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Behind the Scenes at CBS Digital November 20, 2006

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

The folks at CBS Digital were kind enough to let visit CBS Television City to get a behind-the-scenes peek at how they are breathing new life into Star Trek.  

Getting chosen as the effects house to create the new CGI effects for the remastered Star Trek was quite the coup for CBS Digital. As Craig Weiss, Director of CBS Digital says "it is huge deal – the biggest thing we have done so far.” Every single one of their twenty artists does at least some work on Trek, with over half of them dedicated full time. CBS had to bring on about 8 new people in order to meet the rigorous work schedule. Most of the new people are crowded into a single dimly lit (to avoid glare) room that used to be called ‘the morgue’. It is quite a thrill to look around the workstations and see the various bits and pieces of recognizable Star Trek elements being worked on. It is clear from just a quick visit that  each member of the team is dedicated to their craft and to digitally recreating the magic of Star Trek.


Some old Trekkies…and some new ones too
As one might imagine, many of the team members are lifelong Trekkies. "For me it is kind of a dream project," says Visual Effects Supervisor Niel Wray. Although not all of the team are ‘Trekkies’, they are all at least familiar with the show and the films from the point of view of their visual effects. And the project itself is creating new fans. One convert is Cliff Welsh, a 2D Compositor who says it was the episode ‘City on the Edge of Forever’ that really converted him “I wanted to see how my work looked, but then saw that storyline was pretty good and I have got into it…these are great stories." Now every Monday Niel and Cliff start off their days by discussing the episode that aired over the weekend. Others on the project have taken to learn all they can about Trek. An example would be Max Gabl, the Swiss-trained matte painter who has taken to studying the history of Trek art and former Trek artists such as the late Albert Whitlock. All in all the CBS-D team seem thrilled to now be part of Star Trek history themselves.

CBS’s Trek room…formerly ‘the morgue’

A Digital assembly line

The CBS team are tasked with delivering a new episode of Trek every single week…only the week before the episode is to air. Each episode starts its life with a meeting with a couple folks from CBS Digital and the producers David Rossi, Mike Okuda and Denise Okuda. Rossi and the Okudas will have already watched the original episode and come in with a list of all the shots they want to have recreated digitally. They go over the shots and see where there are opportunities to combine shots as well as create new shots. Although the mandate is to focus on space shots and matte paintings, the producers often bring in requests for augmentations to live action shots. As we have seen in the first few episodes, it is often these shots which are pleasant surprises to the audience, and it is in this meeting where they pick and choose where to make these enhancements. "It’s beyond the scope of the work, but because we are all huge fans of the show and we want to do everything we can to make it look fantastic," says Wray. According to Wray they end up doing most of the requested shots, but some are just too complicated to do in the allotted time. An example would  be the purple sky seen in the opening shot of ‘Mirror Mirror’. It was just too much work to matte out all the live action elements so the purple stage backdrop stays in, but they still got new agonizer and agony booth effects.

After deciding on the list of shots for an episode Niel Wray and his team start planning out how each shot will look. Often if they plan on doing a new space shot they will make a simple animation test (called an ‘animatic’) for everyone to agree on before commencing with building the shots themselves. Wray explains the process in detail for shots of the Enterprise: "It starts as a model, then it will be textured by our texture painters who add all the various things, then it is is rendered out inpasses…Each shot gets a color pass, an inclusion pass which is basically simulating shadows, two spec passes which are for specular kicks on the body of ship, a nacelle pass, window pass, and a shadow pass. Then the planets and the star fields which are their whole separate thing." Sounds easy enough. For each stage the shots are handed down from artist to artist. "It is like an assembly line," says Wray.

One piece of the the Enteprise (a nacelle skin) gets worked on in the digital assembly line

New Model: From 120 minutes to 4
It is the above-mentioned assembly line that has seen the biggest change with the introduction of the new model of the Enteprise (story).  The model they started with took 2 hours per frame to render, the new model only takes 4 minutes. According to Wray this has freed up the team to do the finalizing that was missing from earlier episodes: "Now we are able to go in there and sit with each shot and try different lighting schemes. You will now get these nice specular kicks off the side, which makes it feel like it is something made of metal. every surface has a sheen to it."  The team feel the new model is so much better that they plan on redoing previous shots that end up being reused. "You will never see that model again – it is gone," says Wray emphatically. Of course that isn’t entirely true because the old model can still be seen in the opening credits, but they are planning on tackling that as well. The new opening credit sequence will first be seen with the first 3rd season episode ‘Wink of An Eye’ in January. They hope to retrofit this sequence into future Season 1 and Season 2 episodes after that.

the old Enterprise had the CBS render farm working overtime

Some episodes take a few weeks, others months
Although they deliver an episode a week, they vary the time to start on episodes greatly. Some episodes (like the recent ‘Catspaw’) only take about 3 weeks to work their way through the digital assembly line. However other effects heavy episodes can take months. For example the team began working on the episode airing this upcoming weekend ‘The Menagerie’  over 2 months ago. This episode has two different Enterprise models (Kirk’s and Pike’s) and has a particularly tricky shot where the camera zooms up on the bridge of Pike’s Enterprise. The team have constructed an entirely CGI bridge complete with a crew that will be transitioned seamlessly with the live action, not an easy thing to do…hence the advance work. One episode in particular looms large in the minds of both CBS and the producers: ‘The Doomsday Machine.’ Niel Wray lays out the issue: "that is such a big episode, it is like a movie of the week or a mini series, there are 105 visual effects." A typical episode only has between 20 to 30. Even though the episode isn’t due until January, work began in October with Mike Okuda going into the Trek archives to find the original writer’s notes for the doomsday machine itself. [UPDATE: Mike Okuda tells they were looking for notes to determine some of the original lenses used in photographing the ship model and not related to the design of the Doomsday Machine itself…the CGI planet killer should look much like the original] Speaking of the Menagerie, yes the team also plan on creating a standalone version of the original pilot ‘The Cage’ from which the Menagerie borrows much of its footage. This will be the last episode the team do so don’t expect on seeing it until 2008.

Building digital crewmembers and a bridge
(Note blue screen wall for use in shooting new live action elements)

Creating new canon
Originally Star Trek Remastered was promoted as being a ‘shot by shot’ recreation of the Original Trek. Although it did start out that way, it has been evolving. The team are taking more and more opportunities to create new shots and even new ships. The ideas for these appears to be a group effort between Rossi, the Okudas and Wray, each of whom may come up with an idea for a new shot or ship.  For example in ‘Trouble With Tribbles’ there is a moment when an away team beams from the ship to the station. In the Remastered version there is a dynamic panning shot from the ship to a reveal of the staion, replacing a repeated establishing shot of the ship just orbiting the station. For that same episode CBS added a Klingon ship which was mentioned in dialog but never seen in the original. These changes show that the team are getting bolder in their approach, but they always try and stay true to the original. "I don’t want to take us out of 1966 star trek but I am willing to push it a little bit…I know what I can and can’t get away with, I am not going to show the Enterprise doing barrel rolls,” says Wray.

The team also tries and find places where they can put new ships where there should have been one before but the original team were limited by time and budget. A recent example was the Gorn ship in ‘Arena’. In the future expect to see a new freighter in ‘The Ultimate Computer’ (replacing the re-use of the Botany Bay) and a new Orion ship for ‘Journey to Babel’ (originally just a glowing ball). For the most part Mike Okuda designs the entirely new ships, but Niel Wray gets a crack too. Wray jumped at the chance to design the new Gorn ship after Okuda offered "I thought ‘how cool, I can design something totally new for Star Trek." Making changes isn’t always easy though. Just like with fans there is often debate about what to change and what not to change. An example would be Kirk’s tombstone in ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’. In the original it reads ‘James R. Kirk’, but of course we all know that Kirk’s middle name is ‘Tiberius’. So far there is no consensus on if they should alter the tombstone to reflect Kirk’s real middle initial ‘T.’ Whichever they decide, there will be fans on the other side. [for the record, votes ‘James T. Kirk’]

The new Gorn Ship (model wasn’t ‘skinned’ because it was never seen close up)


Putting themselves in the picture
One area that has gone over very well with the fans is the new matte paintings. Much of the credit can go to the teams matt painter Max Gabl. Before working on a new painting Max pours over Trek art books to find inspiration and ideas. Although the original paintings were often beautiful they were always quite static, now the team can add depth of scale and the appropriate lighting and animation effects to make these key shots come alive. In fact these shots are literally ‘alive’ now because they are incorporating people walking about when appropriate, and they are putting themselves into the paintings. This was first seen in ‘Devil in the Dark’ where there was a couple of workmen walking into a tunnel in the lower corner. As it turns out that was Niel Wray and another member of the team shot against a blue screen and placed into the image. Niel was chosen because he fit into the costume but now more members want to be part of Trek history. For the shot of Starbase 11 in the Menagerie expect to see tiny versions of Dave Rossi, Mike Okuda, Denise Okuda, David La Fountaine and others. "Everybody wants to do it now," says Wray.

