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Visuals vs Dialogue in ST Canon

chr3335

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Report this Mar. 14 2010, 9:33 am

In general i always trust my eyes over what another person says.  Dialogue can be manipulative and tainted with bias or the characters own ignorance.

Vorta_the_point

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Report this Mar. 15 2010, 7:39 pm

I would agree with the premise of the article - that visuals trump dialogue in the case of a contradiction - with the proviso that I feel a genuine special effects error (i.e. something the creators have explicitly admitted being as such) can be considered erroneous if there is no way to reconcile or explain it without significantly impacting or causing serious implications for the canon.

The problem with trying to have dialogue override the visuals by rationalising the visuals (rather than the other way around) is that it often requires convoluted explanations and assumptions that are impossible to verify which are not favoured by Occam's Razor over the alternative - that the speaker of the dialogue simply mispoke, is mistaken, is lying, or is using a colloquialism, analogy or hyperbole, all of which are normal factors that must be taken into account in real life speech.

tribblenator999

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Report this Mar. 15 2010, 9:40 pm

visuals> dialogue. In the case of TOS unremastered dialogue>visuals.

MrsStarbuck

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Report this Mar. 16 2010, 11:23 am

Quote (chr3335 @ Mar. 13 2010, 2:33 pm)
In general i always trust my eyes over what another person says. ¿Dialogue can be manipulative and tainted with bias or the characters own ignorance.

Yes, this is the way I feel about it too. Dialogue is (or should be) always written from the speakers POV, and maybe sometimes the characters own personality will have an impact on what they are saying.

Like, I know I can be guilty of exaggerating sometimes to make a point. I might say "there were hundreds of people posting on the board yesterday" when in actual fact there were only...I dunno...fifty maybe? (no idea as to actual numbers, this is just an illustration).

So if a character does say something like "those Klingon vessels are right on top of us" but then the visuals show they're still a way off yet, I think we can forgive the character for exaggerating given the urgency of the situation, and take the actual visuals as a true picture of the situation.

Just my take on it, and incidentally, I don't think I've seen the episode where this occurs: "On one mirror universe episode we see a ship decloak.  In a later mirror universe everyone in the mirror universe talks as if their universe never had cloaking technology."
Or was this hypothetical too?

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 16 2010, 7:25 pm

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 16 2010, 6:20 pm)
yeah in the first mirror mirror episode on DS9 a klingon bird of prey decloaked in front of the runabout kira and bashir were on. ¿In a later mirror mirror episode, zek was kidnapped and needed a cloaking device for his release.

Different mirror universe???

Quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55NwNrkzz4s


This one however had more errors.

Pooneil

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Report this Mar. 16 2010, 7:32 pm

I have a looser interpretation of "canon" anyway, so my take on this issue changes from episode to episode, or moment to moment.

For example, if Data says a starship is 20,000 kilometers away, yet when we cut to the visual it appears to be only one or two kilometers away, I'll take Data's information as the most accurate. After all, androids don't lie. ;)

To think of it another way: the f/x are interpreting the story, which is primarily being created on stage with actors and dialogue. In a "perfect" version of the show, the f/x shots would match up with what the characters are saying, e.g. ranges, sizes, etc. When they can "remaster" the f/x for the Original Series, we can see how ephemeral that stuff is -- yet the dialogue remains. But then they re-dub dialogue for "Star Trek I" DVD -- it gets confusing.

Dialogue shouldn't be taken as Word of God, however. Someone saying an event took place "a century ago" does not mean exactly 100 years. If I talk about something happening a century ago, I might mean anything from 1880 to 1920. Depending on my memory at the time.

With other stuff -- the Borg and Scotty examples you posted -- my attitude is basically to shrug and say, "So what?" The story evolves as the writer creates it. They make something up only to realize later that it prevents them from mining an exciting plot twist -- so they retcon what they've written. I remember being bugged by the cloaking device issue in "The Emperor's New Cloak", but only rarely do I care about other continuity problems, even though I notice them.

chr3335

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Report this Mar. 16 2010, 9:16 pm

Quote (VAD_BAXTER @ Mar. 15 2010, 8:36 pm)
Visuals and dialog have to be used together to determine canon.

But which take precedence when there is a contradiction?

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 17 2010, 12:23 am

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 12:14 am)
Here's a pretty simple example of dialog evidence outranking visual evidence. ¿Throughout star trek we see characters being replaced by different actors. ¿Here are some examples:

Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko
Gul Dukat's daughter Ziyal (replaced actor a few times during the series)
Klingon god Kahless
Picard when he's portrayed as a younger man
Zefram Cochrane appeared in an episode of the original series as a visually different person than the one shown on the enterprise pilot and the star trek movie first contact
The entire original enterprise crew, Sarek, christopher pike, all appear different on the new star trek movie from what we saw in the 60's.

all the visual evidence shows that these are not the same people and yet the dialog says they are. ¿In this case we accept the dialog.

Thats not really the same thing.

And Kahless was not a God.

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 17 2010, 1:34 am

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 1:18 am)
Quote (stovokor2000 @ Mar. 17 2010, 12:23 am)
Thats not really the same thing.

And Kahless was not a God.

okay he was a legacy. ¿Anyway yes it's the same thing. ¿If we ignored the dialogue we would not conclude that these are the same people, we would conclude the opposite. ¿Fortunately, the dialog sets the record straight... wouldn't you say?

