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Star Trek FX Collection: Would you buy this on DVD?


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#1 of 27 Luc_M

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Posted March 14 2005 - 11:07 AM

After buying everything Star Trek on DVD (rest assured I'll buy "Enterprise" and the "Animated Series" as soon as they hit store shelves), I'm left wondering how Paramount will be able to make more DVD money off the TV franchise. I haven't seen the actual sales figures for the "Jean-Luc Picard Collection", but since I already own all the TNG season sets, I can't imagine why I would buy something I already have.

Recently, however, after viewing the DVD season sets of the original series, I came up with an idea. It's nothing really new, as I'm pretty sure this has been discussed before many times on many different forums and chat rooms all over the net. But hey, I missed out on these debates, so I'd like to revive the discussion one more time, and the Home Theater Forum seems like the best place to do it (aside from the forums over at startrek.com, obviously).

The concept is actually pretty simple: Select certain episodes from the three seasons of the original series, and replace the original space footage (i.e. the scenes where we see the Enterprise in space) with brand new footage made with today's visual effects technology. Then release these updated episodes as a single DVD package, with bonus material such as commentaries and interviews with some of the people who worked on these space footage remakes. I like to call this proposed package "Star Trek - The Original Series - FX Collection".

Personally, I don't think all the TOS episodes should have remade space footage, since in most of the episodes, such remade footage wouldn't add anything really interesting to the plots and storylines. It would make much more sense to give the "FX" treatment to a select few episodes. Here are my picks:

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

1) The Corbomite Manoeuver (season 1): Lots of interesting space scenes in that episode. I'd be curious to see what the moon-size spaceship would look like in the updated edition...

2) Balance of Terror (season 1): Kirk versus a Romulan ship equipped with a prototype cloaking device and a weapon capable of destroying entire Federation outposts with just a couple of blasts! Reworked space footage would double the fun of watching that episode.

3) The Doomsday Machine (season 2): Of all the episodes of TOS, this is undeniably the most tantalizing candidate for updated space scenes! Just re-imagining the Enterprise and the crippled Constellation battling the gigantic war device gives me goosebumps! The CG people could do great things with that particular episode.

4) The Immunity Syndrome (season 2): The Enterprise tackling a giant space amoeba is a rather weird concept, but with updated space footage, it would still be a cool episode to watch (again).

5) The Ultimate Computer (season 2): A crazed computer-controlled Enterprise pitted against other Federation starships? Sounds like a good candidate for the "FX Collection"!

6) The Enterprise Incident (season 3): There aren't that many space scenes in that episode, but the episode itself is one of my favorites, and it would be even nicer with some updated space footage.

7) The Paradise Syndrome (season 3): While Kirk plays indian with the locals, the Enterprise tries to change the course of a planet-killing asteroid. I'd say the space scenes in that episode are interesting enough to make it into the "FX Collection".

8) The Tholian Web (season 3): Definately the best space-oriented episode of season 3, and obviously another candidate worth considering for the "FX Collection".

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With the eight episodes listed above, the whole DVD set should fit on a couple of DVDs, or perhaps a single double-sided disc. It's the kind of thing I would buy, even if I own all the TOS season sets.

How about you? Would you buy such a DVD set? Posted Image

#2 of 27 Jason_V

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Posted March 14 2005 - 11:28 AM

There were people who wanted Paramount to redo ALL the effects in ALL original episodes prior to releasing them in the box set (don't believe me? Check out Trek BBS--those threads are everywhere in the TOS forum).

I was very much against it if only for historical purposes. Right now, since I have the original episodes in their original condition, I really don't care. I don't want to see the "new versions" become the "official versions" but if Paramount wants to do it, go for it.

I just don't see there being a huge demand for this kind of thing, especially only selected episodes. For the money they would have to put into the set, I don't think enough people would be interested to break even, let alone make a profit.

For the record and cuz you asked, I would not buy any set of any show with redone anything.

#3 of 27 Graham Greenlee

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Posted March 14 2005 - 11:35 AM

I thought I read, maybe 5-6 years ago in a Trek magazine, that they did a similar project to this with just "The Doomsday Machine," where they replaced all the old effects shots with CG. They even had some stills in the magazine article, but I can't remember why they were doing it. Did it air on the Sci-Fi channel? Anyway, the stills looked interesting. (I think the article was in that big glossy Star Trek magazine that was around for about two years that had all those blueprints in each issue.)

