TOS camera usage

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by marsomthing, May 17, 2013.

  1. marsomthing

    marsomthing Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    One of the things I instantly loved about Star Trek when I started watching it was the camera angles and views the series used.

    What I'm talking about is the "crazy" fish lens looking thing, or the POV during a fight.

    Was TOS the first "big" show to use this, or had it been around and used before?
     
  2. SpHeRe31459

    SpHeRe31459 Captain Captain

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    It was a somewhat common style in art house films. Trek was one of the first TV shows to use the look though AFAIK. Another was The Outer Limits. Which not coincidentally shared many of the same directors.
     
  3. marsomthing

    marsomthing Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I had never read anything before about this kinda stuff, interesting tho. I really enjoy how Trek used it, not enough to be cheesy but just enough to add flare IMO...

    Off the top of my head I can't remember which episodes they did it in, anybody else wanna chime in?
     
  4. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    The fish-eye lens is from both The Tholian Web, Is There In Truth No Beauty.

    Trek had some VERY good directors - Joe Pevney, Marc Daniels and Ralph Senensky were all among the busiest directors in TV at the time. Pevney seemed to specialize in the bigger productions, Daniels was the best at using those small ENT sets, and Senensky was their 'sensitive' specialist.
     
  5. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Senesky first used the 9mm fisheye in "Metamorphosis" for the long shots of the Galileo on the planet surface. You can really tell as Cochran seems to be far away from the Galileo but when he runs towards it he gets there in about 5 steps, lol.
     
  6. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    Jerry Finnerman was the director of photography (except for the last part of season three). He'd be the one picking which camera to use and how the lighting should be for each shot, based on the effect the episode director wants to achieve.

    Ralph mentions the 9mm was Jerry's idea (from senensky.com):

     
  7. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Senensky seems to be saying that Finnerman introduced the new wide angle 9mm lens to Senensky back during "Metamorphosis," but that it was actually Senensky's decision to use it again in "Is There In Truth...," not Finnerman's. But maybe I'm just misunderstanding him.
     
  8. marsomthing

    marsomthing Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I had never picked up on Metamorphorsis shot...guess you would really have to look for it since it is not a close up shot.
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    My favorite use of the fisheye was in "In Truth...", not in the exaggerated Spock POV shots, but in that shot after Kirk came out of sickbay looking for Miranda, and the wide lens showed how empty and lonely the corridor was.
     
  10. marsomthing

    marsomthing Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I think it really makes the POV fighting feel very "crazy" and makes the person really look like they are full of rage, I can almost feel it while watching.

    What other kinds of little touches did the directors/creators/producers add to make TOS stand out at the time?
     
  11. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    Certainly if a director says "I will use this camera" then one should listen, but in general the DP is there to decide such things.
     
  12. Kirkman

    Kirkman Cadet Newbie

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    One shot that has stuck with me was from behind a set of stairs as Ent crewmembers were marched down.

    I believe it was in For the World Is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky, but I might be mistaken.
     
  13. SpHeRe31459

    SpHeRe31459 Captain Captain

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    Yep, it's a very cool shot.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/thumbnails.php?album=74&page=11
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    The cinematography was treated -- in terms of AMOUNT of light -- almost as Black&White, something Finnerman learned from old-time pros. What you get when you really push things is what he called a half-tone, where you see detail in the faces even though that part isn't bathed in light. On really good Kirk closeups, you can see the big backlight, the silhouetted foreground and an edge of detail that makes for a very rich image.

    Finnerman talks about this in interviews in CINEMAGIC and CINEFANTASTIQUE magazine and I think maybe in STAR TREK INTERVIEWS book too.

    Personally, I just love the amount of black in the frame at times in BALANCE OF TERROR and DAY OF THE DOVE, especially the latter during the 'ship out, freak!' scene.

    Frankly, I'm bored by the see-everything look we've drowned in since they started making filmstocks resemble video more and more, and now digital has just begun to look like film to a slight degree, but things still show too much mid-range for my taste. But they're not using as many movie lights, so I guess naturalism is going to be in for the forseeable future.
     
  15. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Al Francis shot most of 3rd season, so he probably did DOVE; that actually makes sense, because Francis didn't overdo the diffusion on actresses, and I've seen DOVE recently enough to remember that they didn't make it all mushy when you saw Kang's wife.
     
  17. marsomthing

    marsomthing Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    By diffusion on women do you mean like hazy shots like inThis Side Of Paradise when they show solo shots of spocks "interest"?

    I can't remember her name right off hand--- shame on me
     
  18. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Leila Kalomi, played by Jill Ireland.
     
  19. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    All Francis took over as the Director of Photography in the middle of the third season and continued through the last 15 episodes of the series.

    64 "The Tholian Web"
    65 "For the Wolrd Is Hallow And I Have Touched the Sky"
    66 "Day of the Dove"
    67 "Plato's Stepchildren"
    68 "Wink of an Eye"
    69 "That Which Survives"
    70 "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"
    71 "Whom Gods Destroy"
    72 "The Mark of Gideon"
    73 "The Lights of Zetar"
    74 "The Cloud Minders"
    75 "The Way to Eden"
    76 "Requiem for Methuselah"
    77 "The Savage Curtain"
    78 "All Our Yesterdays"
    79 "Turnabout Intruder"

    Jerry Finnerman was the Director of Photography for all the other Star Trek episodes except:

    1 "The Cage" (William E Snyder)
    2 "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (Ernest Haller)
    50 "By Any Other Name" (Keith C. Smith)

    The late All Francis seems to have been perfectly capable of using a soft focus lens on Katherine Wodville, Barbara Babcock, Kathie Brown, and all the other third season lovelies that he had to shoot. I think that if he elected to not use the soft focus lens on Susan Howard, it's probably simply because she was supposed to be a harsh Klingon warrior and advesary--not a romantic love interest.
     
  20. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I've only seen one or two Francis interviews, but he stresses that he didn't want to use as much diffusion as Finnerman ... I think he may have said something about a harder key as well, but won't swear to that.

    I'm pretty sure if you look at Kathie Browne's stuff vs, say, the lady in COURT MARTIAL, you'll see the latter is shot with something nearly as excessive as Margot Kidder in SUPERMAN 2.