Max Gabl paints a new Starbase 11 for ‘The Menagerie’

Still learning…and listening
Of course things have not all been perfect, in the first dozen episodes there have been a few gaffes. Although CBS Digital was not responsible for last weeks goof of a wrong shot being edited into ‘Mirror Mirror’, they have had their share of flubs. In an early episode the Enterprise is seen in orbit around a planet which is being lit from the right, but the Enterprise is lit from the left. And in Arena when the Gorn was dying his new eyelids were half closed, but then in another shot they are open again. These kinds of mistakes can be chalked up to growing pains and the accelerated schedule the team are on, but as Wray points out "if you look into any Trek show you will find these glitches, you are always going to make small mistakes." Wray thinks his team are finally hitting their stride “we will be on episode 80 always coming up with better ways of doing this, but I think our peak efficiency will be within the next few episodes.” To date the changes the team have made were based on their own views of making the show the best it can be, however that doesn’t mean they don’t keep track of fan reactions. "It is interesting to hear about what people think of your work so quickly and so enthusiastically…one way or another," says Wray. And where does he look?  You guessed it… So be nice.


1. Captain Birdseye - November 20, 2006

This is all very interesting. I was trying to see what software they were using from the pics but couldn’t quite work it out.

2. Arnold, the Flintstones' Paperboy - November 20, 2006

Great to see this article. I know very little about how to create CGI, but it sounds like something I could really get interested in. I can appreciate the work that these people do which is subject to time and budgetary constraints. I think they are doing a great job and keep getting better and better. Bravo.

3. Gary - November 20, 2006

This is a great article. What software are these guys and gal using?

4. Jordan - November 20, 2006

I love how they are progressing with the shows. It’s brilliant that they’re able to go back and redo the first episodes that were shown as well. A true testament to how great Trek is, and what people are capable of.

5. Sean4000 - November 20, 2006

They have to be using Combustion, AVID, Shake, Maya, and After Effects.

Love the ancient, AND DIM, Apple G4-era LCDs they’re using.

Man, I would love to build Opteron/ Core2 boxes for them. I could speed up work flow 500% !!!

I belive the render farm to be a 1999 era SGI station. I could be wrong though.

“The model they started with took 2 hours per frame to render, the new model only takes 4 minutes.”

After reading the above I would have FIRED the head technician and called BOXX Technologies immediately :)

6. jonboc - November 20, 2006

Great article. Very interesting stuff. It’s great to see this project is in the capable hands of artists who really care about Trek. And props to the Okuda’s for their passion and committment to the original series. After seeing the gorgeous work in Space Seed I’m really looking forward to more. What a great way to revisit my favorite show after all these years…thanks to CBS for making it fun again. What’s old is new again…and I couldn’t be happier!

7. Skippy 2k - November 20, 2006

Agreed, great article! Nice to learn a little more about the team and also answering a question I have been asking for awhile, if they would be including the cage in the re-mastering. Glad to hear that they are, and really looking forward to the new panning into the bridge shot for Menagarie/Cage!

Awesome work!

8. Dip Thong - November 20, 2006

I can almost SMELL the geek aromas of Cheetos and Cherry Coke in that shot of “The morgue”!

Digital bridge for the opening zoom through the dome in Menagerie! Hell YEAH! I am SOOO looking forward to the day I can see all these episodes again in HD with the pre-4 minute render Enterprise episodes tweaked a bit.

Since the CBS team does look over our comments, I’ll suggest a “wish shot”. I’d love to see a beauty shot of the original Enterprise that mimicks the final swooping departure shot from TMP. Perhaps save that for the very end of the project for the last shot in “The Cage” as a way to send off the E in style!

Great job, CBS! We’re not worthy!

9. litenbug - November 20, 2006

Great job Anthony!
… and since CBS Digital reads this.. Thanks.
And please forgive our “zeal” at times over your work. Take our comments with a grain of salt, especially when we don’t have a clue.

10. Shatmandu - November 20, 2006

Terrific article, Mr. Pascale. Very informative, and very professional.

To all the folks at CBS Digital, thanks much for your efforts. They are appreciated. I’ve not seen so many people excited about TOS is a long damned time.

Joe, smiling

11. TomBot2006 - November 20, 2006

Nice Gorn ship, too bad we didn’t get to “see” it. ;)
Pretty good article.

12. Elrond Lawrence - November 20, 2006

This was a terrific article, thanks! CBS Digital, you folks are doing a fantastic job, and our family really appreciates it. I agree with others that now you’ve hit your stride with the “new” Enterprise model. My 40th birthday (which I happily share with Trek’s 40th anniversary) was yesterday (11/19) . . . since we’d taped “Space Seed” on the DVR, we got to watch it yesterday afternoon, and I was blown away by the new shots of the Enterpise & the Botany Bay. I thought you’d like to know that my 11-year old daughter and I had a grand time watching the episode — it was her first time seeing it, but I also felt like a little kid during some of those beauty shots. (even my wife had to come in and check it out). Thank you for a great birthday gift, and for all your ongoing hard work.

13. TrekMD - November 20, 2006

Very nice article. It is great to see how much dedication these folks have and how they want to get as many shots as they can but time constraints don’t permit it. Makes one wonder if they will go back to some of these episodes and make further improvements when they have more time. The “sky” in Mirror, Mirro may be a good example of something they can fix once they are not so hard pressed for time.

Oh, and for the record, I vote for James T. Kirk also!

14. Magic_Al - November 20, 2006

I’m really looking forward to seeing that bridge dome shot in “The Menagerie”. If they can pull that off, how about going back and doing digital face replacement on the stuntmen in fight scenes? Obviously those fights were shot for much smaller TV screens than we have today. Was Nichelle Nichols’ stunt double in “Mirror, Mirror” even a woman?

15. litenbug - November 20, 2006

I am a critical SOB on the posts when I see comments that are, in my opinion, less than they could be (nobody say anything, I admitted it). However, #12 Elrond’s comment… was legitimately kind, nice and a breath of fresh air in here.

16. An olde timey fan - November 20, 2006

Stay with the R and remember Rappacinni’s Daughter!

17. The Gregster - November 20, 2006

Great article! Thanks for pulling back the curtain for us. It looks like we’re in for a great ride. I was 11 years old when the show first aired in the 60s. Even at that age I realized I was seeing something very different and special. I’m feeling that same excitement now. It’s like I get to be a kid all over again…at least for an hour :)

18. DJT - November 20, 2006

I just want to let the folks at CBS-D know that they are my heroes right now. The same goes for Mr. Rossi and the Okudas. I also appreciate everyone’s comments on this site. It feels like a bonafide community.

To the Powers That Be; those with the purse strings – please allow for additional money so that scenes that are too expensive or time consuming at the moment can be added before the eventual release on DVD. I am certain that such augmentations to the remastering process with pay off for you again and again.

Thank you.

19. J R - November 20, 2006

Very good article! It’s nice to see what’s going on behind the scenes. I used to work in a CADD room that we affectionately called “The Dungeon,” so I can definitely relate to The Morgue.

I’ve enjoyed the remastered episodes that I’ve seen so far, and am looking forward to the upcoming episodes, especially “The Doomsday Machine.”

20. Russ- A Trek Fan - November 20, 2006

Amazing work! That sums it up. CBS Digital is getting it better and better. When I saw the casting away of the Botany Bay in this week’s “Space Seed”, I couldn’t help but call out, “Wow!! Would you look at that?!! Amazing!” My wife came in from the other room and asked what the matter is. I backed up the DVR to show her the shot and even she said, “wow, that looks really cool” and she’s never been a Star Trek fan like me! LOL So, please keep up the great work CBS Digital, Niel Wray, and Michael and Denise Okuda!! And thanks to CBS/Viacom/(Paramount) for having the wherewithal, foresight, and money to put into this 40th Anniversary project… it is appreciated.

I am anxiously waiting to see “The Doomsday Machine” when it comes up in the schedule… just to get rid of those end shots of the small model Enterprise doubling for the burned out Constellation heading towards the Doomsday Machine will be well worth it. I always thought it looked like someone took a match and lit the back ends of the nacelles of the small AMT model and set it on a peg and filmed it!

