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Back from LA with Honorverse move news

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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:18 am

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One doesn't usually see the flying cannon balls or grenades in movies about wet-navy ships. So why does one have to see the laser beams in a movie about a space battle?

Sure - the beams look pretty in Star Wars - but seeing the impact would be dramatic enough, considering how ultra-powerful Honorverse beam weapons are.

Digby wrote:There have been a lot of arguments for and against the absence of sound in space. My view is that remaining true to the science and keeping it silent is something to be exploited for dramatic effect. It is insufferably patronising to introduce sound simply because one thinks the audience is dumb.

On the other hand, I concede that laser beams would have to be shown as thin lines of light. Otherwise there would be no way for the audience to link a distant explosion to the sudden damage or destruction of the target.

However, I see a problem for the purists. Presumably the beam remains roughly constant in diameter between source and target. If the camera viewpoint is near the source, the beam would soon dwindle to invisibility on its way to the target. A similar problem occurs when the viewpoint is near the target. Is there a way to cope with this difficulty?
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by clancy688   » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:52 am

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Well, here's a nice example of an invisible but highly destructive energy beam impacting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2xF0qcqHXU

(Ignore the subtitles... :D )

That's how you could solve the invisible beams issue.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by SWM   » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:34 am

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Fyrwulf wrote:Yes. Lasers will still diverge because focusing, no matter how advanced, is not perfect. What follows is a table of beam diameterfor a common over the counter red laser expressed in millimeters (10mm to start) and distance in meters (1m to start).

Code: Select all
1 10.07995944
100 17.99594434
10000 8005.5944339
1000000 79969.44339

Actually, the more fundamental problem isn't that focusing is not perfect. The problem is inherent in the physics of wave propagation. If you have a light source at infinity, and the light waves pass through a slit, the emerging beam will diverge. Any beam will always diverge.

The degree of divergence is heavily dependent on the frequency of the beam. For a gamma ray laser, the diffraction-limit divergence is extremely small. Even at 500,000 km (the limit of graser range), the beam is only a little larger than at the source.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by kzt   » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:20 am

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Yes, it's related to the beam diameter and wavelength. large diameter very short wavelength lasers spot size increases very, very slowly.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by 61Cygni   » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:21 pm

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Bruno Behrends wrote:One doesn't usually see the flying cannon balls or grenades in movies about wet-navy ships. So why does one have to see the laser beams in a movie about a space battle?

Sure - the beams look pretty in Star Wars - but seeing the impact would be dramatic enough, considering how ultra-powerful Honorverse beam weapons are.

Digby wrote:There have been a lot of arguments for and against the absence of sound in space. My view is that remaining true to the science and keeping it silent is something to be exploited for dramatic effect. It is insufferably patronising to introduce sound simply because one thinks the audience is dumb.

On the other hand, I concede that laser beams would have to be shown as thin lines of light. Otherwise there would be no way for the audience to link a distant explosion to the sudden damage or destruction of the target.

However, I see a problem for the purists. Presumably the beam remains roughly constant in diameter between source and target. If the camera viewpoint is near the source, the beam would soon dwindle to invisibility on its way to the target. A similar problem occurs when the viewpoint is near the target. Is there a way to cope with this difficulty?


Guns and cannons produce varying amounts of muzzle flash, smoke, loud bangs. Machine guns usually include tracer rounds. Shells produce whistling sounds when passing near. Missles leave smoke trails. Some analog of this has to be done with space battles for artistic effect, thus all the visible beams and firing sounds we have seen. A "realistic" laser battle would be very boring visually.

Now, if one is going for a "2001" style, then yeah, make it realistic. But for space opera, which isn't realistic anyway, I'm all for dumping reality in this case.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:45 am

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The Honorverse isn't Star Wars or Star Trek and the visual and audio effects should make that clear.

Getting rid of the George-Lucasalization of space combat for this project and going for new (and in the final result IMO much more dramatic) effects may well be worth it.

I can well imagine the cataclysmic destruction of the beam impact coming out of seeming nowhere being much more dramatic than the usual pretty XWing laser beams and their follow-on sparkles.

Also nothing speaks against dramatically showing the gun mounts firing - and the later impact - without having to resort to something as crude as painted-on laser beams. The beam passing the sidewall-'shield' and getting bent (and maybe partially scattered, thereby becoming briefly visible) is also an option.


61Cygni wrote:Guns and cannons produce varying amounts of muzzle flash, smoke, loud bangs. Machine guns usually include tracer rounds. Shells produce whistling sounds when passing near. Missles leave smoke trails. Some analog of this has to be done with space battles for artistic effect, thus all the visible beams and firing sounds we have seen. A "realistic" laser battle would be very boring visually.

Now, if one is going for a "2001" style, then yeah, make it realistic. But for space opera, which isn't realistic anyway, I'm all for dumping reality in this case.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Digby   » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:06 am

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I didn't realize that laser beams diverged so much. Perhaps I was misled by DW's description: "rods of coherent energy". I still think they should be made visible in the movie. The difference between wet- and space-navy battles is that in the latter the source and target can be thousands of kilometres apart.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by SWM   » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:29 am

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Digby wrote:I didn't realize that laser beams diverged so much. Perhaps I was misled by DW's description: "rods of coherent energy". I still think they should be made visible in the movie. The difference between wet- and space-navy battles is that in the latter the source and target can be thousands of kilometres apart.

As I said before, x-ray and gamma-ray lasers don't diverge very much. At any point along the beam it will look like a "rod" of energy. It is only after it travels tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of kilometers that you would notice that the diameter has gotten bigger.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by solbergb   » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:46 am

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Eh, once radar guided targeting was available in late WWII, even gun-based ships could fire over the horizon at targets they can't actually see. Any post WWII naval battle involves showing one ship shooting then cutting to the other ship for impact. A nimbus of energy around the guns when the capacitors discharge to fire the beam weapons seems plausible enough...then cut over to massive and cinematic damage caused on the target ship hull and interior. Not that different.

Missile swarms can also look very cool, but again they're only "close together" at launch. Trailing smoke ala-battlestar-galactica makes no sense given gravitic drives though, which may make the motion harder to show. When they target they're 35km from the ship and probably scattered around. But if you panned back enough and showed missile/cm it might look pretty cool. Or you just zoom in on the laser heads coming out, then cut to the damage they do.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by LarryWill729   » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:35 pm

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I just do NOT want to see ships with rocket engines in the movie such as some of the cover art shows.
These are REACTIONLES DRIVES!

I also would like to see some of the Bridge action when the ship takes a hit caused by an actual tilt of the stage, not all the actors and cameras moving on a cue. Think flight simulator type platforms the bridge sets are built onto.

I also want to see door buttons to open and close them, not proximity sensors.
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