CBS Is Future Proofing Original ‘Star Trek’

According David La Fountaine, exec-producer on Trek Remastered and Exec VP at CBS Paramount, there there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Star Trek Remastered project. As everyone knows, each week the CBS digital team send out a new digitally remastered CGI-enhanced version of the Star Trek: Original Series for broadcast syndication. La Fountaine tells that what we are seeing is only one of the many different versions of each episode that the team is making. The first version they make an unedited or ‘network’ version without any CGI enhancements but with all the digital remastering from the original source. Then they make the CGI enhanced version of the full length version, and then edit it down for syndication. This means that some of the new CGI effects being done are not being seen in the syndicated versions. Plus all 3 versions are being done in both High Definition and Standard Definition. In addition all the new CGI space shots and matte paintings are being done in 16:9 wide-screen, so every time you see a new shot in Trek Remastered there is a bigger HD version waiting in the wings. 


‘Catspaw’ Castle in Standard 4:3 and 16:9 HD (click to enlarge)

So when can we see the other versions?…how about 2008
La Fountaine explains that they are doing all the ‘extra work’ to maximise their options for the future, saying "we may not get this opportunity again, so we would be foolish if we didn’t do it." Fans will have to wait though, CBS will not be making the other versions available until all 79 episodes done by early 2008. From that point on they will be able to give any station buying the show a menu of choices: with or without CGI, HD or SD, edited or ‘uncut’. So if G4 TV wanted to continue to show classic ‘Trek Uncut’ they can, but with a fully restored cleaned up master (and in HD if they want that too). International fans will also have to wait until all the episodes are done before any versions are made available outside the US. And for DVDs (and HD-DVDs and/or BluRay) La Fountaine says that there are no specific plans yet and there probably wont be until 2008, "For right now we are just focused on getting new episodes out every week." And on the subject of 2008 also being the same year as the release of Star Trek XI, apparently that it is just a coincidence and there is no coordination with Paramount Pictures. "We haven’t talked to JJ Abrams, I don’t even know what he looks like," said La Fountaine.

If HD, then what about Widescreen?
As can bee seen above, CBS are giving themselves options by creating all the new CGI effects in HD 16:9 wide-screen. However no decision has been made on whether they will ever actually see the light of day. The issue is that the live action shots are all in 4:3. Therefore in order to make a fully wide-screen version of the show, the live action shots would have to be cropped using what is called ‘pan and tilt’. For now the HD masters of the show are ‘pillar boxed’ (black bars on the left and right) so you see the full frame live action and the extra CGI shots are cropped to fit. The same issues for wide-screen HD also effect any possible HD-DVD/Blue releases (and maybe even regular DVD). For those who want their Trek in HD sooner, there is a possibility it will be available in syndication for the 2nd ‘season’ starting September 07. "The situation with HD is rapidly changing and is moving quicker than we believed…the second year is an opportunity to take another look at that" says La Fountaine.

Happy with the ratings, but not all those time slots
The first set of ratings for Trek Remastered are coming in and it appears that the show is holding its own against other scifi shows like Stargate, but is falling a bit short of where Enterprise was a year earlier in its first and only year in syndication. La Fountaine says that they did not have any specific targets for the ratings and are pleased with how it is doing. He cites how well it is doing in specific markets "In Detroit it is number two in it’s slot and in Houston it is number one, beating Saturday Night Live." La Fountaine did acknowledge that the show is often showing at sub optimal time slots but says that CBS have no control over that. Another reason for the time slots he cites is "affiliates didn’t know until a few weeks before that they were getting a remastered show with new CGI." Apparently CBS wanted the biggest bang for their buck on the announcement, so they kept it under wraps even from their own affiliates. "Maybe now they will see how successful the show is and move it to a better time," says La Fountaine hopefully.

