Get A Look At ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ In HD As Part Of Documentary Update Video

What We Left Behind, the crowdfunded Deep Space Nine documentary is nearly done. In fact, the actual interviews, editing, sound mix, and most of the other elements have been completed. What’s left now is to upgrade clips from the show to high definition. Thanks to an outpouring of support from fans, the documentary team can now upgrade all clips from the show.

HD upgrade is a process

While the documentary had its official premiere parties in Los Angeles, New York, and at Destination Star Trek in the UK earlier in the fall, many of the clips from the TV show were still in standard definition. That means backers won’t get their copies just yet. The process of remastering even the limited clips used in the documentary is time-consuming and expensive. Remember, despite the inclusion of DS9 showrunner Ira Steven Behr, this is an independent documentary, so CBS is charging the team to have the 35mm film unarchived, cataloged, scanned, and cleaned up.

In the video below, we see a few seconds of the cast decked out in formalwear as they head to the holosuite in the seventh season episode “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang.”

The gang passes by Quarks dressed to the nines

Quark looks on

Video update

A note from the documentary team

In their backer update sent out today the team explained their reasoning on holding off on rushing out copies for the early backers:

While we could have just released the version of the film that was previewed to backers in Los Angeles, New York, and the UK this October, we didn’t think it would be fair to you to release a separate, better version with all our HD just a few months later, in a whole separate disk-set for the public. We want you to receive the best film we can give you, and unfortunately that sometimes means more time.

When we started this campaign, we had NO idea we would be given this opportunity to actually see DS9 in HD for the first time in our documentary, and that’s all thanks to you and your support. Those who participated in the latest #HiDefHero campaign should be receiving their challenge coins shortly, or have already seen them in their mailboxes along with a special note from Ira.

Rest assured, we’re in the midst of HD remasters, which is our final big step to completion. We want to see this film released just as much as you do, but in the end we trust the opportunity to remaster as much DS9 as possible is well worth a couple months of additional wait.

We believe, when you see the finished product, you’ll agree.

 


You can show your support and pre-order the final release at www.ds9documentary.com

Keep up with all the updates and news on the DS9 documentary in our What We Left Behind category here at TrekMovie.com

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Mark Calcagno

I think that’s an excellent decision. We’ve waited this long. We can wait longer.

Afterburn

I guess, but it’s such a tease. If it’s just clips in HD, it doesn’t really excite me. And to be honest, the SD versions on Netflix are fine enough even on my big screen. Not ideal, but good enough.

Eric

Are you kidding ? No, they aren’t good enough. We need DS9 on HD. The difference is night and day

Mark Z

They’re awful. Not only is the quality of the video poor, the processing Netflix and other streaming services have applied have resulted in terrible motion artifacts. Try watching HD TNG first and then Netflix DS9, it’s borderline embarrassing.

kmart

I tend to watch DS9 via DVD on the seasons I picked up used (4, 6 & 7); it seems to look slightly better than the Netflix stream, but only slightly — in other words, it still looks awful. Among series I like enough to rewatch, this is the one that looks the worst by far.

On the other hand, I’ve seen some streaming eps of THE PRISONER (don’t remember if it was Netflix or Amazon) and they looked phenomenal, absolutely burying my DVDs, which I had thought looked great compared to laserdisc and broadcast (I’ve seen this series at least 30 times.) I almost spent an obscene amount to re-buy the show on OOP blu-, and am now glad I held off, because rewatching the stream is good enough to hold me for awhile.

Afterburn

I watch all Trek regularly. It’s not ideal, but DS9 is just fine, and plenty enjoyable (unlike TNG on CBSAA which is unwatchable). I don’t know if it’s because by DS9 cameras were better, but it’s very watchable and my enjoyment is not really affected.

Do I want it on HD? Of course. But it’s not the glaring hyperbolic problem people make it out to be. And a few random clips don’t excite me if it’s not entire episodes.

kmart

Okay, I’ll bite — one last time … what makes TNG on CBSAA unwatchable? Are they running the SD pre-remasters or is it the limited rez available on the CBSAA platform? (if it is just TNG you find unwatchable, I’m cool with that, I find it mostly mediocre myself.) The cameras are the same on all the BermanTrek shows up till s4 of ENT, as are the camera people, and many of the VFX folk as well, so there is no technical reason for why DS9 would look different or better than the rest of the lesser Berman entries — which is why it doesn’t, at least to my eye and those of just about everybody else participating in this thread. Geez, DS9 was problematic to watch on a 27″ CRT, so of course it is going to be hard going on a set twice as big in an era where HD is the standard. Going back to the original probably glorious-looking 35mm film elements is the only way to capture the way the show was actually shot. (Many shows from the 90s and early 2000s that weren’t shot on film are going to have poor to nonexistent afterlives, as a lot weren’t archived properly and the permanency of digital acquisition is just plain a myth — the stuff degrades unless migrated regularly, and degrades in what seems to be an irreversible way.) All of this ‘shoot on film, then ruin it by editing on tape’ was Peter Lauritson’s call back in early 87, so this whole mess can be laid at his feet, since he felt that was the only way to bring production costs down. Yet this was also the same time that TNG was spending about 75 grand per episode on VFX, out of a 1.2 mil… Read more »

Charles

CBS All Access had not only the SD transfers of TNG et al, but they were BAD SD transfers. Voyager especially was super dark and the other series looked like DVD rips. Super fuzzy.

