Review of “Wink of an Eye” Remastered

Imagine a race of aliens on a distant planet who exist in an accelerated state of being, moving so quickly in time that they are imperceptible to the ordinary world except for the insect-like buzzing of their sped-up voices. It’s an intriguing sci-fi concept with all sorts of dramatic and narrative possibilities, but the “Wink of an Eye” in this week’s Star Trek episode is from the writers to the audience telling them, “Yeah, we know this story makes no logical sense whatsoever but just ignore that and watch Captain Kirk bag another alien space babe."

The Last of a Dying Breed
The Enterprise responds to a distress signal from the planet Scalos only to find it apparently deserted and lifeless. When a security guard inexplicably disappears into thin air, Captain Kirk orders a return to the ship where they soon realize they’ve brought aboard an unseen enemy, the aforementioned “accelerated” aliens, who are rapidly taking control of the ship’s systems. Deela, the self-described Queen of the Scalosians, exposes Kirk to a substance that speeds him up to their level, like the earlier security guard, and explains to him that her people are dying and in need of new breeding stock to perpetuate their species. She intends to take Kirk back to her planet and make him her King, willingly or not, while putting the Enterprise and the rest of its crew into deep freeze for later use. Employing his usual mix of charm and cleverness, Kirk manages to stall their plans long enough for Spock and McCoy to synthesize an antidote to the acceleration effect and together they are able to regain control of the ship and exile the Scalosians back to their planet.


Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain

As I said, the concept is very intriguing and the episode is enjoyable overall, but only so long as you don’t examine it too closely or ask too many questions. Depending on how nitpicky you are, you might find yourself wondering how the Scalosians, who were supposedly rendered sterile by the same contaminants that caused their acceleration, were still able to mate and reproduce with passing space travelers, never mind the genetic compatibility issues. You might also wonder how they managed to get themselves beamed up to the ship undetected along with the materials for the deep freeze machine, or why the doors and turbolifts seemed to work for them at normal speeds while the phaser beam Kirk fired at Deela on the bridge was too slow to reach her before she casually stepped out of its way. And if you’re really nitpicky, you might be curious if they had to work in shifts during the hours it must have taken to push Kirk and Spock back a couple of steps in Environmental Control, or how they can even walk across a room without stirring up tornadic winds and sonic booms! I guess after you’ve seen this episode the first half-dozen times, it can be just as thought-provoking and fun to go ahead and ask the questions you’re not supposed to ask.


Just go with it

A New New Beginning
Of course, no matter how many times we’ve seen it before, the Remastered version gives us lots of new stuff to look at. This episode marks the first appearance of the revised opening credits with the new and improved CG model of the Enterprise. The folks at CBS Digital are doing almost everything right with the updated special effects these days and the ship looks fantastic. We’ve heard the re-recorded vocal rendition of the Trek theme song before, but this one is slightly altered to match the mix of the third season. Another alteration to match season 3 is the addition of blue text.   


CBS-D making good on matching each season

As usual by now, the planet Scalos has been made to look more like an actual planet than a smeary blob of colored clouds. They are also doing much better these days with the lighting for the orbital shots; the light sources for the ship and planet are consistent and fall at more shadowy and visually interesting angles. One of the best comments I can make about the current quality of all the new effects is how easy it has become for me to forget that they are new at all, with two exceptions: I still find the nacelle caps to be a little off, perhaps a little too bright and colorful, and the dynamic pan-and-follow as the Enterprise breaks orbit at the end of the episode is still a little jarring to me, but I’m getting used to it.

Abandoned Cities and Crowded Corridors
The most noteworthy new effects in this episode are the new matte painting for the cityscape on Scalos and the much more elaborate phaser effect when Kirk, Spock and the security guards are firing at the force field in the corridor outside of Environmental Control. In the original episode, the matte painting was re-used from one or two earlier episodes and given a strong blue tint. Here it has been completely redone, expertly rotoscoped into the original footage, and all of the shots it appears in have been brightened and color balanced to much more pleasing effect. In the corridor scene, the original phaser effects were nothing more than animated green blobs that expanded to wash out the entire screen. The new version is much more impressive with beams lashing out, sweeping back and forth, and coruscating off the force field in front of them. It appears that the original scene was frozen just before the phasers began to fire and CG elements were used to give the illusion of movement throughout the duration of the new effect. There is an art to redoing a shot like this and CBS Digital has done a seamlessly masterful job of it.

