Star Trek films on Blu-Ray... what we know so far

Kevin EK

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I believe the scrapped TMP spacewalk was considered to be of terrible quality - so much so that they rethought the whole thing and made it a solo Spock thing. I'm fine without seeing those lost takes - there's plenty of scrapped footage from a lot of movies that we wouldn't really want to see...

I'm going to wait and see what really happens with TNG and the other shows. I wouldn't be surprised to see HD broadcasts of the various series without any remastering. I still think a remastering job on TNG would be a massive thing - easily three or more times the cost of what happened on TOS. I can't imagine they could foresee enough of a revenue stream to justify that kind of cost. Most Trek fans already have the DVDs of the TNG season sets, each of which cost a pretty fair amount. Asking the fans to dip again on 7 seasons would be a big gamble.
 

Ethan Riley

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Originally Posted by Kevin EK
I believe the scrapped TMP spacewalk was considered to be of terrible quality - so much so that they rethought the whole thing and made it a solo Spock thing. I'm fine without seeing those lost takes - there's plenty of scrapped footage from a lot of movies that we wouldn't really want to see...

I'm going to wait and see what really happens with TNG and the other shows. I wouldn't be surprised to see HD broadcasts of the various series without any remastering. I still think a remastering job on TNG would be a massive thing - easily three or more times the cost of what happened on TOS. I can't imagine they could foresee enough of a revenue stream to justify that kind of cost. Most Trek fans already have the DVDs of the TNG season sets, each of which cost a pretty fair amount. Asking the fans to dip again on 7 seasons would be a big gamble.
The way the scene was conceived, Kirk was supposed to exit the Enterprise and be attacked by all these little pylon-like thingies that affixed to his spacesuit. I think the sequence was going to be too costly and problematic from a special effects standpoint; also it slowed down the picture too much. That's what I've gathered over the years. I think the scene appeared in the Marvel Comics adaptation (not sure--I haven't read that comic in years).

Ben--that would be mighty good news indeed, if those rumors pan out. It just seems like, however, they'd have to go back to the original footage (if it all actually still exists) and re-edit somehow. That's what's been keeping them from transferring it to hi-def in the first place. Maybe they're just trying to transfer the existing video masters to hi-def? Is that even possible??
 

SilverWook

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According to an old Starlog interview with someone from Brick Price Movie Miniatures, the original spacesuits went through so many hands and design revisions, someone eliminated the air vents, and Nimoy actually blacked out at one point. I can only guess that problem was fixed by the time they shot Kirk exiting the airlock as seen in the "Longer Version". I still want to see the "Memory Wall" footage anyway...

I see TNG reruns on KTLA late at night, and some look okay upscaled in HD, others are not so hot. Doesn't the DS9 Tribble episode on the TOS Season 2 blu ray look pretty bad though?
 

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Douglas Monce

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benbess said:
Good news for Trek fans. Looks like TNG has a good chance of going HD. My favorite of the next gen shows is actually Voyager, so I'm sad they seem to be passing on that one for now...But TNG is a very, very close second. And if they make big bucks on that, and I think they will, perhaps they'll reconsider.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

