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HD Transfer of Star Trek: TNG To Arrive This Year

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the watch-for-the-strings-holding-things-up dept.

Sci-Fi 267

psychonaut writes "Digital Bits have confirmed through sources at CBS Paramount that CBS are working on a high-definition transfer of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A four-episode Blu-Ray sampler disc is to be released later this year; the episodes featured will be the two-part pilot 'Encounter at Farpoint,' 'Sins of the Father,' and fan favourite 'The Inner Light.' On 2 September, LeVar Burton tweeted that he had stopped by CBS Paramount Television City to check the progress and was 'mindblown' by the conversion. TrekCore has an article with further details and an analysis of some of the technical hurdles involved in remastering these episodes."

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267 comments

Finally! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366790)

Riker's beard in stunning HD!

Re:Finally! (2)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367098)

The beard may hold up, but will the makeup? Those borg implants weren't meant to be viewed in HD. In Star Trek: First Contact they had to rethink how to construct both the implants/"accessories" of the borg and the active mechanisms, because the ones they had looked like cheap toys when you zoomed in. And what about all the Okudagrams [wikipedia.org]? Did they print them at a high enough resolution? I can think of both over-arching problems with the visuals in the show, and episode-specific ones. It'll be interesting to see if the HD version holds up.

GOD DAMMIT (2)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366794)

This probably means that I'm going to rebuy the damn series again. VHS, check. DVDs, check. Blue ray? Someday. GAH. DOES IT EVER END?

Re:GOD DAMMIT (1, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366808)

And as long as there are people willing to buy yet another copy, they'll keep on selling yet another copy.

Ya well, may be worth it in this case (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367012)

While sometimes rebuying feels silly, here they are doing some real work. I didn't know the series was shot on film, I would have figured video since it was a TV series. However as they said it was edited on video, meaning that all the post effects are done SD. So they not only have to transfer all the film and clean it up, as always, they have to redo the edits and effects (if they still have the edit decision lists maybe the actual cuts can be directly transferred but that's about all).

That work is worth something, if you enjoy seeing things in HD. Now if you don't, that's fine, but I don't think you can hate on them for wanting money or people for paying.

Something else that'll be interesting to see is how much post work they do on cleaning things up. SD hides a lot of defects pretty well that you can see in HD. I wonder if they'll work on that. Makeup would be one (the horrible colour of NTSC lead to often rather exaggerated makeups being used).

Re:GOD DAMMIT (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366814)

If I bought the VHS, I can just download the blu ray rips. Hey, it's just format shifting!

Re:GOD DAMMIT (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366820)

This probably means that I'm going to rebuy the damn series again. VHS, check. DVDs, check. Blue ray? Someday. GAH. DOES IT EVER END?

I'm holding out for the quantum storage holodeck release

Re:GOD DAMMIT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366862)

> DOES IT EVER END?

it ends when you stop it.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366876)

Don't. The stories don't get any better in HD. They're just fairy tales for pubescent males anyway. You'll grow out of it.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366984)

Can't handle the truth, mod? The stories do not get any better in HD and they are just fairy tales for pubescent males. You will grow out of it. Well, perhaps not you.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366908)

"GOD DAMMIT...This probably means that I'm going to rebuy the damn series again."

As the monkees said, "Hey, that's your hangup, man."

I was just thinking it'll make for perfect copies from bittorrent.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367020)

For the longest time, the DVDs were insanely expensive -- I think something like $100+ per season. I can only imagine what the Blu-ray version will cost considering they're also redoing the special effects and compositing.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367036)

Probably not. By the time the video format has more definition than the original film it was recorded in, the stretching algorithms will be able to fill in the missing details or something.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367062)

Why would you waste your money on that? You're not going to learn anything more about the show by watching it again in HD.

Find something that you haven't watched before, and watch that instead.

