Review of Balance of Terror Remastered | TrekMovie.com
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Review of Balance of Terror Remastered September 18, 2006

by Daren R. Dochterman , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

I’m torn.  Torn between my reaction to  the IDEA of this project and the final realization of it.  Also, I’m torn between knowing the dedication and talent that the people responsible for this obviously have, and my ho-hum reaction to the final product.

Bottom line… Star Trek Remastered is ok.  But it is mostly a wasted opportunity.

Why just ok?  I don’t know… honestly. After one episode, all I can think is that I hope it gets better… because right now, it isn’t justifying its existence.  Obviously, the new HD transfer is lovely… I just wish it were being broadcast that way.  The original film elements look excellent. The effects seem flat. I guess having those transfers paid for is reason enough to do this project, since theoretically all the new transfers will be made available in the future in their original form. But frankly, the new additions aren’t up to snuff just yet.

 The good things:

The new transfers look gorgeous.  I watched the digital transmission of local station KNBC in Los Angeles, and it didn’t disappoint in terms of clarity and depth of color. ( I admit to some joy at seeing the NBC logo down in the corner. It seemed like a bit of a homecoming.) I’m surprised at the amount of hype generated about it being HD, and the lack of actually DELIVERING IT in HD.  I can only imagine how good the film elements look in 1080i.  But I would have likened it to NBC showing the original in 1966 with the famous “living color” peacock logo at the beginning, and discovering that the transmission was in black and white. 

The opening sequence music re-recording is lovely.  It really sounds balanced and reverent to the original… Apart from the clarity of the recording, and a decidedly different note at the 1st season trim of the main title, it is pretty much identical in sound to the original.  The female vocalist was happily not included in the mix until the second season episodes, apparently.
 
The main titles are slavishly copied from the original.  Down to the multi-planar star patterns.  The ship movements are more organic and fit in a 3d world now, mimicking the optical printer zoom and pan of the elements in the original.  I was glad to see that the main title logo itself is unchanged… (I have noticed lately on licensed Star Trek items that the TOS logo is wrong… substituting the commercially available sharp edged capital “E” for the correct “E” with the curved top edge.)
 
The not-so-good:
 
The Enterprise looks drab.  There seems to be a fear to give some contrast and texture to the exterior space shots.  I don’t think the flatness of the effects are due to the lower latitude of contrast from HD to Standard… I think it’s just in the lighting they are using.  In their efforts to make the “quality” of the images better, they’ve sacrificed some of the contrast that was inherent in the original shots.  They seem to be using plain ole white lights.  (One exception was a quite nice shot of the top of the 1701… I just wish the exteriors all looked like that.)  There is a definite feel of the technicians feeling their way around and seeing what works on our time…  since it’s doubtful there was enough time for experimentation and R & D.  I have no doubt that the model itself is accurate, though I would have preferred an attempt to duplicate the style of the later space shots of the ship from the 3rd season.  I also got no sense of scale here.  I think some of that has to do with the lenses being used in the 3D world… there doesn’t seem to be enough perspective in the shots to match those of the originals, which used fairly wide angle lenses at closer range.
 
The Romulan cruiser was a bit of a disappointment, especially in the newly created shots… again, no sense of scale… the panel markings on the top are horribly mis-scaled and make it look like a model on a string.  I would have thought this would be the best time to showcase what could be done with the new technology… bringing in subtlety in texturing that can give new reality to the action… but instead I was constantly reminded that the shots looked hokey.  The movements were not those of a large ship.  It lacked the ominous and weighty movements that would have convinced me of its reality.  I’m now in full nit-pick mode, and will say that the decloaking looked decidedly “video”… and not in the range of what a film optical would be.  There are several ways to fake a “film-look” to video opticals… I just think they didn’t have time to explore them.
 
Speaking of video opticals, the proximity phasers were a disappointment as well… looking like cheap computer game shots.  There are simple fixes for these… they just need to concentrate on mimicking the look of opticals made on film.  Also totally missing were the dynamic star filter look of the originals.  If there was any time that the Enterprise needed to be more darkly lit, it was at this moment when the phasers lit the surface of the hull. 
 
I think most of the problems I have with the new effects can be easily dealt with.  Most of it, I’m sure, is the crew finding their way and getting comfortable with the style of the show, and the subtleties of duplicating a look of film effects.  I do think their hearts are in the right place… but I think they need to develop the eye for this kinda thing… it’s a tricky and very specific look that needs to be emulated.
 
I was disappointed that there was no attempt at slipping in some previews of future effects in the end credit stills… I would think this would be the perfect place for a sneak peek at what is to come.  (Of course, I’ll bet they barely finished the episode, so it’s unreasonable for me to expect any more.)
 
Hope for the future
Of course I’ll be there every week to see how it goes… but I can’t help but think that a great opportunity is being missed by a rushed schedule.  Just a little snide comment to end this… If the studio had committed to doing this three years ago when I last pitched this exact plan, there would have been plenty of time for experimentation and finessing of shots to make this truly a worthy project.  I have confidence that “Trek Remastered” will finally find its way, and be quite exciting and entertaining… but it will be after a number of “missed opportunity” episodes.

