20% off Everything At FandangoNOW

Behind the Scenes at CBS Digital

The folks at CBS Digital were kind enough to let TrekMovie.com 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 TrekMovie.com 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, TrekMovie.com 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…TrekMovie.com. So be nice.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Captain Birdseye
November 20, 2006 6:31 pm

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.

Arnold, the Flintstones' Paperboy
November 20, 2006 6:48 pm

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.

Gary
November 20, 2006 6:49 pm

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

Jordan
November 20, 2006 6:57 pm

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.

Sean4000
November 20, 2006 7:11 pm

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 :)

jonboc
November 20, 2006 7:39 pm

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!

Skippy 2k
November 20, 2006 7:51 pm

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!

Dip Thong
November 20, 2006 7:53 pm

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!

litenbug
November 20, 2006 8:07 pm

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.

Shatmandu
November 20, 2006 8:08 pm

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

TomBot2006
November 20, 2006 8:12 pm

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

Elrond Lawrence
November 20, 2006 8:23 pm

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.

TrekMD
November 20, 2006 8:36 pm

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!

Magic_Al
November 20, 2006 8:37 pm

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?

litenbug
November 20, 2006 8:47 pm

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.

November 20, 2006 9:07 pm

Stay with the R and remember Rappacinni’s Daughter!

The Gregster
November 20, 2006 9:27 pm

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 :)

DJT
November 20, 2006 9:28 pm

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.

J R
November 20, 2006 9:34 pm

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.”

Russ- A Trek Fan
November 20, 2006 9:41 pm

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.

November 20, 2006 9:49 pm

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.

November 20, 2006 9:50 pm

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.

November 20, 2006 10:27 pm

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!

Horn
November 20, 2006 10:29 pm

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!!!

Cranston
November 20, 2006 11:09 pm

“…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.

Anonymous
November 21, 2006 12:06 am

so they look here to see fan reactions huh? ok then…HAND PHASERS….PLEASE UPDATE ALL SPECIAL FX NOT JUST SOME…THATS JUST WEIRD TO DO SOME AND NOT ALL VISUAL EFFECTS! PLEASE!!!! (MAYBE ADD A WINDOW OR 2 IN THE BACKGROUND EVERY NOW AND THEN)

Adam Cohen
November 21, 2006 12:29 am
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… Read more »
LavianoTS386
November 21, 2006 12:48 am

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

lti
November 21, 2006 12:52 am

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.

ety3
November 21, 2006 2:38 am

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.

Cervantes
November 21, 2006 4:34 am

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!

Cervantes
November 21, 2006 4:54 am

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

justin R C
November 21, 2006 4:57 am

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.

Holo J
November 21, 2006 5:36 am

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.

Diabolik
November 21, 2006 7:03 am

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.

Diabolik
November 21, 2006 7:05 am

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.

November 21, 2006 8:04 am

James R. Kirk.

Holo J
November 21, 2006 8:16 am

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.

Dr. Image
November 21, 2006 8:34 am

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.
-Donn

DaggerMind
November 21, 2006 9:24 am

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!

November 21, 2006 9:25 am

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

Lao3D
November 21, 2006 9:32 am

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!!

Scott
November 21, 2006 9:33 am
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… Read more »
scott
November 21, 2006 9:45 am

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.

Russ- A Trek Fan
November 21, 2006 9:54 am

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 – http://www.restoration-team.co.uk/ – 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!!

November 21, 2006 10:31 am

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. :(

November 21, 2006 10:39 am

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

November 21, 2006 11:08 am

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.

November 21, 2006 11:24 am

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

THEETrekMaster
November 21, 2006 11:33 am

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.

Thanks!
THEETrekMaster

wpDiscuz