Why CBS Digital?
One of the questions surrounding Trek Remastered is why did CBS Paramount pick CBS Digital to do the CGI work. CBS Paramount had opened the project up to bid to a number of effects houses around town, but in the end chose CBS Digital. La Fountaine rejects the notion that it is being done ‘in house’ stating "CBS Digital are a world class effects house who have done a lot of work outside of CBS, even with Spielberg." However La Fountaine cites the key economic advantage of staying within the same corporate umbrella "we are spending money within the company, and they do not need to make a profit."

What is Next
La Fountaine says that they will continue to push the envelope with their CGI effects while endeavoring to make it fit with the show, "you can’t do totally out of this world effects and then cut to 60s TV show with paper mache rocks." However they will still try and find those moments that can really make a big difference. La Fountaine cites the recent ‘Arena’ as an example, "you got a guy in a rubber suit, but then he blinks and he totally comes alive." As for the new model of the Enterprise (see article), La Foutaine says they are shooting to have it premiere in either ‘Trouble with Tribbles’ or ‘Mirror/Mirror’, both airing in early November. And on the future of Trek Remastered in HD La Fountaine states proudly, "as great as the transfer is in SD, the HD is a ‘wow’,"  We can’t wait. 

Related: Trek Remastered Getting A New Enterprise CBS: No HD Trek  Trek Remastered Image Gallery (note images are in 16:9)

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Who do I make the check out to?????



And once again, to the team at CBS: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

Old hitch1969© knows you’re reading this and that is comforting to hitch1969©. Before you read any of the other comments whining on about the nacelles and how so and so could do it better and blah frickety blah KNOW THIS: What you are doing, what you have been given the opportunity to do, is GOOD and it is RIGHT. and that is all that matters.

Keep it pure. OR make the Enterprise do barrel rolls as the famous saying in the promo goes. Old hitch1969© is going to be happy either way. You have brought this show back into the forefront again and the haterz should just be appreciative of the simple fact that we have something… nay, a “new” episode to look forward to every week. You guys are like a time machine in that regard, taking us back to what everyone missed in the 1960s when the show was so so so overlooked and I was nary a pup in diapers making poopypants.

You can’t put a price on that. And really, the level of dissent and debate over what you are doing should only reaffirm the righteousness of your task.

TO David La Fountaine, the MAIN man, I say this… MY good friend, you are so very large in the pants. When you come to hitchWORLD I will personally comp you several of the best hookers in my stable and to you a pile of Tony Montana™ cocaine I shall bestow. Only the best for a pimp of your stature.

That goes for you, too, Pascale you sly hitch1969© tolerating dog, you!

This site is AWESOME and trek remastered is AWESOME and that’s all I am going to say on this subject. SO let it be understood so that what is understood need not be discusssed.



Anthony, Thanks for the great interview.

As much as I am against cropping of shows I really look forward to seeing the 16:9 version of TOS. I have been impressed by some of the old shows (like Hogan’s Heros) that are shown in 16:9 on HDNet. The pan and tilt is not as bad as I feared, it actually is pretty decent. Of course this is OK as long as the 4:3, non-cropped versions are also available. They should include both 4:3 and 16:9 on the HD-DVDs

Happy Happy Happy!!!!!

i really wish they would fix those dang live action special effect of people being vaporized and hand phasers being shot….it really takes me out of the story, when i see all the nex FX that help to the story in a realistic way, then suddenly i see a crapy looking phaser beam being shot at the Horta, I dont think Roddenberry would want that to be happening for many veiwers like myself who are saying the same thing.

The Gorn eye blinks were totally rad. They were subtle, but they really made lizard-man seem alive. I can’t wait to see the new Enterprise. Maybe we’ll finally get to see the hangar bay doors opening.

What I would really like to see is the CBS dudes CGI out that Sally Kellerman chick in that one episode and totally replace her with a hot chick that doesnt say her S’s with a ZSA ZSA whistle. I’m thinking maybe they could replace her with Beth O or something.

Also another thing that would be totally awesome is ANY of the green slave chicks in the episodes being replaced with a green naked Tera Patrick or other adult film star.

You know it’s really not to far a stretch to combine the sensibility of Star Trek with the visual eye candy of pornography. Two things I totally love, mixed together like Peanut Butter and Chocolate in a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup o’ fun. Oh yes, it sounds strange until you taste it. Then you think “what have I been missing all these years”? Those things go together naturally!

