Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Star Trek has a new hat
Posted by JPX
From Thedigitalbits, "I've posted here on The Bits before that Star Trek: The Original Series (which was shot and finalized on film) is currently being given new high-def transfers by CBS for future HD syndication, as well as eventual release in the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats (click this link and slide down a few paragraphs for that story). Enterprise was shot on film also (for its first three seasons) and HD too (for the fourth season), and it was post-produced in HD from the beginning, so it's ready to go now. We also know that all of the feature films are being remastered for HD release. And Star Trek: The Animated Series was recently remastered in high-def (from the original film elements) for its upcoming DVD release.
Now... going into the panel this weekend, I was wondering about The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. All three of those shows were post-produced and edited in 4x3, standard definition video... but the episodes were all shot on film. CBS could, in theory, go back to the original film elements for those episodes, re-transfer them all in high-definition and re-do all of the special effects with new CGI at high-def resolution. The result would be rebuilt HD versions of the episodes. All that would be required is the will to do it and the money to get it done right. This possibility was discussed during the panel.
So here's where it gets even more interesting. In doing some digging with our industry sources over the last few days... I've found out something that's going to come as a major surprise to a lot of you. It might be one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood in recent years. Never mind The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager: It turns out that CBS Video, as part of their high-definition remastering of The Original Series, IS giving a lot of the special effects shots a new CG face-lift! Specifically, they're re-doing all of the spaceship shots. This to me is a very exciting idea... in principle. As anyone who saw the Mirror Universe episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise will tell you, the old TOS ships look awfully damn good in new CG. The replicated TOS sets, the original ship designs... rather than looking dated, they actually hold up VERY well by today's standards. Re-doing the effects will give new life to The Original Series and could help it appeal to a new, younger generation of fans. Unlike, say... the Star Wars films... the original versions of these episodes will always be preserved in GREAT remastered quality on DVD. And it would be extremely cool if CBS would release BOTH versions of the episodes on HD-DVD/Blu-ray, such that you can choose which version you wish to watch... the original or the new enhanced version.
Here's my concern about this... I've learned that, rather than going with a proven effects house, CBS has chosen to do the new CG work in-house. One hopes that they've got someone with REAL Trek effects experience and knowledge involved in the effort... and they they're taking care to preserve the look and feel of the original shots. There's also the concern over whether CBS will re-frame the 1.33:1 aspect ratio series in 1.78:1 for HD presentation. I tried contacting CBS and their DVD distributor, Paramount, on this subject last week, but there was basically no comment. I suppose we'll find out soon enough, but cross your fingers in the meantime. Any way you slice it, however, this is a very interesting development. By the way, if anyone at CBS and Paramount DOES want to discuss this issue now... you know where to find me.
As Spock might say... "Fascinating." Stay tuned..."
at 12:56 PM