Again… keep up the great work! Looking forward to lots more.

21. hitch1969© - November 20, 2006

These folks are doing God’s work, I swear to um, God and stuff. Great story BIG DAWG AP. This is more exciting than some of the chicks that I have dated.

I’ve been getting drunk and watching these every week. They’re awesome when you’re just messed up drunk and also play well the next day hungover on the ol dishnetwork DVR. Again, better than I would rate some chicks I’ve woken up with. Ay Caramba, I did what last night???

You dont get any of that with Trek remastered. When you wake up, you kick it like Morrison and say “Hello, I love you… won’t you tell me your name?”

Keep up the good work, CBS Digital. You’re the kind of chick old h69 could bring home to mother and make future child support payments to without resentment. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

22. Matt Wright - November 20, 2006

Incredible scoop Tony!
Great inside info on CBS Digital. It really sounds like the team is trying to get into Trek and do it right :-) kudos to you guys at CBS Digital for the effort. The pics of the new Starbase look great, very 1960’s.

23. Ralph - November 20, 2006

This is Great Anthony! Thanks for bringing us the CGI crew. It’s nice to know they are human and are doing something they enjoy. Kinda makes me wish I was there with them. :)
I Love It!

24. Horn - November 20, 2006

Great article!! I sure am glad I found this website a few months ago. I check in daily to see what is going on with all things Trek.

Great to see Star Trek is in good hands. My only wish is that when TOSR comes out uncut on DVD they re-visit ALL of the episodes and re-do everything they did not have time to do the first go around (purple sky in MIrror Mirror and other planet set sounstage episodes). Just to make sure it is done right with nothing left undone.

I really enjoyed Space Seed and the new shots were fantastic. Keep up the good work CBS-D!!!

25. Cranston - November 20, 2006

“…original writer’s notes for the Doomsday Machine itself.”

Awesome article, Anthony. This site has really become a premier Trek news source in a very short time. Kudos.

Re: the comment about going back to the writer’s notes for the DM. Does this mean we’ll see a (somewhat) redesigned DM, “bristling with weaponry” as I am told was in the original script, I wonder? Very interesting possibility.

And yes, I have a big goofy grin on my face reading about the CGI crew of Pike’s Enterprise for that classic beauty intro for “The Cage.” I can’t WAIT.

26. Anonymous - November 21, 2006


27. Adam Cohen - November 21, 2006

First, THANK YOU CBS DIGITAL AND THE PRODUCTION TEAM! You are all doing great work and your dedication to the show is greatly appreciated by a lot of fans (myself included).

Second, thank you Anthony for doing a fantastic job with this site. Having fans and professionals mingle here is a unique and profound experience. Rick Sternbach and Daren Dochterman are awesome people and having a chance to tell them so directly is a real treat.

Third, now that we have gone through several episodes, I think it is safe to say that STAR TREK- REMASTERED is an important, new direction for the franchise. Thanks to the new FX work, people are revisiting the show that started it all and are finding the charm and magic of these adventures all over again. In the haze ot the LOTR trilogy and Star Wars prequels, Trek faded into the background of even its most dedicated fans. I’m not ripping on Rick Berman here, but it is refreshing to have a more bottom-up fan experience with the show after many many years of being force-fed some Treks that weren’t really on the mark. Hopefully REMASTERED will help remind the new powers that be that fans are the fuel of the franchise. Listen to them because they LOVE these stories and will support you in whatever “enterprise” you seek.

Over these past couple of months, I have enjoyed talking about Trek, watching Trek and thinking about it more than I have for over ten years. Judging by the people on this website, I think that sentiment is shared by many. This process is helping to rebuild fan interest. I don’t know if Paramount realizes this, but REMASTERED is revitalizing this franchise. It’s still a long and bumpy road, but with more effort like this (ahem, Mr. Abrams!) Star Trek will be back on track in the near future.

28. LavianoTS386 - November 21, 2006

James Kirk. No bloody T or R. ;-)

29. lti - November 21, 2006

This is all absolutely fantastic!

But 2 more things:
I’d love it if the phaser disintegration effects were redone.

I’d love it if the planet sound stage backdrops could have clouds and sky effects put in matching the space shots of the planet.

30. ety3 - November 21, 2006

I, too, heap praise upon all of their efforts.

I also hope that these guys are given plenty of time after the 80 episodes are broadcast to go back to each one and do every enhancement and fix every model they need. Once it’s on DVD, it needs to be final, and I don’t believe we’ve seen the ‘final’ episodes yet.

31. Cervantes - November 21, 2006

Just got back to this site after weekend away, and it’s great to finally get the CBS Digital interview Anthony. Thanks to the team for their thoughts on this project…and that sadly “unskinned” Gorn ship shot is great…a terrific design.

I believe this upgrade is in good hands. It is exciting to have so many points answered…yet quite a few questions remain…ah well, they will unfold in the future.

I see the team’s ( AMT kit ? ) ALSO has a droopping Nascelle like mine used to in the 2nd photo!

32. Cervantes - November 21, 2006

Oh, and good to have you back Hitch…you escaped the “Nexus ribbon” then ?…

33. justin R C - November 21, 2006

Great interview. If they are matteing people in they should run a contest to add some lucky fan in a shot. Or just me I would be okay with that.

34. Holo J - November 21, 2006

Hey Justin that’s exactly what I was thinking!!!

Great article Anthony, this site is so great and I thank from the bottom of my heart for it. Being in the UK we have no idea when they might show these remastered episodes here, if at all.
So this website is the only source for all things trek remastered and it doesn’t disappoint at all!

I too hope from what I have seen and read on here that this isn’t the final cut and they are given the time and money to go back and
add to the effects on each episode. As mentioned in post 24 by Horn and post 26. Anonymous. (also maybe animate some of the view screens on the bridge of the Enterprise)

It is very exciting to see what they are doing, and I must say what they have done so far is looking great! Well done for what you’ve achieved so far CBS, I hope you have the chance to go back after these tight deadlines are over and finish this project to the highest standard as I am sure you would want to.

35. Diabolik - November 21, 2006

Someone mentioned NIchelle’s stunt woman in Mirror, Mirror. I know Nichelle’s body very very well after having staring at it for years, and I have yet to see any evidence of a stuntwoman or stuntman in what she did during the sickbay fight scene.

It’s all her. She’s an original. But I will go back and study it more closely again, seeing her beautiful bod is no strain.

36. Diabolik - November 21, 2006

Notice the badly sagging warp nacelle on the Ent model in the first photo!

Looks like they had the same problem we all did with the AMT-Ertl model.

37. DB - November 21, 2006

James R. Kirk.

38. Holo J - November 21, 2006

I would prefer it to be James. T. Kirk

But if its going to be an big issue then just make
It as post 28. LavianoTS386 suggested.

39. Dr. Image - November 21, 2006

Yeah! Maybe Gary Mitchell didn’t KNOW what Kirk’s middle name was, so leave it alone! Besides, it’ll save time and money that way…

As a guy who runs a digital photo studio and lab, I can really appreciate the trials and tribulations of CBS Digital.
Time and $$ are the cold hard realities that do not always meld well with creativity.
What is obvious from the article is that the creative vision of all involved is based in integrity and continues to exhibit respect for the original series.

A BIG thank you to you, Anthony, and to Mike, Denise, Dave and everyone else for all of your continued hard work and dedication to this historic project.

40. DaggerMind - November 21, 2006

Reading up on the hard work and exhausting timeframe, it seems history is repeating itself. The original crew worked hard to get the effects in place for each episode and now the crew doing the touchups are going through the same thing again. Kudos for revitalizing it!

41. Drew - November 21, 2006

Nice Work!!! Everyone involved in Star Trek Remastered should be proud of themselves. Keep up the great work!

42. Lao3D - November 21, 2006

Wow. Wow. Looks like Christmas comes early for Trekkers and Trekkies alike this weekend — or a double helping of Thanksgiving maybe. It looks like they are pulling out the stops for The Menagerie. I feared scheduling would mean they wouldn’t tackle the track-in shot through the dome, but they’re going for it. Awesome!

And a new Starbase 11? Did I mention wow? Mr. Gabl’s matte work so far has been, pardon the pun, stellar. Can’t get enough of that stuff!! More!

Thanks for the behind the scenes glimpse, and keep up the great work CBS Digital and thanks for listening!!

