Trek Remastered Team At Grand Slam


Dave Rossi PhaserProducers Dave Rossi, Mike Okuda and Denise Okuda along with visual effects supervisor Niel Wray came to the Grand Slam SciFi Summit to talk Remastered Star Trek. Before taking questions they showed off a four minute reel of the new effects which seemed to wow the crowd. The video even showed some clips from upcoming shows as well. After the clip they opened it to questions and to prepare himself Dave pulled out a TOS era phaser to fend on any ‘you are ruining my childhood’ type purists. As it turns out there weren’t any purists to fend off. In fact some who came to the mic admitted that they were purists who had been ‘converted.’

On the subject of purists, Denise Okuda noted “you are looking at four purists right now.” She went on to say that they are guided by the notion of ‘what would Gene Roddenberry and Matt Jeffries do?’ They all noted how they were even skeptical of the project when they were first approached, but agreed that they would do it ‘as long as ‘Greedo didn’t shoot first.’ Even though they were happy that the quality of the work has quieted most of the skeptics, they knew some cannot be convinced that remastering the original series is a worthwhile endeavor. Dave joked that it was nice to see some of those people who were still raging against the show each week on the fansites saying “its nice to see that the people who are bagging on it are still watching…so thank you and keep watching!” Mike also noted that they did get some direct feedback from TOS producer Bob Justman who called to tell them he loved Trek Remastered and that it ‘captured the show the way they wanted it to be’

Explaining the process
Rossi described how on Tuesdays the team meets at the his house and then on Thursday they meet at the Okudas to go over each new episode. Over much pizza they identify the shots and talk about the composition. Apparently Mike is the one that is most likely to suggest the more radical changes and Denise is the one who is most conservative with regards to making changes. Although in the case of the R on Kirk’s tombstone in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” it was Mike who tried to stay neutral as Dave argued for the ‘T’ and Denise argued for the ‘R’. However in the end it was Niel who prevailed due to the time required for the ‘tracking nightmare’ and other resources dedicated to that show. Niel also noted that the complex ‘zoom into the bridge shot’ from "The Menagarie" was the most complex shot they have done, taking them 6 weeks to complete. With regards to the time and money constraints, Mike did say that “Niel does almost everything we ask, the problem is that they can’t do everything we ask.” They noted that these guys work into the wee hours almost every night and that Saturday was Niel’s first day off in a month. For “The Doomsday Machine” Dave joked that they had to “prop Niel up with intravenous coffee and toothpicks in his eyes, they were up until 6:30 in the morning on delivery day.”

Trek Remastered Team at Grand Slam
Mike & Denise Okuda, Dave Rossi & Niel Wray

Is another TAS influence coming?
Denise talked about the matte painting for “Amok Time” which incorporated the circular city from the TAS’s “Yesteryear”  She said that the team "are constantly trying to find things that we can integrate in that harken back to the original as an homage.” Rossi then announced that in a couple of future episodes they will be adding some ships with designs inspired from Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Getting into the picture
They also talked about how they have been incorporating real people into some of the matte painting shots. All four can be seen along with many others from CBS-D in the opening shot of “The Menagerie.” Dave was quite proud that for the Shuttle shots in that episode he got to be Captain Kirk’s shoulder. It turns out that Mike Okuda is the pilot for the shuttle in “Journey to Babel" and Denise is the control room technician. Denise thought it was “a lot of fun” to see the reactions of the studio audience The Price Is Right file by the stage they were filming, saying “they were staring at us in our original series uniforms like it was some kind of time warp.” Niel noted that there is even a tiny ‘couple pixel high’ Denise Okuda in the window of the Enterprise in one of the space flyby shots.

Touting HD and maybe Blu-ray
According to Mike, it is still the plan to have the 1st season of Star Trek Remastered available on HD-DVD by the end of the year. Regarding Blu-ray they he said that they expect it to eventually show up,but that those decisions were made ‘way above their heads.’ He also confirmed that the HD release will be in the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Regarding the look of the show in HD, Okuda stated:

As cool as they look in standard def, they are absolutely stunning in HD. The original series was shot in fine grain 35mm color film and there is a lot more information there than you have seen…it’s beautiful.

