CBS is starting from scratch using the original film negatives, digitally scanning the raw 35mm film. The raw footage is then transfered into a high definition digital video workflow and edited back together in sequence to make a complete episode. CBS Digital follows the time codes and production notes from the original editors, so it is assembled back into the complete episodes just as they were when they originally aired between 1987 and 1994.
NOTE: The Season One set contains a 25 minute special feature of an in depth look at how involved the remastering process is, from start to finish, called Energized! Taking The Next Generation to the Next Level. It answers pretty much all common questions about the process that have come up since the project was announced. So for even better explanations and demonstrations please watch the documentary on the Season One Blu-ray set.
Are the visual effects being redone in the same way as TOS-R?
No, they are not complete replacements like TOS-R was. Video-created effects will be redone. These include effects such as phasers, photon torpedoes, and most of the orbital planetscapes.
For starships in most cases the footage of the original studio models (which were made with all kinds of details that were not able to be seen in standard definition) will be used and it looks better than ever. However, the occasional physical model footage may have been lost or is considered otherwise unusable for high definition and so it may be substituted with a CG version.
What is the aspect ratio of TNG Remastered?
TNG was shot on 35mm film using standard spherical lenses and produced for standard definition television (4:3 ratio). As such, TNG-R will be released in 4:3 with pillar-boxes on the sides to keep the proper aspect ratio, just like the Blu-ray releases of TOS-R. The versions being prepared for broadcast syndication and digital distribution may be different.
Will they correct inconsistency x, y, or, z?
Probably not. This is mostly a film transfer operation, re-scanning the original film into high definition. CG is used for things that cannot be transferred (video effects like the phaser fire). That’s about it. Expect pretty much everything to be the same. There may be the occasional tweak fixing small oversights such as the location of the energy beam in “Encounter and Farpoint” and inserting the correct TOS Enterprise diagram on Data’s research station screen in “The Naked Now.” Changing anything live-action such as the infamous black cardboard on the Season 1/2 bridge set, or tweaking dialog or sound effects, isn’t what this is about. The episodes have been made, and were made, years ago. This is them again, but with the sharper detail and more vibrant color that high-definition offers.
Who is involved with the remastering effort?
Much of the same CBS Digital team that oversaw the TOS-R project is back including visual effects supervisor Niel Wray and digital matte painting guru Max Gabl. As with TOS-R before it, Mike and Denise Okuda are on board as consultants, working closely with the CBS Digital team.
Due to the aggressive time table to get all seven seasons out in three years, the work load is being split among CBS Digital and other effects houses. CBS Digital will be doing Seasons 1,3,5, and 7 entirely in-house. The alternating seasons will have less involvement from CBS Digital with the visual effects work going out to other companies.
Season 2 was done by HTV Illuminate, which is the post-production company where TNG VFX supervisor Dan Curry now works. HTV oversaw the remastering of Season 2 to give CBS Digital a head start on preparing Season 3 for a Q1 2013 release.
The Okudas along with Ryan Adams and David S. Grant from the Multimedia department at CBS Television Distribution (who also oversaw the TOS-R and The Twilight Zone Blu-ray releases for CBS) are tasked with overseeing the work of the two teams to ensure the work is consistent.
It is also known that TNG visual effects coordinator David Takemura, and art department alumni Doug Drexler have been consulted with on occasion.
When will TNG-R be available on Blu-ray?
The special three episode preview “sampler” called Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level was released on January 31, 2012. Read our review.
Season 1 was released the week of July 23rd, 2012. Read our review. Season 2 was released the week of December 3rd, 2012.
CBS has decided to go with a rapid release time table of 2 seasons (2012), 3 seasons (2013), and 2 seasons (2014) to get all seven seasons out within three years.
Thanks to TrekMovie community member “Disco Justice” for his contributions to the FAQ.
NOTE: Information subject to change. All information based on CBS and other sources.