GOD DAMMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367088)

Soon I'll have to buy My Little Pony in HD

HD?!? The Doctor and the councilor in HD?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367118)

No, no, no! I do NOT want to see the the Doctor Crusher and Councilor Troy in HD! I want to remember them as being hot - at least they were in the early episodes.

Re:GOD DAMMIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367386)

It'll end when you grow up.

4K? (1)

gig (78408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366800)

If they are going back to the original film and they have to redo all the edits, can't that be done in 4K yet? It seems like a shame to be doing HD right at the end of the HD era.

Re:4K? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366866)

I'm pretty sure they are remastering in 4K (or possibly higher) anyway. This way we can have it sooner. And then re-buy in a couple of years.

Re:4K? (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366930)

right at the end of the HD era

Don't get ahead of yourself, we're not even rid of DVDs yet!
The scanning will likely be done at 6k or 8k, as they appear to have enough budget to re-composit the entire show so I can't see them cheaping out. Higher resolution scanning makes the process easier as you have more to work with before losing actual image data.

Re:4K? (1, Flamebait)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366974)

First of all 4k is HD it's just higher than 1080p. Second of all were not at the end of the "HD(1080p) era". Have you ever really looked into buying a 4k setup the cheapest way to do it is to buy 16 1080p projectors. Then you're going to need to to buy a hell of a computer with at least 4 (more likely 8) extremely high end graphics cards and dual i7s. After all that the only real media that will effectively use that resolution are games (and I'm not even sure about games). 4K (or 2k really) is no where near mainstream yet nor is it needed until we start covering the walls of our homes with screens.

Re:4K? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367006)

Mod parent -1, wrong. 4K is 4096 pixels wide.

Re:4K? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367166)

Warning, idiot moderator on the loose. 4K is 4096 pixels wide. Look it up.

Re:4K? (2)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367014)

nor is it needed until we start covering the walls of our homes with screens.

Or we could have a 12" monitor with a decent DPI

Re:4K? (0)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367324)

hmm...If I had a 2K monitor...then I could place two documents next to each other and see all the content side by side...and 4K is 4096 wide, so you are not getting 16 HD images...just 4.

Re:4K? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367026)

I had no idea it was shot on 35mm. That's some good forward planning. Remember B5's CGI shots were kept on video on the assumption they could be re-rendered at higher resolution in future, and they misplaced the CGI models?

Re:4K? (0)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367280)

I had no idea it was shot on 35mm. That's some good forward planning.

It was 1965. What else were they going to shoot it on? Videotape? Nope--their SFX involved *direct manipulation of the film*. In any case, videotape at the time was not considered a media for anything you intended to keep; it was for time delays and the like. Videotape was right out. 35mm was their only choice.

Re:4K? (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367290)

I had no idea it was shot on 35mm. That's some good forward planning.

No, it's not. The fact that *will* have to redo all the special effects from scratch (because those were all done directly to video and never existed as anything other than crappy, low-resolution NTSC) suggests otherwise.

Basically, I doubt they had that in mind back in 1987. They probably shot on film because it looked "better" (or at least higher budget) than video camera sourced footage back then. They probably didn't care about the loss of quality in transferring to NTSC for editing since it wouldn't have been obvious to their main audience in the US (as they would have been viewing it via NTSC transmissions anyway).

I really don't think they deserve credit for something that was never their intention in the first place.

Re:4K? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367048)

at the end of the HD era.

You're joking, right? HD is almost non-existant in my street. In the city where I live, most people use their HD-ready or even full-HD TV to watch standard definition content. DVD still reigns supreme because they're far cheaper then BD.

There are no FTA HD channels, there are no HD analog channels and in my household, the max resolution you'll find is SXGA. Interestingly, the kind of people who you'll find in the stores buying huge 3D TVs are mostly retired people who got annoyed by trying to read the subtitles. People don't generally buy a new set unless they have to and most of the cheaper sets *today* are still only 720p (and have a label saying 'HD-ready' which is as good as 'Full-HD', the average buyer doesn't know the difference).

