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Producer: Trek Remastered Is Getting A New Enterprise October 18, 2006

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Interview,TOS Remastered,Uncategorized , trackback

TrekMovie got some time with Trek Remastered Producer David Rossi to talk about how the project is going and where they are going next.

Like any Trek endeavor, the CGI-enhanced Trek Remastered project has spawned much discussion. In general the show has been well received. The re-recorded theme and the digital transfers get a lot of praise. Much of the CGI work like the new matte paintings and planets have gone over quite well, and some of the live action touches have been pleasant surprises.  However, much discussion has focused on how CBS have been digitally recreating Kirk’s classic Enterprise. Many seem to feel that the team have not got it quite right yet, but what may surprise the critics is that the producers at CBS agree. "It is not that we are unhappy with the work, but it is not yet the Enterprise as we want to see it" says Dave Rossi, going on "we want it to be there as much as everybody else does." And this is not just talk; the team has a plan…and a new model.

Not enough time and too much detail
The reasons for the Enterprise not meeting the most exacting standards are twofold. Firstly there is the matter of time. The CBS team only had one month to deliver the first 2 episodes with over 120 new effects shots. "People need to understand the amazing amount of work these guys had to do from a dead stop," says Rossi. Secondly the team started with a model of the Enterprise that was in essence ‘too good’. It had detail all the way down to the nuts and bolts which you would never see, and the problem is that it takes forever for their computers to render the shots. Rossi explains, "It was taking time from us to do the lighting and the things that make the Enterprise shine." Together these things gave the team little to no time to make the changes they felt were necessary.

A ‘new’ Enterprise for Trek Remastered
Things have settled down a bit for the team now that they have done a few episodes, but the biggest change is that they have a brand new digital model of the Enterprise. This week a new model with less of the render hungry (but invisible) detail is being delivered to the Trek Remastered team. Rossi says the new ship will cut down the render time dramatically and free up time to ‘do some of those cool things’ that they have wanted to do. "We will have time time to test lighting, coloring, and yes…those nacelle caps," says Rossi, "it is going to totally change the process, we are very excited about it." The team is so up on their new model that they hope to go back to some previously done shots and redo them. It is a welcome sign that the team is willing to make these improvements going forward (and backward). Many of those early shots get re-used throughout the series (an example would be the plastic-looking ‘left turn shot‘ seen last week in ‘I,Mudd’, which is a reuse of one of the first shots the team made for ‘Miri’). Due to the lead time in putting together an episode, the ‘new’ Enterprise won’t be making its debut until November.

More shots and more ships
Not only is the Enterprise getting a new look, it is also going to continue to show off new moves that were impossible to do with a physical model. "In the original series you only see it in 17 poses, we are going to give you 50 or 60," says Rossi. In addition to the Enterprise the team is also working on a number of new ships. Just last week they started working on the Khan’s Botany Bay for ‘Space Seed’ and according to Rossi it is going to get spruced up, or more accurately spruced down.” It is going to look like it has been in space all those years, it is going to be pitted and have scarring on it," says Rossi. Beyond that the team are also going to start creating some ship models for brand new ships, for example a new Gorn ship for ‘Arena’, an Orion ship for ‘Journey to Babel’ and a new freighter for ‘the Ultimate Computer’. The team feels that they should not be constrained to the same limits as the original effects team that often ran out of time and money. "Our job is to do ships, so why not give people ships," says Rossi enthusiastically.

And more ‘little surprises’
One thing that has been a pleasant surprise is the little changes in some of the shows, such as  the android’s new innards in ‘I’Mudd’ or Sulu’s new chronometer in ‘The Naked Time’. These live action touches were not part of the original mandate for the show which was supposed to focus solely on replacing space shots and matte paintings. According to Rossi, when he and fellow producers Mike and Denise Okuda first look at the show they start thinking about what to fix and what they can convince the CBS Digital effects team to do in the time they have: "there are always things in each episode where you go ‘oh that looks bad I wish we could do something.’" Their  priority will always be the space and matte shots, but when there is time they will always strive for more. "We are all very passionate about it and want to do everything we can, it is just a matter of having the time to do it," explains Rossi. This weekend keep your eyes on the Gorn in ‘Arena’ for another one of these touches.

Getting their space legs
The Trek Remastered team has been up and running for almost 3 months and has gone through some growing pains. The producers admit that with more time and money things would have gone smoother, but as Rossi points out "anyone who’s ever worked in series television will tell you that there’s never enough time. That’s the nature of the beast. We always complain about inadequate time, but CBS Digital is stepping up to the plate like the professionals that they are." One thing is for sure, Rossi and the Okudas have the respect, dedication and eye for detail that Trek deserves. The rest of the CBS Digital team has been on a learning curve, but it appears that they are getting the hang of it and the new model should be a big help. There are dozens more episodes to go, with a projected completion of all 79 in early 2008. TrekMovie wishes the team good luck and, of course, we will be there every step of the way to keep track of their progress.

 

More on Trek Remastered:
Info Page/FAQ | Episode Guide/pics/vids/reviews | Stations & Showtimes | News

Comments

1. mars396 - October 18, 2006

uh oh

it sounds like they’ve gone and effed with the Gorn’s eyes.

not good…..

2. Daren R. Dochterman - October 18, 2006

I’m encouraged.

3. Matt Wright - October 18, 2006

Well this is good news to hear all around. Thanks for awsome scoop Tony!

4. Fortyseven - October 18, 2006

It’s encouraging to hear that the work on the episodes we’ve seen so far aren’t etched in stone and can be gone back to and improved upon still. This makes the whole deal far more intereresting to me. :)

5. Eric Augst - October 18, 2006

GREAT!! AWESOME NEWS!!!

6. Paul Austin - October 18, 2006

i’m really psyched about the new new enterprise

7. ety3 - October 18, 2006

Sounds good.

Now, looking ahead, I really hope they do something about Sylvia and Korob’s true alien appearances at the end of “Catspaw.” I mean, wow. I hope they take the initiative and create something brand new there.

8. Plum - October 18, 2006

“The CBS team only had one month to deliver the first 2 episodes with over 120 new effects shots.” …

Holy great bird of the galaxy! That’s a LOT of work in very little time.

9. David - October 18, 2006

i just hope they make live action phasers updated along with all the other “little surprises”

10. mars396@hotmail.com - October 18, 2006

Forgive my negative post (#1) – despite the possible CGI Gorn creature, I am pleased the Powers That Be are remastering the Remastered Enterprise, addressing our issues (nacelles, etc.)

It sounds like they are listening to us and hearing what we have to say.

So…………….. Here’s my wishlist (in airdate/Remastered Production order):

Arena: a Gorn starship, but no effing with the Gorn himself !

Catspaw: the puppets of Sylvia and Koreb replaced with CGI creatures (we are all but guaranteed this) but with the original sound effects

The Trouble with Tribbles: A Klingon Battlecruiser, but not with that God-Aweful “Asteking” done in Trials and Tribble-ations Or that silly plating done in Balance of Terror Remastered: Just a smooth hulled, TOS-era Klingon Battlecruiser ! ! ! And no CGI tribbles !! ! !

And for my favourite episode of all time, Mirror, Mirror:
The ISS Enterprise must must MUST be way overdone with Mirror Universe insignia and colors (red NOT yellow) – it is the Mirror Universe for God’s sake !!!! – look at how the uniforms and the interior were redesigned for that episode – certainly the ship’s exterior would be equally garishly over-decorated! !!

11. jonboc - October 18, 2006

Sounds like there is much to look forward to. I’m really glad to hear that the Enterprise is going to be tweaked more, I mean after going through the trouble to get all those measurements from the Smithsonian to build an accurate model, it’s ashame to not light it properly and correctly capture the multicolored magic of those nacelle caps. These guys are clearly in a time crunch and to take this extra step, that is above and beyond the call of duty, is a good sign indeed.
With Okuda in charge I never doubted they were in hands, I was just puzzled by some of the changes and why they weren’t better. Now I know. You can do anything with enough time and money…when you don’t have either, it makes it a little rough.
Also, I think the eyes of the gorn is the one place where they can really make the reptile come alive wihtout jacking around too much with Wah Chang’s brilliant suit. And with all due respect to Wah Chang…his suit is wonderful, the muscle structure is great…but the silver styofoam balls need to go as far as I’m concerned. I mean, the eyes can give so much emotion…it’s the perfect place to breath more life into that suit. Can’t wait to see it. And a Gorn ship too? I’m jazzed, bring it on!

12. Ralph - October 18, 2006

I look forward to what they have to offer.

13. Ralph - October 18, 2006

Hmm… I guess they have been reading these boards like the rest of us.

14. Ralph F - October 18, 2006

So, does this mean they’ll go back and re-remaster the eps they’ve already done with a better ENTERPRISE?

15. tuc - October 18, 2006

good news, but sounds like they won’t be preserving the colored starfields

16. tuc - October 18, 2006

So does this explain the real reason the show isn’t yet available in HD? The rendering was taking too long even at 720×480.

17. Toonloon - October 18, 2006

I can’t wait for The Cloudminers. There could be some breathtaking new footage to give you the sense of height. Plus that Trogladyte falling to his death was one of the worst effects in our beloved TOS, IMO.