 
Making shots like these aren’t as easy as they look

“Wink of an Eye” is not the most memorable of Star Trek episodes and it definitely requires a suspension of disbelief, but the suspension is mostly willing and the new special effects are imaginative and well-executed. It’s good to know that CBS Digital will be going back and updating the earlier remastered episodes to the same level of quality now that they have the kinks worked out.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
January 17, 2007 4:12 pm

Nitpick… I recall that the Scalosians didn’t open the swishy trek doors themselves, they only passed through doors when an enterprise crewperson was going through, thus the door would be ajar for some time in the Scalosian time-frame.

Ooooh, I am a trekkie. :)

Longwinded
January 17, 2007 4:20 pm

First!! Finally. Anthony do you know if the remastered episodes are going immediately to itunes after they’ve been broadcast? It’s hard to tell with the itunes preview mode as it may not show any remastered footage.

Good article though and Jason is right on when he says you have to suspend disbelief and not ask too many questions.

Longwinded
January 17, 2007 4:20 pm

I knew it I knew it. All right you got me this time Plum.

January 17, 2007 4:24 pm

Sorry, but the music mix doesn’t come close to the third season version that has been on TV and VHS and DVD for the past, oh, 37 years.

Thomas Jensen
January 17, 2007 4:50 pm

Yep, the opening title music is as substandard as the first CGI Enterprise model. To much screaming singer. I’ll stick with the original version.

January 17, 2007 4:53 pm

I hate the phaser shot. You can tell they used liquify in photoshop or something similar to skew their arms. Of course their heads stay motionless.

sure, update the effect, but why would military men be so half hazzard at aiming their weapons as to leisurely sweep them back and forth with someone right next to them? One person shooting at each quadrant makes more sense.

January 17, 2007 4:59 pm

I still wanna know how Kirk and Deela got on and off the bridge with the turbolift doors frozen open. :)

Jason L
January 17, 2007 5:20 pm

#1 – If I’m not mistaken, Kirk departed the bridge via the turbolift after he was “accelerated” by Deela.

#4 and #5 – The re-recorded theme song is definitely a little different than the original but I think “substandard” is a pretty subjective assessment. I like it fine myself.

#6 – From a technical standpoint, what the CBS Digital team accomplished with the phaser firing sequence was impressive, especially with no source footage to work from. Again, subjective impressions of the end result may vary.

January 17, 2007 5:21 pm

I am still surprised that they made no effort to help the Scalosians and just split. Seems kind of col, don’t it? ANd what? McCoy invented a “cure” in 20 seconds? They couldn’t share that either?

Jason L
January 17, 2007 5:21 pm

^^ Meant to say no CLEAN source footage to work with in my previous post, as in footage without the phaser effect already superimposed.

Jason L
January 17, 2007 5:24 pm

#9 – I thought about mentioning that point in my review as well, but Deela did say that those Scalosians who had tried to return to normal had died. I suppose we can assume that the “cure” doesn’t work for them.

January 17, 2007 5:32 pm

Jason is right about the work it takes. One thing the CBSD guys talked to me about is how much work there is in rotoscoping the shots with the live action elements in them. in todays green screen world these things seem easy, but they arent working from a greenscreen source and there is no magic software that does that for you

January 17, 2007 5:36 pm

Yep, kudos to the excellent rotoscoping job CBS-D does. And thanks to Jason for a nice review.

