Star Trek in HD - with revised special effects?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Patrick.C, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Well, Daren Dochterman is a bit more than a fan.
    He also supervised the VFX "refit" of Star Trek: The Motion Picture on DVD.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0229981/

    His demo reel was impressive, seeing as it was done by one person. (Personally, I would have added the warp star streaks to match continuity with all the other shows). Imagine a small crew working on it. Too bad Foundation Imaging no longer exists.
     
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I suppose redoing the effects shots of Star Trek is partially marketing driven as a means to make the HD transfer of Star Trek more saleable.

    I am in the camp of doing it as long as the originally film effects are still available. I'm surprised to make that statememt, but it's like colorizing black and white films.

    As far as reframing the shots for 1.78, I recently got a plasma TV, and I watch the Star Trek DVD's in zoom mode so it fills the screen. Perhaps the zoom is too much, but there are times the tops of actors heads are cut off, things like that show that it might be tough to re-frame.

    There was a webpage that was up for a long time that has the test reels made in the late 1990's of The Doomsday Machine effects shots. I have them downloaded and I tried to find the page to link to here. BUt the page is down. In looking at them, it shows two problems for redoing the effects.

    1. The artist who did them took the liberty to re-design the Doomsday Machine. Due to the limitations of the software, or the artist, the new design didn't look anywhere as imaginative as originally filmed. The new shots were new angles and views. Interesting, but didn't add anything. It was cool at first, but in the end, they looked like CGI. The Enterprise that they did wasn't accurately recreated and the shading looked like CGI. A top artist today could do a better job, but the problem remains, will they be faithful to the original designs and shots.
    2. The second problem is matching the shot grain and texture, the effects house did a terrific job for Star Trek The Motion Picture. But will modern CGI be "dumbed down" enough to match the filmed live action. Again, it could jump out at you and look out of place.

    If CBS Paramount is doing it in-house and not via contracting a effects house, I hope CBS has a crack team in-house, they could be hacks.

    I have no problem with a lot of the effects shots in TOS. Most of the time, they match the design ethic of the live action. By that I mean that in the first season, a lot of colored gels were used on the live action shots on the ship to add to the stylized feel of the show. Shots of the Klingon Battle cruisers were shot similarly with a green gel in the third season.

    Granted, there are some bad effects shots in the first season, but that is part of the flavor of what the series has endeared on the public for the past 40 years. In a way, it's like adding 20" rims on a 60's musclecar, it works sometimes, but most of the time it looks like you tried too hard to modernize a classic and visually doesn't work.

    edit: I see Peter THX posted before I did. The clips I have downloaded that are test reels were down by Digistream. The artists were Rich Heierling, Doug Johnson, Jon Peoples. They did a pretty impressive job at the time, but it's not as realisitc or fits in very well to the live action, with all respects to Digistream. If the webpage comes back on line, I'll try to post a link, it's very interesting to see their work. Maybe CBS shut this site down.

    I did find a site with Youtube videos that has the Darren Dochterman footage. His try is better then the Digistream efforts I mention above, but it's still jarring in my opinion and a bit over the top. He also messed with the transporter effect. This links to that page, click on the fourth video down from the top: http://www.videosift.com/index.php?search=snl%2C+shatner%2C+trekkies%2C+sta r+trek&tag=true

    And here is his site: http://trekenhanced.com/
     
  3. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Another thing different between this and the Star Wars films is, like them or not, the creator is making the changes there. Lucas.
    Since Roddenberry is LONG gone, who is making these decisions, some suit at Paramount looking to milk the franchise yet again on a home video format?
     
  4. AlexCosmo

    AlexCosmo Stunt Coordinator

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    I hope it doesn't look like that demo. Not good.
     
  5. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Just watched the "doomsday" clip and I'm sorry, it looks awful. Like a video game. Way less realistic than the actual model shots from TOS. Bad CGI. If that's any indication of what's in store then I'll pass.
     
  6. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Seeing as they are test shots that no client is actually paying (and experiments done by fans as a proof of concept) for I'm sure the "real" stuff will be much better.

    Watch "In A Mirror Darkly, Part II" (Star Trek: Enterprise) for an indication of final product.
     
  7. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    I don't get your not getting it. To repeat - the original untouched episodes are already out on DVD so releasing alternate versions is an optional purchase decision up to the buyer to make.

    Your colorizing analogy is flawed. That is a fundamental change. Redoing SFX sequences that do not alter the look of the live action sequences, story, dialogue, or acting is an enhancement. Much like the original episodes being remixed in 5.1.
     
  8. KyleC

    KyleC Supporting Actor

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    If they remaster DS9 in HD, I'm def buying.
     
  9. Scott-S

    Scott-S Cinematographer
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    I happen to like colorization. I usually do not watch BW movies. If a movie is colorized, I might actually give it a chance even if it is just to see the how the colorization worked out.

    Dave: For the record, even colorizing Citizen Cane would not help it out. If they went in and added color, new digital characters, and new sfx, then I might attempt to view it again. Otherwise I will never watch it again. That was not a good example for me.

