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JANET'S STAR TREK VOYAGER SITE   

[HOPE AND FEAR] : BEHIND-THE-SCENES

Shooting the final scenes

Additional commentary by production staff and cast is in this colour.

Screenshots and scans by Janet

 

 

The call sheet for 10th March 1998 states "8th day out of 8 days". Voyager episodes generally shoot on a seven-day schedule but [Hope and Fear] is not only the final episode of the season but a big show as well.

Most of today's work is on the Dauntless's bridge, which now is in alien mode. The dominant color of the set is orange, as per Rick Kolbe's directive. A series of four 10,000 watt lamps surround the set outside the muslin. Between each lamp and the muslin is a framed 4x4ft gel.
Bill Peets, Chief Lighting Technician: "The color of the gels is called 'Tangerine 135.' The orange is what Rick wanted, but it was so overpowering that we've had to add some white with six three hundred-watt fluorescent boxes to cut the color."
Above is a bank of overhead lights: a series of Super 4K's, which are 3ft by 3ft4 1,000 watt lamps that throw off a very soft light with no shadows, a series of Baby 4K's, four 1,000 watt lamps that cast their light in a smaller spread, and several Cyc lights, which are 10 inch halogen lamps that spread somewhat brighter light over a very large area despite their conveniently smaller size. The Cyc lights derive their name from their original purpose: they were designed to light backings known as "cycloramas." All of these "overheads" shine through the colored gels placed in front of the lamps.

This is the first time the crew has seen the set with the Starfleet "plant-ons" removed to show the underlying alien console and chair shapes.

There is the wall of backlit graphics, blinky lights, and video monitors which Video Operator Ben Betts says they call 'alien wallpaper'. The graphics were designed by Scenic Artist Wendy Drapanas, inspired by a ball of rubber bands on her desk, and rendered by Scenic Artist Jim Van Over on computer.

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Click image for full-size.
Views of the "USS Dauntless" bridge set once the ship's facade is dropped and its true alien nature revealed. The alien controls designed by Wendy Drapanas can be clearly seen. click to enlarge
Click image for full-size.

 

Tonight, the scenes to be shot include numbers 96, 98, 101, and 107, the dramatic ending to the episode. The cast and crew have been filming since 10.30 a.m.

Pages from the script. Scene numbers might differ from the final shots.

At 8.12 p.m. the first camera rehearsal is called for Scene 96. Kate Mulgrew, as Captain Janeway, walks around the set, and Ray Wise, as Arturis, sits at the front console. Rick Kolbe feels that they should rehearse Scenes 96, 98, and 101 together. The scenes are essentially part of one sequence, dramatically interupted only by a cut to the sequence in which Seven is showered with sparks in engineering (described earlier), and by a number of exterior ship shots. There is no reason to separate them for the rehearsal and the Director may even shoot them as one. Kate Mulgrew has anticipated this possibility and has already prepared herself. Her script's margins are filled with tiny notes in her handwriting.
Kate Mulgrew: "I broke the scenes down technically before I came in. I think about each scene a lot. Preparation has to take place alone, at home. Then once we set it up and rehearse it a couple of times, we can just shoot it." Her notes read: "This beat changes," and "Here's the transition."
She is equally interested in the character's actions and motivations. "The Voyager crew is under duress here. If the captain shows any kind of hesitation under those circumstances, she could lose her support. So there's an action-the action is to 'get out,' right? To save myself. There's an obstacle - the obstacle is 'the guy' - and he's giving me the reasons that he's going to kill me. There's an objective - the objective is to make him understand that I did the only thing I could do when I sided with the Borg. If I know those things, and I've technically broken down the scene, then I just work within them until I finally can throw them away and just play it in the moment. That's why I went to school for four years."

On another part of the stage, Dick Brownfield fills a mortar with a metallic sparkling mixture. He is thinking ahead to Scene 101, as is the Director who decides to keep the actors away from the the console at that point.