Working on Star Trek XI?
One question from the audience was about the team’s involvement in Star Trek XI. Mike Okuda answered for the group saying that they would obviously love to work on the project, but noted that they were all currently at work on their own projects (including Trek Remastered). He also gave the JJ Abrams team high marks saying:

Abrams has a fantastic team in place. If you have seen Lost or Alias or Mission: Impossible III, he has fantastic people. The great thing about Abrams and his team, if you look at his product, you know that they know the genre. They will do a wonderful job.

All in all the audience seemed to be very welcoming of the project, which is a bit of a contrast from some of the cons from before it aired last fall.


NOTE: After the event I asked Dave Rossi if they will be able to release the ‘demo reel’ and he said he would ask the powers that be.

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All I know is that I am patiently waiting for the Remastered BOX SET of TOS’s 3 year run. I want them to get it as right as possible THE FIRST TIME AROUND since I don’t want to invest in it now and then again in the future!

So what was shown of the FX clips from upcoming episodes? Do tell!

No mention if they would be able to go back and replace the Enterprise model in the first group of episodes they did?

Allowing them time to do everything they need to do for these episodes is crucial for me to decide to buy these DVDs.

> “As cool as they look in standard def, they are absolutely stunning
> in HD. The original series was shot in fine grain 35mm color film
> and there is a lot more information there than you have seen …
> it’s beautiful.”

It’d be great to see a series of 1920×1080 ‘HD screenshots’,
made from the team’s choice of some FX shots and
also some carefully-chosen remastered film frames,
sourced at full HD resolution and written to
large JPEG files with minimal compression.

(I know about the 1600×1200 desktop images available at; but several of them suffer from limited
image quality, e.g. compression artifacts, and they do not
seem representative of the highest attainable quality.)

So let’s see a new and better series of stunning,
full-sized, max-quality ‘HD stills’, to whet our appetites
while we await the HD DVD release.

I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. The model from the original looks much more realistic consistently. Lighting is…dare I say it…too dark in the remastered. “Immunity Syndrome” was extremely disappointing.

I really do hope they dont rush these DVD out. As much as I cant wait to be able to own a copy, I would rather they arent sitting looking at their final product thinking if only we had more time we could have done this or we could have done that. I hope they are given the time to do all they wanted and even more.

I really do hope they at least get the chance to sort out their first few attempts and replace them with the new model of the ship they are currently using.

Since the studio model of the ship always seemed brightly lit up, no matter what the conditions were in the original versions, I’m happy to see things go darker to simulate space environments.

Well , all I will say is this: the greatest possible compliment I can give to the Okudas, Rossi, the pit crew, and everyone involved in this project is-

I’m interested in Star Trek again after a 15 year lull. Thank you all truly.

It is obvious the amount of effort that goes into this project, regardless of whether one agrees with every decision they make. Like Josh T. stated above, it has revitalized my interest.

Mmm…pity a few of us here hadn’t been there to ask us some questions… I can think of many. ;)

I’ts a shame if things are “rushed” out on High Defintion DVD, but I can live with that if “more” enhancements come along before TOO long…

By the time the box set of TOS-R comes out, Blue-Ray/HD-DVD combo players should be much more affordable. And then wait for the early reviews.

I’d like to see an expanded episode ( 1 -1/2 hrs) of the original series using CGI and some new live action (obviously with new actors playing secondary roles).My argument for this…It would draw more occasional fans(out of curiosity-like Star Wars re-release w/new CGI shots) and serve as a bridge to the new TOS inspired movie.Currently the CGI is enhacing existing shots and only serving to satisfy long time trekkies and is aired with little fanfare(because who but trekkies would care)Any thoughts?

TOS Remastered will be my first HD purchase.

6 weeks for the Bridge transition shot ?

Holy [ bleep ] !

Okay guys no more ragging on these guys for what they’re doing !

– W –
* That’s just unreal *

So many good ideas and valid points you all bring forth to the table fellow fans!

I sincerely hope they are reading about our hopes fears and goals of seeing it done right as we all wish for that to be.

I think its okay if the Enterprise is dark sometimes in space, like it did happen in Star Trek the motion picture, when she was flying about inside of V-ger for instance?

She had her running lights on and windows lit much to my delight I witnesses the same kind of effect as shown in the well remastered Imunnity Syndrome recently!