    I will end by repeating what my original point was:

    As long as the original version is available, why does it matter if they make another version available as well?
     
  10. Jonathan Kaye

    Jonathan Kaye Second Unit

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    I don't have a problem with any CGI changes to original Trek for future HD release, as long as they follow the same process as the clever chaps that restore old Doctor Who episodes:

    1) A full and proper restoration of the original film, getting rid of all scratches and other film damage;
    2) The CGI is an option (multi-angle viewing means there's no excuse not to have both the new and original effects available);
    3) Choice of original mono sound or updated 5.1 is available whatever effects are being watched.
     
  11. seanOhara

    seanOhara Supporting Actor

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    How is this any different from pan'n'scan?
     
  12. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I don't know! Anyway you look at it, it is not OAR.

    In regards to the CGI used to recreate a starship from the TOS era on Enterprise's "In A Mirror Darkly", I think they were pretty well done, but they still had a fake CGI look. Particularly when they took the ship out of the cave, it didn't quite have the right look. It was an admirable job and I'll view that episode again to see if my recollection still holds.
     
  13. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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    I have to somewhat agree with Nelson's take on the "emerging-from-the-cave" sequence (also...aft torpedoes on a pre-refit TOS Constitution-class starship? Like, WTF??), but once the episode got into the space battle sequences, it was glorious.

    You could scarcely even tell the difference once the USS Defiant opened up its can of major-league whoopass.
     
  14. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Exactly and I believe Bill Hunt intimated such an approach was being worked for the HD releases.
     
  15. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    I've been in this position - several Doctor Who DVDs have enhanced special effects - and while overall, I approve of the updates, it still can be VERY jarring to go from this slick looking space station with lens flare and fully rendered planet background to a guy crawling along the floor in bubble paper spraypainted green. But you know the best bit? I dont like the new effects? I can make them go away with one touch of a button. *poof*

    If Paramount included the original version, untouched - then this would be a great idea. But to gut them with crappy looking effects (and I've yet to see ANY CGI ship that looks as good as a model, that I couldnt instantly tell was computer generated) is just shameful.

    Trek is very much like Who. While the special effects were often amazing - for what they had to work with - they are the weak point of the show. The story, the characters - THOSE are the selling points of the series. Anyone watching old school Trek for snazzy special effects is look in the wrong part of town.
     
  16. Jonny P

    Jonny P Supporting Actor

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    How much are you people really willing to spend on these shows?

    I loved the original ST. I liked TNG.

    However, when these shows were released they cost around $100 a set. That's almost $3000 you'd have had to spend to get all of the ST shows on DVD (not to mention the movies).

    If these eps are significantly remastered with new FX, you're going to be looking at a pretty penny to double-dip (probably in the $100 per season range again).

    I guess I can understand redoing shows for the world of HD broadcasts.

    Somehow...I don't think that HD-DVD or Blu-Ray will be the end. In about 7 years, there will be some new super-super-duper format that allows you to zoom in and see inside the windows on the Enterprise as it flies across space.
     
  17. John H Ross

    John H Ross Screenwriter

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    I've now watched this "Doomsday Machine" demo 5 times and each and every time my attention was drawn away from the drama on screen to the special effects shots. I was too busy looking out for shiny new stuff that I completely missed everything else.

    If I imagine this effect spread over every episode of the original series plus, potentially, every episode of TNG etc then NO WAY.

    I'm sorry, you just can't mix the old and the new together and expect it to look anything other than a hodgepodge.

    Furthermore, those people who have suggested that I have "my" Trek so why object to these altered versions being released on HD have COMPLETELY missed the point. Like somebody pointed out earlier, that's like being satisfied that pathetic old Star Wars fans should be happy that "their" trilogy is on VHS while those that don't know better have the crapped-up versions on DVD!

    BTW, is it fair to say that DS9 can't be transferred to HD (without tampering) for the same reasons as TNG (i.e. mastered on video?) If that's definitely the case then standard, classic DVD here I come!

    JR
     
  18. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I feared this was going to happen. You guys are doing just fine with this entire discussion, so I'll only add one thing: the only way I will ever upgrade my TOS set to High Def is going to be if each disc has the ORIGINAL UNALTERED episode available with the CGI crapfest. I will not, and I repeat, will NOT plunk down ANY money for anything but the original.

    And, while P'mount's at it, if you're going to do TNG- ENT in High Def too...buy the rights to all the trailers for every single episode and include them on the set.
     
  19. DanFe

    DanFe Second Unit

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    So when are we going to find out a release date on this? I just bought Seasons 1 and 3 at Costco and can still take it back within a month of purchase. Any estimate on price?
     
  20. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    Or maybe you're changing reality to suit your own argument? Star Wars was a movie and was meant to be seen as large as possible (with as much resolution as possible), such is the nature of theatrical films. Star Trek was a tv show, produced for standard tv with the intention of it being seen that way. With DVDs you have it all, 100%, The End. In fact seeing as the show was never meant to be seen in HD, how dare you even want it at all in that format, shame on you!
     

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