Rick Kolbe and Ray Wise choreograph Arturis's hand movements on the console to punch a specific area when he destroys the navigational controls. "Then you go stumbling back," Kolbe says, giving Wise his cue. Then, abruptly, Kolbe changes his mind and says to Dick Brownfield: "Dick, can you put the sparks right in the center of the console? Say 'Yes,' Dick!"
Dick Brownfield's answer is to leave the set and return with a ten foot long wooden pole. Rather than mount his mortar on a solid surface, he will protect the console and the actors by personally holding the sparks at a safe distance from them. The solution is his way of saying "Yes."

At 8.19 p.m. they rehearse again. Kate Mulgrew circles the upper level of the bridge. When she stops, a camera assistant puts a strip of tape on the carpeting, indicating her "mark." Kolbe follows her trajectory, pretending he has a handheld camera, holding his fingers in a circle, looking through the circle as if it is a camera lens. Steadicam Operator Gavin Ames has arrived on the set. While he slips into his leather camera harness, he watches the Director's moves because, when the explosions happen, the ship will rock, and as the set of course cannot rock it is necessary to rock the camera instead. Gavin Ames: "And it's easier for me to rock the Steadicam 90° than it is to do it with a Panavision camera with a stationary dolly head."

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The Director decides to keep Arturis at the centre of each shot, except for Janeway's close-ups. "Wham, jolt, they both stumble," First Assistant Director Adele Simmons shouts when the action reaches that story point. But then Rick Kolbe and Marvin Rush ultimately decide to shoot the three scenes separately. There is concern that Scene 101's pyrotechnics may "white out" the shot. Scene 96 itself will be composed of three shots, to be called 96, which goes all the way through, and close-ups 96 Apple and 96 Baker. While both actors will always be in the frame, Kolbe's plan is to focus on Arturis in the exteme foreground. That means Ray Wise will need to be illuminated separately from Janeway, who will be lit with ambient lighting only. The actors relax as the electrical crew sets up the necessary lighting.
8.41 p.m. Kolbe calls "Action" on Take 1. It is perfect.
8.42 p.m. Take 2. Perfect again. "Number two is best," says Kolbe. "Print it."
For the next shot, 96 Apple, Arturis will follow Janeway around with his eyes. At 8.43 p.m. they do a camera rehearsal. The geometry is difficult, so they try a rack shot and eventually decide that cutting between a series of close-ups will work better. The shot is shortened, and close-ups are added to the "shot list." The actors step away while the electrical crew hangs one more fluorescent box over Arturis' position. Kate Mulgrew will be closer to camera than she was in the previous shot. She joins Hair Designer Josée Normand at the nearby make-up table for a touch-up. Close by, Merri Howard, who is taking her turn tonight as clock-watcher, scrutinises the "post-production" schedule - it might be the final night of shooting, but for many folk the episode is far from finished.
9:12 p.m. Everyone is on their marks. "96 Apple-Take 1," calls Adele Simmons. Janeway's motion and the camera's moves do not quite match.
9.14 p.m. Take 2. Better.
9.14 p.m. Take 3 is called. "Cut. Camera reload."
9.19 p.m. Take 3. "Cut. Print," calls Kolbe.
9.22 p.m. Take 4. "Cut. Even better. Print that too." Then Kolbe calls to Script Supervisor Cosmo Genovese: "Wait. Print number four only."
Now the camera team sets the Panavision camera onto the dolly. Scene 96 Baker is a close-up of Janeway. Marvin Rush decides to shoot it with the Panavision camera and a 100mm zoom lens at a T3 f-stop. A tight close-up is much easier to hold stable on the dolly than it is on the Steadicam. Because the light on Kate Mulgrew's face is very low, the camera's aperture is set at a T3 f-stop-wide-open- which allows the most light possible to strike the film.
9.34 p.m. 96 Baker. Take 1. "Let's do another for safety," says the director.
9.36 p.m. Take 2. "Cut. Print."

"Move on to Scene 101," Adele Simmons calls, happy that they are moving so quickly. However, everyone is concerned about Scene 101, which will comprise five separate shots, and in the first, the script says:

          A couple of consoles EXPLODE, SPARKING!

