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Author Topic: Star Trek Stage Layout - Infinity Corridor
Malnurtured Snay
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One of the things that fascinates me about TV and movies is the stage layout, particularly for Star Trek sets. This is a great resource, by the way.

One of my favorite features of a Star Trek set are the corridors, because they are, in my opinion, such a huge part of "believing" that you're on an incredibly large starship or station. And so when reading about set design, one thing I've come across often is references of "Oh, we could film maybe thirty seconds of dialogue and then we'd have to stop filming, go back to the start of the corridor set, and start again where we'd left off."

So I started wondering ... what if, and obviously here there's a question of how large a stage you have, and how much money you have ... but would it be possible to design some sort of infinity loop of corridors? Anyway, so I sat down to sketch. Don't know if this is feasible ... but this is what I came up with. The set has most of what you'd expect on a Trek set -- engineering, transporter, swing crew quarters, and some other swing spaces, as well as a section of corridor with portholes, because that'd be neat and change things up a bit! Let me know your thoughts.

Again ... rough sketch.

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Guardian 2000
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I was just watching "The Swarm" the other day and noticed the reversal of curvature of the corridor in a long walking shot. It was weird and took me out of the show for a moment. I guess when that was designed they were trying to suggest that was perhaps on the upper saucer, but then in this episode they walked the curves then went into Engineering so the whole thing went wonky.

Generally speaking, we sort of accept that corridors are mostly bollocks. They generally don't match the curvature of the ship at any point, and seldom make any real sense. Personally, I'd prefer a big long corridor at least somewhere on the ship rather than all the cramped confining jinks and bends. Simple squared-off corridors seem best for the secondary hull (where applicable). As a result, I'm iffy on the curved corridor immediately outside engineering. That turns out to be common enough, though.

I am fond of yours otherwise, especially the porthole thought (IIRC there were similar plans for the E-D saucer rim as well as the lower deck of the Defiant) but the curvature seems awfully tight, like center-of-saucer-section tight. I don't know how practical they'd be, either, given the big construction job set of engineering is trapped within the center. I think you just prevented any warp-core-ejection scenes that don't rely on CGI to erase the core.

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Malnurtured Snay
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You make a really good point about filming and layout -- the sets are arranged the way they are because of the stage, but it's important for the director, especially, to realize that the stage layout does not equal the internal layout of the fictional starship, and to as best as possible, ensure that filming is consistent to the "feel" of the ship. I have to say, though, that the layout of the Voyager corridor set always seemed cool to me because it seemed to hug the layout of a corridor that ran between the primary and secondary hulls (straight, then curving to the left, before winding back to the right).

One thing I was considering for the window-corridor, is that the wall with windows could be replaceable, so it could easily be redressed to be, say, a corridor on the rim of a saucer, or on the top or bottom of the saucer, or severely modified to appear as part of the neck or secondary hull of whichever Star Trek ship this is.

It occurs to me that one of the corridors could simply be constructed with a replaceable "window" wall, with the caveat that some additional "panel plugs" would need to be installed to hide the corridors that would seemingly extend PAST the outer hull of the ship.

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Guardian 2000
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Ironically, the Enterprise show sets did the sort of separate blocks near Engineering vs saucer curves per your link. This is ironic since, like the Defiant, that's one of the only ships that has Engineering in the saucer.

I like the idea of the redress-able corridor wall. You'd want to pull a Roddenberry and set scenes using multiple common iterations in your pilot episode, though. ;-)

Indeed, there are few ships with corridor windows ever seen, and you'd think they'd have at least one thoroughfare with that. Only the Enterprise-J seemed to be graced with one.

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Trimm
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Corridor windows would require starfields behind them, which costs money. They had that cloth starfield behind the Ent-D conference room windows in an attempt to deal with that.

If time and money are less of a factor, I think you could film a pretty convincing West Wing style walk and talk on the Enterprise D corridor set. Essentially you'd have the actors come down the long corridor from the direction of the holodeck/cargo bay set and round the corner onto the transporter room hall. Cut there, and pick the shot back up with them walking down that corridor, then cut again. You'd pick the shot back up there with them turning back onto the curved corridor and walking towards the holodeck.

