use in judging what TOS-R did as a whole; its an unusual special case.
     
  8. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    I've seen the majority of the TOS-R episodes and have yet to see one where the CGI FX didn't stand out like a distracting sore thumb. I'm all for cleaning up the video and sound (You know, actual "remastering"), but smothering TOS in CGI effects is silly. If you don't think 1960s SFX are convincing or not good enough to watch, then don't watch 1960s SciFi TV Shows.
     
  9. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unclean! Unclean! We must keep the purity!
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Overall, I think they did a good job. They started off rather "iffy" with Balance of Terror not being all that amazing, but as stated above, Doomsday Machine is really great. I don't think they got it perfect, there are a few errors they made which don't jive with the live action, but I won't go into detail here. All in all, 90% of that episode is great and adds real excitement to the piece.

    Do keep in mind, however, that I am an old school fan and am perfectly happy with the old effects, even on Blu-Ray on my 52 inch DLP HDTV. I grew up with them and are more than used to how the look. However, when the effects fail during an episode which relies on them, the improvements can be tremendous. Doomsday Machine is one, but Tomorrow is Yesterday is a totally different experience now, and for this episode, I CANNOT watch the original anymore. The "Enterprise in the atmosphere" shots are breathtaking and they even replaced the "fighter jet against the black sky" shot with a photo realistic day shot, which really was "under cloud cover." But best of all, they made the slingshot effect not only make sense, but made it exciting. It's gorgeous, perfectly done and very exciting.

    However, as they went on, they got bold and started screwing with the actors. This is where I don't enjoy it. Wink of an Eye for example: Kirk, Spock and two security guards thunder down to where the Scalosians built their conversion thingy. When Kirk orders them to sweep the area, the original shot had a greenish phaser effect cover the screen, with a shot of the converter thingy spliced in. It didn't belong there, but under the effect, it wasn't all that bad. The effects guys replaced this with a still shot of the men, animated their arms and put individual beams firing against a force field. This wasn't a "sweep" and there was no force field (Scalosian weapons shoved them back). It was really ridiculous and looked worse than the one mis-edited shot. And there was nothing wrong with flooding the screen with a phaser effect back then. No real need to do this.

    The Empath "improves" the healing scenes by evening out the transitions (you could see the dissolve as during each stage of healing). To do this they, again, used a still shot of, say, Kirk's wrists and just faded the wounds out. No stages, no transition. It was a less impressive effect than the painstaking makeup work.

    I'm sure lots of folks don't have issues with that sort of thing. But I'm of the mind that certain effects really didn't need to be touched and if they're going to screw with live action footage, they should have stuck to the backgrounds, like the dark monitors in Tomorrow is Yesterday where the lighting reveals the paper.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought that TOS-R did not go far enough in that regard. Those overhead monitors almost never did anything useful in TOS. All they usually did was just show random starfields. The new EFX should have replaced those with actual fully functional monitor screens. (At the *very* least, they should have shown MOVING IMAGES.) Then they wouldn't have looked so utterly useless.

    I mean, they replaced those old, clunky analog chronometers with digital ones, so why not this?
     
  12. gomtuu20

    gomtuu20 Commander Red Shirt

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    You know, I have been watching and enjoying TOS since they were first aired, which ages me a little. In the late sixties, these were pretty state-of-the-art effects for a television series. Even in the seventies the fx still held up pretty well. I remember reading (in the Nitpicker book?) someone listing the nacelles "blinking out" in one of the shots as a blooper. I was really suprised at that. It wasn't a blooper, it was just one of the special effects shots that wasn't perfect. I always just sort of made an allowance for that. The original effects do not bother me at all, but I must say that most of the CGI enhancements are vast improvements over the old fx. While the CGI enhancements in The Doomsday Machine were not as good as they could have been (as stated earlier), they really made that episode much better. I found myself getting sucked into the story light I had just seen it for the first time! I watched Court Martial last night. While it is not an fx-heavy episode, some of the shots at the beginning and at the end are remarkable. It shows the ion storm damage and the missing pod.
    Overall, I find myself enjoying the enhanced episodes even more than the originals. While the Enterprise herself frequently doesn't look quite right to me, I must say that the rest of the enhancements are fantastic. I think they really enhance the episodes.
    Having said all that, they synthespian entering the elevator is not done very well. I do like the rest of the shot though. The original shot coming from the outside of the ship and onto the bridge was pretty rough. I think the new shot looks pretty cool........except for the synthespian.
     
  13. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    You want *more* motion in the monitor screens?