While Dick Brownfield installs his "sparks" (there will be two mortars working simultaneously, one mounted on the pole, one on the floor), two grips cover the set around him with protective fireproof blankets. The director talks to Ray Wise about the physics of picking up Arturis' weapon. As there will be pyrotechnics, Paramount's fire marshal arrives at the set. Dick Brownfield stands on a ladder and holds the ten-foot pole, the mortar mounted on the end hanging only six feet from the actors.
9.52 p.m. Rehearsal. "Boom! Boom!" Kolbe shouts; then he and Brownfield discuss where the sparks will be.
9.53 p.m. Rehearsal. When Ray Wise picks up the "gun," Kate Mulgrew wiggles her fingers and whispers "sh-sh-sh-sh," feigning her beam-out.
9.54 p.m. Adele Simmons obtains the entire crew's attention for a safety meeting, explaining exactly where the sparks will fly. "Is everybody comfortable?" Pause. "Picture!"
9.56 p.m. "Action!" The actors jump back as two bright clusters of sparks flash across the Dauntless's console.
"Let's get the smoke out of here," Simmons calls immediately.
"No," Rick Kolbe stops her. "Let's leave it in here. It looks good."
The filmmakers gather to discuss the shot. They don't like it. "Rather than keep it as one shot, let's break it into two," the director says. Now Scene 101 has six shots in it. "Shoot Kate's first."
As Dick Brownfield reloads the mortar on the pole, Adele Simmons tells the crew, "This will be a single of Kate. With sparks."
Ray Wise leaves the set as he is not needed for this shot. Adele Simmons watches Dick Brownfield closely. "We'll have sparks on a stick in a minute," she says.
10.02 p.m. "Scene 101 Apple. Take One." As the sparks fly, Kate Mulgrew jumps backward. "That looked great! Print it!" Kolbe shouts through the smoke.

Rick Brownfield rigs the second mortar, the one that sits on the ground. The wires must be hidden under a piece of carpet, not because they might be visible, but so that the moving Steadicam operator, who will follow actor Ray Wise to the back panel, does not trip over them. He also rigs a flashbulb tree under the console.

The Panavision camera is prepared for the last shot in the sequence. It must be "locked down" for Janeway's optical beam-out.
10.14 p.m. Ray Wise is in place. Scene 101 Baker. Three takes and exactly ten minutes later, the Director says: "That's pretty good. Print it."
10.24 p.m. "Let's shoot Kate's dematerialisation," Adele Simmons says. "Oh, and happy birthday to Dick Brownfield." A grip tapes a translucent plastic sheet onto one of the built-in overhead bulbs to dim the light directly under it, while Marvin Rush sits down on the dolly to operate the camera.
10.33 p.m. Scene 101 Chicago - Janeway is rescued by being beamed off Arturis' ship as he fires his weapon. Take 1. At the end of her dialogue, Kate Mulgrew stands perfectly still. "One ... two...three!" Rick Kolbe counts. She quickly steps out of the camera's frame. "One ... two ... three..." Pause. "Cut. Good. Print. Let's do one more for safety."

To save time, Rick Kolbe and Adele Simmons decide to shoot Scene 107 now, as all the elements are perfect for the moment when Arturis encounters the Borg. The floor is cleaned as it shows footprints and will be in the shot. An overhead fluorescent light is removed.
10.44 p.m. Rehearsal. Adele Simmons reads the Borg transmission speech ("We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.") while the Steadicam circles Ray Wise.
Marvin Rush asks Gavin Ames to change to a 35mm lens and for more of the "railing" to be in frame. The operator makes the adjustments and they rehearse one more time for the camera.
10.48 p.m. Scene 107. Take 1. The Steadicam is to start moving when Arturis sits down in the chair. "Action." Ray Wise sits and the camera moves. "Cut. Perfect. Print it," Kolbe calls out.


The scene as seen on tv.

It takes an hour to complete the remaining close-ups.
"Move to Stage 9," Adele Simmons calls out. There is a rush of activity. Only three corridor scenes are yet to be filmed. At 12.50 a.m. on 11th March she gives her last order of the season to the crew. "That's a wrap. See you in June."

[Hope and Fear] has finished filming. Now comes the post-production process.

 

Credits:

  • Thanks to Eos Development for the page background from the set "Lapis".
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