Only problem with that is that I imagine staging/shooting a scene like that would take more time and effort than a director would want to spend on an exposition scene.

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Malnurtured Snay
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Trimm --

Right, and obviously, the set as depicted above WOULD be expensive. But look at the layout and imagine a West Wing walk-and-talk -- you'd never need to stop and cut. You could literally just walk in circles -- down main corridors, turning onto side corridors, back to main corridors, until the dialogue was finished.

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Trimm
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I see what your saying Snay, and I actually like your setplan quite a bit. I just don't think any film production would ever build it. Honestly, if you told me I could have 3 more full sized standing sets on my soundstage, or for the same price I could get an unbroken corridor set, I think I'd take the extra standing sets, especially for a science fiction production.

As it is, you could do a fairly long unbroken take on the TNG corridor set without cutting, in theory. If you take the wall plugs out of Engineering, you can walk uninterrupted from the Holodeck all the way through to the Engine Room intersection. That should be more than long enough for most purposes.

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Malnurtured Snay
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You could cut the corridor down to two large C sections -- basically, a completely round circular corridor set, but with a cut and offset so that to complete the rotation you'd need to enter a side corridor. I think the biggest limitation would be finding a stage large enough to accomodate it, but the TNG production staff did originally design a corridor that was almost a complete loop.

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Trimm
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http://pat.suwalski.net/film/st-stages/stages/stage9-tng2.png

That's the actual layout of stage 9. Envision this shot if you will; Our actors exit the door from the crew quarters set facing the holodeck, walk down the long corridor towards the engine room. The wall plugs are out of the engineering set, so our actors enter the redressed area and turn to their right, then cut. Scene picks up with our actors still on the engine room part of the set, entering from screen left and turning back onto the long corridor, where they can again walk all the way back to the holodeck or turn onto the transporter room hall. That's a really long conversation, with all of one cut.

I do really like your setplan idea Snay, it certainly works for what you want it to. I think my ideal set for a spaceship show would be two long hallways forming a T. I honestly don't really want long West Wing walk and talks, I want maximum space for standing sets.

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Malnurtured Snay
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Yes, I'm familiar with that site -- love it! -- and in fact, that's what got me thinking of this. If you look at the stage notes for the Enterprise sets, one of the production team specifically talks about the amount of corridors they had, and the flexibility that provided for filming. So my thought process was: what if you had a corridor layout where you NEVER had to cut?

Granted, you're correct: there would be problems with this. One, it's going to be a LOT of set, and that means a lot of stage. And two, that means it's going to be expensive. But a big part of the reason TNG's standing engineering/transporter/sickbay sets were the size they were is because they were redresses of the TMP sets in order to save money. As we've seen from the set designs of say, Deep Space Nine or Enterprise, that would not necessarily be as important a consideration for a future Star Trek series.

But also, having a larger stage means you could add more sets. You could have a dedicated science lab, or more swing sets to depict a greater variety of the ship. Conceivably, from TNG, all of the Enterprise sets (excluding the deck 1 sets) could have been connected on the same stage. And when you see the set plans for the Enterprise from Into Darkness ... no reason why they couldn't go much, much larger:

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As for what you say about walking, talking ... cutting ... then repeat, yes, TNG did that several times: Data and Bashir in Birthright, as the most obvious example. Except they START in redressed engineering, walk up the corridor, CUT to them emerging from the side corridor and walking towards holodeck.

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Jason Abbadon
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You guys could make a cool "Chutes & Ladders" kinda board game from these set plans!
I think it'd rock.

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Guardian 2000
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Lock 'n' Chase would be fun and quite appropriate on a big map made out of TNG-era sets.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1FI4VrcsWjk

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Lee
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You can't beat a good long corridor. Just look at that one in Matrix Reloaded. Since living In Bristol I've spent too many nights in A&E at now-closed Frenchay Hospital, on one visit I discovered an unbelievably long corridor that seemed to go on forever. A quick Google search has found one image from an Urban Exploration site that really doesn't do it justice:

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