43. Scott - November 21, 2006

Been a while since I posted…

I’ve been 100% in favor of this project. I’ve been dreaming of just such updating for years. Here are some random thoughts:

-James T. Kirk on the tombstone. Gary was Kirk’s best friend! He could read minds! He should have known. Unless the R stood for a nickname we never knew (“Ramrod” anyone?)

-I hope they fix the new effects for any DVD/Media X release of these. I’m sure they will.

-I further hope with any DVD version, they don’t feel constrained by any “time” issue. In other words, add effects scenes as needed, and don’t worry if Doomday Machine or Ultimate Computer comes in at 59 minutes long, and other, less effects-heavy episodes only clock in at 52 or 53 minutes. Serve the story, not the needs of the 1960s advertisers and broadcast time-slots! This is Star Trek we’re talking about!

-While I’d love to see re-done phaser effects, moving clouds on the backdrops, etc., I doubt these guys are working with the original pre-effects film — they’re having to back engineer all their effects onto film that already has those old effects in place. They would have to strip out the old animated beams and dissolves and what-not before they could put in newer, cleaner effects. There’s just no easy, quick way — or ANY way — to do some of the stuff that we’d all love to see done. Does anyone know — do studios keep original film in a salt mine somewhere?

-Speaking of the limitations of CGI, is there any conceivable way to realistically paint Shatner’s and others’ faces on the stunt men in shows like Space Seed, Court Martial and This Side of Paradise? I’d love to see that done somehow….

-Everyone always mentions (with good reason) Doomsday Machine. But I’m also really looking forward to The Ultimate Computer, The Galileo Seven, Errand of Mercy and maybe even a new ion drive ship for Spock’s Brain! :-)

-Finally, thanks to everyone at CBS Digital, Mr. Rossi and the Okudas, for even doing this. As others have said, it’s fun to revisit this great old show with a new thrill of anticipation every week.

Scott B.

44. scott - November 21, 2006

Great article. Terrific. Thank you, Anthony, especially for the close-up of the Gorn ship. Is it my imagination or does the thing look like it has four nacelles? Wonderful stuff.

And I agree with whoever suggested the tombstone simply read “James Kirk”. That way, nobody’s happy and everybody’s happy.

As for the future, I would love to see some CG set extensions, both on the Enterprise and in some of the alien locations. Dunno if that’s too far outside the scope and budget of the project, but I’d love to see “more” in general, as long as its in-the-style and faithful-to-the-spirit- of the original series.

45. Russ- A Trek Fan - November 21, 2006

I had the same thoughts as Scott (#43 above) about the pre-effects film. If they don’t have access to any pre-effects footage, then they would have to manually “paint out” all the old effects for hand phasers. And, while I’m not in the profession, I would assume that this would require a frame-by-frame painstaking process. ( I think of some of the things I read from the Doctor Who Restoration web site – – where they state that they have to go frame-by-frame to “deblob” “descratch”, etc. So, to get the hand phaser and other optical effects out would require an elaborate process, no?

As for the distingration of objects by the hand phasers, I think that would require even more because something would have to be recreated via CGI and then the disintigration.

I think that some effects just have to stay “as is” because of money and time.

Again… kudos… props…. thanks… to all at CBS Digital and everyplace else for putting such love into the new remastered shots (even the ones they “aren’t supposed to be doing.”) Keep up the great work!!

46. Scott Gammans - November 21, 2006

Great article. I feel sorry for the artists at CBS Digital who are having to crank out episodes on such a tight schedule… I think they would agree that the rushed timetable has resulted in some less than perfect episodes. CBS **really** needs to cut these guys some slack and ease up on the frenetic pace.

Oh, and while they’re at it, loosen up the pursestrings and put your folks in a nicer work area… that shot of the Morgue was depressing-looking. :(

47. Mark2000 - November 21, 2006

I have 2 suggestions:

First, hire a dedicated shot director. I can tell its the techies directing the shots, not a real director. Most of the shots are really ackward in the way the camera moves over the ship as the ship moves toward the camera. Knowing the limited budget I would change my suggestion to: Either move the ship or move the camera. Doing both just doesn’t work well.

Second, people who designed ships for later era treks should not be designing TOS era ships. You’re prejudice to that TNG aesthetic. The Gorn ship is too complex and organic for a show that had ship that were either simple or completely geometric. The least you could do is shoot for a 60’s aesthetic. The Jupiter 2 or 2001’s Discovery would look more at home on trek than the Gorn

48. Greg Stamper - November 21, 2006

Thank you Mr. Pascale, the wait for this article was well worth it answering a number of questions. Including the episode for insertion of the New Enterprise model into the opening credits. We can certainly appreciate the shortage of time facing the CBS Digital team but it would be great if Niel Wray or any other team member wished to post here as well as read. We do tend to become emotional at times … but we do care just as they do.

Biggest shock of the day — “The Gregster” is five years older than me!! Hum, no doubt a snapper dresser as well.

49. Greg Stamper - November 21, 2006

“snapper” — “snappier” … better educated too.

50. THEETrekMaster - November 21, 2006

I would also again like to thank CBS Digital for its excellent work and efforts! A question though:

What software are you guys using to complete these new shots? I personally would have liked a look into the tools you guys use. I’ve used Maya 3D Studio Max and Lightwave…so, it would be interesting to hear what you are using.

Oh…and #47: with regard to the Gorn ship…the beauty of Trek is that you can have aliens with all kinds of technology. Why should it be limited to the kind of look we saw in the other episodes? I would be interested in knowing what the ship would have looked like mapped. I always kind of imagined that the Gorn ship would have been a bit clunkier looking…maybe look like it was carved out of rock or grown. I agree maybe a more organic look…but the texture maps may have helped with that.


51. THEETrekMaster - November 21, 2006

#43 I always thought Kara’s ship from Spocks Brain just needed some more detail…the shape itself is ok, but I would add some glowing panels on the wings and maybe some kind of cockpit since it’s one-man ship. Some paneling on the surface would be nice with some kind of decals. Oh…and let’s see that Ion trail! Maybe the ship could leave some kind of energy trail in it’s wake? Definitely need some different shots than what was in the episode. Oh and put some glaciers and mountains in the sky shots behind those cheesey sets of Sigma Draconis!

Anyway, just my two cents.

Another ship that needs redesigning is the SS Aurora from The Way to Eden (because everyone can tell it’s just a Tholian ship with engine pods).

52. Space Ghost - November 21, 2006

I think their work is absolutly amazing! I really love the new camera work on the Enterprise shots

53. Tony - November 21, 2006

Hey! thanks for this great article!! They’re doing indeed a great job, hope we’ll see a widescreen version soon :-)

54. Doc Horror - November 21, 2006

Well I got to see the SS VFX reel since they replayed MM here last week, and I have to say “HELLZ YEAH!!!” TWT was excellent and so was the work in SS. This is what I was hoping for when I first heard about this project! This is something I’ve wanted to see for almost thirty years….better late than never.

Can’t wait to see Menagerie this weekend…..unless they play SS. Remember guys….there should be orbital facilities for starship repairs in both this episode and Court Martial.

Keep up the excellent work!

55. Daren Doc - November 21, 2006

I agree with Mark2000 , #47…

Although the new shots are good, and it’s good to see them finally moving off and giving us new angles… the shots themselves are not as well composed as the originals… and the grace and mass of the original shots are gone… take a look at how stubby the Enterprise looks next to the original side-on shots…

The show needs a director.

56. Lao3D - November 21, 2006

Its a very subjective business — one man’s “stubby” is another man’s “interesting angle.” This week especially I thought the sense of scale and mass of the E. were quite wonderfully communicated.

And It sounded from the article as if Niel Wray fit the bill of the “shot director.” While I may not agree with every aesthetic judgement he and his team have made, I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest they were lacking “real” direction.

57. k - November 21, 2006

Thanks for the new memories CBS!

58. An olde timey fan - November 21, 2006

#23 Ralph — great site url! Thanks, bro’!

Anthony, I’m so glad you’ve scored such a great scoop from the CBS project team. Quite apart from the content of your report, it must be very gratifying to have your labor of Trekkish love bear such great reward so quickly.

Thirty-five years ago, at age 7, I tried my hand at a Star Trek newsletter using the school’s spirit duplicator machine. The Internet has taken that same basic idea to its ultimate end — interactivity with the fan and the makers.


59. An olde timey fan - November 21, 2006

Hey in the top photo, is that Skylab hanging from the rafters along with a droopy nacelled E and the B-52?