End of the HD era? WTF are you talking about? (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367058)

We are only really at the beginning of it. That higher resolution technology is available has nothing to do with anything. These standards change slowly. Consider that NTSC was finalized in 1941. We had that standard with us (with some updates like the 1953 colour update) for that long. ATSC, it's successor and current HD broadcast standard, didn't even get kicked off until the 1990s. It took 50 years before a new standard was even started on, and of course there was no real adoption of it until much more recently. Even just 5 years ago getting HD content was quite hard.

It isn't going anywhere for some time. Eventually I'm sure we'll get a better standard, but it could be another 50 years. It'll probably take a more radically new technology to make it happen.

You have to remember another issue is that more than 1920x1080 isn't so useful in most homes. The human eye has real limits and when you are sitting back from a TV, 4k wouldn't be very useful.

Now they may actually be doing a 4k transfer, film scanners usually handle that no problem. Even if they do though that doesn't mean it'll have that much useful resolution. You find that film isn't as good as you might think. Depending on the kind of film used, the cameras, storage, lighting, and a lot of other shit it doesn't end up getting as good a picture as you might hope and you find you don't get additional detail from ultra high resolution scans.

Re:End of the HD era? WTF are you talking about? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367354)

4K images look much more real than 3D. go check a 4K display out at NAB or something... yes, it can be blow up huge, but on a 32 inch panel, it seems like you are peering through a window.

Re:End of the HD era? WTF are you talking about? (0)

kagaku (774787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367432)

Is that a 32 inch 4K panel? Didn't think so.

If you're telling me that a 4K image looks more realistic than a 1080p image on a (probably) 1080p panel - you're nuts. You realize that as displayed both are effectively the same resolution right?

Re:4K? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367400)

If they are going back to the original film and they have to redo all the edits, can't that be done in 4K yet? It seems like a shame to be doing HD right at the end of the HD era.

As I said elsewhere, it was- I assume- shot with 1980s TV viewers in mind. Even if it's theoretically possible to resolve 4K of detail from the source film, the set, makeup, etc. only needed to look good on a 525-line set, and they wouldn't have wasted money on unseen detail.

In short, with 4K, you'll be able to see the joins in a set that was only ever intended to look good on a 1980s SD TV, or notice that Picard's makeup looks cakey (and apparently strange, if- as others have suggested- it was designed with NTSC's ropey colour handling in mind).

Be careful what you wish for.

Which aspect ratio? (3, Interesting)

mfraz74 (1151215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366806)

As the series was originally in 4:3 ratio when it was shown on TV, are we going to have a pillarbox or cropped wide screen transfer when this is put onto blu-ray?

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366836)

Stop me if I'm wrong, but since it was originally filmed in a wide-screen capable format (or at least, that's what I gleamed from reading the article), we might actually get a proper widescreen conversion. I guess it depends on what's been cut off from the sides of various shots, as long as there aren't too many dumbass ensigns picking their nose or scratching their balls, they might decide to use it all.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

paedobear (808689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366852)

It's almost certainly going to be pillarbox - that's how they did the HD version of the original Star Trek. Now all we need to do is find out who we need to persuade at Warner to get a remastered HD release of B5 (no interest in post TNG Trek)

Re:Which aspect ratio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366892)

Although B5 was filmed with a future HD release in mind, they lost the original models for the CGI scenes. Unless they invest heavily to accuratly recreate them, we would get a mix of HD live action scenes and SD Space scenes. And even if they did, I dread they would decide not to recreate the original style, but a more up to date realistic one.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366920)

I can't imagine the original models would be terribly useful today, except as a point of reference? By today's standards, they must be pretty low quality and would probably have to be redone anyway. At the very least, it'd be no different to the redone special effects Star Trek (TOS) got, in that the original material was more or less dumped and duplicated in a modern way.