Slowly but surely they are winning me over.

P.S. Please fix the R to a T…on James T Kirk’s tombstone, in WNMHGB for the DVD release?

Thank you

I concur with several others on this site: this project HAS revitalized my interest in Star Trek. Though I always will love TOS, my interest is higher than it has been in a long time.

12. Jon
“…Any thoughts?…”

I guess I don’t have any interest in seeing expanded episodes, especially to “serve as a bridge” to the movie.

Why cater to non-fans of the series? Either they like it or they don’t. If it is made to their interests, then it will be going away from ours (mine). I’d rather see it die than become something it was not intended to be.

Yes…I know…to make money. Well, I don’t get any money out of it and whether or not Paramount or whoever does makes little difference to me.

To generate interest ,sorta like how they rereleased Star Wars theatrically some years ago with new CGI and brought in a whole new audience.

Wait, they’re cropping it to 4:3 for the HD release? Any idea why? I mean, HD was pretty much designed for 16:9, so it doesn’t make much sense to me that they’d crop it down.

While it would be fantastic to see the episodes in full HD resolution, I’d love to be able to see the full width too, given that it’s theoretically available.

Perhaps they’ll have the 16:9 effects as a stand alone feature.

This was a great story, thanks for the report Anthony.

re: post #19. 4×3 is the original aspect ratio of the filmed live action elements. On an HDTV, I’ve zoomed in on the TOS DVD’s to fill the screen. On close-ups, that cuts off the top of Shatner’s head on close-ups. It’s the right thing to do to keep it OAR, Original Aspect Ratio.

Too bad there wasn’t anyone who asked if they will have an opportunity to go back to the early remastered shows and update with the new Enerprise model. But it seems unlikely.

I not sure why, but for some reason we can’t get an answer to many poeple’s questions on this site regarding whether the team will be able to go back and spruce up the some episodes for the DVD release, i.e. Balance of Terror, the text in WNMHGB and The infamous “R” etc. etc., or even some other effects they wanted to add but did not have time.

Reading the article kind of gives me the impression they will not be able to go back but this has never been conclusively answered.

How much you guys wanna bet the “Woden” in Ultimate Computer is now one of those freighters from the animated series?

Any takers?


#22 I sure HOPE they plan on going back…those early episodes desparately need the new Enterprise…at the very least.


You can already download the HD episodes on XBOX 360. The effects are 16:9 and the show itself is 4:3.

Disappointed about the 4×3 only for HD-DVD. It doesn’t have to be cropped to 1.78:1, but something like 1.60:1 or 1.66:1 would fill more of the HDTV screen without compromising the shots much — they’ve done this for some other older shows.

#21 – zooming in on your TV is just “blind cropping”, and doesn’t provide an accurate view of how the images would be vertically framed for a wider aspect ratio.

Mixing aspect ratios would be very distracting. Cropping to create an artificial widescreen would cause us to lose picture iinformation. Better to simply add the 16×9 versions of the effects as a separate feture.

I’m disapointed too. Everyone including myself will buy the new DVD’s only to have them come out 2 years later with it 1.78:1 or something close to that. It has to happen eventually because CBS-D is doing all of the new effects shots in that format. Ugghhhh.


“Is another TAS influence coming?
Denise talked about the matte painting for “Amok Time” which incorporated the circular city from the TAS’s “Yesteryear” She said that the team “are constantly trying to find things that we can integrate in that harken back to the original as an homage.” Rossi then announced that in a couple of future episodes they will be adding some ships with designs inspired from Star Trek: The Animated Series.”

ARRGGGHHH!!!!!! I think I’ll puke!

I think it’s great that they are adding influences from TAS, and even Enterprise (Tholians). It just helps cement the various elements of the mythology into an entertaining whole. I hope they do more of it, it’s fun. And that’s what Star Trek is all about.

Hypocrisy and PR spin wins the day! Denise Okuda gets in a snide remark about agreeing to do Remastered, “as long as ‘Greedo didn’t shoot first,” and then justifies her actions (and her job) by saying they were “guided by the notion of ‘what would Gene Roddenberry and Matt Jeffries do?