from thedigitalbits.com
Finally today, we've got a little something for you Trekkies. Consider it very Rumor Mill-worthy, as nothing has been officially announced (though that may change soon - more in a minute). But a lot of you have been asking us if Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered is ever going to happen. We've mentioned previously that tests on the feasibility of the project have been on-going at CBS for some time, and one of the key concerns has been cost. (Click here and scroll down a bit.) Well, today we've got an update for you...
As some of you may be aware, a few months ago Netflix signed a non-exclusive deal with CBS allowing them to digitally stream the entire Star Trek library to their customers, along with popular ancillary titles like MacGyver. Well, that arrangement definitely tripped our sensors. Not only is that financial incentive for TNG Remastered to move forward, but the fact that J.J. Abrams' big-screen Trek sequel is likely to start shooting in September (for theatrical release next year) provides a sufficient marketing/cross-promotional incentive too. So after several months of looking into this, our industry sources have finally begun hinting that TNG Remastered IS moving forward and that Netflix (and possibly Paramount's Epyx cable channel, which has a strong relationship with the streaming service) may be the first place you'll finally see it - in HD - starting sometime in the fall. Meanwhile, SD TNG episodes will begin appearing on Netflix in July. Trek Movie posted this a month ago:
"Netflix confirmed they will be streaming every episode of every season for all five live-action Star Trek series: the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. TOS, TNG, Voyager and Enterprise will all become available on July 1st. DS9 will launch on October 1st. TOS and Enterprise will be available in HD."
While Deep Space Nine and Voyager are unlikely to generate the kind of revenue to justify a Remastered redo effort (and Enterprise is already available in HD), we believe a high-definition film scan of The Next Generation is very likely in the cards for the entire series run, along with the requisite digitally-upgraded effects. Of course, in addition to syndication and streaming, the end result of all this might be a Next Generation: Remastered Blu-ray release down the line. So if all goes well, you could be spinning Picard and Data on disc in glorious HD by this time next year. In any case, we'll post additional updates on this as they come in. Our best guess: Watch for official news to break at Comic-Con in July.

Bill Hunt, editor
The Digital Bits
The Digital Bits
If its just an up convert, it will never look like HD. I'm sorry but this is folly unless they are going to rescan all of the original film elements, re-edit the show, and re-composite all of the effects shots. Garbage in garbage out as they say.
Doug
 

Douglas Monce

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Kevin EK said:
I believe the scrapped TMP spacewalk was considered to be of terrible quality - so much so that they rethought the whole thing and made it a solo Spock thing. I'm fine without seeing those lost takes - there's plenty of scrapped footage from a lot of movies that we wouldn't really want to see...

I'm going to wait and see what really happens with TNG and the other shows. I wouldn't be surprised to see HD broadcasts of the various series without any remastering. I still think a remastering job on TNG would be a massive thing - easily three or more times the cost of what happened on TOS. I can't imagine they could foresee enough of a revenue stream to justify that kind of cost. Most Trek fans already have the DVDs of the TNG season sets, each of which cost a pretty fair amount. Asking the fans to dip again on 7 seasons would be a big gamble.
I would suggest that a proper remaster of TNG would likely cost more than it cost to produce the show originally.
Doug
 

Josh Steinberg

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I agree with those have posted about the TNG rumor - it's a great dream, but I just can't imagine Paramount putting up the money for it -- really, anyone putting up the money for it.

TOS was easier to do for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it was finished on film - all they had to do was scan the edited negative, clean up shots, and drop in new effects to replace the old ones. TNG was edited and finished on video, so I doubt they ever actually "cut" the negatives together in the first place. That would mean that someone would have to go through cans and cans of footage (assuming it all still exists) and really rebuild the entire thing from scratch - and that just seems to daunting a task for anyone in terms of cost and time. I think on average, TNG episodes also had more effects shots than TOS episodes (I'm going from memory on that, though), so there's more to re-do, and while for TOS, they didn't redo every single effect, TNG would require that. Honestly I'm fine with the current DVDs - they're the best the show has ever looked, and there's no shame in the show being a case of "it is what it is". But, as I think someone suggested on a (non-Trek) post, I wouldn't mind if they put all of the episodes in SD on a Blu-ray disc - you'd be able to get a ton of episodes on each disc, cutting down on shelf space, and even if it wasn't HD, that (and the lower cost associated with far fewer discs) might be incentive for me to purchase the entire series.

Oh, and as for overtures... I'm pretty sure both TMP and The Black Hole were the last two films in wide release to get an overture. (I'd love to get The Black Hole in HD one day!)
 

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Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg
I think on average, TNG episodes also had more effects shots than TOS episodes (I'm going from memory on that, though), so there's more to re-do, and while for TOS, they didn't redo every single effect, TNG would require that.
No question that is true. I've been rewatching TNG lately, and there are many more effects shots than TOS. It would be a huge undertaking to do 178 episodes, but I doubt it would cost more than the show initially did, which was $1 million - $1.5 million per episode.
 