Click here for images from Balance of Terror Remastered

 

Daren R. Dochterman was the Visual Effects Supervisor on “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition” and is the Creator of “Star Trek Enhanced” 

Read the recent TrekMovie.com interview with Daren Dochterman
(includes video and images from Trek Enhanced and a new image for comparison to CBS’s Trek Remastered)

 

 


Comments

1. Naib. - September 18, 2006

I liked the effects, but I was expecting something ground breaking really. I just wanted an improvement on the originals, and that’s what I thought we got, but also I am much more interested in the cleaned up transfer which just looks gorgeous even better than the DVDs, I thought.

2. Naib. - September 18, 2006

Umm oops, not ground breaking I mean.

3. Glenrider - September 18, 2006

I agree totally with Mr. Dochterman. Torn is a very good word. If you are only going to give a little (often by going shot for shot per the orginial) then make sure it is the very best you can give. I didn’t see that. What I felt was fear – afraid of offending the TREK Core. The article above speaks for me. As they say “ditto”!

4. Fletch - September 18, 2006

I agreed with Darren.

It’s like they are trying to make the CGI fx look like 60s model fx. Why? We have all seen Mirror Darkly – lets see some dynamic camera shots.

5. jonboc - September 18, 2006

Well, I don’t think they have a whole lot of time, within an epsiode, to get too wild, since they do have to replace the same amount of time originally dedicated to the original FX shot. After all, they do have to meet the time requirements dictated by syndication. And while I too, was a bit undewhelmed by the shots, I was glad to see a gorgeous print, along with, at least a few, new angles never seen before. But there is still much work to be done on the engine effect, and there is much room for improvement.
For instance, when the Enterprise was hit, and tilting in space, it would have been real easy to have the window lighting, in various parts of the ship flicker….matching the chaos going on inside the ship. maybe even a few very bright flashes scattered to suggest inner ship explosions. The original shot is still intact, just embellished a bit. Or a view from space, from behind the plasma bolt’s perspective…gaining on the stranded Enterprise….this could replace part of the viewscreen shot.
I’m very grateful they are cleaning these episodes up, but the originals are safe and sound….they should lighen up just a tad and have some fun with these new versions. Nothing drastic, like New Voyages and the barrel rolls mind you, just a little something to spice it up.

6. John N. - September 18, 2006

I completely agree with Mr. Dochterman. I can’t tell you how much I wish that they had taken you up on your pitch. TrekEnhanced looked beautiful, and completely respectful of the source material.

7. Daren Doc - September 18, 2006

They DID take up my pitch… everything from mastering on HD to syndication… the only difference was they didn’t use me.

8. John N. - September 18, 2006

lol… fair enough… but unfortunately they left out the dynamic visuals that you incorporated, including the gorgeous lighting. And unless I’m mistaken (and please correct me if I am), based on your tweaked title sequence (which I absolutely love) you didn’t pitch to slavishly reproduce virtually every camera angle from the orignal effects.

When they show the “Doomsday Machine”, I’m going to cry when I see Kirk walk in front of that viewscreen and I don’t see your asteroids…

9. Daren Doc - September 18, 2006

Well, John… please don’t cry… we have to remember William Shatner’s immortal words: “It’s just a TV Show”. :)

10. Josh - September 18, 2006

I tend to think a bit of the damned if you do, damned if you don’t phenomenon is occuring as far as the reaction to this episode.

If CBS digital had gone all out and completely modernized the effects using every tool available to them, the reverse would be occuring – you would hear incessant bitching that they have gone too far, lost the spirit of the original, raped childhoods, etc etc.

Fandom is the epitome of being fickle and indecisive. It reminds me of Leonard Nimoy’s qoute “the fans don’t know what they want, we know what’s good for them.”

I look at it this way. ANY new Trek is an improvement over where we were two months ago.
No one expected CBS to hire Industrial Light and Magic for this project.
Star Trek is not Star Wars.
Whether CGI or physical model there is a deliberate design aesthetic to Star Trek. The ships are clean. Their hulls are cleansed by the coldness of space. An uber detailed, scarred, streaked Enterprise would look completely out of place, so in this instance CGI works to the advantage of the spirit of what is intended.
I think the proper balance was found. The emphasis must always remain on the characters, if suddenly Star Warsesque’ explosions, dogfights, etc made their way into the series, people would focus more on the effects and less on Kirk, Spock, and the crew.

I admire and respect Daren immensely. In many ways this project is his brainchild.
That being said, I find myself wondering if his review and critique is objective and fair, given the circumstances of what transpired behind the scenes. I wonder if Daren could even be objective and fair regarding this specific material given the time,patience, energy, and effort he put into rendering the effects for his Trek enhanced project, and CBS’s ultimate decision not to go with him.
At the end of the day we should ALL be thrilled and happy the Enterprise finally appears more like a spaceship and less like a model, maintaining a healthy balance between the original effects, and modern 21st century CGI capability.
Regardless of what could have been versus what is, the point is for the first time in say 15 years, this boy is excited about Star Trek again. And THAT says a great deal.