In other words, it’s okay to revise and alter someone else’s artistic work after the fact (and after they’re dead) as long as you’re guided by the “notion” of what they MIGHT do, but it’s just WRONG and BAD and “SACRILEGE” (to use “Trekspert” Mark Altman’s words) for the original artist to revise and alter his own work. That’s just flat out BS. I have nothing against Trek-Remastered. I applaud what they’re doing. Trek is different than Star Wars in that Roddenberry SOLD OFF his rights for a big pile of cash with the knowledge that the new owners could do whatever they wanted with his work. If he was hell bent on preserving his artistic vision, he could’ve made the choice and effort to retain his rights. He didn’t. Trek is now a corporate entity and as such remastering and revising is fair game.

I don’t see where fans get off (and I’m looking at you, Denise!) telling the original artist, in this case Lucas, how he can or can’t present his work. He’s the original artist. He’s the author. If the story he wants to tell has Greedo shooting first (or more accurately 3 frames first), that’s his choice. It’s his story and its the way he wants future audiences to see it. Fans don’t collectively own it, Lucas does. Denise has the convenient luxury of making it seem like Roddenberry would’ve LOVED everything they’re doing. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t — fortunately for Denise she never has to prove it!

Here’s the bottom line: altering Star Trek is no different than altering Star Wars. The line between what changes are acceptable from those that aren’t is a big fat fuzzy subjective one. Denise Okuda and the rest of the Remastered team can claim some moral superiority based on “notions” of dead people all they want, but in the end they’re changing and revising someone else’s art while sneering at another artist for altering his own.

This is exactly why we, the Trek fans, have been feed pablum, for years….

“I think it’s great that they are adding influences from TAS, and even Enterprise (Tholians). It just helps cement the various elements of the mythology into an entertaining whole. I hope they do more of it, it’s fun. And that’s what Star Trek is all about. ”

Oh, i love it, let’s make it all work together……

NO, let’s not. “Enterprise” has absolutely no place with the original. It’s crap! TAS is a third rate toon!

Changing “Star Trek” To match third rate programming is just insane.

Oh let’s add a nod to star wars and lost in space too, while we’re at it.

(Smacks Head!)

I’ve shared some tivo’d Trek remastered episodes with friends who are both fans and non fans alike, and frankly, no one is all that impressed.

I don’t have a problem with extrapolating TAS ideas into the mix when done subtlely, nor do I think every effect CBS-D has produced is bad…I’m no purist who is offended by “tampering with the originals”, but I am a fan of seeing some cool special effects mixed into a program I really love.

I can forgive original Trek for being a product of its time where the effects are concerned, and quite frankly they hold up pretty nicely in many cases…, I can’t however excuse Paramount for replacing these effects with video game quality work.

In it’s day, Trek’s effects were pretty cutting edge; inventive and inspiring. These effects are flat, bland, dark, and in my opinion, very average. There is little point in this project other than to milk a buck from fans who are willing to go the extra mile for the HD dvd’s when they come out.

Very disappointing. – Doug

#31: Ms. Okuda may be a fan, but she is obviously a professional film-maker, or CBS would not have entrusted part of a billion-dollar property into her hands. She worked for years at Paramount and she knew Gene Roddenberry and Matt Jefferies personally. You may not agree with all of her decisions, but I’d say she’s doing a better job than some closed-minded fans here.

I’d say that Bob Justman’s endorsement is a helluvalot more important than the griping of a few fans who obsess for weeks over the color of nacelle caps.


Rick McCallum is that you?

#23: re: the Woden

I’ll wager that you are right on the money in that one. I hope so. That would be so cool to see one of those ships in “real life.” :)

Here’s a CGI version of it….

#37 Cool! Can’t wait to see Ultimate Computer!

Oh….and #34 — right on the money! If Justman likes Remastered then that is a pretty hefty endorsement in my book.

I see nothing wrong with having references to other series (including TAS) in Trek Remastered.

#33 Doug. What are you watching TOS-R on? What is your AV system?

OK, here’s my billion dollar idea, free for the taking.
Think 1969. What happened to Star Trek? Canceled.
Think 1970s. What happened to Star Trek? Syndicated.
That concept was basically in its infancy, fueled by the after net life of shows such as I Love Lucy and Trek itself.
So… is it SO impossible to imagine a distributor crazy enough to promise that if you buy its DVDs, it will allow you to UPGRADE them anytime over say five years? Maybe there’s a modest upgrade fee, maybe not. But, wouldn’t it civilize this whole idea that if you buy it now you may still have to buy it later?
Paramount? Knock knock. This thing on?