Afterburn

I don’t know the tech behind all this. I just know what looks watchable and what doesn’t. I am aware of the flaws of SD, but the version of DS9 on Netflix just doesn’t bother me that much, even watching it back to back with TNG-HD. Same with Voyager. Perhaps because it’s what i’m used to, perhaps because the quality of cameras improved from 1987 to 1993 (in fact I think it did: the SD versions of the last 2-3 seasons of TNG are much nicer than the first 2-3 seasons in SD).

Perhaps if i watched DS9 in HD for a while i’d find it hard to go back.

But I just don’t clamor for it. My larger, original point though, is that remastering CLIPS feels like too much of a tease. If they’re trying to impress CBS to convince them to do the whole series, there are better (if much more expensive) options: I would have remastered an entire episode, and included it as a streaming option off the disc (an exclusive unlocking code or something idk), and then shared the watch data with CBS to perhaps convince them to invest in a full HD restoration.

Just spitballing, but I either want the whole series remastered, or none at all. Clips seems like a waste of time, but I guess they wanted the documentary to look as nice as possible. Just doesn’t excite me.

DataMat

They are only remastering probably about 20 minutes worth of clips; A whole episode would be a very expensive and time consuming job. Don’t forget that they would have to locate/source the film stock for a single episode which is a big job of itself.

Mike Williams

No, the cameras did not improve from 1987-1993, and they were still shooting TNG in 1993. And SD footage from DS9 most certainly does not look as good as the HD remasters of TNG. Once again, your eyes must really suck! And since upgrading the clips to HD doesn’t excite you, chances are really good you were never going to get it in the first place. Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re bitching about something — ANYTHING.

Afterburn

Mike I think you really misunderstand here. I never said DS9 was as good as TNG HD. I also talked about how the quality of TNG visually seemed to improve even in SD in the later seasons (1992-1994), so i’m well aware it was still airing.

As for “never going to get it” I assume you’re referring to the documentary, which I fully intend to watch. I was remarking on how HD clips are just too much of a tease, and on the excitement that some fans seem to have for a remaster that, for me at least, isn’t really all that important.

Mike, mike, mike, you really should work on your reading comprehension.

Mike Williams

intending to watch it and spending the money to buy it are very different things, which fully supports what I said. Fortunately for those of us who care about quality, which you clearly do not as you have said repeatedly, your opinion will not be considered in the decision making. Anyone who says something is “good enough” cares nothing at all about quality.

Afterburn

That is factually incorrect. But please, do keep going.

Cygnus-X1

Matt Wright

You’re an endless source of valuable information.

I had no idea that I got CBSAA with my Amazon Prime membership. I’d never bothered to click on the “channels” tab. I like Amazon Prime and would recommend it, but it’s past time that they redesigned the user interface for the Prime Video section. To get to Prime, they just stuck in a link 19th down on the general menu when you click on your Account tab. There should be a prominent PRIME VIDEO link on the Amazon homepage when you log in. (It’s a big feature of the service!) And then they should tidy up the Prime Video interface. Every time I go there, I have to scan the screen for the link that has my queue, which is not labeled “queue,” but rather “menu,” and, for some reason, placed inconspicuously off to the far right of the screen. I probably still won’t bother watching DSC, as I’ve got a ton of much more enjoyable content in my various queues. But, it’s good to know that it’s there in case the show gets really good at some point.

Cygnus-X1

Oh…

So, there’s no cost savings. I’d still pay full subscription fees for every add-on subscription service (i.e. “channel”), with the added benefit of having all of my subscription services routed to my Amazon Prime interface — the one that I complained of above. I guess it’d be nice to have all of the content organized at one site, though I’d rather that site be Netflix. Oh well. I suppose I can’t really miss something that I never had to begin with. Eventually, a third-party company will invent a universal interface for web subscription content to all be routed to, the internet version of a cable box. There will be an app version for phones and for TV’s, most of which will come with the universal interface pre-installed. And then things will be nice and tidy. And cord-cutters will be back to $120/month cable bills again. Only now they’ll be called content subscription bills. And then, motivated by self-righteous indignation at his $120/month content subscription bill, some programmer will invent a new file-sharing app that obviates the radar of the entertainment companies. And it’ll be the Wild West of the early 2000s all over again, with as much free content as you can be bothered to stream. And round and round we’ll go.