11. John N. - September 18, 2006

He also told us to “Get a Life!”… :)

12. Anthony Pascale - September 18, 2006

Firstly I would like to thank Daren for his review and being available for an interview last week. He is a tremendous talent and TrekMovie.com is honored to have him here

RE: Can Daren be objective
When I asked Daren if he would be interested in providing a review I knew that this issue would come up, however my view is that I cannot imagine anyone who is more qualified to review the show. Daren knows more about Trek and the models than just about anyone. In the end his review (which is entirely un-edited) is quite balanced. The concerns that Daren brings up are in line with many of the dozens of comments seen here and on other sites around the web.

Of course we are all excited and pleased that CBS have taken on this project. However there remains a number of issues with the project that many (including TrekMovie.com) have brought up:
1. no HD
2. respectful v realistic
3. the choice to do all work in house

TrekMovie.com is happy to both promote the show as we have done and to discuss how it can get even better. This site is not and will not ever just be a mouthpiece for CBS and/or Paramount, it is independent and it has a point of view. We love Trek and we want it to be as great as possible.

Daren’s review is a perfect example of that and I hope he writes more of them in the future.

13. Dorkus - September 18, 2006

I agree with Josh. No disrespect at all, but Daren is not objective enough to review these episodes. He can’t be. He pitch this project and was passed. Just that fact alone colors his opinion — it would with anyone.

I also agree with the sentiment that enhanced versions of classic material (also true of Star Wars) is a no win situation. If you go too far, people are P.O.ed and complain about not being respectful of the original. If you don’t go far enough, people wonder why anyone bothered. There is no perfect balance because every fan has their own opinion.

I was both surprised that the effects were so shot for shot identical but also pleased by the sublety. I did wish that when Kirk ordered the phasers to fire we actually saw phasers. Is there some sort of Trek canon explaination for why they would keep the old torpedo effect? In all, I’m pleased its being done and like what I’ve seen so far.

14. Josh - September 18, 2006

The biggest complaint I have seen across the board seems to be the nacelle dome caps on the Enterprise, and the rigid adherence to the framing, editing, and movement of the original model shots.
The nacelles domes are quite easily correctable.
As to the lack of spicing up the framing of shots, you have to remember alot of the beauty shots of the Enterprise are iconic and burned into our collective memories.
This is a very fundamental issue and tightrope balancing act to try to emulate.
That is the problem over the years I have had with many fan made renderings of Star Trek.
HOW you film the Enterprise is quite important. I have seen absolutely beautifully rendered and detailed CGI models of the Enterprise, but sadly the camera angles and perspective didnt compliment the lovely model.
The original and movie Enterprise seem to be the most photogenic of the various Enterprises’ but even then, at certain angles it simply doesn’t compliment the ship. I think this was well demonstrated in The Next Generation where the Enterprise D was rarely filmed in a complimentary fashion. It didnt help of course that the Enterprise D looks like a Fat swan :P

15. Daren Doc - September 18, 2006

I make no claim to be objective at all…:) But my biases are widely known… and I can back up my opinions with examples of how I would do certain things. What is left is individual tastes and opinions. I’m particularly proud of the way I dealt with the engine nacelle question… :) so there. lol

16. Josh - September 18, 2006

Dorkus to my understanding the depth charge like phaser fire is a one time only matter unique to that episode alone.
Kirk orders phasers set to delayed proximity, the old effects had a Photon torpedo fire with accompanying photon sound effect.
So this seems to be a compromise to make Kirk’s order more plausible while still maintaining the original sound effect.
A delayed phaser heh heh. Amazing that 23rd century technology.
Now I just want to see a delayed warp field!

17. SeanG - September 18, 2006

Josh,

You make an excellent point about the stock effect shots in TOS being iconic, and it cannot be easy trying to find the balance between what could add more dynacism and what honors the original vision.

However, as Daren and others who have worked on effects can attest – even within the small confines of a frame by frame recreation is a vast world of lighting, color timing, textures and camera lens selections that can make all the diffrence between looking right and looking flat and uninspired.

I don’t think any TOS fans were expecting a Star Wars like send up of the effects, but more of a fitting tribute to a endearing show.

BTW, I just watched “Miri” (TIVO) and I can tell you the effects are not getting better. The shots of the Enterprise orbiting the Earth twin planet show the background stars shining brightly through the blue edge atmosphere haze of the planet – very distracting and not realistic at all.

18. Josh - September 18, 2006

Daren please don’t misunderstand me, I’ll be the first to say I wish they had gone with you, it’s a very odd dilemma.
There are aspects to your effort I prefer, and aspects of the “official” effort I prefer.
I like your transporter effect. I thought coloring the particle effect was brilliant. It reminded me of the red and purple look to the transporters of The Wrath of Khan.
I liked the lighting of your Enterprise and the semi-blue hue. That was very much like the original model shots. That amazing and wonderful mood lighting often used on the models.
I like some of the angles you chose for the Enterprise. Very respectful.
I liked your use of starfields.
And yes Daren, your nacelle dome caps are better :P

But, I did like the new planet surfaces as viewed from space, even down to the fading of atmosphere on the horizon line. THAT was cool looking.
I also like the CGI Enterprise model itself. It begs for extreme closeups.
I like that the more iconic beauty shots of the Enterprise were reproduced.

Just remember Daren, YOU got to render and play with the refit-Enterprise from The Motion Picture, THAT accomplishment alone would be the high point to a MANY Trekkers dreams and career! Sighs.

