‘Deep Space Nine’ Documentary Team Gives A Spring Update, Discusses HD Footage

What We Left Behind - DS9 doc

The team working on What We Left Behind, the documentary chronicling the production and lasting impact of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, poked their heads up from the huge task of editing all the interviews, archival footage, and newly remastered episodic clips, to give an update since their last big showing at Star Trek Las Vegas last summer.

The new update explains to Indiegogo backers why it is taking so long to edit the documentary:

Well, for starters, we’ve got over 100 hours of new interviews with cast and crew to go through, plus fan submissions, archival materials, animations, audition tapes, convention footage and over 170 broadcast episodes… endless possibilities! And sure, you SAY you’d be down to see a 4-hour documentary, but really that’s just excessive even for us. Carefully and artfully assembling everything down into a reasonable length film (with a story of its own!) is an even longer process.

Then, factor in the technical elements of licensing all our official footage, finding new archival elements and creating animations, working with CBS to scan film negative for presentation for the first time in HD… the fact that we’re even close to having something to show is, frankly, a bit of a miracle. If we were wormhole aliens, we’re sure all this linear time wouldn’t even be an issue, but alas in this process we’re only human.

The good news for you in all of this is that we’re continuing to find new elements and stories to include as we go along, and we’re committed to making the best stand-alone film we can, however long that takes. (And, suffice to say, we’ve got HOURS of bonus content to release later on down the line!)

Ira Steven Behr talks What We Left Behind in August 2017

Thanks to exceeding all their goals in funding, the team was able to negotiate with CBS for the rights to remaster selected scenes in HD for the documentary. This is quite a process in-and-of-itself, recreating shots from the raw footage.

Any luck with DS9 in HD?

YES! It’s expensive, it’s time-intensive and lengthening our post process… and it’s gosh-darn beautiful. CBS has been partnering with us on this aspect and we can confirm it will *absolutely* be worth the wait.

Deep Space Nine in HD as seen in the remastered TNG episode “Birthright”

In our interview last summer with Deep Space Nine showrunner and documentary producer Ira Steven Behr, he lamented how DS9 looked in standard definition and how the documentary is consulting with Mike and Denise Okuda about the remastering of selected footage for HD.

I was disappointed with the way the show looked on DVD and the idea of giving the fans something they haven’t seen before and getting to look at the show and going “Oh, wow, that is a pleasant surprise.” It’s something we have wanted to do since we first talked about this doc.

The update didn’t provide a release date. However, producer Kai de Mello-Folsom tells TrekMovie that they’re still targeting a 2018 release.

The documentary team will be at the official Star Trek convention in Dortmund, Germany at the end of the month to show off their progress. We do not expect the clip from Germany will be made available online due to rights issues, so be sure to see their panel if you’re going to the convention.

You can find more details on the documentary at their official website: ds9documentary.com

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Really looking forward to this. This was real Star Trek! Looking at that image from Birthright” reminds me of how I just love the simple clean look of space depicted in these shows verses the overwrought busy look of STD.

Of course, the title card at the top of the article is done more in a Star Trek: Discovery style, with the nebula.

Yeah. My point is just that both shows like to brand themselves with nebulae, and I like both shows. The final shot of the entire series featured an awesome nebula.

Absolutely agree, as to the simple clean look of space. And nice crisp ship images which show off the designs.

Me too – very excited for this. I wonder if they’ll touch on the perceived “darkness” of DS9 in the documentary. I never really thought of the show as “dark”. I’d have said it showed a world that was “imperfect” compared to the world of TNG, sure, but not “dark”. If anything I felt DS9 was about hope – with Bajor coming out of the occupation, the federation defeating the dominion, and the Sisko defeating the pah wraiths. Some of the comparisons of DSC to DS9 because the former wants to be “dark” like the latter seem inaccurate to me. I’d be interested to know what others feel about this.

That’s a great quote, thank you! It makes complete sense when I think about it. Maybe that was one by product of rooting the show on the station?

Dark in this case is a relative term. Say to TNG or TOS. But I agree – at it’s core DS9 had a positive message.

Your real Star Trek looks pretty lame to me now. I love DS9 btw, but it hasn’t aged well.

Wtf are you on about?

Actually it has aged well, which is why it is staying popular, attracting new fans and this project was successfully crowdfunded.

And as much as I like DSC, the people above are right, DSC’s VFX shots weren’t great. Even the creators themselves have acknowledged that. The Expanse looks a lot better, if you ask me.

Failing to give DS9 the same HD remaster treatment TNG got will go down in history as one of the worst failings of the Trek franchise.

No way it won’t happen eventually. Too much money to be lost by not doing it; just a matter of how long it takes for ’em to wise up. With voyager, too, one hopes.

I’m thinking CBS is waiting around hoping Netflix or Amazon or someone else will step up to pay for remastering DS9 and Voyager. And the cost of such work is probably going down all the time.

If CBS and Viacom merge together again I bet remastering Trek will be one of the first projects.

DS9 was real Star Trek. It changed things up, took risks, subverted status quo but honoured and enriched what came before. Everything Discovery pats itself on the back for doing… happened 25 years ago on DS9… and better. If one day, one magic day, I realise the incredibly slim chance of it happening but if I coud own DS9 on bluray… I would happily leave all the nu-Trek fans to enjoy their pouting Quinto, JJ lensflare, mushroom warp drive, cone headed Klingon drivel – while I revisted old friends in perfect HD. It was epic, it was sexy, it was hilarious, it was heart breaking – DS9 was top notch.

I still don’t understand why they are not doing both Ds9 and voyager in HD, OK the blurays sale for next generation was not great, however, with HD channels I am sure they will make the money back by then alone with the blurays sales being the bonus

Looking forward to this documentary, thanks to your website I help funded this project

I wonder if CBS has considered a kickstarter to remaster DS9 and Voy in HD? My wife and I have been recently watching through the Trek franchise and when you watch TOS, TNG and Ent in HD and watch DS9 and Voy in SD you can definitely tell the difference. Just watch the re-mastered TOS “Trouble with Tribbles” next to the DS9 DVD “Trials and Tribble-ations” – the original aired version of that episode was fun seeing an updated version of TOS that looked better…but now the remastered episode makes the DS9 episode look bad (compare the footage of the Enterprise in that EP to the DS9 EP).

My top 3 shows that I would kill to see remastered in HD are DS9, VOY and seasons 1-6 of Stargate SG-1 Seasons 1-7 (seasons 8-10 were shot in HD).

I’m pretty sure the budget for a remaster would be way out of the league of a kickstarter. It’s a gigantic process that takes like half a decade. Maybe they could do like important episode releases of both series instead, or like themed bundles like they did with the fan collective sets on DVD way back. That would be cool.

Tack on an optional $1-per-month donation button to All Access, earmarked for this purpose. Sit back, watch money roll in; commission work, sell Blu-rays.


70k pee episode according to RMB

I want to see the series in HD, the dvd versions are bad quality in 2018. I don’t know about ds9 but voyager just looks horrible on an HD set.

It’s too bad about ageism in Hollywood. CBS likely never considered Ira Behr to launch a new Star Trek show, because he’s in his sixties. They would prefer blockheads in their forties over a genius in his sixties. Thus we are stuck with Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and the guy who produced/directed The Mummy (which lost $100 million in the final tally).

Here’s hoping that the documentary team cracking those vaults and remastering some (admittedly small) portion of Deep Space Nine coaxes CBS into giving the show an HD release!

My hope also