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Old 14th Jul 2017, 10:10 AM   #1
amdfe
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Default Star Trek - Who was holding the lights during filming?

Alright, this has nagged me ever since my first Enterprise animation. I do understand that much of the hull's self-illumination was done out of necessity, rather than for realism, but those inner nacelle registrations are creepy.

There is that small ledge on the outer side which could easily house the spotlight we see illuminating the registration.



However, there is nothing on the inner sides. I mean, how did they even do this during filming? There are tons of tight dolly shots across the model, so I don't see how it's possible to have mini-extension lights positioned all over the model during filming.

Any plausible, real-world explanation will do; otherwise I'm settling with "Federation gremlins pointing flashlights" and moving on.
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 11:41 AM   #2
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPUdrMzvxrc

You can see the sources for many of the lights during the drydock sequence. Also remember that since the model doesn't move during filming, it would've been easier to put a light rig around it. My guess for an "in-universe" location for the inner nacelle lights would be on each nacelle, pointing across at the other nacelle.
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 12:03 PM   #3
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That's not a spot light on the fin of the nacelle. Those are some of the reaction control thrusters
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 05:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amdfe View Post
However, there is nothing on the inner sides. I mean, how did they even do this during filming? There are tons of tight dolly shots across the model, so I don't see how it's possible to have mini-extension lights positioned all over the model during filming.
If you look closely in TMP, you'll see the precise angles of the self-illumination spotlights varies from shot to shot, for this exact reason. That's probably also why they didn't use as many on the model in the later movies (though the one that really bothers me is when they'd use a tight mask for the pennants on the sides of engineering, so the light would precisely follow the text, not even pretending to be a hull-mounted spot.
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 05:43 PM   #5
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They used dental mirrors reflecting larger spot units on a rig around the ship. I cannot remember if the article I read all those years ago mentioned if the filming rig was static or not on the model. Later ILM did have motion rigs on camera and model. (dunno if this one was fitted for that but did have multiple hardpoints for it.

TMP was filmed in a different FX method than ILM. Reason all those pearls went away as reflections would reflect the green/blue/yellow screen. This also can explain why much of the self lighting went away as well.

heh, forgot how many heads and body parts you can see in that dock scene.

There used to be images online of parts of this rig, but now I cannot find them. )online or in my archives) I think the original website that had many of the articles reprinted or in anecdotal has long disappeared.
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 09:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sastrei View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPUdrMzvxrc
My guess for an "in-universe" location for the inner nacelle lights would be on each nacelle, pointing across at the other nacelle.
Nice! That's works for me
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Old 14th Jul 2017, 09:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Treybor View Post
That's not a spot light on the fin of the nacelle. Those are some of the reaction control thrusters
You are right, of course; I just mean that the fin/ledge provides a plausible mounting source for a spotlight.

During the drydock departure sequence in TMP, there is a tight shot of that fin, and those little yellow "thrusters" are lit up (making them appear as yellow panel lights) at the exact moment the registration is hit by light. It gives one the sense there is a nacelle lighting system on the fin.
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Old 20th Jul 2017, 09:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madkoifish View Post
They used dental mirrors reflecting larger spot units on a rig around the ship. I cannot remember if the article I read all those years ago mentioned if the filming rig was static or not on the model. Later ILM did have motion rigs on camera and model. (dunno if this one was fitted for that but did have multiple hardpoints for it.

TMP was filmed in a different FX method than ILM. Reason all those pearls went away as reflections would reflect the green/blue/yellow screen. This also can explain why much of the self lighting went away as well.

heh, forgot how many heads and body parts you can see in that dock scene.

There used to be images online of parts of this rig, but now I cannot find them. )online or in my archives) I think the original website that had many of the articles reprinted or in anecdotal has long disappeared.
I did some searching, and this is the only picture that I could find. I believe that the (a?) lighting rig is at the bottom of the image, and is probably being adjusted for a shot.

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Old 21st Jul 2017, 07:05 AM   #9
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In universe explanation.

We already have materials that, when subjected to an electrical charge, light up. In the 23rd century, they have similar materials for starship hulls which is only used around registry markings. The hull itself lights up creating the illusion of a spotlight.
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Old 24th Jul 2017, 10:24 AM   #10
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In universe explanation.

We already have materials that, when subjected to an electrical charge, light up. In the 23rd century, they have similar materials for starship hulls which is only used around registry markings. The hull itself lights up creating the illusion of a spotlight.
That does beg the question of why look like spotlights at all? Why not just have the registry light up. I've wondered that since 1979.

A number of the spot lit areas appear to have no detectable spot light source (the registry on the nacelles being one area, the registry behind the officer's lounge being another), and a number of areas can't possibly be lit by the apparent source lights (the main saucer registry being the biggest offender - it's impossible for those spots under the bridge dome to hit the saucer, decks 2 & 3 are in the way).

Given that realistically there's no reason to have external markings or spotlights because anybody who might see the ship is going to be so far away as to not be able to see the markings, and that the whole thing is just for audience's sake, I don't see why one couldn't play with the lighting a bit to suit whatever shot one is creating. They look great artistically, but are complete nonsense realistically.
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Old 5th Aug 2017, 12:05 PM   #11
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The nacelles warp gravity anyway, maybe the spotlights just point out and the nacelles warp the light back towards them.
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 12:15 AM   #12
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The nacelles warp gravity anyway, maybe the spotlights just point out and the nacelles warp the light back towards them.
In drydock?

Still, +10 points for most imaginative answer.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 08:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DigitalOrigami View Post
Given that realistically there's no reason to have external markings or spotlights because anybody who might see the ship is going to be so far away as to not be able to see the markings, and that the whole thing is just for audience's sake, I don't see why one couldn't play with the lighting a bit to suit whatever shot one is creating. They look great artistically, but are complete nonsense realistically.
I agree. Ship's identify each other from thousands of kilometres out using sensors. Writing the name on the hull is for people sitting in starbase lounges. But Roddenberry was heavily influenced by his time in the navy.
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