Jeff Bond
January 17, 2007 5:39 pm
There’s actually a much superior take on this idea on The Wild Wild West where Jim West is accelerated by the villain’s secret potion–here if you move too fast the friction of the air burns your skin and you run out of energy very quickly. At the climax West fights the villain and throws alcohol on him and while the man is moving at fighting speed he bursts into flame! I agree about the music mix but it’s also quite possible that it’s the digital stereo spread that makes it seem so radically different–I don’t know that that theme music was ever even recorded in stereo, let alone with digital clarity. When I interviewed Elin Carlson, the vocalist, she said that she studied the original performance (which was done by a woman, not by a male falsetto as someone theorized elsewhere on the board) and even when I heard her run through it the first time at the recording session it seemed she had nailed it very closely, much more closely than any other take on it I’ve ever heard. She did say that when you listen to the original, a lot of what you hear is organ and other orchestral instruments and the vocal line only rises above that at certain points–so I do think that they have her placed a little too far above the orchestra. But for the third season version it seems like they got the last note exactly right–it hits with brass first and her… Read more »
THEETrekMaster
January 17, 2007 6:25 pm

It just needs to be remixed…not rerecorded. The problem with the sound of it now is not the fault of the vocalist.

January 17, 2007 8:21 pm

Loulie Jean Norman – – Singer of the original Theme passed away in 2005. Was very much a female.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loulie_Jean_Norman

January 17, 2007 9:38 pm

““Wink of an Eye” is not the most memorable of Star Trek episodes and it definitely requires a suspension of disbelief, but the suspension is mostly willing and the new special effects are imaginative and well-executed.”

Yes, but this episcode is at least as much about “winking of the eye” as it is anything else – and as other threads point out, Kathy Brown is enough to carry this episode to the satisfaction of any red -blooded, All-American boy!

THEETrekMaster
January 17, 2007 9:46 pm

Yeah, she was HOT!!!

Darren McGavin was a lucky man.

TTM

TomBot2007
January 17, 2007 9:59 pm

Re#14: Jeff, I loved the Wild Wild West as a kid, that show rocked! Here’s hoping that the reboot/prequel/whatever Star Trek XI does not follow in Wild Wild West’s shoes, tho. ;-)

Personally, I found the Phaser Spread Shot a good attempt, but really obvious. As said, only they’re arms stiffly move, I don’t recall if even their eyes tracked the Phaser movement… I don’t believe they did. A good try tho, and likely, good as well get.

Otherwise, great, fun episode.
:-)

Buckaroohawk
January 17, 2007 10:13 pm
I’ve always thought that the Scalosian “acceleration” was really a slight shifting out of phase with normal time which allowed them to move between “moments.” Sort of like being just out of phase with the space time continuum. It would solve the going through doors problem as well as some other physics related oopsies. Of course, it still takes a good bit of suspension of disbelief, but it worked for me. I really liked the updated effects in this episode. For me, the phaser sweep scene was a vast improvement over the original and quite expertly done. The new cityscape was marvelous and the final shot of the Enterprise breaking orbit was simply beautiful. The CBS Digital crew is really on track now. I look forward to each episode like I did when I was a kid, and I love that feeling. The only thing that surprised me was that they didn’t fix the explosion when Kirk destroys the Scalosian device in Enviromental Engineering. It was still that awful superimposed sparkler, and you could clearly see the hand of the person holding the sparkler. Of all the things I thought they’d fix, I figured that to be at the top of the list. A quick little explosion from Particle Illusions dropped over the existing shot would have done the trick. Still, that’s a small complaint from an otherwise great job of remastering. Cheers to CBS Digital. Can’t wait for this weekend’s episode!
Thomas Jensen
January 17, 2007 11:35 pm
#8 I will be more precise in my comments. It isn’t subjective that the soprano singer is more pronounced in the new third season version as compared to the original. The title music isn’t mixed properly. The singer overpowers the music. They’ve lost the original mix and the effect that it had in the original third season version. The ’snap’ of the snare drum isn’t there, the ‘ping’ etc. After seeing the video and reading the article, about the music, they claim to not want to change the music. This issue about the soprano singer being too loud for the second season and now, the third season, should be addressed by CBS. Just as the Enterprise CGI was re-done to make it better. The singer should not be so loud in the third season version, the orchestration should be louder. The previous second and third season DVD versions hit it right. No criticism of the singer is implied, but we need a re-mix of the new title recordings to match the original. (Only better as it’s in digital stereo). It seems to me they so loved having a live singer in the mix that someone got carried away with her contribution to the whole deal. She’s the ‘cartoon’ nacelle version of the main titles. Is it a good idea to have the singer? Absolutely. This was done originally but not to the determent of the whole of the piece. Digital stereo? Sure! Re-record it for the upcoming release? Sure! Remixed… Read more »
Thomas Jensen
January 17, 2007 11:44 pm

#14 Jeff, I think that Wild, Wild West episode was written by Gene L. Coon the same who did the story for “Wink of An Eye”.