60. Buckaroohawk - November 21, 2006

I’ve been reading for a while, but this is my first post. I do CGI animations semi-professionally and I know first-hand how difficult they can be to finish on a deadline. The work that CBS Digital has done so far is exemplary, and this behind-the-scenes article was the perfect way to put a human face on a group whose work is being scrutinized by potentially millions of fans.
Their learning curve has been horrendous, yet their work has improved by leaps and bounds on each successive episode. They’ve added depth and realism to several sets, they’re moving away from the restrictive “shot-by-shot” mandate, and the Enterprise looks better every time it’s featured. I commend them on their ability to work under tight budgets and deadlines, and with hordes of very critical fans literally looking over their shoulders. Kudos to each and every one of them!

That being said, I have one little fanboy wish…please, please, please fix the transporter effect. Just a little so the hard edge cutouts aren’t so obvious. Even a mild, glittery effect over the established one, just to soften it. I’d be eternally grateful for that.

Thanks for listening! Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

61. Anthony Pascale - November 21, 2006

Thanks everyone for your kind words, and my appologies for the delay.

I also have a little clarification regarding the Doomsday Machine (noted above) from Mike Okuda

When I did research in “Paramount\’s archives,” it was to determine some of the original lenses used in photographing the ship model for visual effects. It was not related to the design of the Doomsday Machine. In fact, our current plan is for our planet killer to look a great deal like the original.

He also wants me to convey his and all the CBS teams appreciation of all of your support


…so sorry for the confusion, but on the plus side…it proves they really are reading the site!

62. Kevin - November 21, 2006

CBS digital is part of the parent company which now owns Paramount and Star Trek, so they fact that they’re doing this offers many corporate “synergies” to use that cringeworthy word.

63. Dr. Image - November 21, 2006

Good…..good. Lens selection….he has reasoned it out…

Varying lens selection can work either with or against the conveyance of scale. Adding camera movement adds depth and dimension- look at some of Dykstra’s work…
That shot of the discarding of the BB was really nice- things along those lines really add visual interest without going too far. Carry on u guys!

64. James Heaney - November 21, 2006

Fantastic article. ’nuff said.

65. Granger - November 21, 2006

Anthony, this has been a funtastic exclusive! I must chime in that this is the most fun I’ve ever had on a Trek website. Not only have you provided superb info on the projects, but also the many comments are much more thoughtful and mature than what one finds elsewhere, there have been great links, and it is especially gratifying to see some famous Trek production names as reviewers and posters and I’m amazed that the creators of the Remastering are paying even a little bit of attention to what goes on here. GREAT JOB GUYS AND GALS!

Oh, and for what it is worth, which isn’t much, my vote on the tombstone is James T. Kirk.

66. Holo J - November 21, 2006

I think a lot of the points on this subject asking for more improvement on different aspects of the shows original effects show what this project means to all of us. We all have our own ideas on how it should be.

It will be cool if they do indeed listen to all or even just some of them when it comes to the final result. I think this is a totally unique project that isn’t going to happen again for a long time.

I don’t think there is another 40 year old programme that would spark such interest if it where to get a make over. Infact I can’t really think of another 40 year old programme worth having this treatment. For this reason, I really hope they are given more money and time to do as much as they can, and create the remastering as they have wanted from the start, before they finish this project for good.

The opportunity’s to add to the effect are really endless if they are given enough money, man power and time. I sure hope they get the chance to go back over these episodes after these ridiculously tight deadlines are over with, as I bet they do.

I really do believe each of these episodes should be given a lot more time to carefully go over all the possibilities to improve the effects and remove gaffs. I think we would all gladly wait for any possible DVD if they took there time finishing off the good work they have started, right? Even if meant waiting another few years, I believe it would be well worth the wait.

The guys working on this project are very lucky people; I am really envious of them. I hope they realise just how lucky they are and that they keep coming to this site for the fans input.

I always feel that I sound like I am being critical of what they are doing but its not what I feel at all. I do believe that they are doing a good Job from what I have seen. I am just a passionate fan of Star Trek and just have some small hope that the power that be concerning this project are listening to us here and that they will do all they can to act on our input.

67. litenbug - November 21, 2006

I was afraid of this… the moment Anthony mentions that CBS Digital looks at this site… the wish list starts growing.

Like they need more pressure…

68. Mawazi - November 21, 2006

Great work, CBS Digital! Also, I’m encouraged to see that the new shots are truly being created at (what appears to be) a 16:9 aspect ratio. I want my HD-DVD Star Trek Remastered! :-)

69. Paul Austin - November 22, 2006

jeeez im so jealous ….does cbs digital need a full time coffee boy, monitor washer…..hell even whipping boy…i volunteer

70. Ralph - November 22, 2006

Thanks -#58 An olde timey fan- for the comment! I hope everyone else enjoys it.
Looking forward to your news and comments Anthony!

Happy ThanksGiving everyone!


71. Jim J - November 22, 2006

Frankly, I think their work is improving weekly. I am thrilled they are open to going back and changing some things on their earlier work and that they are expanding upon what they are doing each week.

One thing that is bothering me, though, is that there are certain individuals who constantly criticize but say they have no hard feelings. Improvements will be mentioned in a sentence or two, but PROBLEMS are complained about over several paragraphs. This type of criticism shows two things, in my opinion:
1.) The person(s) really are upset that their “company” (that they were “rooting for”) and work did not get picked to do this project,
2.) The critics truly do dwell on negativity (kinda reminds me of the “Day of the Dove” entity) and spend as little time as possible talking about the positive aspects (of which their are plenty as well).

CBS Digital is doing wonderful work, Darren Doc did wonderful work, what I’ve seen of Eden F/X has been wonderful work…but all for different reasons. It’s all about aesthetic taste!!! CBS Digital: Hold your chins up high and be proud about your work and keep being as open minded as you have been. I can’t say that anyone else who has worked on a project remotely similar to this has EVER listened to any “fans”.

By the way…I vote for James T. Kirk. Either that, or else JAMES RIP KIRK!

72. Jim J - November 22, 2006

One question: When they do show reruns (example-Balance of Terror), will it be updated with the newer model and yet even newer new effects?

73. THEETrekMaster - November 22, 2006

I have to say — as much as I like the work that CBS Digital is doing, I am even more impressed with how they are listening to the fans and showing their appreciation of us. That’s a rare thing these days.

Daren, I love your work man (I am a big fan of yours, so stick with me here) — it’s awesome, awesome stuff — but c’mon…you could be a little more positive. A lot of what you say is just supreme nit-picking and it’s starting to come off as sour grapes. Hopefully, some of your concerns will be addressed before the episodes arrive on DVD — as they will have time to go back and tweak things even more without being on a TV schedule. It’s a lot easier to perfect things when you aren’t under the gun. And I agree there seems to be a need for some direction. Again, love your work, but dude…day-um.

Keep up the excellent work guys…and take some well-deserved time to enjoy Thanksgiving!

Oh…and yes, the tombstone should read James T. Kirk in WNMHGB.

74. Nelson - November 22, 2006

Thanks for this great article and a look into CBS Digital. Very cool to read and learn how much they are fans trying to do the right thing!

I hope to see more of this kind of material here.

It’s also very cool that this website has such a good relationship with them and that they look to see our reactions. CBS Digital, keep up the great work. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for those landmark episodes to come! Thanks for the hard work!

75. Cameron Boehme - November 22, 2006

Anthony –

This is simply your best work to date, my friend. I miss our morning chats! You have my number… Let me thank you, personally.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

I, too, am envious of those few chosen who are involved in this project. Also, I have a “wish – list” however, I will spare CBS – Digital (not to mention, all of you) the details of any such list… I’m certain that all of the items will be covered by this vast community who’ve all willingly become a living, breathing part of the virtual – community Anthony has created for us all to enjoy. CBS – Digital and Anthony both have their work cut out for them; I’m sure that there is more than enough pressure to go around for both of them.

It’s been repeated, and I echo the ‘after – thought message’ of “take your time,” to CBS -= Digital, regarding the re-release of Star Trek, in its re-mastered format. I would like to say this: I, personally, have contributed more than my fair share of funds to this venture. (Tongue inserted directly into cheek.) I was one of the poor saps who enrolled in the original Columbia House VHS Broadcasts of (TWO EPISODES PER VHS BOX TAPE!?) the original series. Next, like the schmo that I am, I traded in my VHS tapes (gave them to my younger brother, actually – so no monies were recouped) and went to the orange and red DVD’s (TWO EPISODES PER DVD BOX??!) of the original series. I then worked my way through every single motion picture I had originally purchased on VHS, over to DVD going backwards, as they were released, if I recall correctly. Then every single DVD (again!) going forward from Director Robert Wise’s breath-taking revamp edition… I invested in every single boxed set of the Next Generation, followed by Voyager through Deep Space Nine and so on. Yes. Even “Enterprise.” Not because I enjoyed the series, because I simply did *NOT* – but because it was vital to my collection being a complete one. I’m one of the guys that Paramount Pictures (and CBS, too) should love and bless, because it would seem that I have more money than sense. Now, with the thrilling re-re-re-releases of these new and even-more-improved Trek episodes, I’ve not even a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I’ll be ponying up large sums of cash, once again, for the pleasure and honor of owning the latest and greatest version of my most beloved series of stories!