18. Donn - October 18, 2006

I’ll believe the re-remastering of the ship when I see it.
If they get a detail like the reddish ring around the primary hull behind the deflector dish right, I’ll know they’ve done their homework.
(YOU know what I’m talking about, Daren!)

19. Cranston - October 18, 2006

I’m very encouraged by all of this — particularly the sense that they’re (a) listening to fan opinion, and (b) deciding that they won’t have to be quite so slavishly constrained to the look of the original effects. I, for one, have been very happy with the little “surprises” like the Horta burn-through effect and Norman’s upgraded innards. I’m really looking forward to what they’ve got in store for some of the more effects-heavy episodes, particularly the ones where important parts of the story are told with FX (I’m thinking Doomsday Machine here, but also The Menagerie).

I think we all have specific “little surprises” we hope to see. For me, I’ll be happy with the entire Remastered effort if I get to see real, honest-to-god birds of prey painted on the bellies of those Klingon-designed cruisers in “The Enterprise Incident.” Make them the kind of vessels any self-respecting Romulan would be proud of.

20. Greg Stamper - October 18, 2006

Terrific, Terrific News. When I saw the Dave Rossi Interview on G4 weeks ago I believed what he said. I feel he has the passion. With this additional report all things are certainly looking up!
Mr. Pascale — Great Work.

21. MichaelT - October 18, 2006

It’s nice to see positive comments on this topic. I agree with nearly all the “wish list” above me… except the Gorn. I disliked that suit from the start.. No offense to Mr. Chang.. he was working in a different era and a different budget. I’d like to see a CGI Gorn.. similar to ENT’s version. We have the technology.. let’s rebuild him. I don’t agree with this replacement in every case, but Mr. Gorn needs a more realistic look… and just as dusty and dirty as Kirk got battling him.

22. Lee Qwan Crotus -Garth-of Isar - October 18, 2006

oooh right on! and i TRULY cant WAIT till The Enterprose Incident”, and Elayn of Troyus, redone!!!!!!

23. Daren R. Dochterman - October 18, 2006

Yes, Donn… I know what you’re talking about. lol

But it’s on the Secondary hull. :)

Yeah, like I said ages and ages ago… Dave Rossi and the Okudas hearts are in the right place… and it’s due to the insane schedule they had to face with CBS Digital that the problems occurred.

I can’t wait to see what they do for the Fesarius.

But please, let’s not see a CGI Gorn similar to ENT’s version. I’d be open to a head replacement though… (for the gorn I mean, no snide comments there) As long as when it’s still it looks exactly the same.

24. Phillip - October 18, 2006

Hi, all, my first post. Daren, if you’re out there, since you do know the Okudas, I am rather sorry that they didn’t purchase your model or work with you. I didn’t know you had created a concept “Star Trek Enhanced” until I stumbled on Trekmovie.com, and looked at the news for “Remastered” and saw EdenFX’s work. At any rate, I think it’s obvious that your work, to use a TNG title, was “The Best of Both Worlds”, your Enterprise having the lighting and some of the aspects of self-illumination that Trumbull employed in Star Trek – The Motion Picture.

So, I wonder indeed if there was an issue of “too much detail”; but, since Roddenberry himself was pleased to have state of the art motion control employed in TMP (e.g., John Dykstra’s shot of the Klingon ships in the opening sequence and the entire dry dock sequence of Enterprise), I have no idea why CBS/Paramount is slavishing imitating the work of men pushing a heavy camera on wheels because that was the technology available in the 1960s!

The one word “plastic” in the review of “I, Mudd” here says it all. Too bad Foundation Imaging is gone; your team’s work was terrific on TMP Director’s Edition and Voyager. Too bad you didn’t get a crack at a Director’s Edition of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Yes, I know it was a sow’s ear of a film, in some respects, but those visuals effects were awful.

In any event, I hope the Enterprise shots do improve, and I do regret Daren R. is not involved. We can only hope — even if I don’t care for the “windsock” Doomsday Machine

25. Phillip - October 18, 2006

CGI Gorn – well, I thought the one in Enterprise was not nearly as good a CGI character as Species 8472; it looked less convincing than a man in a suit, but must have been cheaper.

And what about the hairy, gas mask faced salt sucking monster from THE MAN TRAP? Of course, realistic character CGI, the gold standard for me is Gollum by Weta Digital, must take major computer power and time. And again, the mandate was only for miniature shots.

The opening sequence in POSEIDON by ILM perhaps uses Daren’s Lightwave model, but I suppose they added much more detail? Interesting that minatures are a dying art, perhaps.

My point – I suspect Macs could do the work well on this show, but perhaps it takes time that the show doesn’t have. I didn’t see detail on the Enterprise model used on Remastered so far.

We’ll have to see. My final thoughts — I wish the team was a little more bold in the shots of the ships. The *camera* doing a barrel roll over Enterprise wouldn’t bother me in the least! :)

26. Kirks1701A - October 18, 2006

It’s terrific that they’re going to take the time to go back and do the Enterprise correctly. I give them a lot of credit for going back to episodes they’ve already touched up and applying the new model there as well.

It’s the look of the Enterprise that’s made me not really accept this variation of TOS so far. Hopefully, this will resume my one-time excitement for the remastered versions.

One of the episodes I’m most looking forward to is “The Ultimate Computer.” If they don’t constrain themselves too much by trying to duplicate the existing material, there should be plenty of opportunity there for incredible starship sequences.

27. Phillip - October 18, 2006

Just in case any viewer’s haven’t seen Daren Doc’s work, the url is below, or search for “trek enhanced” on Yahoo or Google or whatever.

I hope the new model is as good as his!

28. Bob L - October 18, 2006

So far, these new effects add little to nothing to TOS. It was a great program because of the Actors,writers and great characters. Not the fx.

29. Gene's Ghost - October 18, 2006

Come on, the Gorn’s eyes were “effed” to begin with. Any improvement would be a welcomed one.

I’m just glad they’re finally fixing those hard candy “peppermint” nacelle caps.

I’m a wintergreen man myself. ; )

30. Shatmandu - October 18, 2006

“This weekend keep your *eyes* on the Gorn in ‘Arena’ for another one of these touches.”

Surely *that’s* a big enough clue for us, right? For goodness sake . . .

Joe, sakey

31. EBAR - October 18, 2006

This is GREAT NEWS! Let’s just hope they spend as much time as is needed to do it right.

If the effects people have too much work to do to deliver quality effects under the current timeline, they should revise the release schedule. We don’t need a newly remastered episode every week, we need quality special effects–regardless of how long it takes to get them done properly.

32. TomBot2006 - October 18, 2006

While I agree it’s all about the Actors, Writers and Story… I think the effect tweaking of Remasterd has added a new interest, even if it’s a debate over the merits of it or it’s execution. So far, I’ve agreed with a lot of the suggestions… 1) Yes, tweak the heck out of the I.S.S. Enterprise 2)Yes, replace the aliens from Cat’sPaw 3) Yes, make the Romulan D-7’s look Romulan instead of Klingon Army Surplus …. eh, well, about the Gorn, yes the old one’s kinda like a Land of the Lost Sleestak, but I didn’t care too much for Enterprise’s Hyper Spaz Gorn either. Tweaking the eyes, putting a little life in his skin tone, and keeping the jist of what he was then… maybe, but if that can’t be done sanely… just leave him alone.
Anyway, I would encourage the Remaster Team to push even more…
Me likey.

33. Paul Austin - October 18, 2006

I’m looking forward to the ‘de-contamination’ of the planet in “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” will they fit the cg model with tanks??

34. Alex - October 18, 2006

I am super excited about this but will it still look like our Enterprise?

35. Granger - October 18, 2006

Happy happy joy joy…this is most encouraging news. And I am SO grateful they are taking the time and money to fix some of the most egregious booboos and budget constraints in the old series. Almost every episode so far has had a little tweak that fixed a long-standing technological/effects blooper or snafu. I haven’t had this much fun watching Trek in years – makes me salivate for a future uncut high-def version.

36. Ralph - October 18, 2006

I wonder if the sales of Star Trek memorabilia had anything to do with the upgrade-upgrade. Kinda puts Star Trek in the “spends lots of money” genera. Television shows like the Discovery Channel has proved over and over again that the fan base are kids to fanatic adults and Professionals including NASA engineers. :)

37. THETrekMaster - October 18, 2006

I have to say I am VERY impressed with what the Okudas, Rossi and CBS Digital are doing. I knew they would improve things. I would bet that these will look excellent by the time these remastered episodes make it to DVD.

Good to hear they have upgraded the NCC-1701 and fixed the nacelles…now maybe Daren will be happy (crosses fingers)…;-)

As for the Gorn’s eyes…DEFINITELY needed work!!!! Definitely needed work and I am glad CBS Digital is doing something with that. The gold unblinking beaded eyes from the 60’s just don’t do it anymore folks.

It is going to be so cool to FINALLY, finally see the Gorn ship, the Orion ship and the other revised ships!

Excellent stuff, CBS!!!

