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A question on Star Trek TMP


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#1 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 02:25 PM

Hey All.

I've been thinking a bunch recently about going back to shoot some film stuff for music videos. I'm lucky I know a few performers who, while I'll be working for little to no money, are willing to invest a bit and play around visually. At present, I'm thinking about 35mm, probably 3 -perf and some Dry for Wet work. But beyond that, I was curious about bringing out this effect:

 

https://youtu.be/mvDma4sG8Vg?t=106

 

There may have been a time when I looked up how to do this; but honestly at present i'm coming up pretty short on the how; so I put it to you all; how did they do all this photochemically? Beyond just camera necessities, also what was done in the printing process?

 

Any help would be much appreciated as always.


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 04:05 PM

Looks to me like an optical printer effect where they're doing scaling and translation on the image and printing it over a few subsequent frames. Could be simulated in modern compositing software.


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#3 KH Martin

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:16 PM

will take many paragraphs just to break it down, will try to do something tomorrow a.m.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:25 PM

I'll dig up my Cinefex issue. I do recall some of the light streaks had to be added since they "originate" from sources beyond the edge of the frame.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:45 PM

Douglas Trumbull, Cinefex #1, pg.28:

 

"It was done on a horizontal camera stand with 35mm film projected from behind onto a little RP (rear-projection) screen. They isolated the parts they wanted to have streaked -- faces and lights, primarily -- by making individual rotoscope masks that would reveal only those parts. Then, as each masked image was projected onto the RP screen, the camera would move relative to it with the shutter open and record it as a blur.  The idea was they're caught up in this wormhole effect and you're seeing a distortion of time and space on the bridge -- everything's started to stretch out.  Since the blurs keep changing and undulating during the shots, they had to use a computer to control all the motions. It was an extremely complicated process -- each different streak in a given shot would require a separate pass -- and it took them about seven months to complete the whole sequence. Then they went back and had all the streaks optically superimposed over the live-action footage they'd started from originally."

 

He said that this sequence had been started already by Bob Swarthe working for Robert Abel's company before they were replaced by Trumbul's, but since it was so complicated and being done with 35mm equipment and Trumbull was geared to work in 65mm, he let him finish the sequence at Abel's.


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:53 PM

There is a much more detailed description in Cinefex #11 (interview with Robert Swarthe), over a page long which I'm not going to retype.  But it does mention that the steppy quality to the streak was an accident of the system, the motion controlled camera took a moment to begin its move, causing a hot spot in the streak due to the build up in exposure in that frame.


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:06 PM

Nice thank you David et. Al I'm going to go out and track down the Cinefex mag and give it a good read over. I'd like to work this all photochemically this go 'round, though it does sound quite a bit involved, I think it'll be worth it.


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:20 PM

I think you'll have a hard time finding anyone who could do this work on an optical printer.  Let alone find a rear projection screen attached to an Oxberry animation stand set-up.

 

It wouldn't be the same, but a variation would be to mistime a shutter on film camera and shoot everything with a 90 degree tilt to so the streaks move horizontally instead of vertically (you'll have to crop and rotate in post, so ideally shoot on a 4-perf 35mm camera rather than a widescreen format.)


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 08:49 AM

What I"m thinking is not to do it on an optical printer-- but maybe work with a DSLR in post for this specific sequence (as well as cardboard cut outs).

 

Basically the idea is from the film original once scanned Print out transparencies of each frame needed (perhaps every other frame)  (and granted I'm thinking a few seconds worth here, not the long sequence) and throw them onto a light-box with everything masked out minus the "light areas" I want to streak, and then utilizing a stills camera in bulb mode attached to a slider-type thing to do a long exposure, hand moved, to get the streaks, then composite them. I think you're right and photochemical won't work, which is kinda sad :(

Most of those whole idea comes out of me rambling to a good friend of mine about how sad it is these techniques are dying, and wanting to try them before they're gone.


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#10 Samuel Berger

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 04:17 PM

Man, Tsuburaya Eiji took a lot of SFX secrets to his grave.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 06:44 PM

Hey Adrian, if you need a small 3 perf camera... you know who to call! I owe you! :D


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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 10:27 AM

You know it Tyler.


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 12:34 PM

Well, that was quite a lot more complicated than I thought it was.


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#14 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:06 AM

What I"m thinking is not to do it on an optical printer-- but maybe work with a DSLR in post for this specific sequence (as well as cardboard cut outs).

 

Basically the idea is from the film original once scanned Print out transparencies of each frame needed (perhaps every other frame)  (and granted I'm thinking a few seconds worth here, not the long sequence) and throw them onto a light-box with everything masked out minus the "light areas" I want to streak, and then utilizing a stills camera in bulb mode attached to a slider-type thing to do a long exposure, hand moved, to get the streaks, then composite them. I think you're right and photochemical won't work, which is kinda sad :(

Most of those whole idea comes out of me rambling to a good friend of mine about how sad it is these techniques are dying, and wanting to try them before they're gone.

If you can use motion control for each frame so that the streak from each frame looks the same, you might get a look a bit like that Star Trek clip.  But I suppose if you went freehand with the camera movement it would look a bit more wrigley and anarchic (yay!)


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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 11:02 AM

I'm thinking it'll be one of those hand-crank DSLR sliders-- so not' 100% the same; but close-ish-ness.


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