GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Meh, I'm confused

POSTED BY: AGEHN
UPDATED: Friday, September 24, 2004 15:54
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Sunday, September 19, 2004 3:06 PM

AGEHN


Okay, the Lassiter is the first laser gun, like the one whats-his-name had in Heart of Gold. So the rest of the guns, the ones we see everyday, are normal explosion-forces-out-lead guns -- they make big sounds and we see Simon take what appear to be lead chunks out of people who're shot. So why is there a faint sci-fi noise like the flash on a camera powering up when these guns are cocked? Are they somehow futuristically enhanced to be more accurate or powerful? What makes that noise?


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Sunday, September 19, 2004 3:10 PM

ARAWAEN


There has been some debate as to whether they only look like old style guns or if they had high-tech bullets.

What I got out of the debate was that neither was the case and Fox probably just wanted a more science fiction sound to the guns.

Um, I'm lost. Uh, I'm Angry. And I'm Armed.

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Sunday, September 19, 2004 4:14 PM

SPDRPARKER


I don't actually remember any sci-fi noises when they were cocked....however I hear a kind of sci-fi sound when most of them are shot...

My main guess on that based on the look of some guns, like Mal's when you get a close up of it in Serenity, it's more of an updated version of propulsion, rather than some other idea. Maybe something in there that helps a bullet go more straight as not all do, or something to help prevent misfire...

that's my theory

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Sunday, September 19, 2004 4:25 PM

CB


One popular theory is that the 'low tech' guns on Firefly use a pneumatic delivery system rather than an explosive powder. The pneumatic chamber would need to be charged before every shot, and the sound that it creates is less of an explosion, more of air wooshing out. Dunno for sure, but like Arawaen said, maybe Fox just wanted a more futuristic sound for them. (In an episode commentary, Joss said that the sound peeps in post production put in a *beep* when Mal brushed off the camera in the cockpit, since they thought he was activating it) So, unless Joss wrote into the script how the guns were supposed to sound, it might have been out of his hands.

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Sunday, September 19, 2004 4:25 PM

CB


One popular theory is that the 'low tech' guns on Firefly use a pneumatic delivery system rather than an explosive powder. The pneumatic chamber would need to be charged before every shot, and the sound that it creates is less of an explosion, more of air wooshing out. Dunno for sure, but like Arawaen said, maybe Fox just wanted a more futuristic sound for them. (In an episode commentary, Joss said that the sound peeps in post production put in a *beep* when Mal brushed off the camera in the cockpit, since they thought he was activating it) So, unless Joss wrote into the script how the guns were supposed to sound, it might have been out of his hands.

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Sunday, September 19, 2004 4:28 PM

GOJIRO


There was a thought put forth on another thread, with which I agree, that the Firefly universe bullets are a bit more high-tech that what we have today. Caseless, maybe, or using something besides gunpowder as a propellant. Maybe a more powerful, or more stable explosive. Some kind of plastique or something.

Of course, why it would sound different is beyond me -- an explosion is an explosion. But mebbe...

gojiro

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Monday, September 20, 2004 2:50 AM

AGEHN



Quote:


I don't actually remember any sci-fi noises when they were cocked....however I hear a kind of sci-fi sound when most of them are shot...



I don't remember any exact instances, if I have time I'll find one when I get home. I remember a scene with Zoe cocking her long pistol/short rifle thing, and definately made a sound. It could be pneumatics, I like that idea. I also had the thought that it might be an advanced loading system that prevents jamming.

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Monday, September 20, 2004 3:17 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


In the episode Shindig when Badger's goons walk up behind Mal & Jayne they cock or charge their weapons there is an electronic charging noise which draws Mal's attention causing him to turn to see Badger.

I agree that the weapons may be low tech looking, but I think that they must have hi tech rounds or some sort of pneumatic firing system.

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."


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Monday, September 20, 2004 9:45 AM

SHEPHERDQ


When I saw the guns and heard the sounds I wondered what the point would be, then thought it could be one of two things ( if not both ). The whine is a charge build up in a capacitor. ( The whine heard in camera flash etc is the high freq it uses to raise the voltage way up so you have little current but high voltage to store up as a surge when let go for the flash ).

Use 1 for that power.. a new way to ignite the charge in a pretty much standard lead bullet instead of a percussion cap. ( even Vera uses lead )
Use 2 would be as an energy field in the barrel to protect the lining from repeated use to avoid having to buy new barrels in a low maint low tech out back place.

hmmm another use would be that it is more intimidating when pointed at a nose to explain the job is done and it is time to be paid.