19. Daren Doc - September 18, 2006

Josh, I do like their planets better as well. :) (don’t know if I like the giant atmosphere haze around it… that kinda looks like Star Wars to me) I like their stars a lot.

And I do consider myself extremely lucky and honored to have been able to work on the TMP project. It is a definite milestone in my career and my life.

20. Kevin Ortiz - September 18, 2006

Very disappointing!!! I understand wanting to not change the storyline and that is sacred but if you want to attract new viewers than this is the time for some WOW factor. Different angles, more realistic shots of the ships that didn’t look like they were out of a cartoon are going to be needed. I stayed home and up to watch the show at Midnight in the Denver area and was so disappointed I didn’t finish watching the show and let Tivo do it’s job. I for one hope that this was only an issue due to the rushed schedule and hope that these effects get much better going forward. This is an opportunity and one that true fans have been waiting for. Please do not ruin this chance to enhance the shows. Do what all the fans want and make these shows betters as PROMISED!!!!

21. Jonathan - September 18, 2006

I share Daren’s disappointment with nuTrek. I’m afraid the effects will not get significantly better in time. The producers of this effort should have used the far more detailed USS Defiant model created by EdenFX’s Koji Kuramura for the “Enteprise” episode “In a Mirror Darkly” (the same model was later used as the Big-E herself in the final montage sequence in “These Are The Voyages”). The producers of nuTrek would now seem to be “locked in” to their interpretation of the old girl — while they’re being very faithful to the original’s lack of detail, their take does seem rather bland and uninspired. And those nacelle caps have to go!

22. Stephen - September 18, 2006

You nailed it for me Daren Doc. Thanks!

23. Tom - September 18, 2006

Most of us were so hungry for this upgrade that we’re willing to choke down what CBS Digital is giving us. It’s certainly palatable. And I’m grateful. But I went back and checked out the ships in Dave’s Concept footage. His CGI ships are fabulous. His work gives the effect that the ships are being lit by light sources that would exist in actual space. The nacelle domes look funtional, not like the cop car effects brought to us by CBS. And Dave’s ships have a grace lacking in these upgrades. Sure, the effects have been updated SUFFICIENTLY in the CBS version, but they are just that—sufficient. No, we won’t cry and stamp our feet. It’s just a tee-vee show. But, oh, what an opportunity we missed!

24. Tom - September 18, 2006

One more thing: I hope somebody in charge over at CBS reads these comments. Or we may be just preaching to the choir.

25. Daren Doc - September 18, 2006

Tom…

Who’s Dave? :)

-Daren

26. Drewsky - September 18, 2006

I really wish I could have seen this, but my local station does not appear to be airing it (KTVT 11 in Dallas). Anyone who’s local CBS station is showing it that also has a SlingBox, I’d love to check out an episode.

27. Peter Fries - September 18, 2006

Couldn’t disagree more with the idea that the “enhanced” eps need to have jarringly CG spaceships. I was pleasantly surprised by the art direction they took on the restoration and wouldn’t want anything even vaguely reminiscent of any of the later, inferior Trek spinoffs.

28. Thomas Jensen - September 18, 2006

Being past the initial excitment of seeing new opticals, I’d say that many improvements can be made. I’d like to see better engine effects, etc. I liked the movement of the ships, but want some colored stars. Many qualified people have offered some very good comments. I enjoyed reading Daren’s comments. I hope that CBS can change and do better before all is locked in stone, before a dvd release. It seems there are two camps: don’t change anything & go full force and change it all. Being in the middle I’d like to see some scenes being done shot for shot the same. And then some that are new angles that haven’t been seen before. It’s going to be a long road ahead. Let’s hope someone iat CBS is reading these and bring more to the table.

29. kirok - September 18, 2006

The ships looked REALLY fake!, and the new so called fx really sucked!, However the good/great thing was the hd transfer made …it looked like it was a brand new show …for the first time since it was on almost made it worth watching…almost…
Paramount go back to the drawing board on your Enterprise and other fx!
Chrikey the Third season fx are better than anything shown this past weekend!

30. Anonymous - September 18, 2006

I have to agree–I don’t think the CG ship got anywhere near the texture and weight of the original model, grain and all. There were a couple of decent shots but if the goal here is to prevent kids from laughing at these effects shots, how can you slavishly duplicate the shot where the camera is just tilted on the model of the Enterprise after the nuclear explosion? I agree that they’re being TOO faithful on a lot of this stuff. I’m hoping they will break out of a little of this mold as the project goes on.

Someone earlier said the “style” for Trek is that the spaceships are smooth and clean–but that’s a little mistaken. If you look at the shooting miniature of the original Enterprise it is WEATHERED–there ARE streaks on it, it is NOT scrubbed clean by space–it’s just very subtle textured work that adds almost subliminal dimension to the photography. It seems like that painting detail is absent on the CG Enterprise which makes it LOOK like CG. It seems too brightly lit and if you’re going to do an overhead shot of the Romulan ship that’s all shadowy and moody, why eliminate that aesthetic from the rest of the show?

