Why was the 2-foot model built?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Xerxes1979, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Xerxes1979

    Xerxes1979 Captain Captain

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    In miniature photography bigger is usually better in nearly all cases.

    Was the smaller Enterprise buit for quicker shooting deadlines using a smaller crew or was it needed for shooting against strange effects/explosions that would have been prohibitively expensive using six footer?

    Was it filmed against the same blue screen as the six or elsewhere allowing multiple shots to be completed simultaneously?

    What is the history of the two-foot model?
     
  2. evilnate

    evilnate Commodore Commodore

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    As far as I know, it was built primarily to accomplish far shots that would have required much more complicated and time consuming lens set ups, or a massive soundstage with the 6 foot model. It was/is common practice to build models of different scales to accomplish different shots.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Bigger is better for close-ups, but for long shots, if the ship is far away from the camera, you want a smaller miniature, since a bluescreen stage is only so big and the camera can only move back so far. Here's ILM's model shop supervisor Jeff Mann from "Creating Special Effects for 'STAR TREK: The Next Generation" in Starlog's ST:TNG magazine issue 2, p. 28:
    EDIT: Oops, just beaten to it.
     
  4. Xerxes1979

    Xerxes1979 Captain Captain

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    Can't you just scale a large model shot smaller in post production(I am guessing you could but it would take time and most likely look bad)?

    What about movies like ROTJ? All the distance shots during the battle of Endor were done with small models or was ILM's shooting stage that big?

    What about the distance shot of the Enterprise in TMP flying over V'ger from above? The TMP model was huge and massive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  5. evilnate

    evilnate Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure about ROTJ, but I'd assume that it would have been a combination of different scale models and matte paintings. As far as scaling a model goes, sure, they could do that, but it's still more challenging to get a large model, shot at the correct angles into the frame. Plus, you have to remember that motion control means that you need room for the model to move. You could get better, more intricate movement with a smaller model.

    In TMP, there was an extremely tiny refit-E model that was used for the V'Ger flyover. Less than a foot, I believe.
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    ILM built the hero 6' model, and the 2' model. Both could be saucer separated. Both evilnate and Christopher are correct. The long shot wide-angle banking scenes of the two separate sections were easier to set up with the smaller model. To stage it with the 6' model at the same scaled distance, would require enough stage room for the camera to make that banking turn. And setting up the 6' foot model was likely more expensive on the budget. Most of the separations seen are recyclings from 'Encounter at Farpoint'.


    Again, it's budget. You're asking for the comparison of a major motion picture with a single television episode's money to play with. ILM had more model makers, more effects artists, etc., to work with. I've not seen photos of the model redwood forest in years, but I think the trees were as tall as a man. Star Wars miniature sets were often fairly large. We can't always be sure if we're looking at just a miniature or one enhanced by a matte painting.
     
  7. BriGuy

    BriGuy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's a lot of info about all the D models here: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Galaxy_class_model

    I'm assuming this site is trustworthy and the information accurate.

    It includes saying off-the-bat that the 2 foot can NOT saucer seper.

    It's the four-footer that has always looked odd to me with its "ribbed for her pleasure" saucer.
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I saw the 2-foot separation mentioned in a different Memory Alpha article. Your referenced article is more detailed, so probably more accurate.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    My understanding has always been that only the 6-footer could separate the saucer. That's why they stopped using the saucer-sep maneuver in the show -- because the 6-footer was too unwieldy to work with, and it was the only separable one they had.
     
  10. BriGuy

    BriGuy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    According to that Mem Alpha entry, only the six footer can separate.
     
  11. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's the same reason ILM built an off-the-shelf AMT Enterprise model for the movies - the 6-footer just doesn't look right when scaled down.

    Unfortunately, the effects team got tired of the 6-footer, so they used the 2-footer inappropriately during season 2. I don't think the janky-looking deflector was ever meant to be shown close-up. Between the 2 and 4, using the 4 going forward was the lesser of two evils. Thank goodness the 6-footer got to be used one last time in Generations (not counting BOBW).

    BTW, if you are curious, the AMT Refit Enterprise was used in these shots:

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/twokhd/twokhd0802.jpg
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tsfshd/tsfshd0143.jpg
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tsfshd/tsfshd0154.jpg
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tsfshd/tsfshd0980.jpg
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tuchd/ch12/tuchd2298.jpg

    And here it is at auction: http://www.mutara.net/Christies/MiniEntA.html

    I notice in The Schizoid Man in HD, the ship warps away from Graves' World still using the 6-foot model. The scaling gets pretty bad when it zooms away. Odd choice.

    Also interesting that the 2-footer disappeared without a trace. I wonder if it will ever turn up. I saw the 4-foot model up close at a Star Trek exhibit. It looks awful. It still has scars from the All Good Things modifications.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  12. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, never realized they used the AMT model kit in the movies before (they sure made it look better than the crappy silver one I built as a kid!).

    And yeah, it didn't really stand out much before, but in HD it's painfully clear that the 2-footer was relied on WAY too much in the second season.
     
  13. FreddyE

    FreddyE Captain Captain

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    What? The 6-footer never got used again after season 1 until BOBW and Generations? Really?
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not quite. The 6-footer was used throughout season 2 and early season 3. The 4-foot miniature was introduced in season 3's "The Defector," and after that the 6-footer was only hauled out when they needed new footage of the ship in separated mode, which was basically just BOBW and GEN, yes.
     
  15. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Best part of the article for me:

     
  16. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Colors aside, it was a welcome reminder from the show. That's my favorite shot of the Enterprise.

    Of course, that wasn't the only recycled TNG shot used in Generations. They also reused the saucer separation shot, the one looking up as the saucer detaches.

    That particular shot, BTW, seemed to be unavailable when it came time for TNG HD. They had to recreate it with CGI. I wonder if the shot got lost after it was pulled from storage. I hope they find it in time for BOBW2.
     
  17. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Not really. You can certainly have the camera close to the model, but in order to get it all in you'll need to use a wide angle lens.

    For example, let's say we have a shot of the E-D coming straight for the camera. If you are close, you need a wide angle lens or most of the ship will be out of frame. So you use a wide angle lens. But that makes the nacelles at the back look heaps far away from the saucer. To avoid this, you need to move the camera back. But if you have a really big model, you need to move the camera back a long way. Sometimes the mechanics that move the camera can't reach back that far, and sometimes you just don't have a studio big enough. But if you have a small model of the ship, it's easier to do.

    I;d say they used small models. After all, when the tie fighters were that small on the screen, you'd never notice that they were lacking in detail.

    Same again. They prob built a tiny little Enterprise for that shot.

    Similarly, when they did all those ships in the fleets in DS9, they used little plastic model kits and even the Christmas tree decorations for those shots. Sure they were small and poorly detailed, but considering that they were very small in the frame, you never saw their flaws.
     
  18. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    *Nods* When they pulled it out to shoot the sep sequence for Generations, it hadn't been used in a long time.
     
  19. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's right. Apogee built a one-foot model for shots where they needed the Enterprise tiny.

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Constitution_class_model

    After that, ILM used an AMT model for that purpose.
     
  20. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They didn't just use it for the saucer separation. They used it for the whole time (minus the occasional CG shot)
     

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