The Journey is the worthier part.
www.southdownabbey.com

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Monday, September 20, 2004 10:29 AM

WILDHEAVENFARM


The Lassiter was the first, but it was probably hundreds of years old by the time our crew stole it.

I believe the old-fashioned bullet-firing guns are accompanied by a laser-like sound to indicate some kind of futuristic hybrid.

Quote:

Originally posted by Agehn:
Okay, the Lassiter is the first laser gun, like the one whats-his-name had in Heart of Gold. So the rest of the guns, the ones we see everyday, are normal explosion-forces-out-lead guns -- they make big sounds and we see Simon take what appear to be lead chunks out of people who're shot. So why is there a faint sci-fi noise like the flash on a camera powering up when these guns are cocked? Are they somehow futuristically enhanced to be more accurate or powerful? What makes that noise?




Mary
Always a beast, never a burden.

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Monday, September 20, 2004 3:34 PM

MICHIZURE


Quote:

The whine is a charge build up in a capacitor.

That's what I thought, too.

An all-electric firing "pin" would make the pistol more accurate -- no hammer motion -- but otherwise pretty conventional.

A more exotic possibility is a gauss weapon: bullet is thrown electromagnetically, either by coils (like a solenoid) or a charge across parallel rails. Normally, I'd say this would require a power source with too high a density to be practical, but since we know the 'verse has hand lasers this wouldn't be very different.

My favorite, though, is liquid propellant: reservoir in the butt, fills a chamber behind the bullet, and fires it off like a piston in your car's engine; the capacitor would power the "spark plug." This would account for the lack of a visible action (revolver cylinder or automatic slide) as all the moving parts are inside. One advantage of LPG's is that they can be set to accelerate the bullet all the way down the barrel, rather than just smacking it once really hard -- more accurate, and higher muzzle velocity for the same chemical energy.

Although pneumatic handguns exist, I don't think they have the power or effects shown. I also can't think of any electromagnetic effect which would protect the barrel without smelling too much of "force fields."

--------
Kotoba yori tashika na koto michizure ni shite.

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Monday, September 20, 2004 6:26 PM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by Michizure:
An all-electric firing "pin"

A more exotic possibility is a gauss weapon:

My favorite, though, is liquid propellant:



These are all cool technologys, but personally I don't have any problem hearing the sounds as a mistake, made by Zoic. The fringe where Serenity plies her trade is pretty lotek. To make this clear, several characters are clothed like folks from the frontier of the USA more than a century ago. It makes no sense to me that these same characters would use tools more complex, or needing more maintenance & supply, than those from a similar era, where available.

ShepherdQ earlier made a suggestion that makes sense to me in this context: they might use a technology that would reduce their dependence on another technology (precision metal forging & machining, to manufacture replacement gun barrels). 'course needing to replace a gun barrel means you've already spent a helluvalot on bullets so, that explanation is something of a reach.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Wutzon: Phish, "Golgi Apparatus", from "Phish Live 8"

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004 1:29 AM

MICHIZURE


Quote:

Originally posted by YT:
ShepherdQ earlier made a suggestion that makes sense to me in this context: they might use a technology that would reduce their dependence on another technology...


Cartridges for conventional slug-throwers require a fair amount of manufacturing (shells, powder, primer, etc.), and are specific to one size and type of firearm. I can see some minimum production on the frontier -- shotgun shells, perhaps, or reloading supplies -- but I suspect that most weapons and ammunition are manufactured on the core worlds and exported to the fringe.

Both gauss weapons and liquid propellant guns have the advantage that their "propellant" is generic (electrical power and liquid explosive, respectively), leaving only the bullet itself (which could be a simple slug) specific to the weapon. They also have fewer moving parts than a conventional slug-thrower and at least potentially a sealed action, and may therefore last longer in use.

If you want to assume that the sound effect is a mistake (which is fine), you still have to account for why Mal's pistol (for example) has no visible action -- no cylinder or slide.

--------
Kotoba yori tashika na koto michizure ni shite.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004 6:10 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by Michizure:
Cartridges for conventional slug-throwers require a fair amount of manufacturing (shells, powder, primer, etc.), and are specific to one size and type of firearm. I can see some minimum production on the frontier -- shotgun shells, perhaps, or reloading supplies -- but I suspect that most weapons and ammunition are manufactured on the core worlds and exported to the fringe.