Not to mention that B5's special effects weren't all that brilliant anyway, they were probably the most obvious signs of budget constraints within the whole show. Realistically, to really do B5 some justice, I'd like to see someone make a genuine attempt at a reboot. I know, I'm crazy, but if someone could figure out how the hell they managed to turn Battlestar Galactica from a campy mess into one of the finest pieces of Sci-fi to hit our TV's in decades, then apply that formula to B5, then I'm all for it.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367022)

B5 had some awesome dynamic space scene CGI going on for the 90s. No reboot for B5.

Trolling:
BSG new and old sucked.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367028)

Not to mention that B5's special effects weren't all that brilliant anyway

Seriously? B5 had space battles with hundreds of ships at a time when Star Trek rarely had more than one ship on screen at a time. Even the typical shots of the station had lots of commercial traffic floating around. I remember thinking it looked impressive when it was on TV.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by effects though. The internal ones were all pretty poor. Redoing the view from the captain's office (I always thought it was meant to be a painting, but apparently it was meant to be a window into the interior), the shots of the interior, and most of the planetary scenes would be good. The space scenes look dated now, but not too bad.

Realistically, to really do B5 some justice, I'd like to see someone make a genuine attempt at a reboot

Why? The B5 timeline has a lot of scope for other shows without needing a reboot. The Dilgar war, the Telepath war, any of the timeline after the fall of Earth or during the (second) fall of Centauri Prime would make a great setting for a show in the B5 universe.

In The Beginning was okay, but it failed quite badly by trying to put the characters from the TV show into the prequel. Sheridan had to be there because the only reason he was on B5 was his actions during the Earth-Minbari war, and we already knew from flashbacks why Sheridan was there, but most of the others seemed entirely pointless.

Crusade started really badly, because JMS wanted to do something episodic, and he's not very good at that, and it was cancelled just as it was starting to do better. Legend of the Rangers started well, but never made it past the pilot. A show following a group of rangers as tensions with the Centauri increase could work well, as could a prequel during the Dilgar War (as long as it avoided bringing back any of the characters from the original series).

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367194)

You know, we used to give Babylon 5 a hard time for the quality of the effects shots. But I'm watching Voyager right now (well, not at this moment, but we just got to season 4, and I never watched that far in broadcast) and the CG is fucking awful. And we just watched through TNG, and its CG is also just terrible. There were a couple pretty bad shots in B5 and the vorlon ship animations always looked pretty super cheesy, but other than that, it holds up well compared to the competition. The macrovirus on voyager in particular looked like canned digital dogshit.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367234)

B5 had to use CGI instead of sets because they didn't have the budget, so it was used in a few places where Star Trek would just have built a big set. For example, the docking bays are small stages in front of a blue screen and the curved corridor where you see it going up at the back is the same set in front of the same blue screen. These places all look a bit unrealistic. Some are well done, but it's often quite noticeable on a modern screen where the real ends and the CGI starts. On my old TV, and especially after recording on VHS, it wasn't. In the places where other shows used CGI - especially the space shots - I thought B5 did very well. I bought the whole series on DVD and watched it a few years ago. Around season 2 they switched to Alphas for the rendering and after that point the shots still looked pretty good by modern standards. They don't have the realism of something like BSG, but then that was created over a decade later with a much bigger budget.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

davew (820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367244)

I've watched B5 through a couple of times now, with friends who hadn't seen it before. Funny thing happens - at the beginning people complain that the CGI looks so bad (it was awesome for mid 90s TV, but I get that in this context it's fair to evaluate against present day). But that fades quite quickly and by the time you're half way through, at Severed Dreams, people are pretty blown away. It's a good time to remind them of their complaints. ;-)

I assume that there is a combination of two things going on - the viewer gets used to the style, and the CGI quality does improve considerably over time. I can't tell how much of each is involved, though.

