See What Star Trek TOS Would Have Looked Like In Widescreen Cinerama


Star Trek was born on TV and well before HD so it has always been set in the rather narrow standard TV ratio, even on Blu-ray. But an intrepid fan has stitched together some screencaps to envision what the show could have looked like in widescreen, check out some examples below.

Star Trek: In Widescreen

San Francisco-based illustrator Nick Acosta (who gained some Internet fame earlier this summer by re-imagining the actual original moon landing as a Standly Kubrick movie), is now getting notice for showing Star Trek in a new way. As a way to celebrate Star Trek’s 48th anniversary, Acosta created a series of shots of "Star Trek in Cinerama" by stitching together screenshots from TOS. Here are some examples.





Here is how Acosta describes his project:

I created this project of what the show would have looked like in Cinerama widescreen. As a kid the show always felt bigger and more epic than it appears to me as an adult. I was able to create these shots by waiting for the camera to pan and then I stitched the separate shots together. The result is pretty epic. It reminds me of the classic science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s. Suddenly the show has a “Forbidden Planet” vibe. Other shots remind me of how director Robert Wise would use a camera technique to keep the foreground and background elements in focus.

See more at his website.

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Saw these earlier today. Excellent work!

Well, CBS just found a new revenue stream.

Saw this earlier, love it!

A couple of the images in the link turn into Clone Trek if you look closely enough. :)

Looks rather like Phase 2!

Marlena Moreau is certainly prettier than Capt Sisko.

Although Sisko’s “pretty” in his own way, I say as an admiring female, the TOS uniform did not complement him as well as his DS9 togs. Whereas Jadzia Dax seemed to be having a lot of fun in her mini-minidress!

Went to his website. Weird shots, some had two Spocks or three Kirks, but I certainly get his point. Staging, though, can look weird, in at least two shots it’s a bunch of actors sort of standing in a row.

Remember how well-populated the Enterprise was in the first year and a half? Then the background crew seemed to diminish quite a bit. Too bad; the b/g characters added to the feel of a working ship.

# 2. Douglass Abramson – September 11, 2014

” Well, CBS just found a new revenue stream.” — Douglass Abramson

I believe the expression from my youth would be, “You ain’t just whistlin’ DIXIE!”

By waiting on all panning shots until the camera gets enough of the L-R picture information to fill a home widescreen CBS can shave seconds off the episode (For what else? More commercial time.) while providing an ersatz IMAXy “widescreen” perspective. It’ll probably be artistically clunky but it’s not as if all their attempts to shave seconds for more commercial time to date in syndication has been anything stellar. Besides, it is something they can market as “cool”. I think you are right: CBS is going to convert all TOS camera pans to “widescreen”. Probably give it some funky name too. Fortunately, “Panavision” is taken.

Looks Cool. But would not care to see it in widescreen.

More marshmelons for the Babel party! Yay!

It’s another indication that someday, someone is going to make a fully realized ‘something’ using original TOS material. Maybe a new movie, using samplings of the original actors. Dunno. I just hope they tell us a good story.

@7 Disinvited,

Well, they have already converted it to 16:9 in any event for Japanese TV. A few of TOS’ directors and DPs came from features (or wanted to) and framed their shots cinematically, and as a result, much of TOS crops artistically to wide screen. Unfortunately a lot of TOS used typical 60s TV close ups which are much too tight to crop a pixel, and some of the TV directors really used the full academy frame, often with a typical McCoy kneeling over a body and Spock standing full height shot. The only way to crop that is to eliminate elements from the shot and destroy the composition.

