Star Trek: Questions you always wanted answers to

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Strikerkc

Sr Member
So, I've seen enough pictures from TOS recently, where kirk was in a green uniform shirt... what was up with that, was there ever a rationale for what that switch was supposed to mean? was it given on the show, was the reason made up by fans and novelists years after the fact? Was it casual Friday?
 

robn1

Master Member
Yes Kirk's green shirt was a casual version, first use in "The Enemy Within" to differentiate the two Kirks.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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So, I've seen enough pictures from TOS recently, where kirk was in a green uniform shirt... what was up with that, was there ever a rationale for what that switch was supposed to mean? was it given on the show, was the reason made up by fans and novelists years after the fact? Was it casual Friday?
As for the having an alternate uniform part, that's one of the perks of command. Picard had one, too. It wasn't specifically called out as "casual" in TOS. All I ever remember seeing in Theiss' notes was "alternate". As for it being green... Well, that's a fun delve into color timing, set lighting, and camera filters.

When the decision was made to air Star Trek "in living color on NBC", they punched up all the colors. The practical lights on the sets got color gels, the bridge rail and turbolift dors got a bright red paint job, and the drab uniforms of the pilots got replaced by much brighter sparkle-velour uniforms in the primary colors of the color TV phosphors -- red, green, and blue. Because of the weirdness of all the lighting stuff I mentioned above, though, the green command uniforms came through looking more mustard-yellow (with a faint greenish tinge if you really look). When Kirk got his alternate uniform tops, they used a different fabric, but the same color. And because of the difference in fabric texture and reflectivity, it's still green.

This thing has deviled Trek costumers for decades. Do we make it to match the actual item? Or to match how it looks on our TV screens after all the lighting and camera effects have impacted perceived colors. The undershirts for both the DS9 and Voyager uniforms are the same custom dyed cotton lycra. I know the dye formula and have done up a batch of fabric for a commission a while back. The DS9 ones look more lavender and the Voyager ones look more gray because of the lighting and filters, again. It was trippy as hell when I took it out of the dryer. Under the hall light, it looked distinctly lavender. As soon as I moved out into the living room it shifted to gray.
 

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Zombie_61

Master Member
...When the decision was made to air Star Trek "in living color on NBC", they punched up all the colors. The practical lights on the sets got color gels, the bridge rail and turbolift dors got a bright red paint job, and the drab uniforms of the pilots got replaced by much brighter sparkle-velour uniforms in the primary colors of the color TV phosphors -- red, green, and blue. Because of the weirdness of all the lighting stuff I mentioned above, though, the green command uniforms came through looking more mustard-yellow (with a faint greenish tinge if you really look)...
I've noticed the "Command" tunics do tend to look more green than gold in scenes where the lighting isn't particularly bright. In episodes from the first two seasons, anyway--I've read they actually used a "mustard yellow" fabric for the uniforms in the third season.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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Yup. They went from sparkle velour, with all of its weird light-reflecting qualities, to polyester double-knit. Much more contemporary, and a fabric I hate. But yeah, to keep the final "look" consistent, they went with a mustard goldenrod color. Fun fact: The TNG Operations division uniforms' dye formula yields a greenish mustard gold color, too. I, frankly, don't like that they went more yellow for the DS9/VOY uniform shoulders.
 
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patrickivan

Sr Member
I've heard the explanation of TOS uniforms being green but showing up as gold under studio lighting. And decades of this.

What I could never reconcile this with, is the scenes filmed outside. While still using artificial lighting, it's NOT the same lighting, and there was still so much ambient natural lighting. Shore Leave. Arena are two first season episodes. You can see some green in the gold of the uniforms, but they are the exact same colour as indoor set lighting.

I just can't imagine that they would replicate that lighting so perfectly in outdoor shots to get the same colours. Especially the same green as Kirk's alternate wrap around uniform.

On a side note, I get a kick out of the episode Charlie X, where Charlie gets a suede looking version of that wrap around to wear. And it looks pretty damned cool.
 

AJK001

Sr Member
I've heard the explanation of TOS uniforms being green but showing up as gold under studio lighting. And decades of this.