Funny thing about the CGI in B5, of course, is that budget constraints were certainly a factor in the decision - because it was the only way they could possibly do anything as ambitious as they wanted with the cash they had. They were doing some of the most elaborate stuff on TV at the time. I don't think stuff like the CGI sequences in Severed Dreams had ever been seen outside of big budget movies before then. So that tradeoff does show in the early episodes, but it seems like they really pushed the technology forward.

Film isn't widescreen (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367090)

The native aspect ration of 35mm film is 1.375:1. You will sometimes hear that called academy or full frame. that is the ratio that film actually captures at. To do widescreen, one of two tricks is employed:

1) You matte the image, blocking off the parts you don't want. The can be done on the camera, on the projector, or in editing. Fight Club is such a movie this is done in. It was shot full frame, but matted down to be widescreen.

2) More commonly, you shoot using an anamorphic lens. This is a non-spherical lens that squashes the picture on the film. When you play it back using the same lens, you get a widescreen picture.

So for TV, they'd shoot full frame, because it is close to TV's 1:1.33 aspect ratio.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366878)

The live action parts were reportedly filmed on regular 35mm film, so assuming they weren't sloppy with the framing (microphones visible outside the 4:3 frame) they might be able to do widescreen without cropping. The special effects were done at 4:3 at standard def so it needs to be redone.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366952)

The effects sequences would need to be recomposited anyway, since cutting and post work was done on video instead of film.

Re:Which aspect ratio? (2)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367044)

Filming in 35mm doesn't necessarily mean it was widescreen. The "native" format for 35mm is 4:3.

According to IMDB [imdb.com], it was shot with spherical lenses in 35mm, which suggests that it was NOT filmed in any sort of widescreen process. (It could have been, but they would then be throwing away a significant part of the image at the time just to make it look better in some hypothetical future version.)

Re:Which aspect ratio? (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367124)

I was wondering the same thing. Based on what others are saying, it probably was close to 4:3 :(

However... There might be some "overscan" that we never saw. It was (is?) common to zoom in on the picture a bit so that it was guaranteed to fill the whole screen.

What I would love to see is if they could zoom in a bit, like they originally did, then crop the top/bottom as before, but try to capture and use the overscan.. possibly even stretch it just a TINY bit. They could never get 16:9, but they might be able to end up with something between 4:3 and 16:9.

Since it is bluray, it would be better if they could offer this enhanced, wider-version as an OPTION and the original 4:3, both on the same disc.

If they are really remastering this sucker properly, it will be a LOT of work. Scanning is nothing. But all the touchups- that will be a lot of labor. Without proper fixing, it might look horrible on HD. The sets and effects were all done with crappy, analog SD in mind. HD could reveal all kinds of problems. Although the live shots were on film that probably had a much higher potential resolution, the computer generated effects we generated digitally, and shot at a low resolution.

Plus they have to work on the sound, especially if you want to try and properly simulate 5.1 surround.

Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366844)

Once a mind has been preblown, it cannot be reblown.

Extra Features (3, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366848)

Sheldon Cooper commentary track.

Re:Extra Features (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366946)

Sheldon Cooper and Whil Weaton sitting in a room? I would buy the set for the commentary alone.

Re:Extra Features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367146)

Full of laugh tracks.

Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366870)

LeVar Burton knows what happens if you cross the almighty Paramount execs and express your own opinion. Wil Wheaton is an object example.

Mart

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366944)

The example Wil Wheaton has provided is that you become exceptionally awesome.

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367114)

Wil Wheaton has done well enough for himself, but I really think he screwed the pooch when it came to Star Trek. Sure, he faced the risk of being typecast, and the character he played tended to draw derision from the audience, but he WAS a kid... and lets face it, he had about the most awesome job a teenage geek could ever hope to have. I figure he missed an opportunity with the character. Since the character he played was an awkward teenager, he could have embraced that role and had that character grow up as he did, mature, become less whiny, less naive, more confident, etc. While I realize you usually have to play the lines you're given, improv from good actors is always considered and sometimes makes it into the final cut. He could have helped guide the character into something more positively memorable instead of trying to distance himself from it. And if you ultimately do decide to cut your losses and run, it's better not to publicly complain about it after the fact. Even years later, opportunities can present themselves, but burned bridges tend to remain burned. Star Trek didn't end with TNG, and both Michael Dorn and Colm Meany were able to stay in the game longer than the duration of a single series. Wesley, recently graduated from the academy, could have easily found himself replacing ensign Kim on Voyager, which could have been REALLY awesome if they had Robert McNeill reprise the role of Nicholas Locarno instead of Tom Paris (who had very similar backgrounds).

