Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by JJohnson, Feb 23, 2014.
It makes perfect sense. The captains chair is the focus of the scene.
I see no real reason to have Shatner's back to be in focus though.
Similarly, I see no reason in the following people to have the random dude at the back of the bridge in focus:
And boobs should always be the focus of a scene.
That explains all the additional Chekov close-ups...
Which is the same thing, isn't it. When you block fill light from the surroundings with a black surface, what you instead get is fill light from that black surface.
"Boobs"? What is this, 8th grade? Don't answer. It's self-evident.
That's in focus is what the director wants you to see. The chair. The guy's reaction in the background. Etc.
That the split diopter's use here was a bad choice: sure.
They should have done that from TMP in the first place. Even if the displays were just the standard green CRT graphics, that's what they should have done.
I appreciate the intent you're seeing in the scene. But the fact that the chair in the background is way more blurry than the people next to the chair is the part that makes no sense whatsoever visually. It's very distracting. So my eyes are not going to the captain's chair. Instead, they're focused on the unnatural blurring in the scene. Hey, it's nitpicking I know! But since it was brought up and it's something that has always bothered me, I'm answering the OP.
That's totally counter to my experience, and I think I'd probably be able to find some DoF charts in my old ASC manual to back me up. In Super 8, 6mm (I think it was a 6-72 zoom; maybe it was 7-77, but that's in the ballpark) was roughly the equivalent of a 24mm lens in 35mm, and when I shot live-action AND miniatures with it, I almost could not get anything out of focus, unless I was shooting nearly wide open.
The thing about stuff being smaller in frame only pertains to stuff further back in frame, and if the foreground is sharp and the lines of the set remain sharp (even with curvature from the lens), then you've got seriously large DoF.
I don't think it was an option. Burbank Studios developed the 24fps video system, and I think it was around 1980 when it first started being used. Pretty sure it would not have been made available to a rival studio before it was in general use, and TMP shot in 1978. (the academy cited it for special commendatio in 1981, so that makes it very unlikely it would have been available in 1978.)
Most cinematographers have described it as a subtractive effect. Also, one thing to keep in mind is that a colored reflector on the fill side can tinge the image ... that is kind of the principle behind Gerry Turpin's lightflex system, which Freddie Francis employed on DUNE and elsewhere, using it as a contrast control and a way to add color in the shadows. Lighflew was built on the camera, but it had a rheostat to dial a light up & down that gave that tint or tinge to things.
It sounds like some crazy filter box cum beam splitter.
It takes a really light touch, otherwise it can flatten the image like you wouldn't believe (actually some of the desert stuff in DUNE looks too flat for my taste, but the painterly quality of the early scene with Paul's mother and the Reverend Mother are just gorgeous beyond belief.)
Supposedly the whiteout moment when Paul first gets a dose of the spice was not an optical but entirely achieved by dialing up the light on the lightflex, which means you could do incredible optical-looking effects in camera.
Man, just talking about this makes me want to get the blu ray of GLORY - that is one of Francis' best, and it has never looked right on homevid the way it did in the theater, at least not laserdisc or dvd.
I do not understand this insistance on having a crisp, minutely detailed image in old movies - especially something like STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, which is so gorgeous, as-is, and right out of the box. The softeness almost gives it a dream-like quality, which I find wholly appropriate. The Motion Picture is a work of art, like a moving painting. I don't have to see - or want to see - every pore in Persis Khambatta's skin ... it's just not necessary! Is it really such an aggregious offense to let an old movie look like an old movie? I don't get that ...
Plenty of 'old' movies from the 70s showed pores in skin - look at CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (which won the oscar for cinematography) and the skin tones are amazingly detailed, almost like Melinda Dillon is wearing no makeup at all.
The soft look is a choice in TMP -- a screamingly wrong one IMO -- it isn't that this was the only option open to them. Shoot, compare how sharp TOS (esp 3rd season) is to TMP.
As for a soft dreamlike quality, I find that inappropriate in the extreme for a hardware/shipboard film ...
Just an update/clarification on this. I was rereading the old CFQ double issue on THE BLACK HOLE, which was in production at exactly the same time as TMP, and they DID use video playback on-set instead of doing the RP thing like TMP. They found an outside company to do the 24 frame video and synch it up, a company with a name I didn't recognize at all.
So this IS another case of TMP's look being compromised by bad planning after all. If they'd gone Disney's route, the low light look necessitated by RP wouldn't have impacted all the bridge shooting the way it did. (of course, this is also a show where the bulbs in the consoles kept making the plastic buttons melt, so they reduced the intensity of those by like 75% in order to not melt the buttons, so there AGAIN is an instance of the look being compromised ...
The youthifying effect for the rapidly-aging crew seemed to demand a softer focus, certainly. Also, as so much of this film is gorgeous eyecandy, from the models, sets, uniforms and props, that it only seems to have followed to use some artistry in the cinematography. Especially since The Original Series was known for making use of this soft-image approach, especially - but not exclusively - for its leading ladies. STAR TREK's so fantastical and make-believe, anyway. Unfortunately, I do not see this kind of visual approach being repeated in this franchise. I for one am disappointed by that ...
A minor aside, I never understood what those circle-graphic things were on the monitor screens on the right of this picture. They look to me like State Farm insurance logos.
This is why: Film is fully capable of being a good source to transfer to HD (its actually superior, but age, etc can make it look inferior) . Therefore there is no reason to not make it look as good as it was originally intended to. Since film-making has so many technical elements to it, isn't it logical to make those elements look their best?
If you mean the three interlocking hexagons, according to my ST:TMP Peel-Off Graphics Book, they're the logo for the security department. The station shown there is the internal security station.
Going back 35 years to the TMP sticker -- excuse me, "peel-off graphics" -- book, those were symbols to identify stations and departments aboard ship. What I can't remember is what that symbol was for. Security?
ETA: Christopher got it while I was researching.
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