I have a 1988 Toyota Corolla. I can upgrade it for, say, $30,000.

I see no problem with incorporating designs from TAS. After all, TAS was a prime example of what Gene wanted Star Trek to really look like. With TOS, budget constraints and technological limitations kept the series from achieving what Gene really wanted as far as effects are concerned. In TAS, he could do virtually anything, since it was animated. And isn’t the goal of this project to complete Gene Roddenberry’s vision and make Star Trek what he would have wanted it to be? So he’s not here to actually give us his approval or disapproval, but we can at least try and do that which he would have wanted.

To be honest … Does anybody honestly think a phaser (a Prop) is going to stop die hard Purist…? Holding a lighter over a original print of a episode reel and holding it hostage ..maybe but not a prop..(OK maybe convention security too but that’s besides the point lol) .

I am not a die hard obsessive purist myself. The huge problem for me has been that the effects dealing with just the Enterprise itself. The textured change almost every other episode. This is purely from a artistic point of view. The look of the ship has not been really consistent so far. one week Armoured plated Enterprise, then its White Enterprise, then its Grayish Enterprise…..It rotates in and out. And the ship should not look like a toy or a cheap plastic model. I can care less about anthing else really but if the ship looks like a toy in some shots why bother? In any other trek show you don’t see that ….and its OK here?

Some of the shots are just unnecessary. Case in point the walkway scene in “Amok Time” . It wasn’t the city that bothered me so much but it was the Walkway that slowed the narrative. I thought adding things was not going to happen when I first heard about this.

Their are times that they are mostly good. The Digital matte Paintings they have down to a science. And It looks good. Before I consider getting this on DVD they really need to clean up some of the shots. Even with the ones the optical shots that were never even touched. Then see how the reviews are to see if its worth the 100 dollar price tag more than likely they are going to put on it.

Bring on the Woden…

You know, in 1968 I watched these episodes on a 9″ B&W TV, on a wavy, fuzzy rabbit-ear broadcast channel. The special effects looked great at the time. I was six at the time. Who knew Scotty’s shirt was actually red?

Now I watch the remastered effects on HD, and they look, relatively, just as great.

The cool thing is that Star Trek is back on the air, and with a new look to boot (that looks a lot like the old look). Long live Star Trek! And thanks to Mike and Denise for giving it a shot in the arm!

Maybe the “purists” should really go back to the 9″ rabbit-eared B&W TVs, because that’s what 77% of the population watched the original broadcasts with. That was “pure” Star Trek in 1968.

#45 LMAO!!!!

Bring back the rabbit ears…but don’t forget the tinfoil you have to wrap on them to get them to work! LOL!!!!

Yeahhhh…that’s better than what we have now, right? ;-)

No purist here but my ongong sentiment that the CGI looks, digital. Make the stuff dirty looking so it’s “natural”. An earlier poster said they were video game like, and I think many times they do look video game like. Even the bad CGU shots in Star Wars looked better.

that’s a great comment, who knew scotty’s shirt was red?? i sure didn’t. but man, i’ll never forget the first time i saw star trek in color, must’ve been around 1972. it just blew my mind, and the other thing was that spock’s shirt was BLUE. (who knew?). nice to remember those simple pleasures of primitive old-skool technology. a 14″ color console tv (with wood paneling) was a righteous thing in 1972, with those screaming over-saturated colors, and nothing looked better on it than star trek.

Is that Computer Graphic Underarm? Uptown, Umbrella, Utopian, UFO, Us, United, USA, Uriah Heep?

re: post 26- Correct, zooming in is blind cropping. The point is it will give you a sense of what cropping to 16×9 will look like.

Check this experiment out, I scanned a real film clip and compared to a screencap of TOS DVD and overlaid them with a 4×3 crop in red and a 16×9 crop in yellow.

The DVD screen cap shows they zoomed in a bit leaving material all around, but not enough, as far as I can surmise for that needed material for 1.66.

The image is an unused scene from Elaan of Troyas, which is why I could not match the frame exactly.