    Being nominally in charge of set decorations for Star Trek Phase II, I can tell you that there is a tension that exists between making things look real and believable and functional, versus making them distracting to the scene. Especially in an era where things are shot in (or converted to) HD, it's tempting to layer in all kinds of detail--especially with regard to the bridge monitors. But it's a bit of trap: the audience ends up trying to read minute details on the bridge screens instead of paying attention to what Kirk and his crew are actually talking about. I'm not saying that the static astronomical art is the perfect degree detail. But I think there's not a lot of room to play with if you were going to "improve" the images. There's just not much that can be done to the images without them drawing undesired attention to themselves and becoming a distraction. It seems like a lot of expense to go through when the gain is effectively a pretty small little window. It's the same reason why the sensor moire op-cylinder at Spock's station is static in many shots: its motion is just too distracting sometimes.

    All this is stuff people probably already know. But I think the CBS CGI team deserves a bunch of credit for taking on the thankless job of trying to upgrade the visuals a bit when absolutely *every* Star Trek fan knows for himself *exactly* how much improving should or shouldn't be done the episodes.
     
  14. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the monitors on the Defiant's bridge "In A Mirror Darkly" struck the right balance?
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I just want them to look useful. All they ever did in TOS was show static images. So what the hell were they there for in the first place? Why did the set designers put them there if they didn't actually DO anything?

    Okay, so they don't have to be filled with images that are distracting to the viewer. They should look from a *distance* like they are functional screens. They could be filled with the occasional icon, or das blinkenlights, or something that *looks* like scrolling text but only from a distance (i.e. the audience wouldn't be distracted by reading the text because there isn't any actually there - just looks like it).

    Or how about this: The new FX could have eliminated the monitor screens completely. Covered them over. Removed an entirely useless affectation. How's THAT for not being distracting?
     
  16. Hambone

    Hambone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When the story called for the monitors to be used, they were. The rest of the time, what we saw was the 23rd century equivalent of a "screen saver".
     
  17. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, the moment you introduce motion or color changes or data being updated, you've also introduced something that needs to be consistent from one shot to the next for continuity purposes. "Spock has a long line of scrolling blue text over his shoulder in the two-shot with him and Kirk, but then when it's just a close-up of Spock, it's a short line of red text with a little graph next to it. Can't the Continuity people do their jobs better?" Heck, we have a hard enough time remembering if the ship was a red alert from one scene to the next (since we film scenes out of order). I can't imagine even trying to make sure all the ever-changing monitors match up from one shot to the next. Probably easier just to make them static so that they will *always* match.

    As to why the monitors are there at all, putting up spacey astronomical pictures reminds the viewer we're in space--and they look pretty I guess (which is probably reason enough right there). But they are used occasionally to further the plot: by putting up static pictures of John Gill or Roger Korby or to show the Talos Star Group or the path of the flying parasites across the galaxy, or even to put up moving pictures of McCoy discussing Simon van Gelder's condition or to replay the children's happier times on Triacus or to show the Karidian Company's performance of Hamlet, or to show a Klingon ship just outside the range of resolution. It would really slow down the storytelling if you had to adjourn to the briefing room everytime you wanted to show something to someone.
     
  18. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The TOS-R versions simply provide one more variation of the original series for folks who are distracted or put off by the original effects - especially in high definition. There's no reason in the world that people who prefer the original versions shouldn't continue to do so.

    I admire most of what was done with TOS-R, but I have the original versions on DVD and when I want to watch a TOS episode that's what I watch.

    But then, I've even been known once in a great while to turn the color off on my TV so that I can watch a particular episode the way I first saw it on NBC in the 60s. :lol:
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's the thing about ever changing monitors, though...if they are shown to change constantly, then their continuity won't matter, since, well, they change a lot. ;)

    I once saw a picture of the TOS bridge pretty much as it was, except the upper areas - the place where all those little screens are - had been totally reworked. Now instead of a series of smaller screens, there was one large screen above each crewperson's station. That looked a LOT better, IMHO. I think it might have been for Ptrope's reanimation of TAS. I realize it would not have been possible to do that for TOS-R, but hey, I can dream... :sigh:
     
  20. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    It's worth noting that out of the eight stations that ring the bridge (Communications, Library-Computer, Naviagtion Subsystems, Weapons Subsystems, Defense Systems, Engineering, Environmental Systems, and Engineering Subsystems), only two stations--Spock's and Uhura's stations--have two overhead monitors. The other six stations have only one monitor over each crewperson's position.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009