Not to say that his career hasn't turned out well enough. I just think he really dropped the ball there.

-Restil

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367174)

Wil has complained publicly that he was forced to play the character as a whiny bitch. I don't think he used those words, but you should probably try to recognize that shows and movies have directors who tell you what to do and how to do it. And since his character was on his way to transcendence it wouldn't make much sense for him to be on Voyager.

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366958)

Yes, they could fire him from the show that ended in 1994!

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366970)

You become an exceedingly popular person who people actually want to listen to?

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366988)

Links?

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367056)

Have you seen what's happened to his career [wikimedia.org] after TNG finished? Basically, nothing except Reading Rainbow. Unlike Wil Wheaton, who has published a lot, been in a load of TV shows and films (and even voiced some of the Romulans in the new Star Trek movie, so seems not to be too out of favour with Paramount).

More likely, he realises that he gets a percentage of every BluRay sale. I'd imagine that Star Trek DVD sales have been slacking recently, but there are enough geeks who will buy the new release, just like they bought the DVDs and VHS tapes before, if it's perceived as better...

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367154)

I'd imagine that Star Trek DVD sales have been slacking recently,

Netflix is now streaming some Trek. I wonder if they get anything when someone watches it online; the contract might be old enough not to cover it.

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367260)

Unlike Wil Wheaton, who has published a lot, been in a load of TV shows and films (and even voiced some of the Romulans in the new Star Trek movie, so seems not to be too out of favour with Paramount).

Wil Wheaton is a cult figure among the geek community, but he's not *that* famous in mainstream terms. As for Paramount, that's explained by the fact that the suits who were in charge almost 20 years ago have probably long moved on (mostly retired now, I suspect) and been replaced by a new generation who weren't personally involved and don't have the same level of animosity towards Wheaton.

Re:Of course LeVar Burton will praise it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367310)

As far as I'm aware, it wasn't the Paramount execs he crossed, it was Berman and co.

So are the masters in HD or 35mm? (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366882)

If you watch The Prisoner in HD, it looks absolutely stunning. You wouldn't believe it was a 60s show. That's because it was shot in 35mm colour and transferred to VT. I expect other shows are filmed in a similar way. So ironically some 60s and 70s shows will benefit hugely from HD. But does that extend into the 90s?

Was Star Trek The Next Generation shot on film, or on video tape? If the latter, what exactly can be done with the content? Did the studio record to higher than broadcast resolution? I suppose they could sharpen it and upscale content, and redo titles and some of the effects. The higher res and audio / video codecs might yield a superior presentation. But is it really HD? Seems a bit deceptive to claim it is if it isn't.

Re:So are the masters in HD or 35mm? (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366942)

Shot on film, edited on tape. They're blowing huge money on re-compositing the show. Miniature effects shows were likely on film too so should look good in HD, and CG effects were probably rendereed for TV so will either look a bit blurred (probably not noticeable when composited) or be redone entirely.

Re:So are the masters in HD or 35mm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367040)

What really matters is what size of film they used. 35mm is usually reserved for movies and does look stunning when re-telecined, but a lot of shows were filmed on 16mm. You can start to see a bit of film grain with 16mm telecined to SD video, so I'd expect you won't see a tremendous difference when telecining to HD video, though maybe some post might fix a lot of it.

HD resolution film doesn't mean it was shot as HD (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367248)

Was Star Trek The Next Generation shot on film, or on video tape?