Cinescott

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Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg
I agree with those have posted about the TNG rumor - it's a great dream, but I just can't imagine Paramount putting up the money for it -- really, anyone putting up the money for it.

TOS was easier to do for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it was finished on film - all they had to do was scan the edited negative, clean up shots, and drop in new effects to replace the old ones. TNG was edited and finished on video, so I doubt they ever actually "cut" the negatives together in the first place. That would mean that someone would have to go through cans and cans of footage (assuming it all still exists) and really rebuild the entire thing from scratch - and that just seems to daunting a task for anyone in terms of cost and time. I think on average, TNG episodes also had more effects shots than TOS episodes (I'm going from memory on that, though), so there's more to re-do, and while for TOS, they didn't redo every single effect, TNG would require that. Honestly I'm fine with the current DVDs - they're the best the show has ever looked, and there's no shame in the show being a case of "it is what it is". But, as I think someone suggested on a (non-Trek) post, I wouldn't mind if they put all of the episodes in SD on a Blu-ray disc - you'd be able to get a ton of episodes on each disc, cutting down on shelf space, and even if it wasn't HD, that (and the lower cost associated with far fewer discs) might be incentive for me to purchase the entire series.

Oh, and as for overtures... I'm pretty sure both TMP and The Black Hole were the last two films in wide release to get an overture. (I'd love to get The Black Hole in HD one day!)
I can't see how Paramount could realistically remaster every effect on TNG or even update the series for hi definition. How many hours of content are there? Unless there's something I don't know, that would be astronomically expensive. TOS was easier. There are far fewer episodes and they're on film. Also, the built-in fanbase for TOS is a given, providing an almost guarantee for a profit.

TNG is a poster child for SD content on Blu-ray. One disc per season? Sign me up!

Overtures, yes. How many movies since "The Black Hole" would have benefited from this? A lot. It's a virtual no-cost addition that adds a lot to a movie-going experience. I don't intend to say every movie would benefit, but some of the large, spectacle-type movies could be pretty awesome. There's a Star Wars Special Edition change I would have welcomed in 1997. I recently went to "Star Wars in Concert" and people of all ages went nuts for John Williams' music from all 6 films. Imagine having a sample of just a couple of minutes before each film and before the Twentieth Century Fox logo. That would have stirred up a lot of excitement, particularly during the initial runs. It'd be great if directors did this again and the studios permitted it to happen.
 

Jim Peavy

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Originally Posted by Cinescott
Jim, that's the one. The quality's very good, as has been mentioned in this thread and in numerous reviews. Definitely plays in region A.
Kewl, dewd! Thanks.
 

benbess

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Scott: I think actually that Paramount/CBS stands to make a good profit on this in the long run. Digital special effects have become a lot less expensive. I think for $10 million dollars or even less you can buy a lot of good enough digital effects, probably enough to cover a whole season. And some of the effects were in fact filmed in 35mm and then put on video. I think ILM was involved with many of the first year visual effects for TNG. They may have even filmed some of it in VistaVision! My guess is that ILM never throws anything away, and so if you can get that stuff from them it wouldn't be that expensive. And TNG has its own fan base that's about as big as TOS. Unlike many TV releases you can pretty much guarantee good sales at premium prices for this product. Plus then it'll play on Netflix, cable, commercial channels, etc. worldwide for the next few decades, reaping steady profits. If they don't do this, this product quickly becomes close to dead in a high def age...

Or how about thinking about it this way. To make a big-budget ensemble sci fi TV show today would probably cost about $4 million dollars an episode. Multiply that by 26 episodes and you're looking at a $100 million dollar gamble, which is huge money even for a major studio. If my guess is right that these season can be re-done in HD for c. $10 million a season or less, that would obviously be only 1/10th of that--and you know you'd be getting a show with a built-in fanatic fan base that has shown you can bring them back to the well again, and again, and again...

Not only am I not surprised that it looks like they are finally doing this, I'm surprised it has taken them this long to figure it out. The next question is whether they decide to do it widescreen. My guess is they will do it 1.78, and I'm fine with that....For TOS the original 1.33 aspect ratio was very important to me, but for some reason for TNG (and Voyager, I hope!) I'm flexible...
 

