Why *was* the bridge turbolift offset?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by WarpFactorZ, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Commodore Commodore

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    I'm rewatching a few TOS episodes, and I'm trying to figure out why the bridge turbolift was offset from the forward axis of the bridge. Why wasn't it centred, to match the model? I don't get it. The shots could have been established such that the scenes were symmetric and appropriate. Anyone have any input?
     
  2. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Do you mean from a real world perspective, or an in-universe perspective?
     
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  3. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps the entire bridge was actually at an angle, so the placement of the turbolift did, in fact, match the exterior.

    Kor
     
  4. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Real world, I think Roddenberry (or maybe Solow and Justman?) said somewhere that you'd never have a duty station where the commanding officer had the door right behind his back. [Also real world, I work in the Command Center of our company's Data Center (it's arranged somewhat like Space: 1999 Year Two only bigger), and a set of doors IS directly behind my back. I keep a rear-view mirror on my desk so I don't have to keep turning around to see who's coming in.]

    In universe, my solution is to make the Enterprise at least 10 percent larger than the Franz Joseph blueprints. I have the Captain's chair and helm facing forward (no 36 degree offset). The elevator then fits inside the main bridge housing, and the visible cylinder on the exterior is not the elevator housing.
     
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  5. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    In universe - with all the inertial dampeners and artificial gravity the bridge crew would have no sense of being offset to the angle of motion. And the viewscreen is not a simple window but some sort of super cgi mixture of data from hull mounted cameras and the various sensors so no worry about offset there either. And so the bridge was laid out according to the then SF command stations ergonomics, with turbolift door being just one part of that.
     
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  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It should be easy to arrange the shots so that both the arrivals and Kirk's reaction would fit in, no matter whether the lift doors were directly "aft" or a bit to the side - even if this meant that the in-universe setup were awkward or even physically impossible. After all, television always does physically impossible things with reflections in a mirror, too, utilizing angles that serve the audience but would leave the characters high and dry (that is, blind to the things they're supposed to be seeing).

    Indeed, there aren't (m)any shots from directly "ahead" to show somebody arriving in the lift and the camera shooting at and past Kirk's face from the central pit level...

    Pseudo-in-universe reasons thus probably dictated the set design. But while the turbolift isn't behind Kirk's back, the route for anybody trying to meet Kirk face to face is. Back in "The Cage", the only route down to the central pit was via a gap in the railing directly behind Kirk's back, at stabbing distance. TOS at least added three other gaps.

    Surely it would have been more comfortable in-universe for everybody to access the pit through a gap-and-steps at some location other than right behind Kirk. Were the setbuilders just too stingy to add steps, and using the pedestal below Pike's chair as the step meant savings?

    By the time of the movies, the four gaps have been rotated by 45 degrees so that the three "pit workers" can access their workplace without disturbing each other. And now two of the gaps are where the turbolift doors are - so the railing doesn't block the direct route from the lift to the pit, as it did in "The Cage" and TOS. But was that originally desirable, in-universe? Was the railing supposed to slow down overeager intruders?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Satron

    Satron Commander Red Shirt

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    Why?

    So that fans can still talk about it in Trek's 51st year.
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it was done for the sake of camera angles and composition. Since the camera was usually positioned on the starboard side of the bridge facing to port, it was easier to set up shots of people entering or leaving the bridge; also, it meant that Shatner didn't have to turn his chair too far in order to face the turbolift and react to whatever was going on there. It also meant there was less dead space behind him in shots from the front, less of a gap between Spock's and Uhura's stations.
     
  9. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    For an in universe perspective count me in as one who supports the idea of the Enterprise being larger and the exterior nub is not the turbo shaft.

    Production wise, not sure the exact reason but it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall for those early discussions. IIRC the turbo lift changes position in WNMHGB.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course, there's also the fact that since the main viewer is a wall screen and not a window, it doesn't actually have to face directly forward, as seen in the Franz Joseph and Michael McMaster blueprints. So the question isn't really "Why was the turbolift offset," it's "Why was the main screen offset?" I think there's some logic to the idea of designing the bridge so that both the turbolift and the viewscreen are within the captain's field of view, at least peripherally.
     
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  11. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Don't most or all of the bluprints show the bridge turned 30° like this one?