Thanks to all of you responsible for picking my pocket… I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks to Anthony (in case you’re too busy to call) for everything you’re doing here. Someone mentioned that they would be willing to be a coffee-jock or monitor cleaner for the group responsible for this new edition… I have the same sense of admiration for what you do with your work here, at The Trek Report.

Much love and thanks,

Cameron Boehme
Dallas, Texas

76. Doug - November 22, 2006

There is a lot of talk about Daren Dochterman nit-picking, esp here at Seriously, I think the guy is pointing out what he perceives as technical shortcomings in the shots, and offering a potential better approach to them…, and as I read it.. he’s doing it with a generally pretty good attitude…

CBS digital’s work is improving, and maybe some of Daren’s technical feedback is helping, along with the fans comments as well.


77. New Horizon - November 22, 2006

In response to #76

I agree Doug. Daren has been nothing but a professional in his criticism. I see his passion for Star Trek shining through many times and perhaps some have taken that the wrong way.
I think people need to realize exactly what Daren Dochterman has offered here on Trekmovie and his own website…free guidance, he’s giving away tips that he has learned from his own trial and error. He isn’t looking for payment, he is simply giving it away. I don’t think I’ve seen many professionals be so forthcoming as to come right out and tell another company the best virtual lens to use to get the best look on their project.

If anything, CBS should really hire him as a director or consultant of some sort…just to pull things together.

78. Spockariffic - November 22, 2006

#77, I’ve been kind of vocal about Daren’s comments so I’m picking up what you’re puttin down lol.

Lets call a spade a spade though. He’s offering his opinion based upon how he would like to see the shots done. Is his advice the best way to accomplish this? Is there a “best” way to tackle a creative endeavor? It’s likely the best way to achieve his idea of how it should be done, but that’s it.

In the ship’s of the line stuff he’s done, I notice that Daren chooses to use that really tightly-knit plating pattern on the hull of his TOS Enterprise. That’s right out of the STTMP. OK he obviously likes the look. Is it THE look for the Enterprise? Of course not. It’s how he likes it. I notice that he says in his review that Botany Bay looks too weathered for his taste. Again, in his ships of the line stuff, his Botany Bay looks completely pristine. It’s the way he would approach these things. Choices.

I don’t think anyone is asaulting the guy’s talent. His technical explanations are out of my ability to fully grasp, but he obviously has a firm grasp of the tools and I’m sure he has some good ideas when imparting them. But again, are his suggestions the end all be all of how it should be done? Not having a techniacal background like many of you here, I think their work at CBS has just been getting better and better. When the Enterprise released the Bottany Bay I just swelled up. That shot was WICKED COOL! I thought it was amazing. There are post after post after post in favor of and against the work, which just shows that what we’re all talking about, no matter our technical prowess, is how WE want to see it personally as individuals.

My biggest gripe with Daren (or any professional critiquing another peers work) is that even his compliments are back-handed insults. In his latest review he says “I was going to use the quote ‘While I am intrigued by your abilities, you are quite honestly inferior’ but that would be cheeky.” So he says the quote anyway, got to call their efforts inferior, insulting them, but playing it off as ha ha. That reeks of being petty to me. The constant digs to these CBS guys just sounds like sour grapes. Give a little credit where credit is due to these poor shmoes locked in “the morgue” busting their hump to make us all happy. How bout a little love?

Lets be thankful we live in a place where we can freely debate. Happy Thanksgiving all.

79. Jim J - November 22, 2006

Spockariffic: Although what you say is VERY close to how I am feeling about things, maybe you are being a wee bit too tough? Suffice it to say, we all have our own “eyes” when it comes to this stuff and we’ll always see it the way we want to, or wish it should be. If we can’t, then we’ll say it is wrong. I just wish people would continue to encourage and give credit where credit is due. All I have to do is look at the opening credits and compare it to the rest of the show, and I KNOW things are WAYYY better now. Just think of how they’ll be doing by the time the get halfway through this. Damn, I can’t wait. I know someone will speak up now and say it oughta be perfect now, but I don’t think it ever would be even if limitless time and money. Someone would say that something looks wrong and the bandwagon jumping would begin. Your comment about Darren’s Enterprise is an example. But, does it seem kind of insulting and at times, almost petty? Perhaps.

80. Spockariffic - November 22, 2006

Jim J: I hear ya man. Certainly not trying be harsh, just hate to see destructive criticism when it’s just as easy to give the supportive kind.

81. Jim J - November 22, 2006

True, so true. We are such a negative society nowadays. Not like Roddenberry had hoped.

82. New Horizon - November 22, 2006

-Lets call a spade a spade though. He’s offering his opinion based upon how he would like to see the shots done. Is his advice the best way to accomplish this? Is there a “best” way to tackle a creative endeavor?

I think it’s more than just ‘how he would like to see it done’, it’s also the experience of having had to revise his own work, and research the best way to get the original series look. It’s likely not the only way to achieve it…but a freebie is a freebie, and considering the tight schedule CBS digital is on, I would be inclined to follow a lot of that advice…sooner than later. :) Especially when you have a group of Trek Nerds breathing down your neck. I agree that they have improved, but this is closer to how the work should have looked from the beginning. They’re lucky to be in a position where they get paid to work out some pretty serious bugs while the show is being aired.

Obviously they don’t have to follow the advice ‘to the letter’, but if someone is kindly telling them that the original Trek used ‘this’ kind of lens and that the shooting model was lit a certain way to achieve the sense of mass they’re missing…, I think they should jump on it…and use it to their advantage. Why cross the road blind, especially when someone has been extending a helping hand to you from the beginning? Personally, I can’t believe it has taken this long to get things looking good. I’m very impressed with how it looks, but that is sadly dampened by how long it has taken them to work all this out. It kind of feels like we’re in some kind of focus group for a T.V. pilot or something. ;)

83. Jim J - November 22, 2006

I knew it…just think of it this way, at least they ARE listeningb to advice from some experts and also from some non-experts (fans). Why not let them change as they go…if they are allowed to go back and make more improvements before the dvd’s, it’s just fine with me.

84. Spockariffic - November 22, 2006

CBS is reading the boards. The lead artist says as much in the article. They’re likely using any advice they feel is useful, as we all would. But there’s not much “kindly” telling them of anything. Repeatedly commenting about how he should be directing this, how disappointed he is with their efforts, that CBS is amateurish and doesn’t have the necessary skills, knocking their efforts with thinly veiled comments that are passed as ‘compliments,’ I’m just pointing out that you get more bees with honey. There’s like 50 or so episodes left, and with each entry he makes, he pushes them further away from being brought on-board as any kind of consultant for this historic project. Slapping people gets you bupkis.

85. Spockariffic - November 22, 2006

Make that 59 episodes left!

86. Spockariffic - November 22, 2006

Make that 69!! My final bid lol!

87. darendoc - November 22, 2006

I’ll just point out that you can get more bees with honey… but who wants bees?

88. Cal - November 22, 2006

Maybe they could digitally change the face of each stunt man to that of Daren Dochterman! LOL ; )

And digitally replace Kirk’s hair with the movie-like curly toupee

And digitally cap Nimoy’s teeth so he can look more like the movie version

And change Sulu’s shirt to pink

And the Romulan hairdos to that fakey shiny ‘Next Generation’ style; looking like they were wigs puchased at Spencer gifts

And a vote for keeping the tombstone as it is. Let it remain a mystery why the R. is there

Keep up the good work, CBS Digital

89. Xplodin' Nacelle - November 22, 2006

Good Job Guys! Would love to see the names, & registry numbers added to the hulls of ships. This way they’d be distinguished from the Enterprise. It’d also be cool to see the bridge monitors have different displays occasionally than the same colored block patterns.

James T. Kirk, gets my vote

90. Xplodin' Nacelle - November 22, 2006

BTW, The Gorn ship looks incredible! It reminds me of how I felt when I first saw the Grissom in TSFS. I can also imagine this model you’ve created with a white paint scheme, & Federation markings. Very believable spacecraft. Kudos.