What I could never reconcile this with, is the scenes filmed outside. While still using artificial lighting, it's NOT the same lighting, and there was still so much ambient natural lighting. Shore Leave. Arena are two first season episodes. You can see some green in the gold of the uniforms, but they are the exact same colour as indoor set lighting.

I just can't imagine that they would replicate that lighting so perfectly in outdoor shots to get the same colours. Especially the same green as Kirk's alternate wrap around uniform.

On a side note, I get a kick out of the episode Charlie X, where Charlie gets a suede looking version of that wrap around to wear. And it looks pretty damned cool.
Based on what the color lab did with the Orion Slave girl, making her skin tone normal instead of green because they didn't realize she was supposed to be green, they probably wouldn't have had any problems making the shirt color match from scene to scene no matter where they were filmed.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Out of the 6 Screen-Used Command Velours I have personally examined I have never seen a “Green” one

For the 3rd season Commands I have examined as well as owned none have been “Mustard-yellow” they are and were as Theiss once said “Avocado”


When the decision was made to air Star Trek "in living color on NBC", they punched up all the colors. The practical lights on the sets got color gels, the bridge rail and turbolift dors got a bright red paint job, and the drab uniforms of the pilots got replaced by much brighter sparkle-velour uniforms in the primary colors of the color TV phosphors -- red, green, and blue. Because of the weirdness of all the lighting stuff I mentioned above, though, the green command uniforms came through looking more mustard-yellow (with a faint greenish tinge if you really look). When Kirk got his alternate uniform tops, they used a different fabric, but the same color. And because of the difference in fabric texture and reflectivity, it's still green.
 

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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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Out of the 6 Screen-Used Command Velours I have personally examined I have never seen a “Green” one

For the 3rd season Commands I have examined as well as owned none have been “Mustard-yellow” they are and were as Theiss once said “Avocado”
Thank you, and you beat me to it. It was bugging me that I wasn't remembering precisely, so I went back to the reference stacks to dig through Theiss' notes and found just that. The word that was coming to mind was "tenne", but I knew that was a later, fan-originated term. Yeah, all the third-season ones were avocado green. The first-season one I've seen in person was an irritatingly-impossible-to-describe '60s color... There were both green and golden light kicks, but it looked more green-tinged than how it appeared on screen.

And, ironically, the one "command wrap" I've seen from original production was a paler green in person than how it looked on screen.
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
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In 45 years of my examining and owning those Tunics, the one thing that is constant is the difficulty in describing the colors of those Tunics.

The velours I have seen did have a slight green tinge but were more gold imo

Peoples perceptions can greatly differ
 

patrickivan

Sr Member
In 45 years of my examining and owning those Tunics, the one thing that is constant is the difficulty in describing the colors of those Tunics.

The velours I have seen did have a slight green tinge but were more gold imo

Peoples perceptions can greatly differ
I don't disagree with your comment about perception, however, there are scientific indifferent definitions of colour. It's all based on a measurable range of the visible EM spectrum after all. I just wish we could have seen these uniforms properly studied in a controlled manner. Not someone just looking at them and doing exactly what we do: observe, interpret, and conclude.

But as for the general perception of on-screen, I think that weird gold is the, er golden standard? If I were to have a replica, I'd want it to match what we see on screen. If I were to have a used prop, I'd want it to look as it was used in real life.
 

afw42

New Member
I was astonished when 5 years ago, Joseph Kerzeman was able to set up an order of the actual season 3 double knit fabrics from the company that originally made them. Apparently they still had the dye recipes and access to materials to make that exact weave again. The order had to be 700 yards of each color minimum, but the fact that the company offered and did it is amazing.

It’s possible that the fabrics might deviate from originals, given dye and or fabric manufacturing has evolved. But my command tunic kit and friend’s science dress kit match the 3rd season screenshots in weave and color. The color shift aspect of the command fabric fascinates me- gold in some light, green in others, and in sunlight is green gold.
I can’t speak for the engineering fabric, as none of my friends bought it, but would be surprised if they were off by any significant amount.