If there were home wide screen TVs then perhaps there would be a market for this. But my guess is the next big revolution for TOS is to digitally animate all of the episodes once CGI gets to the point where a digital actor is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. No more paper mâché rocks and ill-fitting velour uniforms. State of the art visuals. Music re-scored with the London symphony Orchestra. Then once they perfect the Shatner speech and acting algorithm, brand new episodes of TOS. Eventually CBS will release the home fan production kit so fans can create their own original realistic episodes right on their home computer. Or using sophisticated algorithms, combine any two pre-existing episodes into one mashup: the Trouble with Tribbles meets The Doomsday Machine. They’ll do it for TNG too, and then you can get the cross-over module that allows creating new shows where the combined crews work together (with or without the time travel add-on pack).

I’m positive there are many more shots like close-ups that would look terrible with the top and bottom chopped off. There is no value in cropping off the top and bottom of the show.

I have tried using my plasma’s ‘zoom’ feature to fill the widescreen. The remastered TOS blu rays look fantastic but there are times where actor’s heads are off frame or key elements are missing from the lower part of the frame. But it’s still kind of fun to see it fill up the screen without any loss of image quality.

IMPRESSIVE! (said in a Green Goblin voice)

Oh Man! those are AWESOME! =D

Very impressive work and a joy to look at. Thanks for this article.

Nice! Only the one from Journey To Babel looks wrong because the tray with the pitcher on it is seen twice & the table which was long & straight is now crooked. I see what he was trying to do, but the perspective is different in each making it almost look like some sort of unusual lense was used.

The rest look great. That one is terrible.

Get a tv with “Smart Stretch” and you get widescreen TOS.

Sharp made them with that feature a few years ago. Looks tremendously cool.


Is that guy sitting at Navigation the Professor from Gilligan’s Island??

This would have been nice to see if if could have been done that way.

Heh! Lt. Bailey always reminded me of the Professor too! =D

This is cool!!

7. Disinvited – September 11, 2014
10. Curious Cadet – September 11, 2014

You guys are seriously depressing me.

Please tell me that nothing of the kind is ever going to happen.

Please tell me that everything is going to be alright.

That no matter the ways they might find to diminish the glory of Trek going forward, they’ll never retroactively diminish it in the past.

We might really need some form of “temporal” police to prevent current owners of culturally important art meddling with it in the present and thereby changing how it is regarded by people in the future with respect to times in the past prior to the incident of meddling.

#23. Cygnus-X1 – September 11, 2014

You do realize that they can also extract 3D information from panning camera shots? I sure hope that doesn’t send you flying over the bridge handrails for an accidental cordrazine overdose?


Thanks to everyone for liking this and to Trek Movie for posting it. Kinda surreal when your work appears in the all the websites you check at lunch. Also nice when a project you spend hours on is seen by more people then just your wife and cats. To answer the obvious question, yes I plan to eventually do this for Star Trek TNG episodes. Right now i’m on a Doctor Who project which I’m sure your gonna love! Thanks again for all the nice comments. It’s great to see the old girl (TOS) in such a beautiful state plastered on every Sci Fi and Nerd blog this week. Check out my other work at my portfolio site and Sketchbook Tumblr. There is some fun stuff
Thanks again – Nick

@10: In this episode, the Doomsday Machine is defeated by beaming a tribble and a cargo container of quadrotriticale onto the planet killer’s front porch.

Within a week, its maw is completely plugged up.


10 Curious, if they can manage to cross the “uncanny valley” with success, well, I’ll be interested. Otherwise those figures we see [such as in the NuTrek videogame] just give me the creepy-crawlies. On the one hand, it’s kind of fun to hear the clunky steps across plywood floors and see the wrinkles where they belong in the velour uniforms [fabric draping, essential for visual variety] and enjoy the female pleasures of seeing nice-looking gents in tight pants ;-).

But I agree about some improvements, there are things that could be improved about the women’s uniforms [I won’t go into my usual “sexist ’60s!” diatribe], such as the sloppy closures on the front offset wraparound “join/seam”, and at least lengthening them just enough to hide the ridiculous velour panties:-p

One of the most jarring things about the re-mastered version of TOS is that when you switch to interiors, phaser blasts look just as fakey as in the old days. I have no idea why they didn’t/couldn’t improve the look of those as well as they did the exterior phaser shots. [shrug]

25 Scott, LOL! except all the tribbles would freeze in the cold of space :-(

In the third shot down on Costa’s website, the navigator [sorry guys, forgot his name] reminds me of Trip Tucker from “Enterprise” … in fact the first time I saw “Enterprise” I kept thinking, “that guy looks so familiar!”