Some things can’t be helped–they are “married” to the sound effects and shot length of the original episodes, but if you look at Daren’s, or even Digital Stream’s proposals, you see that there is quite a bit of flexibility within that framework. I too think that it’s fine to duplicate the classic shots (although at this point I still think many of the original shots, even the “dirty” badly matted first season ones, look more convincing than the CG here) but where those are being repeated ad nauseum there should be room to play with the format.

31. Matt Wright - September 18, 2006

Thanks for professional eye on the episode Daren!

You said a lot of what I was thinking about the Enterprise but didn’t know how to express in more appropriate industry terms.

Would you please expand on when you say that the cloking effect was “decidedly “video”… ” and that things could be done to make it more film-like.

32. Josh - September 18, 2006

I’m noticing something here,

Some of the criticisms of the Enterprise CGI model are based on the lighting that is being used. Stark shadows and whites versus blacks, compared to the 60’s day glow blues, greens and purples that highlight the hull on the original model.
It occured to me, suppose the devil is in the details?
Suppose that is infact how the Enterprise would appear in the coldness of space with true ambiant lighting?
Based on contemporary video and photographs of say the Space Shuttle in orbit, it seems that’s the look that is being striven for.
So perhaps what is being critiqued as flat and plain looking is intentional, and this is how the Enterprise would be illuminated truly orbiting a planet.
And another point, Im sorry, but if I hear “In a mirror darkly” Enterprise one more time I’m going to vomit.
THAT rendering of the Defiant is what looked like a ILM rejected animatic, no offense to anyone that worked on it of course.
People repeatedly praise and exalt the Defiant as some sort of watershed CGI creation but, to my eye for detail, when it appeared in the asteroid drydock it was the absolute epitome of CGI cartoonishness. Some of the Ships of the Line calendar stills looked better than the CGI Defiant.
Let’s keep some perspective here.
I don’t want REAL Star Trek to look anything remotely like any of it’s progenitors. ESPECIALLY “ENTERPRISE. ” No God no.
It should be remembered and pointed out that CBS/Paramount didn’t have to do this project. I think it was a bold and refreshing notion, and Daren in many ways is the catalyst for that.
If we are debating the execution of it, I honestly do not see what was truly so inferior or substandard?
1. The nacelle domecaps – Even in the original series the appearance was more muted and less vibrant. I think people’s perception of the Enterprise D’s glowing red caps is interfering with their perception of how TOS Enterprise caps appeared.
2. “he lighting of the models – if we are going for realism, as opposed to novelty or style, when would a green, blue, or purple light shine on the hull of the Enterprise?
In real life, the Enterprise would infact appear flat and matted in the cold of space, with stark contrasting shadows just as depicted. We finally
SEE the true color of the Enterprise hull, yet people complain? Model builders have been waiting 40 years for that moment and reality.

I think people are entirely too hard to please today and accustomed to 100 million dollar budgets. If these reactions are the norm, the Okuda’s must be feeling very unappreciated by now.
It was mentioned above Paramount should read these comments.
Yes, perhaps they should, and decide to cancel the project and never release Trek in HD. Why bother when everyone is an expert and only criticizes what you spend your whole week working on.
Not enough magic and too much intellect and analysis, thats the problem with society today.

33. Jeff Bond - September 18, 2006

“only criticizes what you spend your whole week working on”…I couldn’t have said it better than that! :)

I’m glad somebody liked the work. It’s true that particularly with this project, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone. But again…is the goal to translate this program to a younger audience or to slavishly duplicate the original effects? And I would argue that so far neither has been accomplished. I’m hopeful this is not the last word but if the goal is to create a library of shots I wish the shots I’m apparently going to see repeated forever were of a higher quality…

34. kirok - September 18, 2006

balance of terror looked great……but for the very fake looking starship enterprise,and the worse looking than the original romuian bird of prey.

cbs/paramount ?….you screwed up…and big time!

35. Axinar - September 18, 2006

I think it was mainly that they were trying to stay faithful to the original rather than go with the whole “Episode IV” bit or, at an extreme, the new Galactica.

36. kirok - September 18, 2006

Sorry folks!
Reality time here!

While the non fx portion of the show looked fabulous…..
The new old cgi ship barely looked better than the fake amt enterprise model redressed as the constellation in the doomsday machine vs. the horn -o-plenty…in space filmed in 1967!

Your right!….they SHOULD cancel this so called “remastering” of trek if this is the best they can do!

It was patheticaly bad what they did to MY beloved Enterprise Starship!

37. Helper Monkey - September 18, 2006

It’s funny to see comments about the CG Enterprise looking “fake” as if an 11-foot wood and plastic MODEL wasn’t also fake. They both look “fake” to a certain degree. It’s head scratching to see comments about nacelle dome colors being off when the original model typically changed color from shot to shot all the time (even shape, depending on what stock footage of which version they’re showing). What kind of realism are you guys looking for? This is a show with cardboard sets and rubber aliens! I think the effects integrated nicely with the original footage — which is the real test of their effectiveness. Nothing new jerked me out of the feel of the original show. They just looked cleaner, slightly more detailed and a bit more colorful — just like the restored original footage. I say nice job!

38. Josh - September 18, 2006

Evidently some stations elected to air episodes of ENTERPRISE instead of the remastered Trek, that is the only possible justification I can come up with for such venom being spewed . And here we thought Star Wars fans were behaving ridiculously.