DataMat

Well I think the picture quality of especially the earlier seasons of Ds9 are very poor, worse than Voyager actually, which I think has the best DVD quality of any of the others trek shows on that format.

Afterburn

Yes, i’ve noticed that DM, but the first two seasons aren’t the best, so i overlook it. I think it has a lot to do with the visually darker tone of the first two years (SD cameras just cant capture as much detail at low light it seems). After they introduced the defiant, the cinematography took a noticeably brighter turn.

kmart

Just to be specific here, there are no SD cameras involved in shooting the show; they were all shot with 35mm film cameras, and how well they capture in low-light is dependent on the film stock and the tastes of the professionals shooting the scene. Pretty sure it was the same stock used on TNG, too.

Sometimes a scene intended as dark gets artificially brightened during post because somebody thinks they can improve things, and that is again not a matter of sd/hd, but of people screwing with the image in post (for a striking even more extreme example of this, try watching some of A WRINKLE IN TIME (not the whole thing of course) … they cut characters out of scenes shot under one kind of lighting condition and pasted them into other backgrounds, apparently without any regard for the fact it make the film look it was filmed on Planet Teletubby.

Afterburn

I wasn’t referring to “SD cameras” sorry for using the wrong terminology. But that whatever they were filming with seemed to improve over the run of TNG when shown on SD/televisions.

Even in the HD remasters, the quality noticably improved around season 4 or 5. I don’t know if it was the cameras, a new cinematographer, new lighting, or what.

DataMat

They did I believe, have a new cinematographer on TNG, I think for Season 4. The show was lit brighter from then on. It was darker before this, especially for the first couple of seasons, most noticeably, the bridge.

kmart

They changed DPs at the start of s3 — it is more diffuse looking from that point forward, to be sure.

Afterburn

That certainly explains a lot, K & DM. Thanks for being a productive part of a discussion.

Mike Williams

They weren’t SD cameras. The show was shot on 35mm film. Now it all makes sense. You don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about.

Afterburn

And you have no clue what i’m talking about. SMDH. Go home, Bueller.

Mike Williams

Then your eyes must really suck, because the SD on Netflix is god-awful!

Afterburn

Thanks for the hyperbole. There’s the door.

Mike Williams

You mean the door I walked in? Thanks, but I already know where the door is. That’s how I get in here. And I’ll leave at a time of my choosing.

The only thing that makes me sad is that he sounds like this is it — the only chance in the foreseeable future to see some DS9 in HD. We could easily guess this is probably the case, but we think this out of educated guess; Ira KNOWS this. :-(

Disinvited

Salvador Nogueira,

While hardly the final stage in making an episode ready for release in HD, I can’t imagine CBS is going to resort to old editing tools, such as a moviola, to extract the segments for the documentary; which means they are likely going to automatically rescan in more detailed resolution the particular episodes’ filmed elements entire reels and then digitally copy out what segments the documentarians require. In other words, this is likely still an important domino to fall towards CBS’ possibly eventually bothering to release a handful of DS9 episodes on an UHD 4k special collection disc.

MysticalDigtial

Was DS9 film reels? I though it was shot on tape.

Mike Williams

No, it was not shot on tape. The last two seasons of Enterprise were the first episodes to be shot with digital cameras (which are not also not tape). All

Even if they scan whole rolls, it is a long way til you can put together even one single episode. Not to talk about visual effects, which would have to be redone. It is a major project. I’d love to see it done, and I think it would bring a handful of new eyeballs to, for instance, CBS All-Access (physical media is brain-dead at this point, let’s face it). But Ira doesn’t sound optimistic, so I shouldn’t keep my hopes up.

Heisenberg's Hat

Another reason this is it for DS9 in HD is the poor performance of TNG on Blu Ray. Pretty big investment with little return. Streaming is great but it’s killing the home video market.

MysticalDigtial

The thing is nobody wants to stream SD content either, so eventually they will have to upgrade it just for the streaming market.

That was my hope as well. And I think a case could be made, but I don’t see CBS putting their energies into this.

Afterburn

Once costs to remaster fall, pretty much everything will get done. But it might be a while.

kmart

Cost of labor isn’t likely to fall at all ever, so it isn’t going to get cheaper; you can’t push a button to make this happen.

Afterburn

I read somewhere that there might be software that might automate much of the process, at some point in the next 10 years. But again, i’m not a tech guy, so i’m just going by a headline i read somewhere.

This kind of work is VERY labor-intensive and time consuming, and cannot be “automated”.

Afterburn

Well I read somewhere that there might be software that might automate much of the process, at some point in the next 10 years. But again, i’m not a tech guy, so i’m just going by a headline i read somewhere.

What Matt said.

Afterburn

Well I read somewhere that there might be software that might automate MUCH OF THE PROCESS, at some point in the next 10 years. But again, i’m not a tech guy, so i’m just going by a headline i read somewhere.