As others replied, shot on film, edited on video.... except the special effects, many of which were mastered direct to video AFAIK.

Did the studio record to higher than broadcast resolution?

The bits that were shot on film probably contain more detail than could be shown on 525-line NTSC video.

I suppose they could sharpen it and upscale content, and redo titles and some of the effects.

The stuff that was shot on film probably doesn't need "upscaling", just rescanning at higher resolution.

The stuff that only ever existed on video... there's no way in hell they'll ever be able to upscale that in a worthwhile manner. The quality of NTSC video just isn't good enough to do that, and it would stick out like sore thumb if they tried to integrate those bits with the rescanned film. They'll have to redo them.

But is it really HD? Seems a bit deceptive to claim it is if it isn't.

I suspect you meant is it HD, or just upscaled SD?

But if we interpret your question another way, it raises an interesting point. The original film footage probably contains *much* more detail than the SD video transfer was capable of retaining.... so yes, it's "HD" in that sense.

However, just because film can resolve that much detail, doesn't mean the show was made with that in mind. In particular, it's likely they shot it for SD transmission and TV sets. Even a well-budgeted TV show like TNG would have had to allocate its budget wisely, and I doubt they would have wasted valuable money on (e.g.) set detailing that their audience would never see. It only had to look good in SD.

Now, if you watch the footage in high definition, chances are we may see that the set looks a little shoddy, with visible joins if you look closely. Picard's set makeup might look a bit "cakey" and obvious. And (as others mentioned) any illegible in-jokes on the button text could suddenly become readable.

Of course, this isn't a criticism of the original show, as it was probably never intended that people would be able to see that level of detail on screen.

Apparently, the BBC are having to invest in a new set for their popular soap opera EastEnders' move to HD, because the limitations of the existing one- which looked fine in SD- started showing up. Which shows that shooting in HD isn't simply a question of being able to resolve more detail- you have to plan for it too.

HD was not what I thought it was (0)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366900)

I came here to see some great Hard Drive technology being implemented.

Re:HD was not what I thought it was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366966)

D is for Dick, asshole.

You're thinking of HDD (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367312)

Since high-definition video became mainstream technology in the middle of the last decade, hard disk drive has come to be abbreviated HDD in the press, especially in articles that contrast it with high-performance flash memory (SSD for solid-state drive).

A daunting project... (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366922)

I hear about 80% of the work in this HD transfer involves editing every shot with a display panel, sign, label or plaque to remove the easter eggs and in-jokes. So far, Mike Okuda has been burned in effigy three times.

Re:A daunting project... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367030)

I seem to recall that as well. Having ripped my DVD collection, I was disappointed that I was unable to (properly) inverse-telecine/decimate the shots involving any special effects, eventually had to settle for a softer image and 29.97 frames per second. Perhaps they have employed variable frame rates?
The consumer side of the ST franchise is rabid enough that the effort will probably yield a healthy dividend, plus once it's done, they'll be able to reuse the work for the next 2 or 3 generations of media releases (4k,8k,...)

Apple ordering removals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367106)

Yeah and works Apple is making them remove all the "Ipad" derivative and other infringing designs.

Re:Apple ordering removals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367322)

If you hate Apple so much, why do you keep talking about them?

For Profit? Impossibe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366994)

I've always figured redoing TNG in high definition was impossible. It's not just a matter of converting film, you have to remake many many scenes. When every scene is loaded with in-joke humor, imagination, continuity, and an encyclopedic level of detail it just doesn't seem to fit with your typical shoestring budget remaster.

Let's face it the main group who would buy this are hard core Trekkies and will gaff is deck 17 is out of place during a fight scene.

Good. 'cause it looks like crap now (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367004)

I've been watching TNG on Netflix and it looks absolutely awful. Certainly no better than a VHS tape. I've also been watching the original Mission: Impossible, and it looks about 3x better, even though it aired in the 60's and certainly isn't popular enough of a show to get any special treatment whatsoever.