38. Joshua P. Allem - October 18, 2006

This is good news but not all of the problems have been confined to the Enterprise itself but with it’s movement. In the remastered theme for season 2, the animation of the Enterprise is too slow! It’s supposed to be moving at warp speed, so fast that it’s a blurry streek accross the screen! Now it looks like a little kid is playing with his toy starship.

I’m also afraid another problem will be ignored since many disagree with my views on the new music. I’m posting some of the same comments here that I posted at Daren’s blog because I’m really upset about this and I’ve just got to get it off my chest to all my fellow Trek fans!

I’m going to be just as picky with the new music as we’ve all been with the Enterprise exterior. They have arranged the volume levels of the orchestra in this new opening theme to compliment and accompany the vocalist as if she were singing a solo. But in the original version, the vocal and the instrumentation blended into each other. In this new version, the brass and other instruments are too soft and too weak. The passion of the original music has been lost. After listening to the original season 2 theme and comparing it with the new version, I couldn’t help but notice that even some of the most powerful chords bolted out by the original brass were painfully lacking. I know I sound like I’m being picky about this but they are the ones who told me they were straining to be faithful to the original score. The opening theme to the original Star Trek television series is a part of television history and I got so excisted when I heard they were re-performing it to new recording technology. But the vocal should have been part of the orchestra, not standing out in front of it. In my opinion, they’ve gutted the very essence of the opening theme.

Will they fix this before releasing it on DVD in 2008?

39. THETrekMaster - October 18, 2006

“I’m looking forward to the ‘de-contamination’ of the planet in “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” will they fit the cg model with tanks??”

Personally, I always imagined the Enterprise should fire some kind of small probes or satellites down to the planet — and the probes do the decontaminating. I don’t know…something techy.

What they had in the episode originally was cheesey…just multiple orbit shots and the planet changing color or something like that.

Anyway, lots of things they can do to enhance the episodes…and I really look forward to seeing what they do.

One thing I really wish they would do (time permitting of course) is put in some kind of digital landscape where those cheesy cycloramas are on the planet sets. When they go to a frozen planet, let’s see some ice-covered mountains or glaciers…and they could add digital foreground elements to add scope to the planet sets. This would help get rid of the styrofoam rocks look a great deal.

40. THETrekMaster - October 18, 2006

“The opening theme to the original Star Trek television series is a part of television history and I got so excisted when I heard they were re-performing it to new recording technology. But the vocal should have been part of the orchestra, not standing out in front of it. In my opinion, they’ve gutted the very essence of the opening theme.”

I have pretty much every recording of the theme song that there is and I have yet to hear one that duplicates what was used during the three seasons of the show perfectly. Maybe part of that is actually some kind of flaw in modern recording techniques?

TTM

41. Josh - October 18, 2006

I think this is bull**** and a prime example of why the internet should play no part in creative decisions for any artistic endeavor.

There wasn’t a damn thing wrong with the CGI Enterprise they have been using and only anal retentive, obsessive compulsive , perpetual whiners that enjoy reading themselves type complained.

So now they are replacing a MORE detailed CGI model with a less detailed CGI model simply to appease the handful of crybabies on various websites and entertain their notions on what constitutes art,creativity, and visual dynamics.

Utter bull****.

I guess it just goes to show you if you cry loud enough you will be heard.

Bad move Okuda.
Stick to your guns, don’t permit fanboy wankery to interfere with your vision, or more importantly, SHAPE your vision.

42. John A. - October 19, 2006

I don’t think this is bull s*** at all Josh. They are experimenting with what they think looks best. We are still in the infant stages of this project. I’m not surprised that they are making changes to the Enterprise model. The show will only look better for it. Kudos to Okuda and his team!

43. Josh - October 19, 2006

I’m not ridiculing experimentation of the computer model, that was probably already discussed and planned for during the several weeks of repeats,

what I am vehemently opposed to is the surreptitous, audacious presumption of certain segments of fandom to hypocritically assume they speak for the rest of fandom in regards to taste, and the subsequent lobbying mentality to enact some sort of change.

Fandom should NEVER influence, alter, direct, or interfere with an artistic endeavor because the result will ALWAYS be a compromise, a sacrifice of the artists vision in favor of appeasement, and THAT is unmitigated bull****.
Lucas did it, and the Prequel Trilogy suffered for it.
Now Okuda and team are doing it, and we are going to end up with some hybrid low resolution yet attractively illuminated “Enterprise” inspired U.S.S. Defiant carbon copy, which was quite unappealing and entirely reflective of the mediocrity that was Enterprise.

Congratulate yourselves and give your collective pats on the back, you have gotten what you wished for, but as so often occurs in life you are going to find having, is not so good a thing as wanting.

I still maintain there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with the CGI model they were using, it was gorgeous. But just because it was DIFFERENT than what again a certain segment of fandom was accustomed to seeing, they had to cry foul.

Well now I cry foul for artistic and creative compromise.

44. Prof. Know-it-all - October 19, 2006

Just a note on computer models:
they are not doing a “low rez” rendering … they are using a less super-detailed model for their HD quality rendering.

For example:
consider those “bolts” on the Enterprise model — the Enterprise is 3 football fields long, so back away from your computer screen to see 3 football fields worth of a starship from end to end without turning your head; think you can still see the bolts? not unless you are Superman … and that’s another franchise.

45. Prof. Know-it-all - October 19, 2006

Ooh, here’s the BIG starship-sized bolt:

46. Kirks1701A - October 19, 2006

Rather than bowing to fan opinions, it sounds like they are simply replacing a CGI model that has been frustratingly difficult to work with and replacing it with something sleeker that will allow them to do a better job.

Rossi’s quote was, “It is not that we are unhappy with the work, but it is not yet the Enterprise as we want to see it.” He speaks on behalf of the production team, the artsits.

As artists, they are experimenting to find what will work best to suit their needs; not yours, mine, or anyone else’s. Their goal is a quality product, and they appear to be believe that improving the Enterprise will help them in that goal.

Besides, I think the whole artist/creative control argument is out the window in this case. They are, after all, already tampering with someone else’s art.

47. Jim J - October 19, 2006

In post #41, it sounds like you are trying to influence the creative team’s decision and direction YOURSELF! Hmmm…the BS word suddenly comes to mind! I wonder why that word was in my head.

Frankly, I am thrilled they are making these minor changes. It shows that they really are working hard on this to make it right. They say that they were not satisfied, and they are doing something about it! They are doing a great job, it can only now improve to a fantastic job, IMO!!!!

48. jonboc - October 19, 2006

No BS about it, they knew the ship doesn’t look right and they are simply trying to take steps to correct it. It doesn’t take a trained eye to look at the colored spinning nacelle caps from an original episode and the new orange caps of the remastered episodes and see that the effect is quite different. It’s not about “giving in” to the fans, it’s about matching the original engine effect and making it look like it is supposed to look. I applaud OKuda and the CBS team for going the extra mile.

49. DB - October 19, 2006

“There wasn’t a damn thing wrong with the CGI Enterprise they have been using and only anal retentive, obsessive compulsive , perpetual whiners that enjoy reading themselves type complained.”

You’re wrong. The producers knew they had a problem; they’re addressing it. That’s a good thing. The only problem *you* have here is that your repeated insistence that what most other people see and think is not important has been shown up by the people actually responsible for doing this project and who did the work you were satisfied with earlier.

There are no “guns” for anyone at CBS Digital to stick to — they weren’t doing it the way they did before because they thought it was *perfect*, so they’re improving it now that they can. They don’t *want* to go back to the old way. End of story.

As for the “less detailed” model — if you understand how CG models are built and used it won’t be less detailed in any way that will be detectable onscreen.

50. Michael - October 19, 2006

It’s called Continuous Quality Improvement. It’s the process used on all quality production systems by folks who want to continue to deliver an ever increasingly improved product while reducing the time and cost to delivery. This is exactly what I read out of the OP. I did not get the impression that they were toning down the quality but in fact trying to deliver the same quality on a more reasonable time schedule given the amount of time they have per episode – which sounds like a very tight schedule indeed. The hope is to free up time to put more of those little surprise extras in place which everyone is so hip to see – myself included. What makes this so unusual is the promise to go back and replace the older shots with the new CGI model – something that would have been very cost prohibitive using the VFX processes of the 60’s. No doubt they would have like to clean those opticals up a bit more each time or work harder to remove matte lines but had no time of budget to do so.
To the Okuda’s – that you very much for your great work. I look forward to the next installments and very much to the eventual HD DVD releases! If I haven’t done so by then it will prompt me to pick up a HD player. It was Star Trek releases after all that convinced me that the current SD DVS format was here to stay back when it was new.

51. Third Guy - October 19, 2006

As I read these important views I am humbled by speculation on the realities involved in trying to reach a diverse audience. As an older viewer and self-professed curmudgeon, one of the satisfactions I draw from repeated viewings of the Original Series is they serve as a form of comfort, so I appreciate the view that ‘upgrading’ this place of special memories and feelings is a serious matter.

