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15 October 2010 @ 10:03 am
Natalie's Lab Layout  
I've tended to picture Natalie's lab as a simple rectangle, but of course it's not.  Varying a little season to season and episode to episode, it's usually arranged about like this:



What caught my attention is that it's not the walls jogging in and out that my memory had oversimplified.  Instead, in conversation with [personal profile] celli about her [community profile] femme_fic story, I realized that I have habitually, mistakenly, imagined the exam table as parallel to the counter (with the desk thus on the same wall as the counter)!  I went back through many screenshots (most courtesy of Knight Watchman) and worked out the map above, pushing and pulling at my longstanding mistaken impression.  Why had I pictured the exam table sideways?

Wide shots of the lab are rare, of course, but that's not the key.  I concluded that it really comes down to FK's tete-a-tete filming style, in which conversations between two characters do not usually show both on screen at the same time when that would require the camera to back up to capture both.  Instead, the camera more often flips from framing one character's torso to framing the other's, showing each against his/her own background throughout the conversation.  Of all the scenes in Natalie's lab, so many frame Natalie against her desk and Nick (or Schanke, Grace, Tracy) against the counter, with no hint of the wall space between.  My imagination had discarded the "missing" wall, the one with the chalkboard on it.

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greerwatsongreerwatson on October 15th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
I did the same thing when I was writing FK4, in fact for all the sets, since I had to visualize them in order to work out the actors' movements. Natalie's office is actually the first one I pinned down completely: as a small, fairly simple room (believe it or not!), and one that did actually get more shots from all angles than most, it's much easier to get a grip on than, say, the 96th Precinct police station.

I also used the KnightWatchman screen captures. These then got used to illustrate the page on Natalie's office in the FK Wiki (http://foreverknight.wikia.com/wiki/Natalie%27s_office).

One or two notes:

- that actually is not a file cabinet in the corner with the skeleton: it's another refrigerator, used for biological specimens.

- a scale hangs over the exam table

- the "unknown doors" actually also lead to hallways. In fact, the one near the counter was the initial hallway built—the only one in Season One (as far as I can tell, built for "Only the Lonely").

- there's actually a small cart at the hall end of the long counter: what goes on it depends on the episode, but various large single pieces of equipment.

- the cart on which Natalie keeps her autopsy instruments is on castors, and—when not in use—can be often be found by the wall that has two doors in it.

Mind you, I had to tweak my rough sketch more than once as I spotted new things.
greerwatsongreerwatson on October 15th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
May I put a link to this page on the wiki? So far, the only other floorplan I know of is Chris Rosmini's one for the loft. It is very helpful to have this sort of visual aid.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on October 16th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
>"May I put a link to this page on the wiki?"

You mean link to this blog entry? Yes, you may. I may relocate the graphic later, putting it among the "References" on my fansite. Thank you for asking.

In your comments in your previous reply post, above, you wrote that you "did the same thing" for "all the sets" years ago, and "tweak[ed]" them "more than once." Since you already did all that work creating and correcting maps, wouldn't it be optimal to put those on the wiki instead?
greerwatsongreerwatson on October 16th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
Oh, mine were only very rough sketches—just for me to work by. Yours is much neater and more legible.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on October 16th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
>I did the same thing when I was writing FK4, in fact for all the sets

Have you considered sharing your creations on your LJ?

>- a scale hangs over the exam table

In second and third season, with the round-faced scale, that is true. However, first season has a different scale with a fan-shaped face, and when in use it sits on a cart placed at the end of the exam table.

Even in Natalie's lab, many items do move around and get replaced. For example, second and third season have a different computer cart (wider and with a keyboard tray) than first season, with one fewer file cabinet, and the "infectious waste" bin is all yellow in first season, while it is white with a yellow liner in second and third, as well as moving from one wall to another as the plot or camera require.

A thorough approach would require a separate diagram for each season (plus one for the "Only the Lonely" flashback, with the typewriter, coat rack, etc.), of course.

>- there's actually a small cart at the hall end of the long counter: what goes on it depends on the episode, but various large single pieces of equipment.

You're correct. They put the TV on it in "Spin Doctor."

I had thought that this was the same cart that I had placed as supporting the first-season scale at the end of the exam table. However, I see in "Only the Lonely" that they are twins. I have modified the sketch.

>- that actually is not a file cabinet in the corner with the skeleton: it's another refrigerator

You're correct. I have modified the sketch.

>- the "unknown" doors actually also lead to hallways.

By ordinary architectural logic, one of the two adjacent doors -- with their different handles and designs, and their independent light switches, as well as their proximity -- should lead to another lab or to a storage closet, not both of them leading to hallways, much less both leading to the same hallway. Of course ordinary real-world logic does not apply to sets.

The little foyer holding the adjacent doors, and the doors themselves, change a bit over time. In "Cherry Blossoms," they're white and yellow, and the foyer seems to be just a hand-span deep. By "Only the Lonely," they seem settled.

I had several reasons for disputing the interpretation that all three doors -- especially the third -- necessarily led to the hallway. But with additional review, I see now that those reasons fall into the great pile of FK inconsistencies. "Beyond the Law" is definitive on the paint on the interior of the Coroners Building hallways: it goes from white at the entrance to beige toward Natalie's lab. (Too bad; if the third door is to the hallway, then Tracy is inexcusably careless in "Fever," among other issues.)

I have modified the sketch.
greerwatsongreerwatson on October 17th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC)
"Of course ordinary real-world logic does not apply to sets."

How true! It's just as valid an observation when you think of the alterations that were made to the police station set in the course of Season Three. Up to that point, the halls made a sort of sense; then they built a whole new bunch, and—if you plan them out—theyre nothing more than a maze of dead ends backed onto one another behind the interrogation room.

"A thorough approach would require a separate diagram for each season (plus one for the "Only the Lonely" flashback, with the typewriter, coat rack, etc.), of course."

I'm not stopping you! (beams)

Seriously, though, this is exactly the approach that Chris Rosmini decided to take when doing the layout of the loft: a whole different diagram for Season One. There isn't a single set where things didn't move. Even Natalie's apartment in Season Two (which only appeared in four or five episodes) had furniture move and pictures change.
PJ1228pj1228 on October 17th, 2010 08:15 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm impressed by your work. I just spent a quarter of an hour just staring at your floor plan and playing scenes of different episodes through my mind to see where everyone would enter and stand etc. And it works. :)

I can only imagine the effort behind watching for all the details by putting this together. Great work!
Amy R.: Sunbrightknightie on October 18th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! You're encouraging, and I appreciate it!