I read about this. The software would be able to go through whole scans and find exactly which frames were used where. You still would have the whole taking out of storage/selecting rolls/going through scan/checking/sending back to storage, that can only be done by humans. Perhaps CBS should do a systematic “scan all”/”digitize all,” and let the reassembly/post-production for a second “maybe” step. Meanwhile, they could release select episodes to make some money out of the “scan all, don’t care what” process.

kmart

If you look at the netflix doc on how they finished Welles’ THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, you’ll get a very graphic look at how gruelling and hands-on dealing with film rushes can be when you have a large volume. That project was even tougher because the sound and picture weren’t coded.

In fact, the editor cut the movie — and did what I think of as absolutely unbelievably good job of channeling Welles (I’m the biggest Welles devotee I know and it was nearly an hour in before I even remembered that nearly all of this was cut by somebody else 40 years after the fact), something I wouldn’t have thought remotely possible — without the sound track, and wound up assembling the sound from various takes, dropping and adding frames to keep sync while also using different voice artists to redo lost audio. Regardless of what you think of the movie, the job done there was genuinely a Herculean effort.

Mike Williams

Yeah, you should stop going by what you read, because you’ve been absolutely WRONG on just about everything you’ve posted. No, it’s never going to be automated.

Tim Gormley

Except he’s correct. HTV Illuminate used automated software to scan and compare the original SD source with the HD scans and assemble their newly scanned HD clips automatically.

Curious Cadet

@Tim Gormely — that’s not how it works. There’s an EDL which corresponds to the negative. It’s all in writing, and they have to simply pull the negative and make the same cut they did when transferred to video all those years ago. They didn’t just edit on multigenerations of video and then copy that over to a final master. They went back to the film edits based on the EDL and transferred those to video for a pristine master video. And while that sounds easy, it all still has to be done all over again. There’s no automating anything.

Afterburn

Boy you sure are angry today. Maybe try some weed.

Mike Williams

Why does pointing out how you’re wrong mean I have to be angry? If I wasn’t angry (which I’m not), would you not still be wrong?

Afterburn

Your general tone across multiple posts just make you seem belligerent. I still stand by the notion that there may one day be a technological advancement we don’t foresee. That cannot be incorrect by its very nature, so if you think or believe i’m wrong, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Mark Z

Have we ever found out the actual numbers of this poor performance? I hear the idea repeated fairly often.

DataMat

I think it will make a return eventually. I don’t think it did enough business quick enough though, so in the ‘short term’ was a loss.
But actually we don’t know, do we? Only the big boys working in CBS offices know the true answer as to how well TNG HD has done so far. They have never so far made any comment. They have also never said DS9 won’t happen in HD. They have not said anything either way, officially. So hope remains!

Alex

The poor performance anecdote keeps popping up, but I have yet to see anyone going into details. Are we talking initial Bluray sales here? If so, what kind of retarded accountant would look for a break-even with those? You have streaming all over the place and can charge a premium for HD remastered material from Netflix and other providers. It’s a long-term investment, not a one-off thing. The show is an integral part of the franchise, so people will go back and watch it for decades to come. Makeing the decision based on initial Blu-ray sales is ridiculous (and even more so when making the decision for a show based on the sales of a different show).

Denny C

When Babylon 5 went into production the decision was made to shoot the series in a 1.78 aspect ratio in anticipation of high def and 16×9 televisions becoming the industry standard. When the series debuted on Sci Fi Channel around 2000 or so high def masters had already been created and, prior to Sci Fi offering HD, it was presented 4×3 letterboxed. WB had been looking ahead, Paramount failed to.

It should be noted that the visual effects on B5 were produced when CG was in its infancy, were produced in SD and 4×3 and were cropped for the HD 16×9 masters. DS9’s CG effects would present challenges for the creation of HD masters.

Sam

This is not true. No HD masters for B5 exist nor ever existed. The masters used to create the DVDs were anamorphic broadcast masters that had been converted to NTSC from PAL. Where they came from (ie, why they already existed in PAL) I have never understood. But they were not HD. It is true that the anamorphic masters were converted to letterbox for airing on Sci-Fi Channel. Somewhat humorously (though not at the time) a misprint caused all episodes from seasons 2 through 4 to be letterboxed (cropped) from standard rather than reformatted from anamorphic. Basically what was done to the CG and composite shots was done to everything. I assume this was eventually fixed for Sci-Fi, though not before the anamorphic DVDs came out. Also the existing CGI in SD would be unsuitable, period, for anything above SD. It already looks terrible (fuzzy and soft) as it is, cropped in SD and blown up for anamorphic. To rebuild the show for HD would require pretty much the same process as TNG (or better yet DS9): Going back to the original 35mm negatives, making a new (widescreen in this case) transfer, and then redoing everything else from scratch. It seems unlikely WB (of all people) would ever do this. There is a 4×3 alternative for HD. Apparently archival masters for each episode exist on film. These include the CGI shots and composites at a “higher” resolution than SD (no word on how high) such that they perhaps could be upscaled for HD (and the live action film elements simply transferred over). Assuming these reels haven’t been devoured by rats, it would save WB from having to unarchive the original negatives shot by shot. (One problem occurs to me: certain episodes originally aired with some “incomplete” FX shots purely by… Read more »

Darfyn

Thanks for the info , guys ! I have the TNG Blu-ray set and it seems to display as 4:3 on a UHD Tv , which I’m not happy about (I would prefer a widescreen version) . And I’m a Babylon 5 fan as well , and am waiting for a High Definition Widescreen Collectors Version (Bluray/4K) to come out . And the same could be said for the other Star Trek Series too !