Interesting point. I had thought that most ammunition would be reloads but, reloading took off in the twentieth century, while most ammunition used by individuals on the American frontier in the nineteenth was, indeed, manufactured back East. I overlooked the technology required to manufacture stable, predictable gunpowders & primers.

Quote:

Both gauss weapons and liquid propellant guns have the advantage that their "propellant" is generic (electrical power and liquid explosive, respectively), leaving only the bullet itself (which could be a simple slug) specific to the weapon.


Even better point.

Quote:

They also have fewer moving parts than a conventional slug-thrower and at least potentially a sealed action, and may therefore last longer in use.


That one's good, too.

Quote:

If you want to assume that the sound effect is a mistake (which is fine), you still have to account for why Mal's pistol (for example) has no visible action -- no cylinder or slide.



Uncle! I'm convinced.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Wutzon: Garaj Mahal, "the Palladin", from "Live vol 2"

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Friday, September 24, 2004 1:09 AM

SHEPHERDQ


Another thought struck me. ( Nope it did not hurt )
Vera needed air to fire... it bugged me at the time as normal guns of today do not need air. The gunpowder creates its own air with an oxident. It seemed odd we would have to dress up Vera but I figured, ok artistic license.
Perhaps the other reason for the electric firing system is the bullets now need the outside air to function. Not sure I can think of a good reason for THAT modifacation unless for some reason the oxident is hard to get now and it replaced with a design that sucks in or compress outside air for the combustion charge in the bullet.

The Journey is the worthier part.
www.southdownabbey.com

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Friday, September 24, 2004 2:54 AM

MICHIZURE


Quote:

Originally posted by ShepherdQ:
It seemed odd we would have to dress up Vera but I figured, ok artistic license.


This is a topic that has been Done to Death (tm) in other fora. "Artistic license" is still the only explanation that makes any sense. I suppose it's possible to imagine a "carburetor" which uses outside air as an oxidant, but why bother? Chemical propellants with embedded oxidants have worked just fine for 500 years. The amount required isn't enough to matter (unlike combustion engines).

Mr. Whedon has proven to be a very smart man in general, but that particular business was just silly.

--------
Kotoba yori tashika na koto michizure ni shite.

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Friday, September 24, 2004 3:01 AM

GLICO


Very very subtle brilliance, I tell you.

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Friday, September 24, 2004 9:05 AM

YT

the movie is not the Series. Only the facts have been changed, to irritate the innocent; the names of the actors and characters remain the same


Quote:

Originally posted by Michizure:
Quote:

Originally posted by ShepherdQ:
It seemed odd we would have to dress up Vera but I figured, ok artistic license.


This is a topic that has been Done to Death (tm) in other fora.


Forgive me if this is another repeat.

Quote:

"Artistic license" is still the only explanation that makes any sense. I suppose it's possible to imagine a "carburetor" which uses outside air as an oxidant, but why bother?


Never mind "bother". Jayne had to fire Vera with precision. How did he aim, with her in the suit? What effect would hitting the faceplate other-than-perpendicular have on bullet path? True, that would affect only the first shot but, then we're back to How did Jayne return to his aim point after recoil?

Quote:

Mr. Whedon has proven to be a very smart man in general, but that particular business was just silly.



Wanted to check the credits to make sure but, yup, that was Joss's fault. Distracting.

If he wanted to add some excitement to the scene, he could've had Jayne say that he'd never fired Vera in zero G, 'though he'd then have to @least introduce the concept of bullet drop (or lack thereof) in a non-clunky bit of dialogue. With Vera in the open, we'd have seen Jayne playing with the adjustment screws on the scope, maybe in Book's company, maybe with a pregnant comment.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Wutzon: Santana, "Savor (Live from Woodstock)", eponymous

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Friday, September 24, 2004 3:54 PM

CAPTAINHARBATKIN


That sound is the sound of the fuelcell driving the mono-polar generator that powers the teensy rail gun that flings the ordinary lead bullet.

A supply of cast or extruded lead bullets of the proper diameter would be cheap and easy to make on a frontier world (mine the asteroid belt?), and these would be the heavy, expensive to transport items, so making them locally would be a good thing. While the fuel cells would be high tech, they would be long-lived, light and compact. Make sense?

Either that or it's just silly noises created in post-production.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their
clothing - and if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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