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Cheap Sets - Great Story

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  • Cheap Sets - Great Story

    ... I'm new here, so I feel I should beg your forgiveness for being so bold as to start my own thread right out of the gates.... but...

    ... Babylon 5 has some very cheap, wobbly, spray-painted styrafoam type sets.

    ... It's one of my "things" (wouldn't call it a hobby, really) to spot movie mistakes (airplanes flying over 5th Century Britain, etc...) and I can't help but take notice of similar "mistakes" in B5 - be it sets, or actual mistakes.

    ... Two quick examples - In Season 1 - "The Survivors", Grabaldi is going fist to cuffs with a bomb-planting Alien-hating security guy, on a catwalk in the Cobra bays. Two or three times they run into the railing - looks like steel... but bends and wobbles like cardboard!
    ... and my favorite - The bulkheads (walls) you see in so many rooms of B5 (as they recycle the same set for various settings) - Sinclair's office, the cafeteria, the League of Non-Alligned Worlds council chambers... I am convinced those "metal" supports in the holes that line the upper wall are two by fours, painted blue on the ends. If you look real close, you can see... maybe... the grain of the wood....

    ... Anyway, it's just fun looking for that kind of stuff, and I wondered if anybody else caught any good ones.

    .... What's great about B5 is, cheap sets and all, the CGI ushered in a whole new era, and, the story is so incredible that it just doesn't matter.
    "I think I'll pass on the tuna, thanks."

  • #2
    The only time I noticed it was in "Born to the Purple" where Trakis enters his quarters. When he inserts his I.D. card into the slot, the wall wobbles. Oh, also in "Believers" when the good Dr. Franklin and his assistant are in the hallway deciding to operate on the boy, there's a snapping sound that reminds me of a stagehand or set guy snapping his/her fingers for the time it took the parents to walk off. And then there's the female crewman entering the Men's Room in "Signs and Portents".

    Every show has minor glitches and goofs that repeated viewings you start to notice. They don't take away from the enjoyment of the series, but add to it especially when you include them in a drinking game whilst watching B5.
    RIP Coach Larry Finch
    Thank you Memphis Grizzlies for a great season.
    Play like your fake girlfriend died today - new Notre Dame motivational sign

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    • #3
      one that I noticed was in Born to the Purple when Sinclair and Londo were being chased by the thugs Sinclair throws this big box or crate into the two mens way to slow them down and as huge as it was he picked up like it was light as a feather .They could have at least made it appear to the viewer that it was heavy.The little mistakes don't diminish the goodness of Babylon 5 or the story it tells.

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      • #4
        ... Indeed. I am in no way typing ill of the series. I just get a kick out of finding this stuff. It's especially interesting in B5 because I get so immersed in the show, I'm living in the year 2258... or whatever... and to see a little mistake or wobbly deck pulls me back to 2005 and reality for a few seconds.

        ... Could you dis Shakespeare (sp?) if he'd used a Bic and recycled paper? I think not.
        "I think I'll pass on the tuna, thanks."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Puzzled Pak'Ma'Ra
          ... I'm new here, so I feel I should beg your forgiveness for being so bold as to start my own thread right out of the gates.... but...
          No forgiveness necessary. Anybody's welcome to start a new thread any time.

          ... Anyway, it's just fun looking for that kind of stuff, and I wondered if anybody else caught any good ones.
          Sorta/kinda but what I've noticed is from reading the scripts. The ones I have are from a member of the props/art department and several times I've noticed where, when somebody's supposed to get slammed against a wall (Lyta by Kosh Vader, Sheridan by Kosh) that he's made notes that they need a 'stunt wall'. I presume that one of those is possibly cushioned somehow to help protect the actor?

          The only other thing I notice regularly is the paint used to give the walls 'texture'.

          .... What's great about B5 is, cheap sets and all, the CGI ushered in a whole new era, and, the story is so incredible that it just doesn't matter.
          Yes indeed.

          Jan
          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jan
            Sorta/kinda but what I've noticed is from reading the scripts. The ones I have are from a member of the props/art department and several times I've noticed where, when somebody's supposed to get slammed against a wall (Lyta by Kosh Vader, Sheridan by Kosh) that he's made notes that they need a 'stunt wall'. I presume that one of those is possibly cushioned somehow to help protect the actor?
            He probably means a wall that isn't made of styrofoam, so that the impact looks real.

            Sounds like BTTP had a lot of problems. I'd place most of the blame on the director, whom JMS didn't invite back (if JMS is the one who does the "inviting").
            Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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            • #7
              I happened to be flipping channels yesterday morning and happened upon a show on VH1 about great movie mistakes. My absolute favorite (and I'm stunned that I never saw it before) was in the big fight scene in Gladiator- watch when the chariot flips over, and inside it, you can clearly see the gas cannister used to flip it over! I don't think I'll ever be able to look at that movie the same way again.

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              • #8
                The one mistake that always showed me up was in "Babylon Squared", I think it was, when Sinclair is trying to lift the piping off of Zathras...and it's rolling around on Zathras for all it's worth! Always gives me a good laugh...

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                • #9
                  IIRC, there was a pretty wobbly wall in "The Ragged Edge" when Garibaldi is fighting a Drazi on a hotel balcony. The balcony is kind of shaky.
                  "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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                  • #10
                    And then there's the female crewman entering the Men's Room in "Signs and Portents".
                    WillieStealAndHow, I thought the bathrooms on B5 were unisex, and only split up by species.

                    And Jan, my guess is that a 'stunt wall' is bolstered in such a way that it won't wobble around too much when a stuntperson is thrown against it. Most sets of course aren't.

                    As for the general quality of the sets, coming from a theater background, they always looked perfectly fine to me.

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                    • #11
                      I noticed one just the other day re-watching Season 3, but can't remember the episode's name. It's one where Londo betrays (again) trust that G'Kar has put in him. I think it's the one where Lord Refa attacks the Narn homeworld.

                      Anyway, G'Kar is in his quarters, and there is this table there that looks to be a stone table of sort that is supposed to be very heavy, and I would think stout. It has some stuff on it. When G'Kar learns he's been betrayed again, he swipes all the stuff off the table with his hand, and proceeds to pick up the table and throw it. As he swipes the stuff off of it, the table teeters quite a bit, obviously very light and unstable. But unphased, G'Kar still pulls the scene out by managing to pick up that "heavy" stone table.

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                      • #12
                        Kosh moving about always made me chuckle a bit. You (me) got to think there's nothing of form under that robe/encounter suit, but I could always imagine there were little feet underneath it, someone holding the suit up and scurrying about, trying all the time to make it look like very fluid movement.

                        LOL, I could always imagine those "baby steps" that were being taken in hopes of it looking like there was some kind of levitated movement!
                        Last edited by Nacho; 11-03-2005, 12:01 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I was never big on the blue screen work, especially in the observation deck scenes. They could have come up with SOMETHING better, no?
                          Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                          • #14
                            The observation deck is the same as C&C. The scene from the window for most episodes was actually there, not bluescreen/CGI. Did you mean the sanctuary, maybe? That's almost entirely a virtual set.

                            Jan
                            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                            • #15
                              Cheap Sets, CGI mistakes, it's all background, just enough to make you suspend your disbelief.
                              And once you do, the story grabs you by the neck (or other parts!) and draws you in and the background is just that... the foreground acting and the stories grabbed my attention so much I rarely even looked for such details.

                              Or maybe it's just that I haven't watched the story enough times?
                              Or I'm just trying to justify my own inattention?

                              I'm almost sure that next time I watch B5 I will be more prone to finding the wobbly mistakes... nice examples y'all.
                              Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                              James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

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