Denny C

Hopefully B5 will make it to 4K blu-ray. Before my days at Sci Fi I had never watched an episode but having had to screen each episode I became a huge fan.

Sam

TNG was never shot for widescreen, and it would look terrible in 16×9. Everything would be cropped and there would be no point to it.

If Babylon 5 is ever converted to HD at all, 90 percent likely it will only be standard 4×3 for the reasons I’ve mentioned, with Blu-Ray as an afterthouht. To rebuild the show in widescreen for HD would be a TNG-level endeavor at best.

And B5 is never going to come out in 4k. That would require all new FX completely from scratch. Even ST TOS and TNG do not get that treatment.

Sam

(4K that is)

Curious Cadet

@Sam — I don’t agree. I routinely watch TOS and TNG cropped, and they look great. Only in a few instances does the vertical composition get compromised, and that’s something that could be adjusted on a shot by shot basis, depending on what’s available. And that’s not even compensation for a shot-to-shot vertical framing adjustment, As for the point, there are people who will simply not watch these shows in the future if they don’t fill the screen. If done well, much of the empty space resulting from the limitations of 4:3 can be eliminated and the shot focused on the action of a scene — there’s nothing worse than a full ensemble shot where the cast is tiny, because they were forced to keep so much top and bottom to fit them all in due to the constraints of the aspect ratio. It can also make series like Trek look even more dramatic and cinematic, and more importantly, fresh and modern. All good things for the franchise.

kmart

And there were tons of people who wouldn’t watch letterbox even though that presented the correct aspect ratio. The technical term is idiot. Watching a cropped or stretched version is an insult to the makers.

kmart

To elaborate a bit … what you’re proposing is like somebody who picks out a picture frame they like, and then they tear the pic out and carry the frame around to view things on their own terms as they visit a museum.

Afterburn

It’s made even worse because TNG and other shows shot in 4:3 were designed to be shot that way– shots were composed with the ratio in mind, and just clipping the top and bottom makes the visual composition a mess.

kmart

Starting in the early 90s, some shows like QUANTUM LEAP were shot with eventual 16:9 reframing in mind, so they were composed to work in both standard and HD ratios (sort of like how Super 35 features were shot with 4:3 TV viewing in mind as well as widescreen.) B5 I think was one of these, but I don’t recall that being the case for any of the BermanTrek stuff, but by the turn of the century I had given up on most of that, so I could be wrong about ENT or late VGR.

Sam

Didn’t know that about Quantum Leap. Babylon 5 was indeed shot on Super 35, except for the pilot episode a year earlier which was standard 35mm. In addition all special effects and composite shots were completed in standard, and these have been cropped (and blown up) for the anamorphic widescreen DVDs, which were reportedly converted from PAL masters. The B5 spinoff series Crusade may have just been filmed in standard. The TV movies and Rangers pilot are widescreen and were most likely shot in Super 35, this time with FX properly rendered for SD 16×9 anamorphic widescreen. And I don’t know what Lost Tales was sourced from, but the final product was anamoprhic widescreen. ST:ENT was probably shot on Super 35 until the final season, which was filmed in HDTV, and all seasons are 16×9 widescreen. The special effects were supposedly rendered for 720p and upscaled to 1080p. But if any of UPN’s carriers gave the show a 1080i broadcast during its initial run I’m not aware of it. All the broadcasts I saw were SD letterbox (by contrast, LOST was very obviously produced for ABC’s 720p standard, with SD’s 4×3 downconvert actually cropping the series’ production titles during first and second season). All the prior Berman Trek shows including VOY were shot in standard 35 and post-produced in standard SD video, and 4×3 will always be the correct aspect ratio. I missed most of latter-day VOY due to inaccessibility, not that I ever complained. The Vegas station that picked up UPN quickly dropped it in favor of WB, and UPN then got picked up by a low-power station. They finally made some backhanded deal to get picked up by COX, so I saw ‘Endgame’ just in time for transitional ENT advertising (I rightly guessed that Chakotay and Seven had… Read more »

ML31

I read that Lonesome Dove (1988) was shot with 16X9 in mind. It aired in in 4X3 of course but all the framing was done in that middle portion. The BD was released in 16X9. So it’s not unreasonable that other ratios were considered even before they became common on televisions.