I would most definitely be interested in a DVD set like this. The original Trek was never my Star Trek series (grew up on TNG), but some of the stories were fascinating. Unfortunately the effects (as well as the costumes/set design) dates the show, sometimes laughably, so some of the more action-oriented space episodes with some modern effects could make for a fun viewing experience. If Paramount would produce the set and market it correctly, they could get even the most casual Trek fan to buy (and who knows, it might drive sales to the season box sets).

And it struck me that this idea might be a way to drive some sales if a set like this was held for an HD release. Hardcore Trek fans (who already own the season sets) might not update their box sets just because they'd now be on HD... so providing a different viewing experience might help milk more of the Star Trek cow. And considering that they've spent good money in the past to restore the original episodes... it could provide a reference quality HD-DVD.

The questions preventing a set like this would be, is there any consumer interest? And is there enough interest to justify spending money on not only the updated effects, but the usual DVD authoring costs as well?

But give me eight solid episodes on 2 discs with the best picture and sound possible, and at a decent price point (no more than $30 SRP) and you'd make at least one sale.

(And I'd have to agree with Jason... they shouldn't replace the originals, just exist alongside them.)

#4 of 27 Christian P

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Posted March 14 2005 - 12:27 PM

Yes, I would definitely buy it.

#5 of 27 Will_B

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Posted March 14 2005 - 12:38 PM

I'd buy it if they also replaced the actors with CGI cartoons, a la Roughnecks: Starship Troopers. And also got different people to do the voices, and wrote new scripts. Ok heck, just make new episodes. And make it the Next Generation cast, not TOS.
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#6 of 27 Craig Beam

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Posted March 14 2005 - 12:45 PM

Appalling idea. Hey, maybe we should digitally replace the space footage in 2001: A Space Odyssey with new CG footage.

My point? It's history. Leave it alone. Respect the context, man.

#7 of 27 Wayne Klein

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Posted March 14 2005 - 12:49 PM

I don't know the original episodes have their own cheesy charm with some of the weaker effects shots. The effects for the "Enterprise Incident" and some of the others mentioned were actually quite good for their time. I'd vote to leave 'em alone.

#8 of 27 Jason_V

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Posted March 14 2005 - 01:27 PM

Graham, I seem to remember something along the same lines, but I want to say it was fans who did it independent of Paramount. This all goes back to the aspect ratio/colorization argument. I just don't see there being enough consumer interest to justify what the CGI will invariably cost.

Besides, if you're watching TOS, TNG or DS9 for the effects, something's wrong. Effects were used to add to the story, but they are by no means the entire thing. Put the Enterprise on popsicle sticks for all I care.

If you want Trek FX, take a look at Voyager or Enterprise...heavy reliance on WHIZ BANG and very little on good storytelling.

#9 of 27 Luc_M

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Posted March 14 2005 - 02:26 PM

Oof, tough crowd...! I don't care to imagine what kind of response I'd get on Trek forums with an idea like that one! Posted Image

If I may, I happen to have some additional thoughts on the subject.

For one thing, remaking the space footage would be a very delicate undertaking: The CG people would have to keep the original appearance of the Enterprise from the original series, or else the fans would probably complain. Trek fans are a sensitive bunch, as we all know.

On the other hand, they could take certain liberties with some of the space footage. For example, in "The Ultimate Computer", how about having starships of different shapes attacking the Enterprise, instead of having four Constitution-class starships? However, I think the Constellation and the Defiant (from the "Doomsday Machine" and "Tholian Web" episodes respectively) should remain Constitution-class starships.

Also, it would not be a good idea to remake every space scene to look as good as the ones in the later Star Trek movies, because then they would clash horribly with the rest of the episodes (bridge scenes, engineering, etc.). This implies that whoever would be mandated to make the new visual effects would need to find the right artistic balance: Cool-looking space footage, yet not so advanced that they would make the rest of the episodes look bad. It also implies that the cost of the CG could be slightly less than that of later Trek series like Voyager or Enterprise, but I couldn't put any numbers on that argument.