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benbess said:
The next question is whether they decide to do it widescreen. My guess is they will do it 1.78, and I'm fine with that....For TOS the original 1.33 aspect ratio was very important to me, but for some reason for TNG (and Voyager, I hope!) I'm flexible...
I can't imagine Paramount being crazy enough to incur the wrath of Trekkies by changing the aspect ratio of the original footage.
 

Cinescott

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Originally Posted by benbess
Scott: I think actually that Paramount/CBS stands to make a good profit on this in the long run. Digital special effects have become a lot less expensive. I think for $10 million dollars or even less you can buy a lot of good enough digital effects, probably enough to cover a whole season. And some of the effects were in fact filmed in 35mm and then put on video. I think ILM was involved with many of the first year visual effects for TNG. They may have even filmed some of it in VistaVision! My guess is that ILM never throws anything away, and so if you can get that stuff from them it wouldn't be that expensive. And TNG has its own fan base that's about as big as TOS. Unlike many TV releases you can pretty much guarantee good sales at premium prices for this product. Plus then it'll play on Netflix, cable, commercial channels, etc. worldwide for the next few decades, reaping steady profits. If they don't do this, this product quickly becomes close to dead in a high def age...

Or how about thinking about it this way. To make a big-budget ensemble sci fi TV show today would probably cost about $4 million dollars an episode. Multiply that by 26 episodes and you're looking at a $100 million dollar gamble, which is huge money even for a major studio. If my guess is right that these season can be re-done in HD for c. $10 million a season or less, that would obviously be only 1/10th of that--and you know you'd be getting a show with a built-in fanatic fan base that has shown you can bring them back to the well again, and again, and again...

Not only am I not surprised that it looks like they are finally doing this, I'm surprised it has taken them this long to figure it out. The next question is whether they decide to do it widescreen. My guess is they will do it 1.78, and I'm fine with that....For TOS the original 1.33 aspect ratio was very important to me, but for some reason for TNG (and Voyager, I hope!) I'm flexible...
I hope you're right, Ben. I've kind of lost my own optimism as far as giving studios credit for forward-thinking. Paramount won't spend $50,000 to upgrade Star Trek: The Motion Picture DE for Blu-ray, but they'll theoretically spend $70,000,000 on TNG for 7 seasons? If so, I'm just trying to understand their logic. Maybe the deal with Netflix is way better than I have read. Not sure how much they are getting in that deal or what the terms are. They may be required by contract to upgrade the series. Who knows?
 

benbess

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Originally Posted by Cinescott
I hope you're right, Ben. I've kind of lost my own optimism as far as giving studios credit for forward-thinking. Paramount won't spend $50,000 to upgrade Star Trek: The Motion Picture DE for Blu-ray, but they'll theoretically spend $70,000,000 on TNG for 7 seasons? If so, I'm just trying to understand their logic. Maybe the deal with Netflix is way better than I have read. Not sure how much they are getting in that deal or what the terms are. They may be required by contract to upgrade the series. Who knows?
$50,000? That seems way, way low to me. To fix the fx on a major film and re-edit in in hd would probably be more like ten times that, don't you think? Where does the $50,000 figure come from? Still, I think they'd make their money back and that they should do it. My guess is they will, eventually.

Of course $10 million per season is totally a guess, and I think it actually might be high by a few million, but who knows but the studio...

Since they sold millions of blu-ray sets of the original series at an msrp of more than $100 a season, my guess is that they were looking at a gross of tens of millions of dollars for each and every season for the blu-ray release alone. And then when you add streaming, a bit of dvd, cable broadcast, etc., it's all gravy, and I'm sure has been quite profitable for them. I'm sure they've got some smart accountants who have figured out that the risks for redoing TNG are very, very low--and almost non-existent if you set your time horizon to 5 years.
 