Afterburn

X-Files is another one shot for widescreen AND with 4:3 in mind. It’s why the recent releases and airings have been in widescreen. There was an excellent article on it when the blu rays were released.

It really amazes me that Trek didnt follow this trend and as late as season 7 of Voyager in 1999, while other shows were already filming in widescreen, they were still filming in 4:3), considering the forward thinking nature of the material and the audience they were aimed at (sci-fi fans who tend to be more tech-minded than the mass audience).

Sam

It’s obviously your prerogative if you choose to view it that way. But wanting something cropped to “widescreen” just because it doesn’t fill the horizontal on your TV is no different from wanting a widescreen movie cropped to 4×3 because it didn’t fill the vertical on your grandmother’s TV.

It’s not widescreen. It’s compromised. And in a way other than what was intended by director and cinematographer. At least in the case where a movie or series was protected for multiple aspect ratios one could (almost) have a valid counter argument. But no ST series to date serves as such an example.

Why not crop the sides of STD because it’s too wide? Why not trim every 2.35 film (or even every 1.85 film) down to a 1.78 like they do for broadcast? Where would it end?

What you decide to do on your TV does not indicate how something should be released.

Mike Williams

Yes, I really, really, really can’t stand people who don’t care about original aspect ratios and just want it to fill their TV, first as 4×3 pan and scan and now people want 4×3 images to be cropped to fill their widescreen TVs. I’m just glad the people in charge aren’t listening to the Wal-mart crowd.

ML31

A personal pet peeve of mine is when people warp a 4X3 image to fill their HD TV screen. My brother in law did that years ago when there was not as much HD content. We turned on a hockey game at his place and the image was stretched to fit. I asked him if he would reset it. He refused claiming there was nothing wrong. And this guy at the time was a high ranking official for Toshiba of America. I thought he ought to be more familiar with such things…

Curious Cadet

@Sam — you’re obviously passionate about the issue. Regardless, both TOS and TNG have been formatted for wide screen editions by CBS for future use, and are available in some markets. Even the exterior space shots were created and/or expanded to 16:9. Moreover, studios have been cropping movies from their original formats for years to get them into TVs. This is nothing new. Surely you already know this. I realize this offends your artistic sensibilities, but I gave you some clear examples of how 16:9 cropping actually improves the composition of some shots compromised by the limitations of 4:3. I’d be more inclined to agree with you on a film than I would on TV since I work primarily in TV and see the so-called creative decisions being compromised daily. Stories I’ve heard from the 60s through the 80s were even worse — shots being compromised with action centered to make the shooting schedule. Massive action safe borders for early TVs only added to the problem. And those creative shots that do make it which were framed for 4:3 are few and far between, for which I acknowledged present some challenges. However, with care and proper reframing, not just cutting off the sides, or top and bottom, the original intent of the shots can be preserved. The recent wide screen adapation of MASH is a perfect example. Lastly, while inherently a creative business, TV is still a business. Broadcasting 16:9 versions of older shows is prudent business decision to get eyeballs and advertisers on board, especially a classic brand like Trek. As long as it’s handled appropriately then the pros outweigh the khans. By the way, I’m not advocating they crop it and throw away the original 4:3 masters, which you seem to think I am. Rather, I’m suggesting give… Read more »

kmart

And you think it can’t transcend that notion of existing to sell advertising? There are aspect in every medium that transcend, and that alone should justify respect for how the visual was originally conceived.

In the main, I find this fitting the image to fit the type of screen a seriously bizarre (and at this point, outdated) notion. If anything needs to evolve or change, it should be looking at developing variable-geometry displays that can be altered to fit how the images were captured, not worrying about whether there are black bars on the top or the sides of a fixed aspect ratio device. But compromising the image for the sake of convenience in the short-term devalues the … well, I guess you’d call it ‘product,’ making it even less likely to stave off more needless alterations down the line.

Afterburn

Frankly, I just don’t care how OTHER people feel about the ratios. I enjoy watching it however it was originally presented.

If someone else enjoys it stretched, or cropped, or whatever, I really don’t care.

Disinvited

kmart,

Outdated? It appears more to me as an active irrational OCD affliction trying to convince others that it’s actually rational.

In the pre-hdtv era, I never once observed in motion picture theater exhibitions a single audience member exit demanding their money back because a film’s wider aspect ratio didn’t conform to the prior 4:3 exhibitio standard to which their home television conformed. And even after, many films’ aspect ratios are wider than the new wider screen tv standard and no one exits complaining that it doesn’t conform to their home tv frame.

kmart

by outdated, I just meant the mass of viewers who first experienced letterboxing only saw the black bars. That lessened a bit. I certainly wasn’t trying to excuse it, especially now that we seem to have a growing number of folks who are getting uppity about side borders.