January 18, 2007 12:12 am

I just read the “screaming singer” comment… LOL! (Luciano Pavarotti himself defines opera singing as screaming pleasantly on pitch with
vibrato.)
Thank you, Jeff, for responding in such detail, and I agree with your assessment. My vocals do, indeed, sound a bit louder than in the original which, I confess, gratifies my inner diva, but it misses some of the intriguing oddness of the colors of the other instruments. However, I think that most of the differences we’re hearing are largely due to the vastly superior digital recording techniques of today, and overall the new versions are really glorious. It’s a marvelous piece of music, this theme, and it was awesome to be a part of its greatly deserved recreation. The original recording was actually really poorly mixed, and all kinds of stuff pops out. I suspect that had they had the technology and the time, the original mix would sound much more like our new version.
If anyone has any specific questions, I’m more than happy to try to answer. Meanwhile, I have a couple of fresh “ST:V” reruns to watch!
:)

January 18, 2007 12:27 am

Wow, very cool, thanks for posting Elin :-)

Kevin
January 18, 2007 1:37 am

Though I know next to nothing about music, I must 2nd that. We’re honored to have someone involved posting thier views.

January 18, 2007 3:26 am

13 – yes, roto artists are very much the unsung heroes of the VFX industry, often junior artists just starting out and paid very little – the state that some bluescreen shots arrive in post is something to be seen (takes a lot of money for a unit to be sitting around waiting for blue/green screen to be cleanly lit and carefully placed) and always involves some rotoing, let alone the amount that’s done on standard shots for correction/cleanup etc. or even without any screen at all. And it’s very difficult – keeping motion blur in, edges not too hard, hair!!, and no ‘boiling’ on slow moves etc so great, great work here and nice matchmoving (although the real test will be HD viewing).

6/8 Does anyone know why the original plates are not available? Are they lost forever? In HD the degradation of second generation opticals will be noticeable, I would think, with any of the old transporter/phaser etc shots. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see just one of the original model shots recomped in HD… ?

Nice majestic moves though with a much better sense of scale and mass to the wonderful E. Have to agree the nacelle caps are still a little off, and textures still a tad dull – the 11 footer had a nice sheen finish that’s gone, and almost no saturation in the nav def dish? Darren Doc’s still looks better with texturing/specular etc…(throw that first rock!!)

January 18, 2007 4:48 am

I very much agree with Matt, Welcome Elin! It is an honor.

Holo J
January 18, 2007 6:38 am

Hi Elin, great to see you posting on here…

I just had a look at your website … most impressive CV, I noticed you have worked on the music of a lot of very cool Science Fiction films. it must be great to do what you love each day.

I have a question for you, slightly off the music topic. On the clips the official Star trek website has put out about the remastering of the Music. They mentioned most of the musicians had an invested interest in Star Trek as they had played on various other Star Trek’s.
I was wondering did you come on board this project as an Original series Star Trek fan or a fan of any of the other series or movies?
Or has doing this project given you more of an interest to know more about the show?

Norbert Steinert
January 18, 2007 8:28 am

The remastered f/x was superb as always since Tribbles. Especially the green phasereffect at the forcefield was a wondeful idea. Only the episode itself is not one of my favourites. A little boring from time to time.

Thomas Jensen
January 18, 2007 9:12 am

#23 Welcome to you Mrs. Carlson! Well uh, I surely didn’t expect you to be posting here and I’m glad you didn’t take offense about the “screaming singer” comments. My comments above certainly aren’t pertaining to the quality of your voice, but to the mix of the music.

Of course, a singer does belong in the second and third season title music and I was happy that they made the effort to re-create the music as it was. In fact, I remember reading that Bob Justman & Herb Solow wanted the singer throughout the series, but had to replace her with insturmentation due to having to pay residuals to keep costs down.