Kevin EK

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Re-setting the Robert Wise cut of Star Trek TMP in high definition would not be an expensive undertaking, because the work has already been done. It would be a matter of re-rendering to the proper output range, and making a new HD master. Given that the heavy lifting was already done 10 years ago, and given that the number of shots to be re-rendered isn't that high, I could see 50K as a reasonable outlay. Maybe a little more, but I doubt it. And yes, asking a studio to spend that kind of money is like pulling teeth. We just went through a lot of sturm and drang about the Blu-ray of Spartacus, and the money numbers there (between what was done and what should have been done) were about the same.

I don't know any television series that spends 4 million dollars per episode, and I don't know that I will for many years. There are some shows that go upwards of 3, but not by that much. Keep in mind that a show like Star Trek TNG was not as highly budgeted as you might think. It was certainly more generous than what they had to make the 3rd season of TOS with, but they weren't simply throwing money at the show. If they were, you would never have had episodes like "Shades of Grey" (a clip show) or the many bottle episodes admittedly done to save money. Further, that big ensemble in the show wasn't making a "Friends"-sized windfall. All of the Star Trek series were very responsibly budgeted and made - not to pinch pennies, but to make them in a responsible, economic way.

To expect Paramount to spend 10 million dollars per season of TNG just to upgrade the visual effects for a Blu-ray release is a truly strange thought. There's simply no way that they would think that there are enough people willing to repurchase those season sets at a high price point to justify such an expense. And that doesn't even get into the complexities of trying to remaster the series. (And by the way, while ILM was initially involved with the TNG pilot, it would be very strange to see them doing Vistavision shots for a television series...) Now, if there was a way to remaster the series and upgrade the effects at a much lower price point - say, 20K per episode, all in - maybe the studio might bite at that, but at over a half million dollars per season, that's a pretty big bite. The remaster and upgrade of TOS was simpler because the primary point was the remastering effort itself. The upgraded effects were an afterthought to help sell the idea, and to help sell HD-DVDs and Blu-rays to fund the whole thing. And many Trek fans balked at repurchasing the episodes after having just bought the earlier season sets.

I think it's far more likely and appropriate that the HD editions of the latter Star Trek series will be the same episodes we've come to know and enjoy over the years. The same footage, the same visual effects, just presented in 1080p. For myself, I'm happy with the existing DVD season sets of TNG. I can't imagine repurchasing them. Of course, I've been proven wrong many times before.
 

Cinescott

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Originally Posted by Kevin EK
A few corrections:

The revised material was not done in high definition because it was cheaper to avoid that step. Unfortunately, now Paramount will need to spend more money to redo the work for a Blu-ray release - although not as much as it cost to render everything in 2001, since it's already been done. As I've said before, this will cost up to the tens of thousands, but they'll make that back in sales fairly quickly.
This is where I obtained that figure and I can't verify its validity. It doesn't seem too out of line to me, though. The effects are already done, after all and the DE is already a reality.

Although I am certainly no effects or compositing expert, this post from a Trek site made sense to me:

"Personally, as someone who does 3D and compositing, I wouldn't think that redoing the needed effects should be that big a deal. I mean, you did all the work already. Anyone worth squat saves all their files so all they'd have to do, more or less, is pull it up and re-render it at the correct resolution. Shouldn't be any re-work, just re-rendering and recompositing."

I've seen posts that say they'd have to re-work the entire movie, yada yada. That's ridiculous. There is already a Blu-ray in existence with 98% of the content of the DE and it's good. Getting the rest up to speed will take some time, but is it really that difficult? With all the massive restorations that have gone on with other titles, am I to believe that this one would be hard? Doesn't make common sense.
 

Doug Otte

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Since they sold millions of blu-ray sets of the original series at an msrp of more than $100 a season, my guess is that they were looking at a gross of tens of millions of dollars for each and every season for the blu-ray release alone. And then when you add streaming, a bit of dvd, cable broadcast, etc., it's all gravy, and I'm sure has been quite profitable for them. I'm sure they've got some smart accountants who have figured out that the risks for redoing TNG are very, very low--and almost non-existent if you set your time horizon to 5 years.
"...they sold millions of blu-ray sets of the original series at an msrp of more than $100 a season..." Really? Where did you read the number and pricing of the sets they sold? They must have sold tens of thousands of sets...but millions? And, how many people paid more than $100 per set. I recall paying only around $50-70 per set.