91. New Horizon - November 22, 2006

>There’s like 50 or so episodes left, and with each entry he makes, he >pushes them further away from being brought on-board as any kind of >consultant for this historic project. Slapping people gets you bupkis.

Ha ha. Well, I’m sure if he were actively seeking employment he would tread more lightly. Like it or not, take it or leave it..the info is there, it’s free, and it comes with no strings attached. Argue for limitations, and surely they will be yours.

92. Ron Jon - November 22, 2006

Limitations? From Anthony’s article, it sounds to me like the good people at CBS Digital are defying gravity, pushing aside limitations by their sheer force of will, not to mention a healthy dose of hard work and talent. They may not do everything the way I (or Daren) would want to see it, but the results are undeniably excellent, and getting better all the time. Sour grapes gets you nothing, even if it is disguised as ‘advice’.

As we old-timers used to say, ‘STAR TREK LIVES!’ And it lives at CBS Digital!

Bring on ‘THE MENAGERIE’!!!

93. New Horizon - November 22, 2006

No no, my comment of arguing for limitations wasn’t aimed at CBS digitals efforts. I fully support their efforts, but there is no need to jump to their defense, they’re fully aware of their weak areas. My comment was more about why some essentially argue for CBS to limit themselves to not using good advice, and working inside a vacuum, essentially because they perceive the advice as being of a condescending tone? I have perceived more recent reviews as having an edge of desperation, and exasperation…from having stated the same issues repeatedly. CBS Digital stated that this is the biggest project to land in their laps, and the early episodes certainly showed this, however I’m sure they’re all top notch professionals and just didn’t have the time to experiment before the episodes went to air…otherwise, we wouldn’t be having these circular conversations on the page. :)

94. Josh - November 23, 2006

I can readily say this,

of all the various non- original studio model incarnations of the Constitution class U.S.S Enterprise that have been generated over the years,

The CBS digital is by far my favorite, and I’ll tell you why.

It isn’t the prettiest rendition, it isn’t the most detailed, it isn’t the most expensive, and it hasn’t had the benefit of time some others work has had,

but here’s what the CBS digital Enterprise DOES have that makes it blow away all other CGI incarnations,
it has the benefit of a TOS inspired shepard in the form of Okuda crafting the overall larger picture of where the show is going,

The CBS digital Enterprise is the perfect balance between faithful reproduction and carefully respective slight enhancement.

Daren’s Enterprise is beautiful ,but as presented on his site, wouldn’t be appropriate for the style and aesthetic of the Original Series.

The Eden FX Enterprise looks like the Enterprise as seen through the distorted lenses of future Trek series. It looked and felt entirely unique to those series.

I like that Okuda is being conservative, conservative in the regard of how they are showcasing the Enterprise, making it have mass and seem larger than life, not zipping around like a damn Runabout the way the version did on In a Mirror Darkly. I like big fat , slow, lumbering closeups and in your face detail.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Enterprise isn’t the Millenium Falcon ,it adheres to and extrapolates on real world physics and isn’t a space corvette or camero.
It takes WORK and energy to get the Enterprise moving despite it’s advanced technology and inertial dampeners. It’s an aircraft carrier, not a X wing.

I haven’t seen anyone compliment that aspect of CBS digital’s approach.
Regardless of what you believe on how the model APPEARS, they are filming it RIGHT.

All you have to do is compare that bullshit in Nemesis with starships two and three times as big as Kirk’s Enterprise zipping about like Attack of the Clones, and The Wrath of Khan, where it was two subarmines languidly maneuvering for the kill. It was ridiculous in Nemesis and Enterprise.

Granted, in space there should be no limit to how a ship can perform, especially given the energy that propells starships and lack of gravity or inertia in space, but once you establish something, stick to it. Regardless of how advanced 24th century ships are, it has already been established they DONT MOVE like Star Wars ships. For an entire century they didnt move like that.

CBS Digital you are doing an absolutely fantastic job and I’m very thankful Im excited about Star Trek again, discussing it, and purchasing memorabilia and collectibles. Since we vote with our wallet, Im voting with mine and Paramount should be pleased.

It’s all about the 5 year mission baby. Not that watered down Diet Trek bullshit.

95. Captain James B. Quirk - November 23, 2006

I love Star Trek. It’s one of my favorite shows, but did you guys EVER think that, maybe, just maybe, you give this Television show, from forty years ago, just a little toooooo much attention?

Just maybe?

It’s a TV show. Something I did as a lark a few years ago…. For money…… A job…… And you people have turned it into a collosal waste of time.

You, in the ears………. Have you ever kissed a girl? I mean other than your sister, of course….

SimmerAlpha, have you kissed anyone other than Toonloon.?

Get a life people, I mean really….. Get a life!

96. Captain James B. Quirk - November 23, 2006

Keep telling yourselves…….. It’s just a TV show, It’s just a TV show…..

Repeat mantra, until you actually get out of the house and look at the sky.

“My God! It’s full of …… Life.”

97. David K. M. Klaus - November 23, 2006

Russ – A Trek Fan wrote:

> I am anxiously waiting to see “The Doomsday Machine” when it comes
> up in the schedule…just to get rid of those end shots of the small
> model Enterprise doubling for the burned out
> Constellation heading towards the Doomsday Machine will be
> well worth it. I always thought it looked like someone took a match and
> lit the back ends of the nacelles of the small AMT model and set it on a
> peg and filmed it!

Well, it probably was a small blowtorch rather than a match, but otherwise you’re correct: that was in fact an AMT model of the Enterprise suitably damaged and with transposed decals (1017 altered from 1701) used for the Constellation. Another AMT model was used for the Enterprise as seen through Mr. Lurry’s office window in “The Trouble with Tribbles”.

98. Cervantes - November 23, 2006

TOOOOOO much attention to this show ?…can there ever BE such a thing ? lol.

99. Robert - November 23, 2006

An earlier poster indicated that CBS Digital reads these comments. If that’s the case then I have the following to say: .

I continue to be offended and disgusted by what I’m seeing. I am not saying the work isn’t good — CBS Digital has some of the best people in the business, and I wish them well. But I continue to oppose the idea of altering the original series just so it looks nice and shiny and pretty. From the completely unnecessary re-recording of the music (I’ll be happy to provide CBS with contact information for people in Europe who can take a 1940s acetate and make it sound like a DDD digital recording), to what I consider to be “beyond the pale” altering of the shows. It’s one thing to paint over a few rough spots, it’s quite another to repaint the whole house.

Mark my words, it’s only a matter of time before actors start being replaced, or entire scenes. It can be done and I fear it will be done.

As a 30-year fan of the Trek franchise and one who has spent thousands of dollars on franchise merchandise, I will not support this bastardization. I will not purchase any DVDs (or HD-DVD/Blu-Ray) that does not include the original versions of the episodes, nor will I watch this on television.

100. Ron Jon - November 23, 2006

Robert: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But since you won’t watch the show, it’s hard to take your opinion seriously. CBS Digital is hardly “repainting the whole house.” Their work has been extremely respectful of the original series. Don’t believe me? Look at all the whiners who have complained that they’re not doing enough to change the show.

I will say, however, that I agree that rerecording the theme music was pointless.

Star Trek Lives! Bring on ‘The Menagerie’!!!!!!

101. SPOCKBOY - November 23, 2006

I think that its utterly ridiculous to give these poor guys a week to come up with new effects for each show. It ‘s disrespectful to them and particularly disrespectful to such a classic show. Star Trek deserves more time. As an artist myself I completely understand CBS DIGITAL’s dilema. Remember boys and girls, haste makes waste…; )

I had a thought. Since Shatner and Nimoy seem more than willing to participate in a Trek project. Why not hire them to reprise their roles in “THE DEADLY YEARS” It would look fantastic to see them as actual 70 year olds against their younger counterparts. You could easily digitally put them in or rebuild some set pieces (TRIALS AND TRIBBLEATIONS) and it would be an amazing television first !

Just imagine it….

102. Spockariffic - November 23, 2006

#91: Employment? This has nothing to do with a job. Daren obviously really REALLY loves Trek and wants to be a part of this. This is a project that will touch old fans, foster new ones, and roll on into the future. This is a chance to further Gene’s dream, to shape this concept that’s affected us all in profound ways. I sit here in But F@@k Egypt DREAMING what it would be like to be involved in a project like this and it has nothing to do with gainful employment. He’s THERE in THEIR business. Having worked on the Motion Picture, seeing this opportunity to work on the ORIGINAL passing him by…I guess Daren makes a point with his “who wants bees?” comment. Maybe it’s just easier to sit on the sidelines.