Yet interestingly it is precisely because I reside in the camp that values the storyline I have always cringed at the distracting, poor quality of the original special effects, especially when I invited new friends to a first-time viewing. Inevitably (along with enduring the 60’s male-centered dialog), audiences raised on digital effects simply can’t be expected to suspend disbelief and ‘get into the story’ as they witness for example:

The creaking of the plywood floor on the bridge; an obvious crawling human under the Horta costume; the half croissant Doomsday Machine; echoes reverberating (from the sound stage ceilings) in outdoor planet surface scenes; the Feeders of Vol’s hairdos; the shuttles & alien ships; Sulu’s 60’s gas pump chronometers, and so on. Such issues are not what I—a staunch Original Series Trek fan—term “part of the charm of the original show.”

Some additional thoughts have helped me respect nostalgia yet not at the expense of critical inquiry. For instance, in one of Shatner’s non-fiction books he frequently made reference to crushing resource limitations that plagued the Original Series, resulting in compromises in the original production quality. Also, a significant number of on-line user reviews of the current, ‘untouched’ DVD release of the Original Series contain complaints of no enhancements!

For those of us whose expectations were not quite met by the upgrades, keep in mind if the upgrade decisions were purely based on available technology, the upgrade team would have likely taken the ‘hey, get a load of this!’ approach. But although the ‘Wow!’ approach may have satisfied some portion of the audience, in the long run, this would be nostalgically disastrous.

Put another way, although my initial reaction to, for instance, the new Doomsday Machine excerpts was, “Come on: *this* is all they did?” after a second viewing I realized the team cautiously applied their vast sources *into the service of* the aesthetic sensibilities of the Original Series. So even though a part of me would have liked a Doomsday Machine that more closely resembled, say, the Bad Guys’ ship in the movie Galaxy Quest, I must say the upgrade team nailed what I think Roddenberry would have done if he had access to such resources. Result: the Upgrade Team is preserving the show’s vibe. A project intended for a mass audience has to be profitable yet I don’t see the current upgrades as whoring Gene Roddenberry’s legacy.

So all the cage rattling regarding “To upgrade or not to upgrade” should be addressed beyond simplistic issues analogous to the factors informing which portrait to use on the Elvis postage stamp, and the upgrades will hardly be anything akin to the blasphemous colorizing of Casablanca.

Assuming that astute market research is informing this project and also assuming that top-floor bean counters will not be sending daily “deadline, deadline!” memos to the Upgrade Team, the project will artfully and respectfully enhance the beloved Original Series: the upgrades will not obstruct the story. Rather, they will serve as a more effective medium for the story. The new versions will both enhance that nostalgic sanctuary that older fans seek refuge in every time we hit the “Play” button, as well as cultivate future fans.

52. Thomas Jensen - October 19, 2006

This is VERY welcome news! I’d wish that beyond the Enterprise being fixed, that they would do some of those viewscreens above the bridge stations, too.

53. Adam Cohen - October 19, 2006

I second that Thomas Jensen– fix the bridge displays! It would give much mroe “depth” to the set if they made those screens look like they were actually functional.

54. dmack - October 19, 2006

Unless they do it as well as can be done, (which is what the producers and artists actually want, it turns out) why do it at all? Otherwise what’s the point in replacing the effects? It seems like most of the hardcore fans and the producers agree. I can’t understand why someone would want them to stick to doing what was giving them (by their OWN DAMN ADMISSION!!!) inconsistant and sometimes disappointing reults..!
Just boggles the mind. If the new FX turn out looking even more dodgy, (which I doubt) fine, your point will have made sense. Until then I say go for it, to many of us and (even the damn Producers and artists) they haven’t gotten the ship quite right yet. Amazing that you know better then they do how their work should look…

:)

55. Dip Thong - October 19, 2006

Once again, I agree with Josh. Note the congratulations and hosannas at getting a new Enterprise — without actually SEEING if the new model will be an improvement or not. That proves it’s all about fans getting their way, not about what they’re actually getting. I’ve got a shiny nickel that says the new model will get just as much criticism as the last. SOMETHING will not look quite right to someone. Someone’s childhood is going to get raped. I think what Josh and I detest is the notion of fan entitlement: that just because a fan has spent thousands of dollars on mechandise and spent years of their lives obsessing over someone else’s work of art (rather than creating their own) that it entitles them to the right to dictate content and demand artistic changes. It doesn’t and it’s a slap in the face to the hardworking artists doing the work. This is not to be confused with genuine feedback or criticism. I’m talking about the corrosive and obsessive bitching and whining done with the intention of “sending a message” to the powers that be. No artist wants some jackhole standing over their shoulder telling them where to lay down brush strokes. Unfortunately, the producers are going to learn the lesson that caving in just invites more whining and complaining. That’s a lesson any parent whose ever taken a long car trip with a whiny kid strapped into a car seat knows all too well. You NEVER give in because it will only make the whining worse the next time.

56. Daren Doc - October 19, 2006

Just remember, we haven’t yet seen what the TOSR folks are gonna do for the Doomsday machine… it’s a tough thing to make… believable yet maintain the so called “cheesy” goodness that I for one love about the original. I like it because it is so totally alien to what one would expect… even from Spinrad’s description of it as being bristling with weaponry. I like that we can’t tell what the heck it’s supposed to be. It’s both machine and being. Heck, I may even put up my later rendering of it on my site… cause I think what I finally came up with is pretty fun.

57. Jeff Bond - October 19, 2006

Well, now I can’t decide who’s more bitter! I don’t really get what the argument is about, anyway–this is an ALTERNATE version of the original, some of these effects are already done, so maybe future DVDs can feature THREE versions–the original unenhanced effects, the day-glo nacelle cap version for those who love that, and something that looks more like the photography of the original model. But when you read the comments, Lord, what a slippery slope…with all the potential enhancements being demanded (I can’t imagine how you go back and put new information into every bridge screen in every bridge screen shot), at some point I expect to see nothing remaining but the faces of the actors, with new hairstyles, costumes and sets all rendered in CG…

That said, I’m having a blast watching these and I can’t wait to own them on DVD…

58. THETrekMaster - October 19, 2006

Daren are you holding out on us??!! LOL!!!

DUDE!! Please post your Doomsday Machine! In fact, just go ahead and post all your stuff!!!

It RULZ!!!!!!!!

THETrekMaster

59. THETrekMaster - October 19, 2006

The fact is, no matter what ANYONE does…SOMEBODY is going to be unhappy. That’s the bottom line.

Every Trek fan has their own view of how things should look, etc. The best one can hope for is to find a group who agrees and that the work is done on a quality level.

I believe it is being done on a quality level.

60. Daren Doc - October 19, 2006

lol… Thanks TrekMaster. I did put the little Doomsday Machine test clip up on my site. (And yes, I know a couple links are bad… I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) And what would happen if I put all my stuff up there… what would happen to man’s search for knowledge?

61. -Diabolik - October 19, 2006

I don’t think we are going to see any major changes to the Doomsday Machine. More detail and mass, better battle scenes, for sure. But as for the machine itself, I think that what we saw in TOS represented a device eons old that has endured the worst that space could throw at it. Super-novas, attacks by aliens living on planets it was destroying along the way, meteor showers, who knows what else. All this time and wear probably erased any surface details and left it looking as beat-up and featureless as it is.

So, Criswell Predicts: same basic machine, better effects portraying it. It should be exciting if done right, and the SCALE finally corrected. And NO MORE ATM MODEL for the Constitution!

62. -Diabolik - October 19, 2006

Also I think they should start calling it “Attack of the Killer Cornucopia!”

63. -Diabolik - October 19, 2006

Oops, I meant Constellation. That’s right, isn’t it?

64. trekmaster - October 19, 2006

@TheTrekmaster
What a creative nickname…

65. trekmaster - October 19, 2006

BTW, good news that they’re going to optimize what has been remasterd already .

66. TomBot2006 - October 19, 2006

I don’t get the issue with slagging the decision to tone down the detail of the CGI Enterprise model…. Let’s put this in comparison to traditional models… You know that different scales of traditional models were commonly used depending on the needs of the shot, time and money. Well, would you have expected the 60’s era production team to build a 1/1 scale Enterprise just for the sake of having evey bolt and nonesuch represented? LOL! I would say, that having a lower detailed model isn’t such a bad thing, they still have the higher detailed one available if they ever want to do extreme closeups. ;-D And what’s wrong with tweaking performance to get more out of less? I’d rather them work on getting extra goodies done, myself.
I’d love for them to also throw a little more life in the Enterprise’s control boards and screens. As a younger person, I’d always rationalize that the ordinary buttons, etc. that we saw had more functionality that appeared to the eye, etc. I don’t want them to go overboard.
:-D

67. trekmaster - October 19, 2006

I ask myself what is meant with the new and “different poses”. Maybe visual effects like “In a mirror, darkly”!? Will they still have respect to the original effect creators or start changing everything now?

68. Thomas Jensen - October 19, 2006

Mr. D. I’ve just seen the clip…. I tell you, that shot of the enterprise with the damaged ship behind it, now that’s how the engine nacelles should look. I hope that’s the direction remastered will be taking with the spinning nacelles.

69. Anonymous - October 19, 2006

I think they mean we’ll be seeing more shots of the ship from different angles, not the same few we always saw in the original shows. I’m all for that!

