Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by King Daniel Beyond, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Trek's continuity works in broad strokes, where specifics are sometimes ignored but the jist of a story usually remains.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BroadStrokes
     
  2. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Jumping off those links from TVTropes, there is Continuity and Continuity Tropes. Particularly of interest in Continuity Snarl:

    and since this is the Tech section of the board there is a strong focus on Continuity Porn (for better or worse).

    Kudos for TVTropes to recognize the Star Trek universes for it :)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think anyone needs to define continuity. The point is about realizing there are priorities beyond simpleminded dogma. Important continuity in a work of fiction is in things like characterization and plot -- making sure that characters' behavior and motivations are consistent or that the important events of the narrative are remembered. Things like the design of a piece of equipment or the details of a throwaway historical reference or the appearance of a character who's been recast... those aren't essential to the story. They're matters of interpretation.

    That's the word you need to have defined: interpretation. Every storyteller is interpreting a set of ideas for the audience, making choices about how to present them and what details to employ or emphasize. And every storyteller's interpretation of the same idea is going to be different. Even the same storyteller's interpretation will change over time as the storyteller matures. Because fiction is a personal expression, and that makes it mutable. Two different actors playing the same character will play it differently. Two different comic-book artists drawing the same superhero will draw her differently. Two different historians describing the same event in history will describe it differently. But neither of them is "wrong." They just have different interpretations, because they're individuals.
     
  4. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    This thread is about visual continuity. How can we have a discussion about continuity of any kind if we don't define what it is first? I asked for you to define this, and you evade the question.

    Again, what is continuity? And does Star Trek have it? I have heard some who say that it does, and I have heard some who say that it doesn't.

    I am a simple layman, ill-educated and poor, who seeks wisdom and knowledge from the fountain of those who live in the ivory tower.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  5. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    1.
    I am watching "Encounter at Farpoint". Lieutenant Commander Data said that he graduated in '78 from Starfleet Academy. This is a throwaway historical reference. We know that Data had to graduate from the Academy. It's not important when.

    The quote in "First Contact" is different. It extends past this one episode, and answers questions that had been raised in the past.

    What event led to the creation of the Prime Directive?
    When did Humans and Klingons first met?
    What happen when they met?

    These questions were answered broadly. A prequel show to TOS could have answered these questions with specifics. Instead, Enterprise was a reboot of Star Trek, and rewrote the history. As a fan, I would have liked to see what TNG presented as history on this matter, and not what Enterprise did.

    2.
    I remember hearing the commentary for "Tora! Tora! Tora!". The director talked briefly about the reuse of footage from this movie for "Midway". He didn't like they had done that, but what could he do? It had been done. People who work in the industry recognize things do change, and they have little say when the change happens. From what I have heard and read, it is considered bad form to criticize people in that industry. So, for me, the above quote, is what I expected and I believe reflects more on his professionalism than his real feelings on the same subject.
     
  6. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ First of all, you continue to complain about the definition of continuity and asking rhetorical questions that don't really have an answer, which invites the question of whether or not you are actually contributing to the discussion or just airing your grievances here. If the latter, you must understand that even throwaway lines like the reference in "First Contact" -- and it IS a throwaway line, since it doesn't have any real causal effect on story progression -- is going to be an extremely different issue with the VISUAL continuity between shows; even if Enterprise was entirely consistent with TNG in all the historical details, it could have been VISUALLY distinct if phasers fired bolts instead of beams, if photon torpedoes had smoky exhaust trails, if deflector shields were represented as holographic plates that glowed brightly whenever they were activated, etc. VISUAL continuity is more art and style than story progression; for that matter, even cross- series continuity has more to do with background setting and fictional history.

    Secondly, "they reused my footage from my movie for a totally different movie I had nothing to do with" is not the same thing as "They ignored a throwaway line I tossed into the script because I had a vague notion of something sometime sort of happening." Taking the B-17 pilot's "hell of a way to fly into a war" scene and re-looping it into a totally different movie with no context and no background and no real explanation seems to cheapen the latter and adds nothing to the former; a director would be annoyed that he did all that work setting up that scene and ending it with a kickass effect just so some other guy a year later can use it like throwaway stock footage.
     
  7. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Comment retracted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I define continuity as the stories taking place in the same ficticious universe, and ideally all the dots would join up perfectly at the end. BUT, Trek wasn't planned out from the beginning as some epic saga. It's been made up as they went along by generations of writers and producers, and they all had their own slightly different ideas about how the Trek universe should work, should look, and should feel. As a result, minor mistakes have crept in, and some subtle rewrites have taken place.