I believe it can be done in a way that most Trek fans would enjoy, although it would be near-impossible to please everyone. It all comes down to a question of vision and cost, I guess.

Oh BTW, Craig, please don't assume I don't "respect the context". If I didn't, I never would have bought all three seasons of TOS on DVD. All I'm saying is that an "FX Collection" would be nice to have, and I believe it would attract some consumer attention.

#10 of 27 Graham Greenlee

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Posted March 14 2005 - 02:33 PM

Jason, I agree with you about the importance of effects in Trek vs. the storytelling. I've simply stopped watching Star Trek (I haven't seen a new episode of Trek since the 4th season of Voyager) thanks to the choice to put flash ahead of substance. I for one am not sad to see the death of Trek as it is today... I look forward to a good hiatus for the franchise and a resurrection around it's 50th anniversary (2016).

New effects in the old episodes would be an interesting experiment, and I'd definitely be interested in the results... but I also don't know how much interest there is out there. Star Trek, today, has polarized itself with non-Trekers (Trekies). In the past (maybe around ten years ago) Star Trek was thought as a reliable franchise that you could just plug yourself into. Now, Star Trek is simply a dying geeky TV show that people don't want to get into, be it because it's too "cerebral" or because it's just not "cool."

Besides die hard Trekers, many of whom would scream about the changes (a la "Star Wars: Special Edition") even if they aren't designed to take the place of the original versions, I don't know who else would be interested except people like me who are just casual fans of the franchise.

#11 of 27 Graham Greenlee

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Posted March 14 2005 - 02:45 PM

Of course, one of Luc's minor points he brought up, does bring up a question I have: Where are the other "best of" TNG collections?

I can only assume that the Picard collection didn't sell well, but if it was moderately successful, why not a collection of Data episodes or Worf episodes? Those characters were just as, if not more, popular than Picard for the casual fan who doesn't need to own every episode. Or a Borg episode collection?

Even non-TNG characters, like Spock or Seven of Nine, might be popular enough to be able to move "best of" sets.

#12 of 27 RickER

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Posted March 14 2005 - 02:59 PM

Shoot...they already did it once guys. The DS9 Trouble with Tribbles. Yes it was the same ol' 11 foot model on loan from the Smithsonian. But she sure did look nice, all cleaned up and new looking.

#13 of 27 Nelson Au

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Posted March 14 2005 - 04:14 PM

RickER- They actually rebuilt all the TOS ships for Trials and Tribulations. Beautiful new models used only once, they went all out for that episode.

Regarding the Doomsday Machine episode; CGI effects were done by a couple of guys not in the business. I had downloaded at that time 1998, Sparkle format MPEG videos of the 2 scenes they had done. The guys who did them at the time were the ones lobbying to have Paramount redo the effects and they made a demo reel to show how they could be integrated into the existing footage. They're fun to watch!

They were pretty well done, though I didn't care for the redesign of the Doomsday Machine itself. They had also redone the Enterprise and Constellation. Though they were not technically accurate CAD models of the ships, they proved their point. They even added the new effects into the viewscreens. The scenes done were when Decker attacks the Doomsday Machine while in commnad of the Enterprise, new POV shots of the ship attacking were done. The other scene involves Kirk having Scotty fire the Constellation's one phaser bank onto the machine to get it's attention and release it's tractor beam on the Enterprise. They look good, but by today's standards, on a par with a decent video game's effects. I'd say they do not integrate well as a digitally created effect into a filmed source. Miles apart from the quality of the work done for Star Trek The Motion Picture.

I'd have to say that I am in the camp to leave the effects alone. While I don't object to them being done, they should not replace the originals. Of the shows Luc suggests, the effects still hold up well to me. Corbomite Maneuver may be a good candidate. Balance of Terror would be better left alone as Immunity Syndrone. Those effects for the giant cell are actually very creatively done, as is The Tholian Web!