I’ve always been a fan of the letterbox wide screen format, and I personally feel every film should have this. Because you see more of what was panned from the shots. Even though I know the original series like all TV before the introduction of wide screen have the standard format, you allowed the show to stand out MORE like this. I’ve noticed it big time with the “Mirror, Mirror” episode. Great job!

@11. Jerr,
” There is no value in cropping off the top and bottom of the show.”

I disagree. I’ve been watching MeTVs broadcasts in SD which my HDTV is set to crop. And I can tell you 90% of most of TOS episodes benefit from have a huge amount of empty top and bottom space forced by the 4:3 perspective and focus the eye on the action. It also enlarges the image which on a 40″ or smaller HDTV, 4:3 can appear tiny.

As I said, there’s still about 10% of the framing that doesn’t work — 6% could be fixed by re-centering, but there’s a good 4% that requires re-composition. It’s probably impossible now, but if CBS would hire the original directors and DPs to sit down with the editors to re-frame each shot, and we got their endorsements, that would be all I would need to feel really good about cropping.

I used to be bothered by some of the resulting extreme close ups from cropping, until I started noticing it current HD TV dramas. Then I realized what I’m reacting to is how different it looks from what I’ve been watching for years … I mean there’s only so close I want to get to Bill Shatner in my living room. But new audiences won’t notice, and it will encourage them to watch a show they might not otherwise with black bars.

That said, I do think it was a mistake for CBS not to distribute for syndication the wide-screen exterior SFX shots of TOS re-mastered. Yes the aspect ratio would change throughout the show, but it’s not much different from watching the IMAX versions of a some current movies.

@27 Marja,
“I have no idea why they didn’t/couldn’t improve the look of those as well as they did the exterior phaser shots.”

I think it’s probably a two-part answer.

One — budget. They seemed to have focused their resources on spectacular space shots, which are compromised as well. That CGI is nowhere near the level we got on STID. There’s a laundry list of excuses for live action shots they did not improve, almost all of which were cost related decisions.

Two — stylistic consistency. They made a big deal about saying the space shots were true to only what they could have done in the 60s if they had more money. Perhaps the same applied to the live action. There was a stylistic choice to make the phaser beams look the way they did in the 60s. If they changed it, perhaps it wouldn’t look like TOS anymore, and maybe it would make the papier-mâché boulders look even more fake.

In the end, it seems like a combination of the two, with the primary motive being to improve the space SFX shots, which might otherwise turn off new viewers, while they rely on the acting and the drama to get you through the less than perfect visual effects of the live action — and let’s face it, even today live action TV SFX almost always fall short of perfection.

I believe they were mostly “cleaning it up”, filling “holes”, fixing “errors”, and avoiding the temptation to “improve” things… ;-)

but, even so, I believe some of the phaser shots HAVE been “improved” ;-)

10. Curious Cadet

I’d buy that!!!!

Curious Cadet. I watch MEtv too. I really like that they fill the screen with Trek. I don’t notice much that is missing in those broadcasts.

I would love to see this and the effects (exterior, phaser shots shots, etc) cleaned up. The re-mastered were ok, but obviously on a budget. I made the mistake of buying them and they did nothing for me. Even the fan made films look better. Just don’t touch the acting or pull a Lucas and try to alter things too much.

Yeah I didn’t include any of the remastered effects. I do enjoy them especially all the beautiful planetscapes by CBS digital but those are from 2006. I wanted to showcase the show as it looked on set in 1966

Star Wars like more than Star Trek in every state of the union:

like = liked

I have seen TOS on the syfy channel in the UK. That was cropped to 16:9, they didn’t just zoom, they did go through each episode and decide the best way to crop for each shot so it can be done.