39. kirok - September 18, 2006

The new cgi Starship Enterprise looked like crap!…thats the biggest problem, mister!

40. Helper Monkey - September 18, 2006

Kirok, HOW was it crap? Lay it out in detail because the ship I saw was identical to the original model in proportion and detail. Even Daren admits that saucer shot was terrific. What was wrong about it that made it so “patheticaly bad”?

41. Q's Younger Smarter Brother - September 18, 2006

Like one of the “remastering” guys said in one of the downloadable video interviews — it was just going to be a from-the-negatives HD transfer and they thought they could do something about the space effects without spending much more money. Mission accomplished and the old Star Trek looks good.

It’s the same problem in video games. Gamers like their old favorites to look all bright and shiny with the newer graphics technologies. And then when they get it, it doesn’t look like their old games anymore.

You can’t go home again … :(

42. Zora - September 18, 2006

..”In the language of the planet”

….”heres my beef!”

That the ships looked REALLY fake, and the new so called fx really were lame. I am sorry Okuda…really I am for your reputation in fx was great till now.

However the one good/great “thing” was the HD transfer made…it looked like it was a brand new show!

For the first time since the series began it made it worth watching.

Paramount should go back to the drawing board on the good Starship Enterprise and all the other fx and try try again, okay?

The Fred Frieburger third season TOS fx from the 68-69 season episodes looked far more “real” and better than anything shown this past weekend on this so called newly fx’ed old/new Trek, and why are those 1969 shots better, I dont know why but they look more real than the 1966 shots!

I hope somebody at CBS/Paramount is reading this and other comments before they ruin the old Trek by restoring all the “cheese” that make todays audiences laugh at the cardboard fx cheesily restored to nothing any better, and all the “hype” for these so called new cgi fxed Starship Enterprise!

Nice clear transfers though.

43. Mister Atoz - September 19, 2006

..Sorry Zora.. your statement “However the one good/great “thing” was the HD transfer made…it looked like it was a brand new show! For the first time since the series began it made it worth watching.” pretty much nullifies the rest of your post.

If you don’t think the episodes were worth watching, from the beginning, just because the prints were drab or the FX weren’t up to ILM standards, you clearly don’t “get” the appeal of Star Trek anyway. Fortunately, a LOT of people dissagreed with you and made TOS a 40 year, world-wide, phenomenon, not to mention multi-billion dollar franchise……. “cheese” and all. Call me crazy, but I have a funny feeling classic Trek will do just fine without your support….just as it has for the past 4 decades.

44. Jeff Bond - September 19, 2006

…and yes, an 11-foot model DOES look better than this CG ship! Again, it’s the level of texture, the motion, and as Daren pointed out, the lenses used, that gives the original miniature a “weight” that the CG ship hasn’t demonstrated yet. Compositing is another matter although that was not really a major problem by the time they got to mid-second season.

I’m still looking forward to seeing more of this as there should definitely be the capacity to upgrade what we’re seeing as a library of shots is built. And it doesn’t have to look like Star Trek – TMP but if this is going to be done (and since the originals will always be accessible), why not have a little more fun with it? At this point, especially given the syndication cuts, I’d still rather watch the originals…at least they’re the best they can be given the limitations of their budget and technology.

45. Zora - September 19, 2006

Hey A to Z oz,

I was watching Star Trek when your great grandfather was in diapers!…
lol…

look…my only gripe is that they could be doing the shots of the Enterprise, no bloody A-B-C-D ..OR E ALOT BETTER UNDER Okuda’s usually realible hands.

I was a on the Star Trek Welcomitee in 1973-75, and worked the first convention for Trek back in NYC, and was also a friend of Joan Winston, who was Mr Roddenberry’s assistant from 1968-1970.

I am not bragging…just clearifying (I hope) why I want the revamped TOS to be the very BEST it can and should be, and why not?

We have HDTV and When they start showing it I dont want people to be leaving the room in laughter over the less than great shots of the good Starship E, on her never ending 5 ….errr make that..
(3) year mission …that ended first run on June 3rd 1969.

peace love and hope…. for better fx from here on out…

46. Anthony Pascale - September 19, 2006

I am really pleased to see so many comments coming from so many quarters. Just a reminder to try and keep the commentary civil and not personal…this isn’t aimed at anyone in particular. TrekMovie.com comments (and our soon to open forums) hopes to have a higher level of debate and dicussion than your typical Trek forum. If we can achieve this then hopefully people like Daren and Jeff Bond (author of The Music of Star Trek and all around Trek expert) will continue to participate. And hopefully we can attract more folks working in and around Trek…maybe even some Trek XIers.

47. David J. Bondelevitch - September 19, 2006

I wrote up some comments on my blog, feel free to read them.

dB’s Blog

I pretty much agree with everything Daren wrote, but my opinion is little more relieved that they didn’t do TOO MUCH, rather than being let down that they didn’t try more.

48. Rebel11_38 - September 20, 2006

I have just learned about Star Trek Enhanced and now Star Trek Remastered. I must say after obtaining a cipy of the first new episode “Balance of Terror” I am disappointed. I really found Darren’s work, i.e. Star Trek Enhanced not only looks better, but also shows off better what modern technology can do to make an older series with dated effects appeal to a younger audience. I know that if I hadn’t grown up with Star Trek, I certainly wouldn’t opt to watch the TOS over one of the newer spin-offs like Enterprise.