-Diabolik

70. Bill lutz - October 19, 2006

They ACTUALLY listened to the fans
About time too!

71. Surak II - October 19, 2006

I see Daren Doc is talking about the “Doomsday Machine”. Although Spinrad is a noted SF author, I wonder if another author was aware of Saberhagen’s “Berserker” series? Below is a link from Wikipedia. Spinrad’s description that Daren quotes recalls some Berserker designs.

I think David Gerrold of tribbles fame may have been the first to coin it a “giant windsock”. I don’t know how the model makers created it, (and remember, in the 1960s, TV resolution was not more than 150 lines at best, compared to the over one thousand potentail of blue ray,digital artifacts notwithstanding) but it sort of looked semi-transluscent: “solid neutronium”, i.e., from Neutron stars, I suspect.

(Has anyone else noted, for example, even downloadin from Microsoft 720p or 1080p content, that evidently the compression algorithm ignores fog or water or shadow, and the result are images to my eye worse than 50 year old analog! Even on any DVD, look at a darkly lit seen or try to see detail in shadow; it’s not there.)

So, Josh, you have the right to your opinion, but the CGI Enterprise that CBS digitial looks far more “fake”, to me, than what second season and especially third season work done by the effects houses on the original series.

Link on Berserkers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker_(Saberhagen)

Link to Darin’s video; if you’ve seen the Adobe video on YouTube, check the Mac one out. Josh and fans of the current CGI Enterprise: do you really prefer that work to Daren Doc’s?

http://www.betafive.com/wordpress/

Link, which I’ll put below (click on my “name) to Daren’s clip:

http://betafive.com/wordpress/?page_id=25

I bet CBS Digital could have purchased (or did, and are saving face) Darin’s model for far less than what the did create; the nacelle lights are truly grotesque!

Here’s his POSEIDON; the opening sequence was the best part of the movie:

http://web.mac.com/drdochterman/iWeb/PORTFOLIOSITE/Poseidon.html

72. Surak II - October 19, 2006

Oh, for those with “open” minds why “neutronium” most likely doesn’t exist, check this link out:

Just checked out Daren Doc’s new post: the model Doomsday machine was made of cellophane and tin foil! I don’t think Daren’s improved on it! Doing the light digitally is difficult.

http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=9kpgc4td

Let me close by saying I do enjoy watching the “remastered” shows; I think writers in the 1960s were more literate. The only nit I have to pick is the digital Enterprise, illogically, is medicore in the extreme.

I do hope Josh and fans of the “cartoon” check Daren’s work out, and note the light, surface detail, “self-illumination”, and the super nacelle lights. I bet other fans have done better than CBS Digital.

If they do improve the Enterprise, I look forward to the Blue Ray true 1080p release! Illogical, perhaps, but there you have it!

73. THETrekMaster - October 19, 2006

LOL!!! I don’t think the original DDM was intentionally translucent. I think that’s a bad matte. If you look at some of the shots, the DDM has a blue-ish cast to the surface and I think that is due to spill light off the bluescreen onto the model. If I am correct, even if the spill light is not pure 255 blue, anything with heavy blue in it would appear as semi transparent rather than opaque. I think that’s why we stars THROUGH the DDM in some of the original FX shots.

THETrekMaster (Named such, because I was the original TrekMaster here ;-)) Since I refuse to give up my name…heehehehee…I put a big collossal “THE” in front of it to differentiate myself from the pretenders!

LOL!!!

74. Daren Doc - October 19, 2006

Well, sorry to disappoint some of you… but CBS’ new model isn’t mine… which is understandible… since they’re using Maya… and I’m a Lightwave Guy… (although there are several conversion methods)…

But I sure hope this new streamlined pipeline of theirs will enable them to realize their vision.

75. Spockariffic - October 19, 2006

Wow, great site! Here’s my 2 credits:

Daren, really cool stuff on your site man!! Why didn’t you finish the show?!?! You did the STTMP redo? That was wicked cool! Did you meet the actors?

I don’t get the arguing in here. Okuda SAYS above that they are changing the model because it takes too long to make in each episode. That’s not fan pressure. And maybe it’ll be cooler looking! (not a big fan of the color of the new ship and it looks kind of fake sometimes.)

The Enterprise always looked more white to me than like what Daren’s and the TOSR ship is now. I hope they take taht aproache on the new one! THEN I CAN CLAIM THAT THEY LISTENED TO ME!!! LOL.

There are always going to be things some people love and some people hate, but I let my eyes do the judging. Sarek tested, Spock approved!

From above: “Their priority will always be the space and matte shots, but when there is time they will always strive for more.” (I won’t hold my breath for new cgi aliens, doesn’t seem like you have a lot of time but if you DO have the time and are reading this: please, please, please at LEAST get rid of the strings on the cat’s paw aliens at the ned when they are dying. HD won’t help that at all and that looks horrible!)

Can someone explain what matte is? Is that like when you see a square around a ship? Or is it something to do with the way the film looks?

It would be cool if instead of arguing about stuff, the people here who know the process would explain the process to us non-computer fans!

Live Long and Prosper

76. THETrekMaster - October 19, 2006

What they were referring to in the quote are the matte paintings they used for planetscapes in some episodes. Those are being replaced with CGI environs — or digital mattes.

I am not entirely sure how to explain this via a post, but heregoes: The square that you see around ships in some shots is an “artifact” from the optical printer that occurs when you bluescreen composite multiple ships — or in TOS — even a single ship (shuttle craft for example) into a starfield. Back in the old days and as recent as the 80’s (pre-digital compositing), you could see those semi-transparent blocks around some spaceships in certain shots. The block was the bluescreen area that was in the shot when the miniature element was filmed. When you zoom out the ship gets smaller — as does the matte area around the ship or object(“the block”).

An example of what I was talking about with regard to the “translucent” Doomsday Machine can be seen in the original print of The Empire Strikes Back. I always hated the snowspeeder interior shots because you could see the Hoth snowscapes through the solid objects of the speeder interior. That was corrected in the Special Editions later, but that, like the “translucent” Doomsday Machine, is an example of defective compositing.

Hope I explained that well enough. Anyone care to offer a hand? ;-)

THETrekMaster

77. DarenDoc - October 19, 2006

I’ll add my two cents…

In it’s basic definition, a “matte” is anything that covers another part of a shot. Therefore, a Matte painting is a painting that covers part of the shot… i.e. when they would paint a picture of a castle on a piece of glass and put it in front of the camera on location to trick the eye into seeing a castle up on a hill that in reality was bare.

In compositing however, a matte covers a part of the background when a foreground is added… so, when you add the starship to a space background, you need a starship shaped matte to cover the stars that would be behind it. When they shoot a model in front of a blue screen, the blue is used as a color to isolate the matte. so everything that isn’t blue becomes the matte… or a starship shaped cover. These are combined with the foreground (the ship), the background(the stars) and optically sandwiched so that when all the strips of film are exposed in the right order, you have the stars with the hole for the ship to fit in, then the ship is added.

Of course, now, with computer compositing, it’s all much easier, but it works fundamentally the same… you have foreground and background images, with mattes automatically generated to isolate objects for mixing in the computer.

That’s all for today. Remember, to read Michelson chapters 4 and 5 for next time, and I’ll be in my office on Tuesday, but not Wednesday.

78. Gordon Wayne Watts - October 19, 2006

Good for the producers to look into CGI-enhanced effects, based on newer technology, but don’t waste valuable time on it at the expense of other things.

Fascinating. I think it’s good that the big-wigs are trying to improve on a classic, but it was alright when it was made.

While we are waiting, for the official people to do their thing, what if I told you that the original series was coming back with all new episodes, not merely “re-mastered” episodes?

Yes, Star Trek picks back up in its 4th season, where it left off in 1969’s 3rd season. There are New Voyages to be had:

http://StarTrekNewVoyages.com

It is officially permitted by those who hold copyright (it is not fake), and the consulting producer is Gene Roddenberry, Jr, the later creator’s son (additional evidence that it is not fake).

Beam on over to Star Trek New Voyages, where the 5-Year Mission continues.

Gordon Wayne Watts, Star Trek fan

79. The God Thang - October 19, 2006

Thanks for the pre-fabricated ad, Gordon. New Voyages is all fine and dandy for a fan film, but let’s not fool ourselves… the main actors in it are awful. Unless these fan folks get serious about the characters and get actual actors in their roles (and I’m not talking about over-the-hill bit players in cameo roles) then no one of any consequence will take it seriously. As a hobby, it’s fascinating, maybe even enjoyable. But as the future of Star Trek? Lord, I hope not.

80. John N - October 19, 2006

Unless someone is going to start attacking David Rossi and the credibility of his team, I don’t see why a (very) few in here are finding fault with the direction of the project team. They’re not happy with their work at the moment, and they’re striving to improve on it.

Take the following analogy:

If my favourite hockey team is playing poorly (and believe me, they are), and the sports columnists tear them up in the papers, I don’t believe that the players will start playing better because they’re “giving into the whiney writers”. The players should be striving to improve because they should have pride in what they do, and want to be able to say that they gave it their all.