Anything less is like animal cruelty or something.



I love the shot of the castle in “Catspaw”

What makes it even better is the clouds behind it. Does anyone know if they are going to CG all the skies and backgrounds in future shows?
In the originals it is painfully obvious they are on a sound stage. Especially in “Spectre of the Gun”.

Well… Orian slave women aside and the Doomsday Machine aside, what other SFX change is everyone most looking forward to?

I’ve always been bothered by the hand that holds the Enterprise in “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

I also think that there is great potential for improvement with all of the fighter jet and Enterprise shots in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”. Also, it would be interesting to see if they did anything for the sling shot around the sun.

What about your thoughts? What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to all of them!

A few that stick out are the “The Ultimate Computer” and “The immunity Syndrome”

These episodes are a chance for the effects team to really shine.

IF CBS were to release these HD versions I’m most certain that the general public would be eager to buy them as long as they weren’t overpriced. I suppose CBS is waiting until they have a entire seasons worth before they’ll even consider that option – thats too bad as I for one would leap at the opportunity to buy a HD full length version though all I have is conventional TV set…what a better excuse to buy a HD TV?

Duane Boda, my friend, if you’ve got a chick around the house that as recently as 2 years ago bore your seed, never is the time and never is the expense justified to get an HD anything. It’s always about the baby, this and that. Why did you spend $300 on that stupid Star Trek dvd set???

Don’t you know the baby needs diapers and bottles and whaaaa whaaaa frickety whaaaaa??? Oh man, I am so sick of hearing that all the time. “You only care about yourself” blah blah blah.

I only wish that she wasnt so smart. Also I wish I could shut her up like Harry Mudd did with his robot wife.

Today she brought me lunch though. I tell you, she is at her finest when taking care of my base physical needs.

“Harcourt Fenton Mudd, You’ve been drinking again!!!”

my oh my.



You know if they had more time and a little bit more budget they wouldn’t have to crop any 4:3 material to make it work in HD 16:9; they could build up the outer edges in CGI and no one would know the difference.

Taking every shot of the Enterprise bridge from every episode for example, they could build a CGI bridge and skin it in the best possible textures from the remastered prints (or build a model/set). Then sync up the angle with the desired shot. Adjust the lighting to match. CGI the joins and then drop in either new live actors, or old to broaden out the shot.

The same thing could be done for probably most shots if they got creative.

the opening of Arena this week is a perfect example. I wouldn’t surprised if that shot exists in 16:9 HD, it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.

New effects I’m most looking forward to:

I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it until it happens (or doesn’t): Paint giant birds of prey on the Klingon-designed Romulan vessels in “The Enterprise Incident.” That’s always bugged me.

But another one I was thinking about recently: Galileo Seven. There are lots of opportunities for some pretty cool effects. Giant CGI cavemen. The shuttlecraft taking off while being attacked by said cavemen. The shuttlecraft beginning to enter the atmosphere as its orbit decays. Spock jettisoning the fuel and igniting it as a distress signal. Lots of potential there, I think.

Pan and tilt? UGH! BOO!

Jeff, as completely awesome as that would be i seriously think thats beyond their budget.

Jeff, that is officer thinking and the kind of tinkering that old hitch1969© is talking about!

Like I said, either slavishly recreate and or bring out the barrell rolls. I’m cool with it any way they want to do it. What other 40 year old show gets this kind of treatment? Again, I hope that in our “wish list” of things to come, the notion of much appreciation is not lost.

It’s pimps UP, hos DOWN at hitchworld, ladies drink free. I am so so happy about the remasters. This is like taking the bible or shakespeare and doing a 2006 American English translation on it. Before Jesus said, “come unto thee of Galilee and forsake thine rod and staff” and now Jesus in the same passage from Corinthians says “Dude, let’s get our asses down to Galilee for some whores because I have a raging monster growing in my robe”

Galilee was apparently the hot spot of the garden back in the day. I did not know that. Man, when you can actually understand the Bible… you can learn from it. It’s a blueprint for humanity. I highly recommend that you go to a church or motel room and steal one today! (remastered of course)



I hope they get more daring with the CGI, I think the fans want it.