    Page_03.jpg
     
  12. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Commodore Commodore

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    They do, but that just doesn't really make any sense. What other bridge is rotated with respect to the bow of a ship? Semi-serious question, actually: are there instances of this in vessels that don't have windows? I guess the only possibility is a submarine. Does the captain's chair face any other direction that forward?

    I raised this question because I was re-watching The Omega Glory last night, and it struck me that the camera angles could have been reworked so that Spock/Uhura and a central turbolift were in the shot, with Kirk in the middle (just shoot from the port side of the bridge).

    In TWOK, the turbolift is directly behind the command chair -- but then again, Khan didn't need to worry about who came through the door!
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, submarines don't have main viewscreens, because there's not that much to see underwater. They mostly just have monitors at individual stations. And I don't think they really have captain's chairs either, at least not in the sub movies I've seen. The captain's standing up and moving around supervising everyone.

    But really, it's a big TV. As I said, there's no particular reason why it needs to be in the front. And despite the modern tendency to put windows in starship bridges, there's really no good reason for having a view out front in a spaceship, because most of the time nothing is going to be close enough to you to see with the naked eye, and a lot of the rest of the time what you can see will be blindingly bright and exposing you to radiation, so you'd be much better off not looking at it with the naked eye.


    That's not a "just." The set may have been designed so that every console was "wild" (able to be moved out to accommodate a camera), but the normal practice was to leave the starboard wall open and keep the camera on that side of the set. Given their tight shooting schedule, moving the cameras and lights around to the other side was an investment of time and labor that they preferred not to make too often. So the set was designed so that most of what they had to do could be done with the camera facing to port, as it were. Think of it like a stage set designed to accommodate the audience's gaze.
     
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  14. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    It could be they're using a universal bridge module and some ships actually have the turbolift offset on the saucer while the Connies have it centered.

    How was the Reliant bridge different from the Enterprise's? If the saucers were the same size, the bridges should or could have bene identical.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In-universe, perhaps. But in real-world terms, with so much of TWOK intercutting between two different starship bridges that were redresses of the same set, it was important to make the two bridges as visually distinct from each other as possible so it would be easy to tell them apart. And since they were on a very tight budget, the simplest way to do that was to arrange the wild sections differently as well as lighting them differently. (I think they gave them different audio ambiences too.)
     
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  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have any images handy, but there are fan designs of the Constitution bridge that have the captain and helm facing forward, the main elevator shaft on the center line, and the elevator doors offset to port. So, an elevator would make a slight jink to port when going to the bridge. One design I saw even has an extra car on standby stashed in that space.

    The Starship Exeter fan film "The Tressaurian Intersection" has the motion indicator on the elevator showing this a slight horizontal jink when it reaches the bridge, indicating this centered alignment.

    The TAS bridge has a second elevator on the port side as well, without any external indication of this difference with the TOS bridge, so there's no reason why its bridge can't have this centered alignment.
     
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  17. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I've seen that idea, too. But adding in that horizontal jig seems unnecessarily convoluted for an elevator system. A more straightforward design would be easier to maintain and less prone to mechanical problems. Like Scotty said, "The more they over-think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."

    Kor
     
  18. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    It just makes more sense to me that the bridge faces the centerline. Why offset the center of the bridge to accommodate an offset door? Just move the blinking door!

    And why not? Based on onscreen evidence it seems that the inner and outer sections can be rotatable. And if this truly is the case, then the external nub cannot be the turbolift shaft.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The "captain's line of sight" argument is the only in-universe answer I recall coming across. But ultimately it's a TV show and the design decisions that are made for production reasons won't always have a good in-universe explanation. Probably, they just figured that the set design was close enough to give viewers the impression of "screen in front, doors in back" and that most people in the audience wouldn't have access to the set blueprints, so it was close enough for TV.


    What "onscreen evidence" are you talking about?
     
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  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    The only canonical evidence I'm aware of that even might settle the question is this scene in "The Cage" that was also used in "The Menagerie":

    http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/0x00/thecage011.jpg

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x00hd/thecagehd0032.jpg

    The original VFX are dodgy at best, and they arguably support not only the case that the cylinder immediately aft of the bridge does not align with the elevator doors but also the case that the helm module does not face forward. So, it's really inconclusive.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/1x11/themanagerie1_427.jpg
     
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