I was always taught that constructive criticsm was a good thing, at least those with enough maturity to understand it for what it is, and benefit from it.

81. Josh - October 19, 2006

Yes.

Since it was put to me so directly, I will be equally direct,

I prefer the current CGI Enterprise to even Daren’s effort.
I have every respect for Daren as an artist, and skilled craftsman of strange new worlds, but for this endeavor I do not believe Daren’s approach was the best.
Interesting? Certainly. Visually dynamic? Absolutely.
The best approach to maintain the spirit of the original program?
That’s where I begin to find fault.

Aside from which, with the exception of hull lighting choice, I see no fundamental difference between Daren’s Enterprise and the CBS digital Enterprise.

Daren’s work seemed to flow more organically with the last several Trek series visual effects and style.

I don’t want to see STAR TREK look REMOTELY like Enterprise, Voyager, or Deep Space 9, or even TNG. Not at all.

The visual style of the CBS digital approach is a departure from the established method of filming, lighting, and framing space vessels.

I like big fat beauty shots. I like lumbering and lingering closeups of the Enterprise.

I dont want the Enterprise to look like the God **** Millineum Falcon as it did on “Enterprise” zipping about with no mass, weight, or physical presence. The felt entirely wrong.

I never believed in what I was seeing on DS9, Voyager or Enterprise.
The starships didn’t represent huge aircraft carriers in space, they looked and felt like snub nosed fighters darting and bandying about.

If I want to see that I’ll pop in Revenge of the Sith.

I like the CBS digital effort because it looks like a big fat spaceship that takes it’s time to maneuver, doesn’t have the benefit of lens flare lighting illuminating the hull, and isn’t paneled and greeblied to death like a kitbash from hell.

82. Josh - October 19, 2006

Prior to the CBS digital Enterprise, the last time we saw a big fat lovely beauty shot, was the Enterprise-B in “Generations”, and that was but a mere prick tease compared to “The Motion Picture”.

83. Donn - October 20, 2006

The “CBS digital effort” has got the mass and movement right, it just LOOKS like an amatuerish comuter graphic.
Daren’s effort not only has mass and dynamic visual perspective, but it LOOKS like it’s really there.
I do not- and I think I speak for others as well- think the TOS-E needs to be “greeblied to death” to exhibit this characteristic.
Just my 2 cnts.

-Dr. Image

84. John N - October 20, 2006

I think that Josh’s argument is well thought out and clearly communicated. He clearly has a vision of what he would like to see as a result of this project. I personally disagree, but fortunately, we are equally entitled to our opinions.

A few questions though…

1. You specifically state that you don’t want the Remastered TOS to look like “Enterprise, Voyager, or Deep Space 9, or even TNG”. Would you be fine if it was in line with the look and feel of the first six movies? I certainly loved the beauty shots from the films, but also feel that they are quite different in tone and style than TOS.

2. I’m curious as to why matching the TNG look would be bad. Aside from the use of computers for compositing, didn’t TNG use physical models and lighting similar to TOS? What is it that you don’t want from the TNG look… dynamic camera movements?

Just trying to understand your point of view a little more…

85. THETrekMaster - October 20, 2006

Daren’s Enterprise OWNS the CBS version…

THETrekMaster

86. Surak II - October 20, 2006

I myself liked the Enterprise as depicted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Perhaps because of the difficulties in filming spinning nacelle lights, and even the “dome” lights, those details were missing from Magicam’s miniature, and in that respect, I preferred the series’ Enterprise.

I don’t think matching the camera moves and angles used in the the Trek films, fx either by Trumbull or ILM, in a CGI model, would be bad.

Interestingly, if CBS wasn’t stuck on CGI, what would have happened if say, Weta workshop built a model, as they did for MASTER AND COMMANDER, and they used digitial compositing.

In my opinion, the digital Enterprise is not at all convincing; it looks cartoonish. I think Daren Doc matched the moves of the big Smithsonian eleven footer; some of the shots appeared identical to original footage, i.e., looking down from the nacelle of Enterprise on to the Constellation.

In any event, I do wish the CBS team the best; they did not “bow” to pressure. As professionals, they must have reviewed their work and so it looked inadequate.

I hope readers find my thoughts logical, under the circumstances.

May you live long and prosper, and to Daren Doc: I hope J.J. Abrams hires you for his effort.

87. Surak II - October 20, 2006

John N – I agree with you; your thoughts are logical and concur with mine. I wrote my response before reading yours.

If Mr. Rossi is reading this, perhaps he would consider reviewing the Star Trek films, through the final one with the original cast. I find the motion control work exemplary; I prefer Trumbull’s “double pass” matting and glossy paint finish; ILM used blue screen, and couldn’t match the subltely of his lighting. I think Daren Doc did, to some extent.

If Gene Roddenberry and company had access, as Rossi said, to this technology, as shown in the *first* film, they used the best.

88. John N - October 20, 2006

Thank you Surak II… it appears that you and I are definitely on the same page… :)

Josh… another question for you… and again, not with the intention of picking a fight, just curious about your thought process. You said:

“Fandom should NEVER influence, alter, direct, or interfere with an artistic endeavor because the result will ALWAYS be a compromise, a sacrifice of the artists vision in favor of appeasement, and THAT is unmitigated bull****.
Lucas did it, and the Prequel Trilogy suffered for it.”

Now I don’t claim to be up on every bit of Star Wars production trivia, but I thought that it was the Original trilogy that suffered from Lucas revisiting his previous work, and that it was done largely IN SPITE of fan input.

I’ve always thought that Lucas was the type to be out to achieve his own goals, and adhered to his own criteria of success, to the point where he has blatantly told the fans (and I paraphrase), that he’s sorry that the fans fell in love with an unfinished product, but it’s his art, and therefore his right to change it.

About the only thing that I can think of that Lucas MAY have been influenced by (and I don’t think that he has ever admitted it) was the large reduction in screen time enjoyed by Jar Jar Binks in episodes II and III.

So… I’m not necessarily saying you’re wrong… I’m just asking you to explain what aspect of either trilogy that you’re refering to when you say that Lucas was adversely affect by fandom.

89. Lao3D - October 20, 2006

Trek Fandom has always been and always will be about “crying loud enough to be heard.” And thank goodness for it. If Trek fans in 1967 hadn’t “cried” hard enough, the show might never have been picked up for a third season — and lacking enough episodes, might never have gone to syndication — might never have continued to grow in popularity, spawning movies, spinoffs, — oh you get the picture…

Thanks CBS for listening and giving it your best efforts. Can’t wait for the rest! And if we don’t like it, prepare to be b**ched out! ;)

90. trekmaster - October 20, 2006

@TheTrekmaster
Yep, you are my prototype and I’m the final release…

91. Spockariffic - October 20, 2006

Hey thanks for explaining the matte thing. So i guess that Devil in the Dark one was a matte? That was pretty wicked. I hope they don’t touch the one from Menagerie/Cage though. I think it’s Rigel. It’s cool the way it is. (hint, hint lol)

Everyone is all over the place in here lol. Half the people are saying they should duplicate shots and half are saying they’re not going far enough!

No offense to Darens Doomsday Machine, but what’s all this about nacelle caps? I watched Doomsday machine and his are very different than what’s in the original. I like his better lol, but they’re certainly not the same. In some episodes the caps are almost like gray or something.

I don’t think there’s ONE way to do any of this stuff. I’d do it differently than you would and that’s different than he would or she would or they would. It’s just pretty cool to sit down and watch them again and know some new stuff is coming! That’s wicked!!

Good luck Okuda and team. I saw you speak at a convention and I know your as big a fan as we are! Keep up the great work!

OK so what’s render time? Is that the time it takes to draw (or whatever you do in cgi) a ship? Was the model so detailed it took them to long to draw all the detail? Anyone know what render time is?

Live long and prosper

92. Surak II - October 20, 2006

Greetings, John N. It is good to encounter someone who thinks rationally and logically. Acknowledging superior Aasthetics is only logical, I contend.

Consequently, since Daren Doc proposed Star Trek: Enhanced, pioneered a viable CGI model of the Enterprise, worked on Star Trek: The Motion Picture Director’s Edition, and was acquainted with producers of this version, it was logical that Daren have a role in the “remastered” project. That Daren is not involved clearly demonstrates that humans are inherently illogical, and that the harmonious relations between humans, the “family” in the series for example, which in my opinion contributed to its success, are clearly fictional in nature, unfortunately. Was Harlan Ellsion accurate about William Shatner counting his lines in City to compare to Leonard Nimoy? Evidently, he is more mature now, in some respects; I find his Priceline.com commercials most illogical.

Interestingly, the Halloween episode will air next week. I wonder if the “Remastered” edition will remove the “threads” for the pipe cleaner aliens, or do CGI versions with high resolution cotton threads? After all, if one views the show as “holy writ”, what else can they do?