Disinvited

kmart,

Has anyone researched what lead the industry to create pan&scan for home television? Was it based on an actual incident of mass viewers thinking their sets were on the fritz because I seem to recall old sets had a problem with ageing thermistors causing vertical shrinkage creating top and bottom black “bars”?

Afterburn

If I had to guess i’d say pan and scan was developed due to the size of TVs– most consumers did not have anything larger than 22″ during the 70s and 80s. Even into the 90s, the average TV size was still probably just 27″.

With letterbox, on a 4:3 CRT, the size of the film on the screen shrinks considerably.

ML31

Disinvited, Pan and Scan came about as a way to fit a widescreen image on a 4X3 TV screen without distorting it. As was said above, most folks when they see the black bars feel there is something missing or wrong because they just don’t know (or even care) about aspect ratios. P & S is a solution to that. Widescreen versions started appearing on VHS in the mid 90’s.

kmart

Widescreen versions of MANHATTAN and I believe THE COLOR PURPLE were, so far as I know, the only versions available of those films initially on VHS. And of course there were lots of laserdiscs that showed films in their original aspect ratios starting in the 80s and becoming much more common among LDs in the 90s.

ML31

INNERSPACE was actually released straight to video in widescreen. When the video started it showed a clip moving out to from 4X3 to 16X9 with a crawl that said something like, ‘at the request of the filmmakers this feature is being shown in it’s original format. The black bars on top and bottom are normal.’ But it was in the 90’s where I actually started seeing movies released on VHS in widescreen. The video store even had a WIDESCREEN section.

Disinvited

Curious Cadet,

Arent you forgetting that most of filmed old tv is merely being transferred lazily in supposedly original”broadcast” aspect ratio to blu-ray and/or higher-res syndicated digital disttibution by copying the ENTIRE 35mm film frame which is creating incorrect aspect ratio error problems in the other direction, i.e. boom mikes in shots that were never seen in the original broadcasts, LIS’ Robot’s human operator sneakered legs, etc.?

This is why we prefer the ME-TV compromise (BTW KAZA 54-1 just popped in my area broadcasting it in 720p.)

Theoden_of_ODU

There’s an interesting article from JMS’s B5books.com goes into depth about the remastering process for Babylon 5.

https://b5books.com/2017/05/02/babylon-5-blu-ray-will-probably-never-happen/

Babylon 5 might be considered a cult property, but the show has made WB a killing, both when it was first broadcast, in syndication, as well as on DVD (I can’t currently track down the exact quote, but I remember JMS made the claim that before season 5 had even been released, the first 4 seasons on DVD had sold somewhere like 500 or 600 million dollars). The “Lost Tales” purportedly made WB a ton of money, but the execs wanted to slash the budget for subsequent releases so JMS pulled the plug on the project.

It’s kind of sad, because the estimate of $15 million to re-master and re-create all the graphic elements for all 110 B5 episodes is a drop in WB’s overall entertainment budget. That project would breathe brand new life into a property that has been relegated into a very small corner of fandom.

The article is brutally honest, and entirely realistic, which makes me very sad. I’d love for it to ultimately be wrong…

helenofpeel

B5 was shot on a very tight budget and used Lightwave 3D by NewTek at the time, very much in its infancy. This was not HD in any way. Although it was probably more than SD. I remember meeting the producers and having them show me what was going on. The producers were also prototyping / storyboarding using Amiga computers.

Bruce Gibson

Ira Steven Behr‘s purple goatee looks great in HD!

Jeff

Maybe this documentary will generate a little more advertisement for the idea of DS9 in HD and the people at CBS will change their minds.

Roman Cernjak

my hope as well.

just like doing “trials and tribble-ations” prompted the remaster of TOS and then TNG.

Ashley

Patiently waiting. :)

I think CBS needs to just bite the bullet and get the upgrade done. Yeah, it’ll be costly; yeah, it’ll be a short-term loss. But it’ll be a much bigger long-term loss if the show essentially becomes unwatchable, which it’s verging on even now. The DVDs look miserable; not as miserable as “Babylon 5,” I’ll grant you, but pretty bad. I can’t bear to watch them on an HDTV — I have to watch on the Zenith I bought in 1998 and just pretend the hi-def revolution never arose at all.

Here’s an idea for how to bankroll it: give CBS All Access subscribers the option to chip in an extra dollar per month that will be earmarked for upgrades of DS9 and Voyager. I’d happily do that; I bet a lot of people would, provided we could track the progress of the fundraising.

Mark Calcagno

Unfortunately, from a business decision, that’s a bad idea. It’s like doing an HD remaster of Silk Stockings. Yeah, the show had a following, but there are newer shows that do the same job that show did.

Also, subscribers can cancel their subscriptions at any time. It just wasn’t popular enough to warrant an enormous cost.