BIG DAWG A.P. in your wisdom you are correct. My apologies and thank you for the course correction. RULES and so do the remasters. I should have left it at that. What is understood need not be discussed.



I like the fact they are willing to listen to the fans concerning the remastered
episodes and go back and redo what they have already done to make it
even better. So its all a work in progress. Its nice to have them want the
fans imput. If the powers that were had listen to concerns the fans had
“enterprise” might still be on. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Hmmm, Hitch notice anything special about this article? Like it covers most of the points I made in another topics over a week ago… hmmm… doubting Thomases.

As for episodes I am looking forward to seeing?

The Corbomite Maneuver
Journey to Babel
The Ultimate Computer and
The Doomsday Machine

I’m looking forward the DOOMSDAY MACHINE! Nuclear combat, toe-to-toe with the Planet Killer! Exploding starships! Kamakaze Shuttlecraft! AntiProton Beams! And William Windom!

I just hope they have the sense to keep the original planet killer design.

This is directed expressly to the character who prefers to call himself Hitch. Why I want a HD – is only to watch Star Trek HD in a totally new and exciting aspect and ratio. Truth is a HD conversion kit can be had for under $100.00 so it that so bad?
Also….I NEVER spent a red penny toward a complete Star Trek Tv DVD set. What I have is selet movies and special series devoted to either the Borg – Time Travel and so on…you’re making a lot of assumptions and you don’t even know me – thats funny and rude all at the same time and it hardly belongs here in this forum.
# 19 is right….lets clean it up some….that would be a nice change!

Post # 17 .Filthy pornographic hate speech.If you don’t agree with someone be civil and explain why point for point.Don’t abuse your freedom of speech.I’m shocked this is tolerated.

There is a lot of potential to make improvement on a lot of shots where the FX were poor or the set didn’t show something before. I was watching “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” earlier on the Sc Fi channel.
I was thinking some nice little touches on the underground cavern would be cool. When the Red Shirt is pushed off the edge of the bottomless pit .they should show us the edge and what the drop looks like.
That’s just one of the small changes I’d make out of many.

There is so much they could do with the little things to add depth to a lot of the sets and aliens. I think they should add some backgrounds to some of the studio sets that are just a few plastic rocks with a red orange or blue sky. For example in Amok Time they should add show background shots of Vulcan, like what we saw in The Motion Picture.

I don’t really understand why they would be limited for cost on these types of shots; unless it’s the hours they pay the artists to work on them? I mean other than that surely they have everything else they need. I mean they have the programme they are making these CGI effect with all ready. Could anyone shed any light on what else could cause the CGI shots to cost more money other than time the artist work on a shot?

I understand they are on a tight schedule with getting these episodes out each week but I think they should go back and get it right if they feel they have missed something or feel they could have done better. They hopefully are listening to the fans comments on this site and taking note. I feel they are doing a good Job from what I have seen (from the screen shots from this site) so far but from what I have been reading they could do better. Like getting more movement in the Gorn face… Showing a clearer Gorn ship from last week’s episode etc… One I have hard a lot is animate some of the view screen… An argument against this is that it will distract us from the characters in the story but I think, yes it might do at first but when we have seen the episodes with the screens animated after a while we will just got used to it and instead of looking out for it, it will just add some depth to the scene.

There is a great opportunity to do a lot of cool stuff on this.. if I was an artist working on this project I’d give them a lot of my time for free just to get this right. I know there is a big issue with the Enterprise herself not looking quite right and not being lit properly but I think they will get that right soon. I would love to see some new shots of the Enterprise when orbiting the planet, maybe some from a birds eye view looking down on the ship with the planet as a backdrop. There is so much you guys a CBS can do here please take your time…Go back if you have to before these are released on DVD.