Has anyone ever read the first motion picture script, Planet of the Titans? See this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Motion_Picture

Derek Meddings, Gerry Anderson’s protege, talked about preliminary work in American Cinematographer magazine, rest his katra. Meddings prefered “in camera” matte work. Daren’s explanation of matte work is very good. Ron Thornton, co-founder of Foundation Imaging, Daren’s alma mater, is/was producing Gerry Anderson’s CGI effects for his New Captain Scarlet. It has not appeared in the U.S., and viewing previews I find it computer gamish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Phase_II

The above design, from Ken Adam of James Bond fame, and Ralph McQuarrie, is not pleasing to me. Yet I am curious about the script — interesting that Paramount hasn’t released it in some form.

I do find this image striking:

http://www.betafive.com/Images/1701DRDa.jpg

I wonder if Korob and Sylvia may be renamed “Gerrry and Sylvia”, and have the appearance of Parker and Lady Penelope from THUNDERBIRDS, with strings attached? No, perhaps too ironic and litigious for CBS/Paramount. Perhaps the South Park production crew will be so inspired.

I wonder why computer technology works on images and not “voices”? (Think of Forrest Gump or any film where voices are done by actors.)

Actually, perhaps CGI will evolve in a decade, including sound, where convincing 30 year old Shatner and Nimoy can be created, and a good script produced. The writing is key. Perhaps Daren, Gerry, Gary, and Ron would think of something for the 50th aniversary — should we live long and prosper! Then again, if Shatner and Nimoy provide voice characterizations, I’m all for it. I think Weta Digital could do so, given their Gollum work.

In any event, I am delighted to see the original series given new life; my own view is the producers could be less timid in so many respects regarding visual effects enhancement, and I do hope their new model resembles the best work in the films. I also do recall the series model as being “less gray” than the current one.

May you all live long and prosper. And do consider thinking “logically” and “honorably” — highly problematic above all in Hollywood.

93. Surak II - October 20, 2006

Aesthetics – my apologies for spelling errors. Illogical and embarassing. My tribute to William Shatner’s third season performances.

94. Josh - October 20, 2006

In response to the queries,

Star Trek visually and stylistically should stand as a lone testament of the Trek flavor via it’s uniqueness from the subsequent predecessors.
By emulating the look and feel of the successor series, Star Trek would be reduced to the mediocrity that often plagued the various series, even visually, as well as giving an entirely too homogenized, cookie cutter atmosphere which again the successor series suffered from.
To casual viewers flipping through channels, without seeing the opening titles, you may not necessarily know which series you were even watching so similar were their production approaches. A very bland, neutrally lit, inoffensive television affair.
And without going off on a tangent, I think that describes the essence of post TOS Trek – neutral. Inoffensive.
Star Trek is vibrant, colorful, alive.- And the space scenes should reflect that.
And that’s why I have been such an advocate of the CBS Digital approach, they have created a suitable visual style and atmsophere that makes the space scenes alive, not as some care to postulate video game like, (Amazing people can hail Enterprises effects yet pan Remastered Trek)but rather colorful, vibrant, and alive- with big close up beauty shots of the highly detailed CGI Enterprise.
People have been watching muted, toned down nacelle caps for 40 years and suddenly when they appear as THEY SHOULD, vibrant, colorful, bright and clear, people bitch because they don’t look like they used to via the much inferior quality of stock shots that have deteriorated to the point of non-viability. If it weren’t so sad it would be comical.
The starship Enterprise has appeared every color via every medium, again for 40 years, and when people finally see it the color it is intended to be, they cry about it and claim it isn;t properly lit, then have the audacity to say if they intended to update the effects, why not update them?
They DID update them and people couldn;t get past their pre-concieved notions on HOW it should look, so because it looks different than what it looks like in your minds eye, it is presumed to appear to look “wrong.”
That’s a Nomad fallacy in reason if I’ve ever heard one.
So now the team at CBS digital is promising to deliver a CGI Enterprise that has the appearance close to the LESS accurate appearance of the studio model we have been seeing for 40 years, and that is considered “Right?”

As I said, this is prime reason why fans should play NO part in any creative decisions. ANy project doing so would most assuredly result in the epitome of mediocrity.

95. John N - October 20, 2006

Hi Josh… while I appreciate further insight into your passion on the subject, I’m wondering if you’re considering your last post to be an answer to my earlier questions, the brief version of which are:

1) Do you feel that the look/fee/visual style of the first six movies is appropriate for the new TOS shots?

2) Think you’ve answered this… you feel that TNG and onwards were too neutral and inoffensive

3) How is it that you think that George Lucas bowed to fandom (see the original question for a less superficial version of the question)

Thanks!

96. Josh - October 21, 2006

It would be difficult to attempt to match Trek Remastered in terms of visual style with the first six Original crew films, for the simple reason each individual film had a unique “style” and aesthetic dependant upon which production house was doing the Visual FX.
For me and mine, “The Motion Picture” has by far best captured life in the 23rd century and the marketing for the film played on that notion.
It’s the only Trek film that made you remotely believe you were watching something otherworldly.
When ILM took over the reigns, they compromised on a visual style that was an amalgamation of TOS and The Motion Picture, some happy medium, which even varied from film to film.
Would I love seeing the money put into Trek Remastered that was put into “The Motion Picture?”
Hmmmmmmmm no. As wonderful, majestic, and beautiful as the transfers are, the visual style of Classic Star Trek is still representative of an era in television production. For the 60s, the 23rd century looked like Star Trek.
For those in the 70s, the 23rd century looked like “The Motion Picture” etc.
I think the happy medium they found was perfect, between the visual style of TOS and it’s 60’s view of the future, and 21st century CGI technology- a very deliberate, stylized approach to space scenes.
The new effects look just similar enough to the films, to where it can be said TOS now exists in the same universe as the films, yet maintains the integrity and uniqueness of TOS contrasted against it’s succesors.

Lucas plainly compromised his artistic intentions with the whole Jar Jar debacle, bowing to fan pressure to appease a very vocal minority.
I mean come on, Jar Jar was there for the kids, he didn’t break my heart or wound me.
Including a Boba Fett Carbon copy in the form of Jango Fett was fan appeasement, for whatever reason fans love Boba Fett’s ass so, naturally we have to appease THAT demographic.
Remember the talk of Aurra SIng’s enhanced role for part II? Nope, Jango Fett.
As good as I felt Revenge of the SIth was, was I the only one that clearly felt the last half hour was a fanboys dream wishlist made manifest?
It was literally almost a laundry list. of things “the fans would want to see.”
The last minute inclusion of the Death Star in Attack of the Clones- “well, the fans said the first film didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie so, maybe we better insert some more familiar things.”
I could go on, the point is, when you begin valuing the law of supply of demand over artistic merit and catering to a lobbying crowd, your work is sold out and you are whoring your vision out to a vocal minority.
Not everyone is going to like everything in life, but maintaining your vision and style gives integrity and makes the work more valued.
I don’t want a Star Trek done by fan commitee, with too many chefs and too many broths. We learned that lesson with “Generations”, where everyone and their mother had a damn opinion and look at the resulting film. It’s a narrative mess and feels like everyone had to sign off on every last minute detail.
Malleability doesn’t win popularity contests. You either like something as is or you don’t.
Why does everyone think Star Trek is in the current state it is in?
There’s too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Bob likes Voyager. Fred likes DS9. Rick likes TNG. John likes TOS.
What moron decided to McDonaldize McStar Trek into franchise Happy meals? There’s no cohesion.
Star Trek should have always remained STAR TREK.
We didn’t NEED DS9. we didn’t NEED Voyager or Enterprise.
TNG was what it was, I enjoyed it when I was younger but, it doesn’t stand up for me like classic Trek does. It isn’t a bright future but rather a dull one.
If Shatner and Nimoy wanted a house and 10 million each the tight asses should have paid them to keep them going in the films. Berman’s entirely dismissive attitude towards REAL Star Trek was abominable. And this tyrant was running the show??
The Undiscovered Country was released in 91, Kelley died in what, 98?
That’s almost 3 more original series films they could have pumped out but we got turds like Generations, Insurrection, Nemesis, and the barely passable First Contact, and that’s progress?? It’s a crime what was done to Trek, only NOW does it seem like some TLC is being applied.
Berman didn’t love Star Trek. Sherry Lansing didn’t love Star Trek. They loved paychecks.
Gene Roddenberry loved Star Trek. Michael Okuda loves Star Trek. J.J. Abrams allegedly loves Star Trek. Daren Dochterman loves Star Trek. Nicholas Meyer though unfamiliar at first, grew to love Star Trek and has said so, and let’s be honest here, Nimoy and Shatner do too, and it clearly shows in the work.
Contrast “The Search for Spock” with “Insurrection?”
Holy **** is that even the same universe?
Labeling something “Star Trek” does not a Trek it make.

97. Josh - October 21, 2006

You don’t kill your primary protagonist off and expect people to remain interested in your creation.

Lucas didn’t have Luke Skywalker go through all the **** he did only to get killed in the last film.
Doyle found out rather quickly you don’t kill off Sherlock Holmes, it doesn’t fly.
if people REALLY pay close attention, Star Trek has been on a slow, methodical decline since whatever Jackass decided to nix Kirk, effectively negating the primary edict of ANY dramatic narrative, you don’t KILL your heroes! You don’t off the characters the audience identifies with and forks out 10 bucks to go watch. That was assinine, and people wonder why only 1 million people tune into Star Trek the last 10 years and prefer Buffy the Vampire slayer, Harry Potter, and Battlestar Galactica?