#95: The constitution is just a piece of paper, it’s not about “the show” it’s about the hope for the future it represents baby! It’s about people being big enough to get over their own personal crap to realize that the world would work a lot better if we pulled together instead of apart. AND it’s about non-skeletized hot chicks in short, short skirts. And that should never be underestimated.

103. THEETrekMaster - November 23, 2006

I left a post over at Trekenhanced for Daren where I say I believe he should be a director over at CBS digital and I firmly believe that. I think Daren has great ideas and excellent technical expertise.

I my opinion, not having him on the CBS team in some capacity is a huge waste and loss. It’s great he can voice his opinion here and on his own site, but it would be even better if he had some input into how these shots are being completed?

CBS are you guys listening? C’mon…contact Daren and get him aboard this project — at least for the final polishing before these go to DVD (because we all know that’t the endgame…LOL!!) for people like me to buy a second time.


104. jcs - November 23, 2006

Conceptualy, all of the enhancements are great. But, the Enterprise looks dark and grey and really the CGI is not that realistic looking. It all appears somewhat inferior really. And the overall image quality of the live action is not good. Somehow the magic of the original image quality is gone- hasn’t anyone else noticed this? The image had a sparkle to it that the enhanced version does not.

105. Ron Jon - November 23, 2006

Au contraire! The overall image quality of Star Trek Remastered is light-years better than the previous versions of the original series. The images are sharp and the colors are truer and more saturated than they are in the current DVDs. I do wish they would do more dirt and scratch removal, but even there, it’s better than any previous release.

I’ve never seen a real starship at warp, so it’s hard to comment on whether or not it is realistic. But I think that CBS Digital’s work is stylistically consistent with the rest of the series, which was obviously their intent.

106. THEETrekMaster - November 24, 2006

“I’ve never seen a real starship at warp, so it’s hard to comment on whether or not it is realistic.”

I have. And when the ship moves at high warp it turns to a lime green color!

So, everybody is wrong.


107. MichaelT - November 24, 2006

You ALL say things at times that I disagree with and I know my comments are not universally accepted either. In here…it’s a given
Why are you still on Daren? If you don’t like what he says, don’t read his posts and I am sure the people at CBS Digital can decide on their own what they want to read.

CBS…fine work.

108. Robogeek - November 25, 2006

Another great article… though my big question for “The Doomsday Machine” is:

Will they fix the Constellation’s registry number?

(That’s always bugged me.)

109. gregored - November 26, 2006

I just found the website, and have read through all these posts, and thought I would add my hopes for the “finished” episodes., as well as some more general comments.

Eventually, I would hope that CBC Digital will be able to take many of the on planet scenes, and digitally remove the cycloramas, and add more realistic skies ( at least, blend away the wash from the lights at the top visible in some shots). Ideally, but probably very difficult and/or expensive, would be to also add some atmospheric haze to those shots so that the background hills and rocks have a realistic distance. One disappointment I’ve had so far is that there were no enhancements/extensions to the ruins of the cities in Miri, and in City On the Edge of Forever. Seeing more of the colony in Arena would have been nice also. I have to say I was impressed with the fact that the Gorn could blink.

I am really looking forward to seeing the Fesarius, the Doomsday machine itself, the energy web of the Tholians, and I am eagerly anticpating what they will possible be able to do with the “space ameoba”.

I agree with an above post that on DVD, let the episodes run to whatever length works best for each episode, with additional enhancements and shots where appropriate.

As to The Menagerie, Part 1, I have to say the shot from The Cage with the move into the Bridge was pretty amazing, expecially the way the bridge cap became transparent. On the down side, this is one episode in which it seems the present has caught up to the present. I can no longer believe in Captain Pike’s total disabilitiy. Even with today’s technology, a person can communicate better with eye movements, and so forth. In the 23rd century, I can only imagine what will be possible. However, this isn’t a complaint about the work of CBS Digital, I guess It is more a fact that we are dealing with a series created 40 years ago.

As to the controversy I’ve noticed in many of the above posts, I do have to say that I would enjoy seeing something similar to Darin Dochterman’s transporter enhancements in the remastered episodes, or something to soften up the matte outlines. I thought the transporter shots from the Cage were enhanced with a bit of a nod toward the effect from Enterprise.

110. RGS - November 30, 2006

I am really enjoying the remastered trek eps and have nothing but praise for the CGI team. Actually, the only thing I was kind of disappointed in was the Catspaw ending with the pipe-cleaner alien puppets on strings (bothered me even as a kid in the late 70’s watching the reruns). I was kind of hoping they would redo them with CGI since it was an effects insert shot and didn’t have interaction with the actors (especially after seeing the updated castle matte …jaw-droppingly awesome). Loved the Gorn blinking and new android innards. They are erring on the side of caution, but I think that since everyone’s hearts are in exactly the right place, they can go further with the FX updates. They’re mission statement of not changing the storylines is what Lucas should have done with the Star Wars updates. I too hope for a remastered DVD collection in the future. Great work guys.

111. CD - December 8, 2006

I loved the Starbase 11 window shots; especially those behind Captain Pike. The zoom in on the bridge of the Pike Enterprise was one of those “how are they going to that?” moments that come up watching this; usually followed by “how did they do that?”. Very cool.
Looking forward to Corbomite and Doomsday.
And guys, in your spare time, can you make UT2004 map out of Starbase 11? >;>} (You don’t really need sleep, do you?)
Great job!

112. Flavio Jeff Silveira - December 10, 2006

Who the heck these people think they are to blow away such a piece of art? What’s next? Insert a fan as a character in the episodes?
I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been destroying Gene’s masterpiece.
Call me a purist, call me nuts, call me whatever you please, but I hadda say it at point blank.

A terrified Brazilian fan.

113. I Am Not Spock - December 17, 2006

[quote] What’s next? Insert a fan as a character in the episodes? [/quote]

Too late … already been done (in Star Trek The Motion Picture) … and it sux there, too!

114. MartianBachelor - February 10, 2007

I vaguely knew TOS was being remastered, and the first season episodes I’ve seen being rebroadcast have looked really excellent… But I just saw “The Doomsday Machine”, thought I was seeing some new or ‘lost’ shots — maybe scenes which had been cut out when the show went into syndication and had long been forgotten. I eventually found this article. It explains a lot. What they’re doing is more than just cleaning up and digitizing the originals — what one might call merely technical improvements with the proverbial very light touch.

From the comments in the initial love-fest above, it’s easy to see that there’s a limit beyond which aficionados are going to start bristling. There were so many little things in the original which were tacky, and thus could in principle be redone and made ‘better’. But at some point the show then loses its original touch and feel. All this is obvious, as is the fact that each fan places the threshold in a slightly different position. Net: perhaps the time and money limitations being imposed on the team are a blessing in disguise, as they force the focus onto just the most pressing matters and keep things from going overboard. Perhaps a second version with all the stops pulled out and all the fix-up ideas implemented could also be produced, though this might really confuse the H out of everybody.

With that said, I hope by the time they get to TNG they’ll be able to entrirely get rid of the silly vertical flash of light when the ship goes into warp (a really awful idea to begin with) and write Wesley The Boy Wonder out of most of the episodes where he saves the day. :> JMO.

115. jim - February 25, 2007

are you guys all nerds?

116. Lou - May 16, 2007

Here’s a wonderful idea since we’re talking about creative, original thinking artists: I think it would be fun to alter STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION to make it look like it was filmed on a shoe-string budget during the 1960s.

117. Moreau. - August 5, 2007

You’re All Wrong. For one thing Star Trek And Star Wars Are Equal. And Another thing. Lou, stop being such an old movie technology avenger and stick to the new technology. those previous ones had thier fun. But now, CGI is here. Really.

118. Mythic7 - August 22, 2011


119. Jim - March 23, 2012

Just found this article after beginning to re-watch TOS HD after it was added to Netflix. At first I though there was just more to see in HD, but then I realized after seeing The Doomsday Machine last night with all the space scenes, this is not your daddy’s FX! I grew up watching TOS on a B&W TV when it originally aired in the 60’s – so I know what it’s like to be “old school”. Now with a 1080P 46″ flat screen the new HD remastered TOS is looking better than ever. I have read where some “purists” feel like they’re being violated with the new scenes, but I think they blend in very nicely and show the Trek as it would have been given the technology and budget. Great job CBS Digital. The only thing that could improve now is if CBS remastered a 16:9 version from the original 35mm film – I read that all the new scenes were rendered at 16:9 HD. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.