I watched a few episodes like this and it does seem a bit too close at times. However if they did release a properly framed 16:9 version on blu ray I’d probably buy that too.

@39 David B –

While those ultra-wide, ‘Cinerama’-style ‘stills’ are nice, I was far more interested in your comments concerning ‘TOS Remastered’ being shown in a 16.9 ‘widescreen’ ratio.

Although I’m in the U.K. too, I haven’t subscribed to SKY and therefore haven’t seen the show on the ‘Syfy’ channel, unfortunately. I couldn’t find any links going into any detail on this treatment of ‘TOS Remastered’ on that channel…but I *did* come across a brief comment by someone on another site who also mentioned that ‘Syfy’ seem to have cropped it to a 16:9 ratio.

I’d really appreciate if the Trekmovie staff could look into this if they can, as I’ve been waiting for this kind of development ever since the heady days of it being mentioned here back in 2007(!) in this particular article –

Although many wanted the TOS Remastered episodes to come out in their original 4:3 ratio at the time (which they did), there were many like myself that hoped that a ‘widescreen’ version could be made available eventually too. We’re still waiting unfortunately. However, your post has given me hope that a 16:9 aspect Blu-ray release is still possible sometime.

The fact is that I want to be able to re-watch the show in a ‘widescreen’ aspect, for a more ‘cinematic’-looking effect overall – especially when the show’s remastered new effects were done in a 16:9 ratio just in case. Seeing as those that wanted an original aspect have gotten the DVD/Blu-ray releases that they wanted, there should be no qualms from anyone if the rest of us could get a ‘widescreen’ release now.

Years ago, I got a chance to check out a couple of ‘TOS Remastered’ episodes on my son’s big ‘widescreen’ plasma when the 4:3 DVD release came out…and it was a revelation as either his T.V. or DVD player ‘automatically stretched’ the picture out to 16:9 when I put the discs in, and it looked wonderfully ‘movie-like’ and ‘cinematic’ in that aspect I thought.

Now to be clear, a ‘Zoom’ setting was not used on his plasma T.V., so none of the picture was lost through ‘cropping’ any of the top and bottom off in any way – instead the image I watched at the time was ‘stretched’ outwards to fit the 16:9 ratio of the T.V. without any loss of the framed imagery whatsoever. While this resulted in a slightly ‘squashed’ look to the live-action somewhat, the ‘cinematic’ look more than made up for it, especially when there were ‘space’-based effects on show.

Frustratingly, when I bought my own large screen HD T.V., it *doesn’t* seem to have that kind of ‘auto-stretch’ facility, and using a ‘Zoom’ setting only ends in a picture with less resolution as well as ‘cropping’ the top and bottom. Too bad, as I was really hoping to see the rest of the episodes in that kind of ‘pseudo widescreen’ again, which the ‘auto-stretch’ function gave it. ‘Zooming’ is a no-no as far as I’m concerned, due to the loss in picture quality.

However, I’d love to see a proper ‘widescreen’ release that retains the picture quality, even if certain ‘close-ups’ of faces end up looking even closer – hell, ‘extreme close-ups’ worked for Siergo Leone’s movies, which I love, so no worries!

I’d really like to find out if ‘Syfy’s version was just uniformly ‘cropped’ throughout for it’s 16:9 aspect…or if they tried to carefully allow for certain shots to be ‘re-framed’ to suit the ‘cropping’ better. I’d also be interested to know which was the case for the Japanese ‘widescreen’ showing mentioned in the link above.

A very interesting way to look at these classic scenes in with a fresh look. But it is true there some resulting multiple copies of characters, especially in that “I, Mudd” picture.

This would be cool for a couple of episodes released to cinema, for a special, one time engagement.

I’m thinking…

1. The Doomsday Machine
2. The Tholian Web