NASA artist Bob McCall's TMP paintings

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Robert Comsol, May 26, 2014.

  1. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    There is a real art to interpretting and translating conceptualist's work to physical form; Mark Stetson is on record (regarding 2010) that he had to fill in on some of Mead's work for the Leonov, that it wasn't all as detailed as it needed to be (I've got a huge book of Mead's that has a whole section on 2010 and the stuff looks detailed as hell to me, but Stetson isn't likely to fib about such stuff. Pat McClung said something similar about the SULACO in ALIENS, where he performed a similar task.)

    The thing with Berkey's is that if you actually build what is IMPLIED in his art, you will probably come out very nice indeed. You have these boat hull sweeps, but then there are impressions of detail, and by just building little bits you can get the idea across, BUT ... you have to cheat the lighting to make it work. It is kind of hard to explain, but in order to get the Berkey look on a physical object in space, you have to have the traditional heavy key light, but then you have to embellish with bits of light that illuminate underneath those hull curves in those detail areas, enhancing shadows cast by the little filligree bits. Basically, you have to customize lighting to make it look right, but to some degree miniature DPs have always had to do that (like all the dental mirrors to light up bits of the refit.)

    That 2cents of advice is based on some half-assed experiments I did in the late 80s and early 90s with scratchbuilds that sought to mimic the Berkey look.

    My dream scenario was getting Berkey onboard as conceptual designer for a film around a quarter-century back, essentially to do what McCall began on THE BLACK HOLE, but without the reversal of style that happened there when Ellenshaw came on. Sometimes the doubling back approach works (ALIEN seems to benefit from how Cobb's NOSTROMO art got twisted somehow into what we got), but the idea of a BerkeyVerse really seems like someplace I'd want to go play in with my own concepts. It's sort of like writing scenes while listening to Goldsmith or using Goldsmith to temptrack your cut, it isn't just illustrating what you want, but giving inspiration to embelliish as well.
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    I forwarded the image to Andrew Probert and here is what he had to say about it:

    "We [him and McCall] did talk, a couple of times, but this warp-interlace idea was totally being considered when Mr. McCall did this series of promotional paintings. This idea was very close to being implemented for a while."

  3. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    Now IIRC, Cygnus was a little more slab-sided, less Eiffel tower then--rather like some of the early Buck Rogers in the 25th Century art? Or was Bob's painting the one in the Cygnus dining room where the ship looked even larger, with even more of that supertanker deck look?

    In terms of the warp interlace effect--instead of that being used for travel, I can see it being used for something else...capturing some energy creature between two nacelles, or perhaps a shuttlecraft rising between the two nacelles, the small shuttle nacelles energy locking with the main starship nacelles, and racing backwards as a plane on a carrier deck...
  4. Psion

    Psion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 19, 2001
    Lat: 40.1630936 Lon: -75.1183777
    Outstanding! Thanks for doing that. I wonder if it was Jesco von Puttkamer (science advisor to ST:TMP) who put the kibosh on that notion. I remember reading that he felt that any sound or light display would represent an inefficiency in the system. Of course, the final look of warp drive in that movie went spectacularly loud and bright anyway.

    It's amusing that the latest film, Star Trek Into Darkness returns to the concept of warp drive leaving a "wake". Although in that movie's case, it's more a kind of pixie dust that glitters in the space formerly occupied by the nacelles.
  5. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    I think the 'effect between nacelles' was actually inspired by VonP's memo. I remember it as saying something like wanting a subdued rippling around the nacelles (maybe in TMOSTTMP?)

    The Mccall TBH thing WAS slabsided, it is like Ellenshaw tore the hull off and left the pompidou centre effect. If you have STARLOG 16, I think there are some conceptuals McCall did for BUCK ROGERS that leverage a little bit off of his CYGNUS.