Doug
 

Osato

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Originally Posted by benbess
Good news for Trek fans. Looks like TNG has a good chance of going HD. My favorite of the next gen shows is actually Voyager, so I'm sad they seem to be passing on that one for now...But TNG is a very, very close second. And if they make big bucks on that, and I think they will, perhaps they'll reconsider.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

from thedigitalbits.com
Finally today, we've got a little something for you Trekkies. Consider it very Rumor Mill-worthy, as nothing has been officially announced (though that may change soon - more in a minute). But a lot of you have been asking us if Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered is ever going to happen. We've mentioned previously that tests on the feasibility of the project have been on-going at CBS for some time, and one of the key concerns has been cost. (Click here and scroll down a bit.) Well, today we've got an update for you...
As some of you may be aware, a few months ago Netflix signed a non-exclusive deal with CBS allowing them to digitally stream the entire Star Trek library to their customers, along with popular ancillary titles like MacGyver. Well, that arrangement definitely tripped our sensors. Not only is that financial incentive for TNG Remastered to move forward, but the fact that J.J. Abrams' big-screen Trek sequel is likely to start shooting in September (for theatrical release next year) provides a sufficient marketing/cross-promotional incentive too. So after several months of looking into this, our industry sources have finally begun hinting that TNG Remastered IS moving forward and that Netflix (and possibly Paramount's Epyx cable channel, which has a strong relationship with the streaming service) may be the first place you'll finally see it - in HD - starting sometime in the fall. Meanwhile, SD TNG episodes will begin appearing on Netflix in July. Trek Movie posted this a month ago:
"Netflix confirmed they will be streaming every episode of every season for all five live-action Star Trek series: the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. TOS, TNG, Voyager and Enterprise will all become available on July 1st. DS9 will launch on October 1st. TOS and Enterprise will be available in HD."
While Deep Space Nine and Voyager are unlikely to generate the kind of revenue to justify a Remastered redo effort (and Enterprise is already available in HD), we believe a high-definition film scan of The Next Generation is very likely in the cards for the entire series run, along with the requisite digitally-upgraded effects. Of course, in addition to syndication and streaming, the end result of all this might be a Next Generation: Remastered Blu-ray release down the line. So if all goes well, you could be spinning Picard and Data on disc in glorious HD by this time next year. In any case, we'll post additional updates on this as they come in. Our best guess: Watch for official news to break at Comic-Con in July.

Bill Hunt, editor
The Digital Bits
The Digital Bits
Pretty cool news. I will be curious to see the results. I wish I was a bigger TNG fan. I watched the show, but was more of a DS9 and Voyager fan. I could be swayed / tempted to pick up a few seasons though if the quality is there. : )
 

Joel Fontenot

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On re-rendering the DE stuff for TMP: True, the producers of the DE have said that all model and setup files still exist. Re-rendering at a higher resolution is relatively easy to set up and do. But, being an Architect, and having done architectural model rendering myself (among personal sci-fi stuff too) since the early 90's, I know that you always want to do a bit more tweaking if given the chance. Since the release of the DE, I'm sure that Dochterman and Matessino have seen things that they would like to tweak.

Personally, I'd like to see that god-awful "in-twos to look like traditional animation" look of the bridge-walk scene redone. "Traditional animation" would not have even been a consideration for a film and scene like this. And it wasn't done that way in the scenes where animation was already used. To me, Dochterman lost a lot of credibility with his explanation of why the bridge-walk was done the way it was - doubling each frame to "look like traditional animation"... Ridiculous.

Visually, that's my only real complaint with the new work done on the DE (besides the way out-of-wack perspective of the nacelle outside the window in the lounge scene when Kirk and McCoy talk to Spock after he first boards the ship - that and the lens flares from a light that's not even seen by the camera's lens in that particular viewpoint).
 

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