# USS Kelvin - is there an official size?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by RavenCWG, May 27, 2014.

1. ### RavenCWGEnsignRed Shirt

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I know that the sizes of the new Enterprise and the Vengeance have been debated to death, but I have been unable to fine any such in-depth discussion concerning the Kelvin.

I'm just wondering if there is any "official" length for the Kelvin, and if so does it fit with the observable details of the ship as seen on screen?

The closest thing to an official length I've been able to find so far is the 1500ft (457m) stated on the Blu-ray, which has been, in turn, quoted on Memory Beta and several other sites. This length, however, seems to be something of a butt-pull as it doesn't quite fit with the on-screen evidence.

For one thing, the Kelvin has various design elements that are virtually identical to those of another ship we see in the film--the USS Newton. This is significant because we later see the Newton docked at Space Dock along with the Enterprise and several other ships; and from that shot we can get a pretty good idea of their relative sizes. What we can see there also corresponds nicely with the size comparison chart depicted in Star Trek: The Art of the Film. That chart doesn't include the Kelvin, and yet if we insert an image of the Kelvin into that picture its quite clear that it's saucer, nacelle and secondary hull are all near perfect matches with those of the Newton. Now I realize that there's nothing that sais these various components of both ships HAVE to be the same size; yet their nearly identical proportions makes it a fairly reasonable assumption.

Assuming that both the Kelvin's relative size to the Newton and the Newton's relative size to the Enterprise are as accurate as they appear, and assuming a 725m length of the Enterprise, the Kelvin should have a length of approximately 625m.

So do you all think that 457m or 625m is the more accurate length for the Kelvin, or is it something else entirely? And would the larger size further undermine the idea that the Kelvin is supposed to exist in the Prime Universe as well as the new timeline? Let the debate begin!

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The official size is 457m/1500ft since it's on the Bluray, along with the 725m Enterprise.
As to which one is more accurate for the ship we see in the movie, I suspect that like the Enterprise (whose bridge window, saucer rim corridors and turbo plaza were all scaled for a 725m ship but the shuttlebay for 1200m), both sizes were probably used at different points during the design and production process.

Here is my Kelvin size analysis from a few years ago. It doesn't go into specifics beyond "huge" though.

In this thread, aalenfae has recreated the Kelvin bridge and corridor sets, and in doing so discovered that the window on the the CG model clashes with the placement of the surrounding corridor on the set - but that if you ignore that (I suspect the viewscreens being windows was decided fairly late in production), the bridge and surrounding corridor are a perfect fit for 1500ft.

Nah, it just means they built them bigger in those days. You see the USS Kelvin right next to Enterprise NX-01 on Admiral Marcus' desk (along with the Aries IV from VOY, Cochrane's Phoenix from ST:FC, the Ringship Enterprise from TMP and the NX-Alpha/Beta from ENT), which I think settles the debate as to whether the timeline was the same prior to the Narada's arrival.

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I don't see how, considering the Vulcans had ships quite a bit larger than that almost a century earlier.

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Enough to have nearly 40 shuttlecraft, a crew of over 800 and a hanger deck bigger than the original Enterprise's secondary hull.

Kelvin was patrolling the Klingon border, a long range heavy scout that seems to have been a cousin of the Saladin and Hermes classes we know of in that era. But much larger, more weathered, less polished, basically a massive work horse in space.

In the 2230's Starfleet may have had a wider base of ships, large bulky and far less visually appealing ships designed just to get things done, large crews and enormous amounts of cargo. Engineering decks designed to be entirely open and far easier to make with mass produced machinary.

And a second, smaller, sleeker, polished fleet with everything done up in retro 60's art decor, for the more professional look of having everything neatly tucked away, streamlined prototype technology.

In the Prime Universe nothing especially imporatant happened, Starfleet becomes a more complacent organisation, sleeker ships take over almost entirely.

NuUniverse, Nero attacks, everyone loses their shit, aesthetics take a back seat entirely to making sure the fleet is bulked up and churned out to defend the border areas of the Federation.

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If that saucer the Enterprise dived under at Vulcan is any indication--it is even larger than the Enterprise itself

6. ### WarpFactorZFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Why is it that obvious goofs by the VFX department must be accepted as canon?

If we believe the ship was as big as indicated in that scene, then we must also acknowledge that the Enterprise grew significantly between the time it was being built on Earth, to the time it was space-borne (maybe it was the air pressure...).