And as you have said it’s probably due to the mix and I do want to hear your singing, but just a little less volume. I know, it’s armchair quarterbacking, but heck I grew up mostly listening to the series, so I guess I’m kind of picky about how the title music sounds.

Perhaps when the DVD’s are released and play in my magnificent sound system it will be different.

Thanks for being a good sport about this and now I’ll just back away slowly and go stand in the corner for a while in “time out”…

Jim J
January 18, 2007 9:19 am
Elin- “Welcome aboard!” As a 17 year veteran music teacher (both instrumental and vocal) I must say that I truly appreciate your voice. I do feel that your voice has a much more pure and satisfying sound than the original singer (bless her, though, because she IS the original). I think that for people who have “untrained ears” and even for those of us that do have trained ears, it’s just that we are not used to the singer sounding like the “feature” rather than the orchestration being the feature. The singer always used to be the cherry on top…now it seems as if it is the cherry, whip cream, and syrup. I think die hard Trek fans would truly appreciate your perfromance if they mixed it in a way where your voice blends differently with the orchestra than it does now. I gotta say this, though…I have heard many recordings of the original theme throughout the years. The versions being used now for the three seasons are the best/closest I have heard to the original. Seasson 3 question: If you listen to the original season 3 vs. the remastered season 3…there is a dramatic difference in the instrumentation. I’m not talking about the remixing/recording…or whatever. The percussion part (for one) is dramatically different. Any idea why that is? In the StarTrek.com feature on the music, it is stated that the original music was found for the new recording sessions. If so, why would there be a different percussion part?… Read more »
Dave
January 18, 2007 10:24 am

Sorry, I am one of those purists who cannot warm up to the new vocalist. She carries the tune fine but it is the quality…I am not a student of music, so this is coming from a casual observer. I find the quality to be too throaty or something..like someone is holding a tongue depresser in her mouth while she sings.

January 18, 2007 10:52 am

Dave: sorry, I am one of those purists

 

dave…i think perhaps you are in a class by yourself ;)

 

and Elin…welcome to TrekMovie.com

 

…see the natives may be restless, but they dont bite once you get to know them.  

Jeff Bond
January 18, 2007 11:09 am

Elin is one of the performers who had a “vested interest”–she’s a Trek fan and actually brought some tribbles with her into the recording booth when she did the performance…

January 18, 2007 11:36 am

Reset:
Elin Carlson vocalist for Trek Remastered:
http://www.elincarlson.com/

Loulie Jean Norman Price vocalist for the Original Star Trek
http://louliejeannorman.memory-of.com/

Both are Wonderful!!

January 18, 2007 11:46 am

in fact, IIRC, Elin made the tribbles herself…that is dedication to Trek!

if you havent read it it, check out our interview with her and the arranger for the rerecording
http://trekmovie.com/2006/10/13/new-theme-for-trek-remastered-in-good-hands/

January 18, 2007 12:29 pm

RE: #6 and #19 on phaser effect:

I must say you are both picking some rather small nits. (Which is your privilege, of course.) We’ve gone from a sloppy green blob animated overlay to individual beams in perspective, in motion, with a force field’s presence shown, with arms moving to justify the beam sweeps. And you are still dissatisfied? I’m not sure anything would satisfy such discerning viewers!

Gilliana
January 18, 2007 4:04 pm

Ummm…the original 3rd season sound credits were flawless, and are still far better than the “new” version sound beyond question.

neal
January 18, 2007 6:39 pm

Fun with math: How much acceleration was there?

Let’s pretend the slow-phaser shot never occurred. (That’s big trouble, because surely the phaser bolt goes at the speed of light, and if it looks to be going about 1 meter per second in Scalosian time, and the speed of light is 299,792, 458 m/s, oops, that means, means Scalosians are moving at least a 100 million times faster than Earthlings. Can’t be!)

How about: it seemed like Scotty was in the doorway a long time — maybe an hour for the Scalosians. It ordinarily takes about 2 seconds to walk through a door. We have 3600 seconds in an hour, so that means Scalosians are moving about 1800 times faster than Scotty (3600/2=1800).