Re:Good. 'cause it looks like crap now (5, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367172)

I've been watching TNG on Netflix and it looks absolutely awful. Certainly no better than a VHS tape.

I watched TNG on TV in the early 90s on the same 22" CRT I watched most programmes on, i.e. by the standards of the time on a moderate-sized set that wasn't going to show up any minor flaws.

And even *then* it was obvious to me that TNG's picture quality was f****** awful. It was almost distractingly soft and poor quality.

I live in the UK, and I noticed that the picture quality of a lot of US TV shows was visibly *worse* in the 90s than it had been in the 80s. I later found out that the reason was that until the late-80s most US shows were shot and *mastered* on film. In some cases at least (e.g. the original Star Trek series) the BBC got a film copy that they transferred live directly to the PAL transmission, with no NTSC intermediate.

From the late-80s, a lot of US shows switched to shot on film, but edited on video tape, probably to save money. This was probably okay for Americans watching on NTSC, because what got transmitted would have been degraded to crappy NTSC standard anyway. But showing that NTSC-edited programme on a UK TV system, you could see it looked rubbish.

Granted, the problem would probably have been exacerbated by NTSC->PAL conversion, but I've seen enough to confirm that the NTSC master probably wasn't that much better, and that the problems were down to NTSC. What you say just confirms it. ST:TNG's picture quality was garbage in the first place because it was downgraded to the lowest-common denominator NTSC quality at the editing stage.

Re:Good. 'cause it looks like crap now (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367204)

You know, it has seemed to me that a lot of the material from the 70's to the 90's suffered from this problem, regardless of what the mastering process was, and I suspect it had to do with a "that's good enough" attitude from the producers. Prior to this, the folks working on the projects were allowed to be true artisans, and afterwards, they started to realize that this wasn't good enough anymore.

There were exceptions, of course. There will always be really good and really bad.

I noticed that TV stations, CATV providers and TV manufacturers had the same attitude. For that matter, many cinemas even had that attitude. It sucked very much bad. I think somewhere around 2000 or so, people were finally getting fed up with it enough that the producers finally got enough negative feedback to do something about it.

Incidentally, a quick look on IMDB reveals that ST:TOS was even remastered into the 16:9 aspect ratio. It would be nice if they can pull that off with TNG.

money grab (0)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367082)

Series was not originally shot in HD right? What is the point?

Re:money grab (2)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367176)

You realize TNG was shot on 35mm film, right?

Re:money grab (1)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367272)

I had no idea and I don't know shit about filming. But I thought HD was fully digital from the camera to the screen. I really hope they can pull it off though. TNG has piss poor picture quality. But I'm afraid this is going to be like turning on the light in a dirty room; it's best to just shut it off again.

God,No .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367168)

All Star Trek without the ' Shat ' is crap anyway time for US TV to come up with something original ..and entertaining.
instead of re-hashing old ideas ..

Perfect (1)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367250)

Now I can ruin my adolescent crushes with the TNG women by discovering they were potholed monsters with caked-on makeup.

Well of course he'd say that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367334)

The original DVD transfers have probably looked EXTRA crappy to him through that visor!

Data is going to blink via CGI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367366)

...and some other small things that couldn't be done with the technology at that time.

Mix of res? (2)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367384)

I had heard once that each TNG episode was a mix of film and video. If so, wouldn't an HD transfer result in an annoying change of resolution from one scene to the next?

My hope (2)

cloudnin (843721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367396)

While George Lucas's tinkering has ruined Star Wars, there is one change I'd like to see them make to ST:TNG episodes as the series makes its way to HD. Whenever they're going to go on an away mission and Riker tells everyone to set phasers to stun, I'd like to see the camera cut to Worf, who raises his phaser next to his head pointing up, then glares at Riker as he presses the button several times in an exaggerated way to turn the setting down.
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