By the way I just watched “Catspaw” on DVD as I’m in the UK and I doubt we will get these remastered episodes over here on TV, anyway I too like others that have commented on here hope they update the true appearances of Korob and Sylvia they are a good example of little touches that need improvement. The new castle shot looks great, it would be a real shame if they haven’t changed the puppets to something to match that standard. I mean they could still look similar but just a bit less puppet like.

Lastly I have got to say … I love this site. Ever since I found it , it has become the first place I look each day when I’m online to check out what’s happening with all things Trek. Many thanks to the guys who run this site, do the reviews and put up all the new remastered shots, I am very grateful!!!

Hitch–there are a number of new English translations that rock! Some of them take liberties with the underlying integrity of the original texts, but they do a good job of making the ideas accessible to a modern reader. If you’re in to it, you can get a study bible or an older translation such as the King James/Authorized Version which is a pretty good literal translation of hte Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic originals.

And yeah — the Bible rocks. I’ve often thought much of the fanboy interest in Trek is a sort of sublimated energy that once would be directed at The Book. Heck, my fanboy years all pointed in that direction and the endless research into details (today called, ironically “canon”!) made for a smooth move to researching details of our spiritual heritage.

Rock on Hitch. 1969 was a good year — only 1964 was a little better. And yeah, in my “wilderness” years I learned about those 20th reunions :-) But I don’t do that stuff any more — we got married in the Church!

Funny how mankind is always trying to get back to the garden on mankind’s own terms.

Anthony, good job!

I wonder if you’d ask the movie division if they’d consider employing Shatner, Nimoy et al. to play their parts again, now given the technology (see the other thread) to use CGI and original footage to create youthful “avatars”?

I do actually enjoy seeing the old shows cleaned up and looking brand spanking new. How can you compare the best TOS to the “drek” that passes for writing on TV today?

I do look forward to HD versions of TOS, but if CBS digital employees are on salary, they should take the time to revise the problematic shots, i.e., The U.S.S. Enterprise

Oh, I forgot. I’m not a fan of the “windsock” design of the Doomsday Machine

Hmmm Remastered trek on DVD/HD-DVD/Blueray in 2008. (if either of the latter two are still around). They may not be coordinating with the Motion Picture Division but maybe marketing?

Snide comments aside, will we see the two pilot verions of the Enterprise in “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before”? I hope so, there are subtle differences between them all (and we see the 2nd pilot version as a stand-in for the I.S.S. Enterprise!)

The credits for the Cage are very clunky, even for 1964, but I liked that pan into the bridge dome. One of TOS’s best FX shots.

Seriously, let’s tip our cap to these guys working on the Remastered. They are working hard, they are adapting as they go along and they care about the future of the product. That’s an extreme comfort, given the sanctity of the material.

And for the record, hitch, you crack me up.

Anyone that refers to themselves in the third person pov is either suffering from severe disassociative disorder, is overcompensating for some lack or unmet need, is advertising, or has not obtained mastery of proper narrative pov.
Once is mildly comical, continuously as though some sort of shtick is in bad taste and only serves to undermine thread discussion.

Let’s refrain as best we may from self grandisement, and keep the discussion pertaining to Star Trek, not self adoration.

Hey Trek as dope .You know what I’m say.Mon hommies,W’da S to he a ,T to tha r. ….Lata…

Josh, man… the Cransy thinks you need to take a Valium or something.

anyone wanting to watch the shows in wide screen now…just copy it on ya dvd recorder…..and watch it on your tv that has a pix 1 or 2 option …tis takes anything in the dvd player and wide screens it…looks cool that way “)

by the way *n*…..what does the n stand for…….i think iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii knowwwwwwwwwwwww lol

HEz bradiiiiie Iz my new rappa name. Da Star on zuh N whas up?

I certainly have some concerns about 16:9 TOS, but I’d love to see it.

Great interview!

I hope this effort is a success and they go onto TNG, DS9 and yes even VOY

Daniel Shock I’m interested in what you think they could do in DS9 and VOY. They had pretty good effects (especially DS9 in the latter seasons). I can totally understand TNG though. Great beauty shots, but sometimes the battle scenes were kind of, shall we say, sub-par in comparision to DS9.