Now, how long does it take to locate an antidote to an utterly alien ailment? McCoy is awesome, as we know, se let’s assume 4 hours. How long does 4 hours feel like to Scalosians? That’s 4*1800=7200 hrs. If there are 24 hrs in a day, then 7200/24 = 300 days. So … for Kirk it felt like 300 days he had to stall the Scalosians until Spock arrived!

Kirk lived with Deela for the better part of a year!

January 18, 2007 7:23 pm
^^ “Kirk lived with Deela for the better part of a year! ” Oh, no wonder he has that goofy smile Elin – glad to have you post here and congratulations on a supremely hot gig! Some of the stuff that pops out of the old Trek theme recordings are the bongos and rimshots and, in one of the orchestrations, the saxophone section’s sixteenth/dotted-eighth/quarter syncopations. Man I still get chills hearing the saxes (- I play tenor). I posted somehwere else here that the recordings will never sound exactly alike since the originals were mic’d and mixed for a little 1960’s TV speaker, which is of course monaural. If you listen to period recordings, such as my dad’s old LP collection of jazz greats, even the stereo cuts were vastly different from today’s. Monaural recording lacks spacial differentials to help separate the tonalities, so weak instruments must play relatively louder to be heard in the cacophony. Early stereo mixes (and I would like to think the original recordings were stereo before down-mixing to the mono sound track) tried to recreate the stage rather than the hall, placing say the horn and bass in one channel, the vocalist 50/50, and the piano and drums in the other channel. Plus the mics were different, the old tube-based electronics were different, “ears” were different, tastes were different. But what mainly throws me for a loop is the very broad stereo imaging, being accustomed to the “in your face” mono spread we all know… Read more »
Jeff Bond
January 18, 2007 8:10 pm

Varese rerecorded the title theme–the GNP releases were all the original recordings. It’s understandable that people are jolted by even the slightest difference in these rerecordings because we have all heard this theme music countless times–it is drummed into our psyches. But there are always going to be minute differences in performance between recordings no matter how careful the attempt to duplicate something is, and the philosophy wasn’t ENTIRELY to “copy” the original performances, which in certain cases had their own little idiosyncracies. In any case, we have the originals, and now we have these new versions…may your way be as pleasant… :)

TomBot2007
January 18, 2007 10:27 pm

Welcome Elin, I for one have no gripes whatsoever about the Star Trek theme… maybe because I have a “tin”ish ear. But anyway, though so of us nitpick like crazy, mostly I believe it’s in a fun spirit. :-D

January 19, 2007 1:27 am

We love you, Elin!

Holo J
January 19, 2007 2:31 am

#34 Thanks for the info Jeff. Glad to here she loves the show.

Holo J
January 19, 2007 3:18 am

sorry I meant glad to HEAR she is a fan

diabolik
January 19, 2007 9:43 am

Elin,

You are our celebrity guest! We’re so happy you are here. But, like the CBS digital artists who get shredded on here regularly and come to read the feedback, you have to have a thick skin (or a duck’s back) to not get hurt or discouraged. At least people know you are here now so they’ll be a little nicer!

I like the new mix and everytime I hear it I see your face as it was shown in the video clips of the remastering recordings. I don’t know music, but I know what I like to listen to, and you’re great.

THEETrekMaster
January 19, 2007 11:09 am

Excellent job Elin!

Now, if they would just mix you down a wee bit…just a tad…;-)

It would be perfect!

Gilliana
January 19, 2007 12:23 pm

the third season singer should be barely noticable….as in the original 1968-69 episodes………..ano offence to the replacement girl intended!

please match the season 3 opening credits better!thank you.

John N.
January 19, 2007 12:23 pm

This site is a fascinating experiment in social etiquette. It’s amazing how much nicer people are in choosing their words when they know the person whose work they are criticizing is listening in.

Except Dave of course…

THEETrekMaster
January 19, 2007 1:14 pm

Not at all…my comments have been consistent all along. I always said it’s the mix and not the vocalist. So, I know you weren’t directing that silly comment above at me…LOL!!!

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