98. Josh - October 21, 2006

One final addendum,

I will bet anyone in here MONEY, had Roddenberry been approached with the idea of killing off Kirk he would have thrown whoever suggested it out of the room.

HELL no.

99. Spockariffic - October 21, 2006

Yeah but my point above was, the guy Rossi SAYS that the ship wasn’t where they wanted it to be. Give them some credit for their words before you call them liars. I’m just sayin.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this but everyone insists there is because its what THEY want to see. Sure voice your opinion but saying they bowed to fans or the way they see things is wrong is…well…wrong lol!

I want to see a white Enterprise, red phasers and some cool shuttle craft shots. But if the ship isn’t white, etc. I’m not gonna say it ruins the show for me. IDIC!

Can someone explain what rendering is?

Live long and prosper

100. Spockariffic - October 21, 2006

But yeah killing Kirk was whack!

101. Sybok - October 21, 2006

Josh, don’t go on a Boba “fit”, since you are certainly perhaps too *passionate* about a good television show, but the nacelle lights, as depicted in season two and three, with better compositing, don’t look anything like the CGI model used here. Rossi & Co. know that and I respect their decision. To my eye and brain, Daren’s spinning nacelle lights look like the TOS miniature! Truly. That big orange dayglo glob doesn’t cut it!

Rendering related to CGI defined well here:

http://www.answers.com/topic/computer-graphics

Here are still of the model used in the original series:

http://www.cloudster.com/sets&vehicles/STEnterprise/EnterpriseTop.htm

I agree with Daren’s comments here:

http://betafive.com/wordpress/?p=18#more-18

What’s been wrong (and still is wrong) with the ship shots:

1. The color. They’ve made it a neutral gray which they’ve often lit with “warm” lights… making it look a pale tan. This got better over the last couple episodes… but it’s still way too dark. The Enterprise should be a cool gray. Much more blue than we’re getting. I realize that a lot of the blue in the original show came from the ship being surrounded by blue light from the bluescreen photography, but this is one of the qualities of the shots in the original show… and it should be duplicated.

2. The Engine Nacelles. They just look wrong. Still. The “blades” of the fan in front they’ve made too wide. They are missing the fact that this widening of the blades is in fact made from the motion blur of the shutter on the camera. The real blades were much thinner, as you can see from the close up shots of the nacelle dome effects in Doomsday Machine. (the shot “over the shoulder” of the Enterprise where it is towing the Constellation)… The domes should not be orange. They should be frosted white… and LIT from inside by the orange lights. The domes they have now are very uniformly luminant… this is just plain wrong. Real world objects do not behave like this… and it’s an immediate clue to “CG-ocity”… there are a few ways to do this effect correctly… apparently they have just given up and are satisfied with this cartoon look… or perhaps they are just content with this because it reminds them of the much more boring TNG nacelle cap effects. Whatever it is, I cringe when I see it… cause I know it can be done better…

4. Lighting. Lighting. Lighting. The lighting on the original show’s effects was NOT flat. It can sometimes be mistaken for that since in most shots the Key light (or brightest light in the shot) came from the same general direction as the camera. This is different than TNG and later lighting where the brightest lights were placed TOWARD the camera, behind the objects. Frankly, I can’t tell what the lighting scheme is for the new shots, cause it is wildly inconsistent and almost always “wrong” looking to me. There seems to be no thinking about duplicating the lighting from the original shots… and the lighting they’re using certainly doesn’t make their model look good. (and it doesn’t seem to be emulating the lighting on the planets either) It just seems haphazard… and it doesn’t make the Enterprise look like a model… or real… (I’d be satisfied if it looked like an 11 foot model…) It just looks flat, flat, flat.

102. Sybok - October 21, 2006

Daren Doc, when you come by “next week” and I hope read this forum, what are your thoughts on this technology, Cyberface? It is being used the the new Harry Potter film, and this link is to the New York Times article?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/15/movies/15waxm.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

Excerpt:

ltimately, though, Image Metrics could even go beyond the need for Tom Hanks — or any other actor — altogether.

“We can reanimate footage from the past,” said Mr. Wood, a stolid man with a salesman’s smile. He was hired to introduce Hollywood to the technology, which the computer scientists who founded the company sometimes have difficulty articulating.

“We could put Marilyn Monroe alongside Jack Nicholson, or Jack Black, or Jack White,” he continued, seated in the conference room where the emoting actress and her avatar shared the screen. “If we want John Wayne to act alongside Angelina Jolie, we can do that. We can directly mimic the performance of a human being on a model. We can create new scenes for old films, or old scenes for new films. We can have one human being drive another human character.”

To prove the point Mr. Wood brought up on-screen an animated character that he showed at the Directors Guild of America this past summer. The character, a simple figure comprising just a few lines drawn in the computer, made the “I coulda been a contender” speech from “On the Waterfront,” in Marlon Brando’s voice. (Because Brando didn’t gesture much, the stick figure’s movements were based on those of a hired actor.) Then he pulled up a video of the musician Peter Gabriel singing a scat beat alongside a half-dozen animated figures who, one by one, joined him in precise concert. Finally he brought up a scene from a Marilyn Monroe movie in which animators replaced the original Marilyn with a computer-drawn version of her. The image isn’t perfect — or rather, it’s a bit too perfect for credulity — but it clearly shows the path that lies ahead.

The breakneck pace of technology combined with the epic ambitions of directors has, up to now, taken movies to places undreamed of in the past: the resinking of the “Titanic”; war in space between armies of droids; a love story between a dinosaur-sized ape and a human-sized woman. (Whoops, we had that one before.)

But if Image Metrics can do what it claims, the door may open wider still, to vast, uncharted territories. To some who make the movies, the possibilities may seem disturbing; to others, exciting: Why not bring back Sean Connery, circa 1971, as James Bond? Or let George Clooney star in a movie with his aunt, Rosemary; say, a repurposed “White Christmas” of 1954? Maybe we can have the actual Truman Capote on-screen, performed by an unseen actor, in the next movie version of his life.

Projects are already circulating around Hollywood that seek to revive dead actors, including one that envisions Bruce Lee starring in a new Bruce Lee picture.

(I don’t know if the blockquote commands work; wait, maybe it will, I see WordPress. If it does work, the key to italics in WordPress or blockquote or any other command is the shift key and the comma and period keys — next to “m” pressed together — and the / in bracket to end the command.)

My own idea of a great Star Trek film would be a CGI one — once the above technology and variants are created — with the original actors, perhaps Nimoy and Shatner voicing their parts. And the late, great Dee Kelley recreated. Again, one needs a good script.

Anyway, I shall give Abrams et al. a chance.

103. Granger - October 23, 2006

Refraining from commenting on aspects of Josh’s posts which I find disagreeable, allow me to emphatically agree with one recent point of his.

TOS has a wonderful look compared to the later series. The overuse of color, reflective of NBC’s desire to push color television, makes for very dramatic color photography with a style unequalled in any other TV show I can think of. The new prints really help bring out the gorgeous coloration in the lighting and background and sets – and I adore the super-dramatic lighting they’ll use on someone’s eyes in a shot.

I will add that the over-the-top (but sadly also overused) musical cues are also a treasured part of TOS. The music in the later series was so diminished and repressed – inoffensive, as Josh might say. I’ll happily listen to my musical soundtracks of old TOS episodes off my old Varese Sarabande LPs (delightful geekiness), but I can’t imagine plunking down a penny for music (other than Jerry Goldsmith’s recycled theme music) from TNG or later series.

So Josh has a strong argument here about the wonders of TOS due to its age and era, and how we need to keep that in mind as we consider the remastering. I also agree, upon deeper consideration, that the true Enterprise look is a gray – but it is indeed hard to ignore that the prettiest shots in the original series also have a great deal of blue scatter affecting them. So I naturally associate the blue look with the nicer shots – oh well!

And I certainly agree with Josh that they must keep the slow, ponderous grace of the old girl – don’t have her flitting about. I never really liked the opening series shots of the ship zipping by at incredible speed – they avoided that effect in the episodes themselves and I’m grateful for it.

As for how far to zap the episode content, I’m glad CBS has been conservative. They clearly don’t have time for things like redoing all the high screens on the bridge, and why bother anyway? Lots of active displays up there would just be a distraction from the drama. And thank heavens they didn’t do all of the things they might have to the Gorn given enough time. A few eyelid blinks were fine to liven him up – I do wish they’d had time to do more regarding closed eyelids when he’s hit by the rock and the cannon, but I imagine time wasn’t on their side.

I do think that the remasterers are the ones to make the call on using a less detailed model – I don’t see them as caving to pressure. I believe them when they say they need less detail so they can improve render times and thus improve the lighting. But I also hope they keep the very detailed model handy for the shots that get up close and personal to our favorite starship, when the rivets (of course, there aren’t any, are there?) would show.

Happy trekking everyone!

104. CG » Article on progress on Star Trek Remastered (It Is Getting A New Enterprise ) - August 12, 2008

[…] >>LINK<< […]

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