Star Trek Enhanced pushed the envelope further going as far as changing angles and making it look more like its modern counterparts. I liked what he did there. He also made the ship elements blend together better than Star Trek Remastered. I wondered a few times while watching STRM if the ship coming into view was an untextured model because it looked so cheap. The ships really just don’t look good to me. I know a lot of this has to do with lighting as has been pointed out before, but the computer models in both STE and STRM lack the character of the actual model originally used in the series. In a show like Enterprise the realism is less important because everything in the show is flashy. The problem in these special editions is that while the ship is a new flashy CGI, the rest of the show lacks that flash. It provides a stark contrast between scenes. I’m sure I’ll say this more than once here, but the way they added new effects to ST:TMP was prefect. They modernized bits and pieces of it and yet made it all look like it could have been created in 1979. CBS shoudl strive for this kind of work in their new endeavor.

It was said here before that perhaps the Studio is hedging its bed with how far they are willing to take the updates. It has also been noted that since the originals have been preserved on DVD, then they should feel more freedom to experiment more. I must say that I agree with both of these ideas and would love to see how far they could take it. Unfortunately, no matter what happens in the near future, it doesn’t look like Mr. Dochterman is going to be involved in it. Leave it to a big corporation to take the good ideas and hard work of the little guy and capitalize on them.

I think it bodes well for Star Trek to try getting people interested in Star Trek again by rereleasing them this way. I wouldn’t even mind seeing some Star Trek TNG episodes updated. The first few seasons are looking almost as dated as the original series now. What I would really like to see though, and I’m sure many people aren’t going to agree with me, is Star Trek TOS updated to resemble more of their later spin-offs. A new theme song and series score in the veing of TNG, DS9, or VOY. Tone down some of the colors on those old sets and throw some effects lighting at it to make it look less cheesy. Also, add some set extension to some of the more simple looking planets they visit. It was done in ST :TMP and looked fantastic (remember Vulcan?). This is something that fans could even do with a good knowledge of special effects and a good work horse at home.

All in all, I think that everything that is being done is going to make more of a market for the next Star Trek movie so let’s hope that it does well. I know I would like to more Star Trek in the future, on both screens.

49. Rob - September 20, 2006

I watched it back to back with the original and it looks as if the effects were not the only thing they changed, there were chunks of dialog that were missing ?
These edits did take some of the dramatic effect away, so why did they do this ? were Kirk’s speeches too corny or was this done to make it fit in with the adverts ?

50. Stu - September 20, 2006

I agree Darren, ”ho hum” sums up my feelings. The preview said my mouth would be watering, it wasn’t.

Incase they do a bad job of The Doomsday Machine is there any chance of one day finishing it up for the fans?

Thanks man.

51. ZardoZ The TechMage - September 20, 2006

These 3d CGI Fx are VERY VERY VERY BAD!

Looks like that a fan made it (but have good points, like the planets, stars, comets….) The ships are too low detailed. I think that the people expect mroe details, similar to ENT or Voy… but not .. this !!!!

I see much better fan work in http://www.scifi-meshes.com.

And not need a lot of money and Industrial Light&Magic to do a cool 3d CGI efects … for example, I do a very realistic 3d CGI Phton Torpedo that lloks very identical to the great TMP Photon Torps … and i only have a low-power PC and only im a fan …..

52. George P. Wansor - September 20, 2006

I am a 40 year old male, and am familiar with Star Trek the Original Series.

My Nephews are staying with me awhile and I decided to introduce them to a Sci-Fi Show I grew up with.

They watch Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, and Stargate. (12 and 14).

I thought an introduction to the new HD/CGI Star Trek was just the thing.

After we had watched the Balance of Terror, the boys had enjoyed the crew and their interactions, but when exciting parts came up such as (Firing the Phasers, & the Nuke Explosion). The correct word they used was “Weak”. What I saw as a good remake of the series, they saw it differently. To them the colors inside the ship where bright and cool, they noticed the ceiling lights on the bridge where even different colors, the ladies in skirts where nice, the Captain and Story where good, (who would win, who would lose.).

It was the Space scenes that where not to their liking. My Nephews have grown up on Space Scene Battles with effects of the hit, colors of explosion, and Space looking Bold and Vast in the Background. They wanted to see the Enterprise swing around and fire, they wanted the Romulan Warbird to come out of its Cloak in a “Cool” fashion. At the end of the show, they thought that is how I saw it back in the 70’s and that nothing changed.

They tell me the Story inside the ship would not be lost if the story outside the ship was brought to match it. They said it would make the overall show even better.

Well if the goal is to catch the next generation, I think the effects need to be better and more up to date with what is out their.

Maybe my Nephews have it right and that the Great Story with the Great Characters should not be afraid of Great effects.

Will they watch the next one with Uncle – Time will tell.

I know I will, but Star Trek cannot survive off of the old.

Signed
George P. Wansor
Las Vegas, NV.