No I wouldnt because like I said its not the same thing.

A characters appearance is not a matter of canon, so actors being swapped or changed doesnt disturbe canon in any way.

And the reason a characters apparance isint a matter of canon is because over time even the original actors looks can change draticly.

Just look at Scotty from the tv era to the movie era.He looks like a completly different actor....but its still James Doohan.

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 17 2010, 2:46 am

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 2:31 am)
a character's appearance is not a matter of canon because the dialog overrides the visuals and informs us that they're the same character.

A characters apparance is not a matter of canon because the audiance has no reasonable expectation that that an actors looks wont change dramatically in a short amount of time.

Quote

We know for a fact they're different people since we can lookup who played them and see they are different people.


Which has nothing to do with the matter being discussed.

Like I said, its not the same thing because we have no reasonable expectation that an actors looks will remain the same.

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 17 2010, 3:38 am

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 2:50 am)


the same actor is known as tom paris and nicholas locamo from a next generation episode. ?They even use a picture of nicholas locamo as a picture of tom paris on admiral paris's desk. ?We wouldn't know this from visuals, just dialog.

Which is the opposite of what we have been talking about.

That would be a case of same actor different character.

But thanks for that bit of info, I didnt know about that picture on the Admirals desk..

Vorta_the_point

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Report this Mar. 17 2010, 7:47 am

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 3:47 am)
why does one have to take precedence over the other? ?either can be used as evidence to make a point about canon


Either can be used as evidence to make a point about canon, but in a contradiction between the two, visuals have precedence because they are more reliable.

Visual effects can sometimes contain mistakes and can occasionally be open to interpretation if we only get a glimpse of something or it's partially obscured.

Dialogue has these exact same weaknesses - the writers can make mistakes in the dialogue and even basic dialogue is often open to interpretation (are they using an analogy, hyperbole, etc.?) - but has the additional weaknesses of the characters in-universe being mistaken, biased, lying, vague, delusional, stating an opinion rather than a fact, or simply mispeaking.

Visuals do not have these problems - they can't be "biased" or be "mistaken". It's like real life; if I go to a car dealer and they tell me a car is a brand new Porche, and I look at it and the car looks like a beat up old van, then I believe what I see over what I've been told.

In any sort of logical analysis, primary data (observations, i.e. the visuals) is always superior to secondary data (information from a secondary source like word of mouth, i.e. the dialogue) - indeed that's why they're called 'primary' and 'secondary'.


Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 5:14 am)
Here's a pretty simple example of dialog evidence outranking visual evidence. ¿Throughout star trek we see characters being replaced by different actors.


That would be an example of a case where we the audience know explicitly that a visual is "wrong" (in the sense that they have had to use a different actor); as mentioned above, in some cases it can be justified in-universe by the character aging. This however is an extremely rare occurrence and is not really applicable for the majority of the visuals.

Vorta_the_point

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Report this Mar. 18 2010, 2:54 pm

Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 5:19 pm)
I'd say there are situations where critics overanalyze footage in attempts to prove dialogue and reference books incorrect. ?Phaser vaporization and krenim weapon properties are my obvious examples :laugh: Not contradictions as far as i'm concerned.


In the case of phaser vapourisation, no-one is trying to say that the dialogue is "incorrect", they are just not taking it literally; they are assuming the speaker is talking colloquially rather than using a precise text-book scientific definition - with good reason since literal vapourisation through the application of raw energy to a target humanoid would create a cloud of scalding steam 8 metres wide, injuring anyone nearby.

Since obviously this doesn't happen, and the target instead slowly fades away leaving only a few bits of dust and a wisp of smoke, the majority of its mass strangely unaccounted for, then it is logical to assume that they are simply talking colloquially, not literally - and indeed, the reference books you refer to actually describe the process as not being literal vapourisation, but instead a reaction which 'transitions out of continuum' the majority of the target's mass.

stovokor2000

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Report this Mar. 18 2010, 2:59 pm

Quote (Vorta_the_point @ Mar. 18 2010, 2:54 pm)
Quote (marshall8472 @ Mar. 17 2010, 5:19 pm)
I'd say there are situations where critics overanalyze footage in attempts to prove dialogue and reference books incorrect. ?Phaser vaporization and krenim weapon properties are my obvious examples :laugh: Not contradictions as far as i'm concerned.


In the case of phaser vapourisation, no-one is trying to say that the dialogue is "incorrect", they are just not taking it literally; they are assuming the speaker is talking colloquially rather than using a precise text-book scientific definition - with good reason since literal vapourisation through the application of raw energy to a target humanoid would create a cloud of scalding steam 8 metres wide, injuring anyone nearby.

Since obviously this doesn't happen, and the target instead slowly fades away leaving only a few bits of dust and a wisp of smoke, the majority of its mass strangely unaccounted for, then it is logical to assume that they are simply talking colloquially, not literally - and indeed, the reference books you refer to actually describe the process as not being literal vapourisation, but instead a reaction which 'transitions out of continuum' the majority of the target's mass.

Why are the reference books being acknowledged as canon??

They arent as a whole.

Vorta_the_point

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Report this Mar. 18 2010, 3:04 pm

You're right; they're not. Marshall seems to think they are though, at present.

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