Nacelle Spikes on Cage Enterprise Footage

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by plynch, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While watching a third season ep tonight on normal DVD, I noticed the nacelles spikes somewhat visible on a flyby during the opening.

    This is really "inside baseball," but I'm curious, did they animate/color over them with black so they would be hardly visible? Or did they leave 'em as is, and they just don't photograph well?

    I would like to think they at least tried to hide em. Though the rear nacelle caps/no caps thing was never standardized due to the inexpense of using old footage.

    Anybody know? Just wondering.
     
  2. MANT!

    MANT! Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were removed between the 2nd pilot and the actual green light for the series..

    or so I've been able to tell... but reuse of stock footage had them appear off and on throughout the original run..(this was fixed in TOS-R)

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

    They look black or maybe gunmetal..on my HDTV...but as they were matted in a bluescreen process they were more obvious than if they had been filmed against black velvet
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens scotpens Premium Member

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    If the spikes were only partially visible, it’s because the stock flyby shots from the pilots were constantly re-used in new production episodes, with increasing image degradation each time the footage was printed another generation. Roto-matting the spikes out would have been a waste of time and money.
     
  4. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I don't know if it would have been a waste, since golden spikes are SUCH a difference compared to the spinning, lighted nacelles of production. People at some point care about continuity sometimes, don't they?
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not in those days, they didn't.
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I actually love seeing the different versions of the two models on screen. :lol: Memory Alpha's article at http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Constitution_class_model discusses a little about when the 3-footer was used on screen, and also lists the changes the 11-footer underwent and when.

    ETA: MANT! beat me to it.
     
  7. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In my mind, I just rationalized them as some sort of retractable mechanism. Sometimes they're there, other times they must have been pulled in.
     
  8. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In addition to the idea of retracting "antennae"(?), someone in the art forum (please forgive my faulty memory as to the name) depicted a series of draft renders to even rationalize the difference of the stern-ward structure of the nacelles, demostrating a mechanism to "retract" the "hemisphere" (present upon the production era 11 foot model) and cap the cowl with those multiple rows of "dots" (used in the 2nd pilot).

    Of course, someone then pointed out the higher bridge dome in the two pilots, but I don't think he got around to devising a mechanism for that structure.

    Some may feel that's way overthinking the issue, but I have to applaud the cleverness of the mental exercise.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk: "Red alert! Retract the bridge."
     
  10. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    If I may add a tad...

    From my studies of the film, there are several major reasons why the effects shots using models were degraded:

    1. Film Stock: Interpositive and internegative film copies were struck from the original camera negatives so that the OCNs could be safely stored away. As far as I can tell, most of the effects shots were done off of these intermediates (usually the interpositive). And, although they used fine grained and low contrast film to make these copies, contrast and grain build-up resulted in a reduction of quality in the final print, even in the absence of any optical printing (see #2 below). I have many of these interpositives in my collection, and they are dark and surprisingly grainy relative to the OCN.

    2. Optical Printing: When the various optical elements (e.g., film of the model, film of the planet, film with the male and/or female mattes, etc.) were composited (printed together) in the printer, the final print was degraded due to slight focus issues, slight registration errors, hair and dust, fingerprints, contrast and grain build-up from multiple passes, etc.

    3. Mattes: The male and female mattes they generated to isolate the foreground and background elements for the compositing were often the result of a color-separation step-printing process onto high-contrast black and white film. Generally, their quality varied considerably from shot-to-shot for reasons similar as discussed above. This was not a perfect process and did not always isolate the elements correctly. When parts of the Enterprise unintentionally appear to wink-out or vanish, it was usually a failure of the matte.

    But you know, all things considered, I think it's amazing that the effects shots worked as well as they did!

    Oops, sorry, maybe that was a little more than a tad...
     
  11. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did any other shows of the mid to late 60s use optical matting for their effects? Irwin Allen's production usually relied upon "in camera" sequences like the Liedecker "flying wire" methods for the Jupiter II and other miniatures. Mattes were usually reserved for "window" shots like the crash sequence of the J2 vas seen upon the upper deck or giant octopi seen from the forward gallery of the Seaview.

    But did any other series use opttical printing for spacecarft sequences? Seem,s Trek was one of the few (if possibly only) series to employ this technique usually reserved for the movies. It's rather like Babylon Five being the only TV show (at the time) to use CGI for most of their space shots. Now everyone does it, but B5 was one of the first. Was Trek one of the first TV shows to use optical printing extensively?

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  12. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure it was Blssdwlf. That guy can knock out cgi renders fast!
     
  13. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah ha! Blssdwlf! That's the name! Thanks, Mytran!

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens scotpens Premium Member

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    Actually, all the views through the Seaview’s bow windows were done using rear projection on-set. The reason for the wide center divider between the two pairs of windows was so that two 16mm projectors could be used for the rear process shots.

    Men into Space (1959-1960) and The Outer Limits (1963-1965) used opticals for spaceship shots. In fact, Outer Limits reused models, full-size interior and exterior mockups, and stock FX footage from the earlier show.
     
  15. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Rear projection was a common technique on Voyage, but it was used less and less often as the series wore on. Often they would have two tanks of water with bubbles rising to the surface whenever they didn't need anything in particular to be seen (this was used in the third season very often). And every once in a while, mattes were used (the episode The Mermaid for example), but mostly when we saw outside without having actors standing in front of the windows. In the last two years, you almost never saw the amazing rear projection shots of the nose broaching the surface. It was probably less time comsuming to just have bubbles and not have to worry about the footage running out and having to re-sync every new take.

    My favorite aspect of Spock's Brain is the extensive (and frankly blatant) use of rear projection on the bridge as Kirk paces in front of the viewscreen. It's amazing and totally convincing.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Sure they did, but with money being tight, they used what they had.
     
  17. scotpens

    scotpens scotpens Premium Member

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    ^^ Back in the '60s, most TV viewers didn't notice or care that sometimes we saw the Enterprise with vent holes on the backs of the nacelles and sometimes with spheres. Or that we occasionally saw the pilot version with the taller bridge and the spikes on the nacelle domes. No one had any idea that obsessed geeks would be analyzing every frame of Star Trek 45 years later.
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Of course not, but that doesn't mean they weren't trying to maintain a certain level of consistency. They didn't have the luxury of consistency when it came to model shots, though. They used what they had given time (short) and money (limited), barely being able to get the show on the air in some cases.
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We should also point out that TNG had inconsistent starship Enterprise models, too.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Did we?

    I mean, when did we actually see the old bridge out of its pilot episode context? We saw the nacelle aft ends in every episode in the opening credits, as well as in select scenes in select episodes, and then we saw the whole thing in the Mirror Universe context, but the bridge? That would have been hidden in most shots, leaving us free to speculate on the lines of retractable nacelle spikes, adjustable main dish, and moveable tailpipe covers in the nacelles.

    Timo Saloniemi