53. Giuseppe - September 20, 2006

Very interesting point made by George P. Wansor – the ship, the crew, the stories are just as great for a young audience as they were for 40-50 year old fans when they first saw the show. The only problem is the FX; when you grow up with the new Battlestar Galactica it’s hard to go back to what was adequate in the late ’60s.
Older fans are probably satisfied with the way TOS was originally made, but what is to do with the young audience? You need more to attract them than some new FX that do a poor job of imitating the original ’60s FX. For me it does seem like a missed opportunity.

54. Rob - September 20, 2006

I’d always hoped that if they’d ever done it, they’d try to at least match the look of what we saw in the films, like the texture on the ship. Keep the original designs (perhaps a few nods to the Enterprise-A), but at least try to create a consistant look for the entire franchise.

55. Rob - September 20, 2006

Oh, and are they going to add the DS9 crew to background of The Trouble With Tribbles?? If Odo ain’t in the background when Chekov and Uhura are in the bar, or Bashir and O’Brien aren’t in the line-up after the fight, I’ll be mad!!! :)

56. nws - September 21, 2006

I dont belive how bad quality of special effects and flying objects they can make with that amount of MONEY and EQUIMENT in year of 2006!

Watch this Star Trek parody trailer (Star Wreck) below, which has been made in “amateur- home-made- level”. Compare quality of those flying objects and lighting.

Straight link to trailer (MPEG-2 DVD-Quality) (106mb):

http://www.starwreck.com/media/itp/star_wreck_itp_trailer_mpeg2.mpg

More about this project with full movie you can find here:

http://www.starwreck.com

57. ROBERT CANARY - September 21, 2006

I did not like the fly by where the Enterprise comes from the left side of the screen, and banks left…I think it looked hokey…but for the most part I liked what I saw…and I liked MIRI, even though all they did was use a real cool looking Earth effect rather than the ‘globe’ shot we got in the 60s…

But yes..I agree..DOOMSDAY is either going to be really good..or really bad..I can’t see any middle ground on that one..

ROBERT

58. Jewels (AKA Julian) - September 21, 2006

reflections on TOS Enhanced “Balance of Terror”

Good:
1) The Digital Transfers were top notch. Well worth the wait.
2)CGI Enterprise: Good work on keeping the original look and scale.
3) Sound remastering: Much better.

Bad:
1) Syndication cuts: These were godawful (but since the new DVD’s will be coming out, I can’t complain too much) and JARRING for even a person who hadn’t seen the episode (had a buddy go, “Did they make a bad cut somewhere? Did I miss something?” Guy’s review your synidcation cuts if you are trying to push this remaster. Sheesh

Nits
1) ‘Bouncy’ Romulan ship: recheck when the Romulan first decloaks on it’s assault run against the asteroid. It’s like it crests a hill then drops. What was that?
2) Cloaking device: I dunno….the Romulan old school cloak looks weird.

Suggestion: Considering the shoestring budget of the original series, I think we can afford to fart up the backgrounds and various exterior shots of the original series a little bit.
If the Big E is around a planet that supposed to be technologically advanced or a major starbase, how about a few sattilites or ships in the background just to make the place look a little more busy. It won’t really detract from the story and might adda bit more depth to the show

59. ZardoZ The TechMage - September 22, 2006

Here is a MUCH BETTER ENTERPRISE model. And was doing for a fanfilm.

http://www.startrekexcalibur.com/SPFX.htm

60. Josh - September 22, 2006

you are joking right? That screams of mid 90’s CGI.

The official CGI Enterprise at the very least looks like the model it is emulating.

61. Brady Taylor - September 22, 2006

whose seen starship exeters planet background for the tresarrian incident …ie,where the uss kongo wrecked…id like to see some new planet background rather that those colored walls they were using on tos…in that fanfilm it actually looks like they are on a strange new planet.

62. Rob Lincoln - September 22, 2006

I think both the ship in that startrek excalibur and the exeter show are awful. Just goes to show u there is no accounting to taste.

63. Stu, from the UK - September 23, 2006

One thing that concerned me the most was the way they decided to do the phasers and proximity phasers. I just saw Darrens take on them on his site, and yes that makes sense. I was quite suprised myself when I went back to watch the original Balance Of Terror to see that it looked like they had been more creative with the proximity phasers than the CBS remastered effort. What concerned me about it is that anybody, a fan, would have seen that as something to take special care with. So are these guys working on the CBS versions fans? Or hacks.

By the way Darren I watched the TMP DVD again on thursday. Only the second time I’d watched it time since I bought it a few years ago, and watching the documentary about the directors cut edition has just as much wow factor now as it did 5 years ago. You looked a bit younger as well. Why can’t that team of people be working on this project I thought to myself.

64. Mr_Niemand - September 25, 2006

If they wanted the recreate the look of the original effects for HD, why did they have to do CGI effects of the ships. With the Original Series having just a few minutes of stock effect shots being reused over the whole three seasons, motion control work would not have been that expensive and would have given the Remastered version more of a movie-like look. Think of the motion control effects of the starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Even after more than 25 years those shots of the ship look fantastic. Just image how good these effects in the remastered versions would be, if they were model shots (like the TNG effect shots of the Enterprise but in HiDef).

65. Billyboy - December 18, 2006

Hey, just saw it for first time. Kirk says fire phasers and they STILL show photon topedoes!!! What gives?

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