Having said that: the velour of 1/2 seasons , The Cage; or Where No Man Has gone Before is a different story. It’s sad that there doesn’t seem to be ready source of exact fabric. I imagine the surviving garments could be measured with spectrography for actual fiber content, and dye chemical composition. But even if some took that trouble; finding a vendor willing to do setup and production run would likely be expensive. At least the double knit fabric makers had the original data and equipment still around to do run.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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afw42, actually... ;) Xscape Props did that about a decade ago for one of the (non-Axanar) fan series. I can't remember which one right now. Sourced and commissioned a run of sparkle velour to match the originals. Same story with the minimums, too, so they were making uniforms to sell, as well as selling off raw yardage. I've got a few yards of Science blue here. Maybe contact them for more information...?
 

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Apollo

Legendary Member
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Anything Joe K says has to be taken with a grain of salt.:rolleyes:

I, as well as many others, Adam 29, James Cawley, Anovos, have offered the 3rd Season fabric, it is no big deal to have it done you just need the yardage AND know where to get it done, I stopped offering it in the mid 90’s

The Dye company that originally did it for the Series has the exact formulas used for the Show, although iirc Joe ended up stiffing them or was not able to come up with the money to fully pay and it left a bad rep for doing Trek dye jobs with the company, someone else had to come in and pay off the balance



I was astonished when 5 years ago, Joseph Kerzeman was able to set up an order of the actual season 3 double knit fabrics from the company that originally made them. Apparently they still had the dye recipes and access to materials to make that exact weave again. The order had to be 700 yards of each color minimum, but the fact that the company offered and did it is amazing.
 
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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man that was 10 years ago iirc....:D

afw42, actually... ;) Xscape Props did that about a decade ago for one of the (non-Axanar) fan series. I can't remember which one right now. Sourced and commissioned a run of sparkle velour to match the originals. Same story with the minimums, too, so they were making uniforms to sell, as well as selling off raw yardage. I've got a few yards of Science blue here. Maybe contact them for more information...?
 

Caveneau

Sr Member
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I've been going through the Starfleet Technical Manual and trying to wrap my head around how Fleet Headquarters was supposed to work with orientation and artificial gravity. I assume the station would be spinning which would create the gravity. I just can't accept how the 'buildings' would be constructed into the shells of each of bay. Like the 'Lateral Corridors' don't seem to lead to an elevator.

I keep imagining it would be similar to the scene in 2001 when Frank Poole is doing his morning jog.


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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I consider that a fairly minor thing. We see cross sectional views through the circumferential axis and the radial axis, and rough layouts at most. We also don't see hallways between offices up in the Starfleet Headquarters building(s), but I presume they're there. The important structures are conveyed -- the passthrough between bays, the personnel and cargo elevator shafts out two the docking pods, sectional divisions within the structures (fire walls?)... If he had ever done a level by level breakdown in the vein of his booklet of plans for the Constitution class, you can bet there would've been turboshafts, toilets, GNDN conduits, and Jeffries tubes all in the right places.

Also, I have that poster and I love it. :)

ETA: For a long time, I've considered that the space-based portion of Starbase 11, being the "command base" Enterprise operated out of during its five-year mission in TOS. Thus, the command base for the First Fleet, the portion of Starfleet that, at that time, had the familiar "arrowhead" or "delta" chest emblem (before it was adopted Starfleet-wide as part of a general administrative overhaul in the 2270s). Six docking pods, each of which could hold several ships, easily accommodates the ten (including Enterprise) on Commodore Stone's wall chart. I reject the "official" starship listing (derived from a whole mess of real-world shenaniganery) and stick with what Matt Jeffries -- who made that chart -- had in mind for his registry system, and which no one working on later productions ever, apparently, asked him about. The 17xx-range registries are all stablemates of the Enterprise. The two 18xx registries are Miranda class -- one of them actually the Reliant. And the remaining 16xx registries are of the supplementary Cruiser class put in service right before the Starship Project was authorized and the Constitution's number block assigned...
 
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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Bah that’s one of Franz Josephs Fantasys which is what we used to call that back in the day! :D
 

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