Cransy – Its not that they are bad effects – its that they are not in high definition.

Since all 3 of those shows were mastered on video tape, the ONLY way to get high def versions of them would be to “rebuild” the episodes by retransfering the live action film elements and then redoing the special effects.

TOS was mastered on film – meaning that BOTH the live action and special effects were created on film and edited together on film. So, redoing the effects of TOS is NOT necessary for a high def transfer.

That being said some TNG effects are pretty bad and could stand to be redone.

I really hope that if they syndicate in HD and/or release on DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever that they use the 4:3 version.

16:9 is not inherently better. OAR is what counts. Don’t muck with aspect ratios, or you’re no better than HBO. :)

Daniel, thanks for the education. You learn something new everyday! :)

“you can’t do totally out of this world effects and then cut to 60s TV show with paper mache rocks.”

I can appreciate not going all out with the ‘degree’ of effects, but why not go more more quantity, even if it’s extremely subtle? I like Trek well enough (though I don’t take the reverent stance of some), but as I’m reviewing episodes I watched seemingly hundreds of times growing up, I think it’s only fair to hit my jaded brain with plenty of “easter eggs” to keep my eye fresh… Am I asking too much? Just little things to add ‘depth’ where there was none before. Something along the lines of another’s suggestion of adding star-streaked windows to the odd cabin, but, again subtler. Give me something to hunt for and yet not to tick off the purists…

I don’t expect my own notions to register with anyone, but I may as well avail myself of the opportunity to gently vent…

I guess I’m just a novelty glutton. To put this another way, I seem to always see a ‘bullet list’ of maybe 4 or 5 new things added. Why not a dozen?

[must’ve been channeling Holo J – serves me right not to read first]

re: #14 I agree with Cranston the Klingon-desined shipes in “The Enterpirse Incident” definately need to be painted with a Bird of Prey on them. This would be a great contribution to this episode.

Please you folks in the FX department get out your notebooks. Here are some other ideas for NEEDED improvements:

Completely re-do Sulu’s “weaver” plant in “The Man Trap”

Add more life to the mouth of the salt vampire in “The Man Trap”

Fix the alien dog in “The Enemy Within.”

Do something with the Mugatu in “A Private Little War” to make it more believable.

Remove the chain from the tiger’s neck in “Shore Leave”

Remove what looks like red paint on rocks and plants in various shots of “Shore Leave.” I think they used this mark specific shooting locations.

Change the color of the planet in “This Side of Paradise.” In the original it is green, but when on the planet the sky is Earth-blue. This should look blue from space as well.

Add more life to the flying aliens in “Operation: Annihilate”

Add some changes to the appearance of the ISS Enterprise in “Mirror, Mirror”

Make the Andorian’s Antenna move in “Journey to Babel” “Who Gods Destroy” etc.

Fix the Starfleet rank problems in various episodes. For example, in “Court Martial” the computer reports Spock as a Lt. Commander, rather than a full commander. This problem runs through many episodes, but I can’t remember them all.

EBAR, such logical thinking. You must have Vulcan blood.

And how about adding some interesting camera moves, as the third season did, to the Enterprise shots and not slavishly copying 1960s “hand push the camera” shots? Have you checked out Daren Doc’s work? He’s my *hero*!

That gas mask Salt Sucking Monster, well, sucked! Don’t think they can do it on the cheap, though. And the rubber amoebas in “Operation” — agreed, but time consuming.

I don’t see CBS Digital on this list of bona fide, big FX houses:

Tribbles next week – hope it’s the debut of the “new” U.S.S. Enterprise

Sybok, I agree with you. . . Daren Doc’s work rocks! His Enterprise really seems to be moving through space in a realistic way. And those stars he did, absolutely perfect match for the feel of the original show!

Here’s hoping the CBS Digital folks keep working hard and get their act together. Remember: “Change is the essential process of all existence.”–Mr. Spock