#14 of 27 RickER

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Posted March 14 2005 - 04:34 PM

Didnt The Tholian Web and Immunity Syndrome win Emmy's for effects. I wouldn't mind seeing new effects for the show. But i sure don't like the idea of replacing them forever. Some of the Dr. Who DVDs have new effects on them, but you still can watch the original effects if you want as well. Course the effects for Dr. Who usually couldn't be any worse that what they did originally. Star Trek still works for me. For the most part, i find they did a better job of effects on Trek than most movies of that era. Nelson nice story re. The Doomsday machine.

#15 of 27 Tony J Case

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Posted March 15 2005 - 08:11 AM

They did something like this on the Doctor Who discs. They've got the disc layered so that you have the original as broadcast version, and then one with cleaned up special effects - new laser blasts, new Dalek spaceships and skylines of ruined London, new CG space stations - very nicely done and very slick looking.

Of course you suffer from the shock of going from this fantastic looking spacestation to an "alien" wrapped in bubble paper spraypainted green crawling across the floor. Very sureal. Posted Image

#16 of 27 Jonathan_Clarke

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Posted March 30 2005 - 07:31 AM

I'd leave em alone. Once you improve the effects then you really begin to notice how dated and cheap the sets and costumes are! Posted Image
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#17 of 27 Tony Whalen

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Posted March 30 2005 - 07:39 AM

Hmmm... I'm of two minds on this. I'd probably be interested as long as the originals weren't tampered with and/or were included. Now, seeing as I *HAVE* the originals already...

Normally, I'm not a fan of things like this. However, after having seen how beautiful NCC-1701 (no bloody A...) looked in "Trials and Tribblations", I wouldn't mind seeing some cleaned up episodes. My only stipulation is that they don't take it TOO far, and have the Enterprise whipping around like a fighter or something. Posted Image Also, it should still look like it was a model shot on the appropriate film-stock, and NOT make me think "oh look... CG effects."

#18 of 27 Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted March 30 2005 - 11:13 AM

If you buy Enterprise I suppose you will buy anything but the effects idea is a horrible one! So where do you stop? Lets CGI more hair on Shatner and reduce his belly. Upgrade the aliens, better sound effects....
Let's not stop there!!!!! Why dont they just refilm all the episodes with new Actors.

#19 of 27 Luc_M

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Posted April 02 2005 - 04:27 PM

Quote:
If you buy Enterprise I suppose you will buy anything but the effects idea is a horrible one! So where do you stop? Lets CGI more hair on Shatner and reduce his belly. Upgrade the aliens, better sound effects.... Let's not stop there!!!!! Why dont they just refilm all the episodes with new Actors.
Don't you think you're taking the purist angle a little too far here? It's not like I'm implying that everything should be remade and improved, nor am I saying that having certain episodes with better space footage would make everyone forget about the originals.

If Paramount released an FX package, lots of people would be interested in seeing it, just for the curiosity factor. Not everyone will want to buy it upfront, but they'd probably watch it at a friend's house if given the chance. And if they like it, they'd buy it for themselves if it's not too expensive.

I'm just a regular joe with no ties to showbiz, but if I had the time and proper CG resources, I would go ahead and turn my personal vision of it into something real, if only for one episode. Then the stage would be set for a real debate.

What can I say, I'm a believer. Posted Image

#20 of 27 Luc_M

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Posted April 02 2005 - 05:06 PM

Quote:
I wouldn't mind seeing some cleaned up episodes. My only stipulation is that they don't take it TOO far, and have the Enterprise whipping around like a fighter or something. Also, it should still look like it was a model shot on the appropriate film-stock, and NOT make me think "oh look... CG effects."
Well, it just goes to show how much visions and expectations can vary from one person to the next. Posted Image

Personally, if I was in charge of it, I would digitize the original Enterprise and use it as-is, without changing any visual detail. But on the other hand, I would gladly take some small liberties in other areas. For example, in the "Doomsday Machine", I would add a plasma leak on the port nacelle of the Constellation. Nothing spectacular, just a little extra eye candy.

Aside from that, I would design certain shots from more modern angles, so to speak. For example (still from the "Doomsday Machine" episode) I would film the Enterprise arriving and assuming a parallel course alongside the drifting Constellation, at the beginning of the episode. Again, nothing very elaborate, but still somewhat better-looking than the corresponding original space footage.

It's hard to explain in words, but I can picture it so well in my mind...





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