Vintage FX: Star Trek vs Lost in Space

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. AtoZ

    AtoZ Commander Red Shirt

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    I think for very brief shots they could have gone the LIS route and stuck a model in front of a painting and managed to get away with it. As a child I always thought of Space 1999 and UFO as special effects leaders, but they came a full five years and more after TOS. Another point to ponder, Space 1999 sometimes tried to cheat. More than a few times they'd land an eagle model with the picture of another eagle angled or shrouded amongst rock or trees in the background. In a few instances they did a poor job, with an obvious picture propped on a launch pad. But if the shot is brief enough and done as well as possible, I'm sure they could have used similar effects strategies for TOS and pulled it off.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    UFO was made the year Star Trek ended, not 5 years later.
     
  3. AtoZ

    AtoZ Commander Red Shirt

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    You are right. My wording could have been better.
     
  4. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Why is that starship underwater? :scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream:

    ;)
     
  5. cbspock

    cbspock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In space seed the two miniatures were filmed together as Enterprise was towing the Botany Bay.

    -Chris
     
  6. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In fact, Trek TOS did that at least once -- in "The Trouble With Tribbles." The Enterprise seen through the window of Mr. Lurry's office on Space Station K-7 is an AMT model suspended on wires in front of a painted starfield.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I thought one of the vfx houses did shoot the close shots of the E pivoting (like the ones seen on the 'next episode' intro) against a practical starfield. I mean, they're in really close and there's not a matte line I can see in standard def.
     
  8. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's usually an artistic difference, rather than a technological one. Today's rendering engines are extremely good, but that's no guarantee the artist will use it in a photo-realistic manner. In fact, while CGI rendering engines have gotten better, moviemakers have trended towards a more stylized look even with live action—such as the dreaded "teal & orange" grading. Ironically, it is the CGI stuff that has realistic light and color, while live action is now filtered to death.

    (Check out any of Andrew Price's tutorials.)
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Looks pretty matted to me in HD.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x13hd/elaanoftroyiushd1399.jpg
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I believe that. I often find myself yearning for some natural brightness and, heaven forbid, some primary colors in today's sci-fi movies.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    If you blink these two pictures, the stars are in motion:

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x13hd/elaanoftroyiushd1398.jpg

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x13hd/elaanoftroyiushd1399.jpg

    It's definitely a bluescreen composite shot.
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    It does look good, but I think one of the problems with it is that the depth of field isn't great enough. The ground in the bottom foreground being out of focus gives a definite vibe of "this was a model".

    Another problem is that perhaps the lighting doesn't really seem bright enough for real daylight. Also, some of the shadows could be sharper.

    Edit: To clarify, in real sunlight, the primary light source is, for all practical purposes, infinitely far away, and it's not a point source. But, in this scene, it looks to me like the light source is aimed at the mobiles, so that it doesn't strike the foreground with equal intensity, and it makes the shadows in the foreground more diffuse than those near the mobiles. The brush does a fair job of fudging that, I think, but it's not perfect.

    One other thing is that I'm not convinced that the color of the sunlight is quite right, but that perception could be off and due to a lot of factors.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Stay clear of THE LONE RANGER, it looks like it was shot on the PITCH BLACK planet (director and DP didn't want blue skies or gold sands.)
     
  14. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Like a plastic model in front of a painting. If the 33-inch had the detailing of the new Round2 version of this scale, perhaps using it as a primary miniature would work, but it would still be a tough sale due to the fictional size of the ship. That's why the best Seaview miniatures for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea were of the larger scale, as the detail and scale in ocean surface shots played as real, while the smaller versions looked like someone pushing the Aurora model kit through a swimming pool.


    I think the "limitations" of the 11 footer movement added to the idea that it was a massive vessel, which made the "warp" flybys even more impressive.

    Cheesy. It would be no more convincing than a window display of AMT ST kits I recall from childhood--cool in a play value kind of way, but not anything to sell to audiences.
     
  15. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agree. Based on the results we saw on both series.
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, Space:1999 did mix the methods. When taking off, flying through atmospheres and landing on surfaces, the Eagles were models on wires on tabletop sets in front of backdrops. However, for the most part, Eagles in space were composite shots. I don't have an image to put up, but if you get an opportunity to pop in an episode, space shots of Eagles and other crafts usually are in a part of the screen with no stars. There could be a starless path or the bottom third, say, of the screen would have no stars and the ship would be in that area. This way no stars would show through the shadowed portions of the models.

    In the first episode of the second year, The Metamorph, an Eagle breaks free of a magnetic force. we see it pivot and tilt away from the camera, but we can spot stars showing through the dark areas of the miniature.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That sounds like the same kind of in-camera compositing done by Filmation's Space Academy. Rather than using an optical printer and mattes to combine separate strips of film, which would result in loss of resolution, they'd film one image element, then rewind the exposed film in the camera, then double-expose the next element onto the same length of film, and so on until they had a final, first-generation composite shot. They used the same technique of leaving gaps in the starfield for the ships flying through the frame.

    So that's not really the same as the bluescreen process ST used, because there are no mattes involved -- otherwise you wouldn't need the gap in the starscape to avoid image bleedthrough, since that's what the mattes are for. Unless what you're saying is that they created mattes using pure light/shadow contrast rather than a bluescreen, in which case the shadowed portions of the ship would just be missing from the image. That seems unlikely, though.
     
  18. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, the wind back and double-expose in camera is how nearly all of 1999's work was done. If you look at some of ALIEN, the same thing was done there (there is a different quality of black to the space the ship passes through than the rest of frame in some shots as well.) The 'sophisticated grid' work they talked about on ALIEN was the same grid they used in 1999 to make sure the ship wasn't overlapping anything.

    It was done far more expertly in MOONRAKER, which has very few opticals, and has got one shot with about 45 passes in-camera.
     
  19. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A "different quality black" is usually indicative of laboratory opticals, rather than in-camera latent image photography. I can't speak with any authority on ALIEN, as I don't remember much—if anything—I might have read about the VFX work.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In a pre-digital age, laboratory opticals had the advantage of control, while in-camera latent image composites had the advantage of "latitude"—the light energy of the real scene is quite different from the limited bandwidth that can be captured on film. So again, mis-matched blacks are usually a sign of lab work. Although the cinematographers may have used a matte box on the camera to control the exposure zones.
     
  20. beamMe

    beamMe Commodore

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    Those shots are beautiful - Adam's design for the Moonraker-station is just epic, IMO.
    It's really a shame there is a boom-arm to which one of the Moonraker-shuttles is fixed to is so damn visible.