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Not a goof, dramatic licence for an "OMG we're gonna hiiiiit!" moment. I'll bet Abrams asked for it.

8. ### M'SharakDefinitely Herbert. Maybe.Moderator

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Label across bottom of viewscreen/window:

OBJECTS WITH WHICH YOU ARE ABOUT TO
COLLIDE APPEAR LARGER THAN THEY ARE​

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T'Girl
Because they appear on screen, basically the definition of "canon."

I'm sorry, but how does that in of itself indicate that the timeline was the same prior to the Narada's arrival?

All that display settles is that those ships exist/existed in the alternate universe, nothing else.

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People keep referencing this scene, but the saucer in question wasn't actually that big. We get to see it from three different angles in the film and in all three angles it's roughly the same size as the Enterprise saucer. It just LOOKS big in one angle because its edges are out of frame (so is the Enterprise) and you're seeing it from its broadest side instead of edge-on like the Enterprise.

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Its scale is inconsistent. It's much bigger in one of the shots. That the Enterprise's edges are out of frame matters little; the other ship's saucer appears to dwarf the Enterprise and that's when the Enterprise is closer to the viewer than the remains of the other ship. If we could see all the edges of the Mayflower's saucer the effect if anything would only be more pronounced.

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Because the writers of the movie said it was.

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King Daniel Beyond
There's a great pic of the scene in Star Trek: The Art of the Film showing that the saucer in it's entirety. It's definitely been made 2x the diameter of the Enterprise's.

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T'Girl
While the writer's personal opinions are interesting, unless it appears in the movie (and it clearly didn't) their opinion on a common original universe makes little difference.

Canon is what is seen and heard, not what was "intended."

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I'm gonna run with this and declare that everything between the second and third commercial breaks of "The Corbomite Maneuver", the first and second breaks of "Best of Both Worlds" and the entire 6th season of Deep Space Nine happened in another universe.

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Or, just maybe, the writers thought we were smart enough to figure that out on our own instead of having to spoon-feed us that information in the movie as if we were a bunch of idiotic morons.

You ever see "Blade Runner?" Well, guess what? Deckard's a replicant. Except the film never actually came out and said this. You kinda havta figure that out on your own, because Ridley Scott also didn't think his audience were idiots.

Last edited: Jun 10, 2014

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It matters quite a bit, since we have no way to judge the relative sizes of the saucer (of EITHER ship) because we can't see all of it. Not that we're really MEANT to, the scene is cropped that way so that the saucer looks like a solid wall of pain that the ship now has to suddenly avoid.

Which depends mainly on your depth of field, as well you know. OTOH, since we don't see the edges of the mayflower saucer we don't actually know that it "appears to dwarf the Enterprise" at all. It just looks really really big because it's sideways-on and Enterprise is about to crash into it.

18. ### WarpFactorZFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Huh? Things further away look smaller. If it is farther from the camera and looks bigger than the thing closer to the camera, it is bigger.

Double 'huh?'... Please explain what kind of depth of field makes objects far away look bigger than close objects.

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Unless they're relatively close together with a very deep field.

Like a couple of battleships parked side by side. The farther one actually looks a little bit bigger because it's farther away, plus you can't see as much of it as you can the closer one, so the mind lets you believe that a lot more of the ship is hidden than is actually there.

So I drew two saucers in Sketchup, both of them exactly 16 meters in diameter. Then I positioned them about two meters away, one sideways and one edge on, and tilted one kinda like the Enterprise.

Here's the view with a deep field:

Here is THE EXACT SAME VIEW in a shallow (camera close) field:

I again emphasize these two saucers are exactly the same size. In the second image, the farther saucer "looks smaller" relative to the closer one, as you would expect. In the first image, you're viewing the interaction with a deep narrow field and the farther saucer looks immense.

The first image is thus very similar to the actual scene, in which the more distant saucer is probably around the same size as the Enterprise saucer:

Maybe the one odd thing about CGI modeling in movies is the ability to perform these kinds of camera tricks. You can pull off an arbitrarily far camera position because the camera has basically infinite magnification, so you could shoot two ships in the same frame with a camera relative position a million kilometers away, or floating invisibly directly between the warp nacelles. Whichever position makes the scene look best.

And just because I'm a jerk and sort of a perfectionist, here's the above image from a different angle:

Last edited: Jun 10, 2014