    Viewers are supposed to/expected to suspend their disbelief when watching. We make-believe the guy in the blue makeup and antennae is an alien (who happens to look and sound suspiciously like a couple of other aliens on the other Trek shows:)), and we kind of ignore (or possibly forget - I wouldn't know a tenth of the nitpicks I do if it weren't for the internet!) that the old Enterprise zoomed from the rim of the galaxy to Earth and the centre without any trouble when Voyager is taking a lifetime to make a similar journey.

    Everyone's mileage varies on how much change they're willing to accept, I guess.



    Remember also that Babylon 5, which WAS planned out from the beginning and ran a measly five years compared to Trek's 45 and with the same guy running things the whole time, has some continuity errors too. Nobody's perfect:)
     
  9. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the thread title answers the question all by itself. "Same future, different eyes" describes not only the way it's seen by the people who write, direct, and produce the shows, but also the way viewers perceive them.

    Some may be bothered by the tiniest piece of irrelevant minutiae that doesn't match from series to series (or episode to episode), and that's ... ok. But it doesn't bother me a bit that Enterprise had phase pistols but the TOS pilots had hand lasers. At the absolute worst, it's interesting trivia. Keyword: trivia. It's just not that big a deal.

    Having become a fan in the early 70s when there was zero new Trek being filmed, I consider us lucky to have had the sequel series and eleven films that came later. History could have played out much differently.

    But I do understand that some people just need to complain.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  10. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When it comes to the Tech of the reboot, my only problems are pretty much personal opinion on the visuals (the Enterprise itself looks horrible, or the bridge is stupid, for example) and some problems with the logic of the stuff, like

    why is there a giant window on the bridge? Doesn't that make it easier for all the bridge crew to get pulled out into space?

    Why are there so many pipes in main engineering? Is it steam powered? (I know why it is like that from a real world standpoint, but I'd like to hear a good in universe explination)

    What is the purpose of the lens flare generators? (this question is phrased sarcastically, I know there wasn't supposed to be lens flare generators on the ship, I would just like to know what idiot thought constant lens flares was good).

    (I'm not actually asking those questions expecting to get answers here, they're just examples of some of my problems from a tech/visual standpoint)

    But, as much as I like the tech of ST, I could have ignored it. With the reboot, its the story/writing/acting that gets my undying hate. I don't hate the movie because the Enterprise is different, I hate it because it sucks (same with the reboot ship itself, if it looked good, I'd acknowledge that it looked good). The tech annoyances are just that, annoyances. I've never had a problem with stuff like that, or minor continuity mistakes/fixes in the shows (although I'm a big fan of continuity in general).
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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  12. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So that they can see what's in front of them?

    No, they've got forcefields.

    Matter/antimatter.

    Nuclear power plants have many pipes as well, but they're not steam powered, are they?

    Surely by now we've moved beyond the simplistic "it sucks!"/"it's awesome!" axis, haven't we?
     
  13. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    KingDaniel, your link appears to be broken
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    That's odd, it works for me. But here it is embedded:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Or when and how Kirk died. Was it on the Enterprise-B with Scotty onboard or was it after Scotty departed for the Norpin Colony? :)

     
  16. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My only problem with how continuity is treated...is if a lazy writer whines about how his hands are tied and just spits out some POS that completly ignores everything that came before.

    See: John Byrne's Doom Patrol.

    Now...the look of Abram's Trek? I ain't got a problem with it. DC's constant rebooting, and not even being sure THEMSELVES (right before the last reset) of the details of their flagship character's origin? BIG problem.*

    *I refer to John Byrne's perfectly fine redo of Supes after COIE. (See I don't hate all Byrne's stuff) out of the blue not being good enough and being shoehorned aside for Waid's Birthright.
     
  17. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks KingDaniel - not sure what was going on with my browsers (I tried more than one). An interesting comparison, to be sure!
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry to bump what is a fairly old thread now, but I came across THIS VIDEO earlier today (via THIS thread in TOS) and think it's an great example of what I said in the OP. It's the same episode, the same Enterprise bridge - but seen through modern eyes.
     
  19. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's a modern recreation of an old design, which is not the same thing as a brand new design which tries to capture the essence of the old one, if you see what I mean.
     
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say they're part of the same spectrum. But I imagine everyone's got different ideas about at what point the changes get too far from the original.