Curious Cadet

@Mark Calcagno — SILK STALKINGS May have had a following at the time, but STAR TREK has an ever growing fan base. CBS will never lose money on a DS9 restore since it’s highly likely that future fans will want to watch it, just because it’s Trek. The same goes for VOY. I was never a DS9 fan, but if that’s the only Trek on TV at any given moment, I’ll watch it. But I’m getting to a point where I won’t watch SD at all anymore. My 65” TV just shows every flaw.

DataMat

In a sense DS9 is sort of 1like the Disney equivalent of The Black Cauldron (1985)… it’s got a cult following but the studio views it as something to forget!

kmart

Disney forgets about everything — their home video department is godawful with the quality of what it puts out most of the time. People are snatching up VHS Disneys because the DVDs and blu-rays look so bad in some cases. Hell, I think Anchor Bay wound up putting out THE BLACK HOLE, which while absolutely godawful, has some (not all) very nice effects work, making it for me like EVENT HORIZON, a movie I hate but will watch for the VFX and art direction (in the case of EH, I also like nearly all of the cast, and just wish they and the VFX were in a better film.)

Tiger2

I think saying they are choosing to forget it is a bit strong though. They are still telling new DS9 stories in other media since it went off the air like Star Trek Online, novels and comic books. In fact a new Waypoint comic series is coming out soon and the first issue is a DS9 story with Ezri Dax.

I hear you though, they probably don’t have any major plans to do anything with the show in the near future but one that still airs reruns on TV 25 years later, is on every major streaming site and trends on Netflix isn’t ‘forgotten’ the same way The Black Cauldron is where you would be lucky to find that airing anywhere these days and has never had anymore stories from it since it premiered.

The issue with DS9 is that it clearly makes money and has an audience, just not big enough to justify something as big as a HD restore, especially since I’m guessing majority of new Trek fans probably just streams them. That’s the REAL issue today IMO, if you were an old fan who was use to buying Trek on DVD/Blu Ray chances are you will buy it that way today. But if you just became a fan the last decade or so or became one watching Discovery then most likely you have mostly watched them digitally in the first place and no motivation to buy complete box sets, even if it looks better.

Mark Calcagno

But CBS did lose money on the TNG restore, so it’s almost a certainty that they will lose again on a less popular show.

Afterburn

They lost money in the short term. In the long term it WILL prove profitable, as the remasters of TNG when they arrive exclusively on CBSAA (taking them away from Amazon and Netflix) will prove a big driver of subs for people like us.

Mark Calcagno

But does CBS want to make a long term investment like that on DS9? I wouldn’t take that bet.

Afterburn

I wouldn’t either. But if the costs of remastering come down (and I don’t care what anyone says, developments in technology we can’t foresee right now could make that possible), then there might be value in DS9-HD at some point.

As others have said, the Trek audience is growing, and newcomers are going to want to watch the back catalog. I work in an industry filled with 20-something’s, and a lot of them are discovering 90s Trek for the first time because of Discovery, and enjoying it.

Curious Cadet

@Mark Calcagno — Trek will never lose money. Even NEMESIS has likely recouped it’s losses by now … if CBS doesn’t invest in remastering DS9 and VOY, they definitely lose the ability to continue profiting from it in any meaningful way, and the Trek catalogue shrinks significantly.

Jonathan

Will it be possible to place to final movie the (final) HD recreation of DS9 intro from NeonVisual? https://youtu.be/BACQv5M7F9I

Mike Williams

That video from NeonVisual actually looks AWFUL.

helenofpeel

The HD samples don’t look any sharper as far as I can tell. Wider yes. Sharper, no.

Curious Cadet

@helenofpeel — make sure the YouTube feed is in HD. I’m not sure why these clips are cropped. 16:9 is not the original aspect ratio, and further conflates HD resoltion with 16:9 viewing ratio, which is not the case.

kmart

The clip doesn’t look like HD to me either, even taking the crop into account. I’ve watched that episode within the last six months on DVD, and this should have looked a ton sharper. We’re talking about the stuff that is halfway through the youtube short, when you see the pre-cleanup followed by a clean version, right?

phil123

Is it just me or does the HD really not look that great?

Nebula1701

youtube compression and it isn’t the final product

Mike Williams

That was not from youtube compression. I have tons of stuff on YouTube that looks incredible in HD. That clip was almost certainly an upscale and not from a true HD source.

Jordan

Yeah, not super impressed. I’m sure it looks great, but the only thing I noticed was it’s not 4:3.

helenofpeel

It doesn’t look that great.

Of Bajor

I went to the premiere at Destination Star Trek Birmingham in October. I can assure you all that the HD shots look stunning. The remaster of the ‘Sacrifice of Angels’ battle in particular is just jaw droppingly insane in HD. The whoe documentary is a fantastic piece of work and a credit to Ira and the gang. Far and away the best Star Trek documentary of all.

Jordan

Good to hear!

Mike Williams

I really think that clip was just an upscale, since it’s very unlikely CBS did an HD remaster of just that clip for Ira’s video.

Amulius Victor

I was at the “world premiere” of the DS9 Doc at DST. It’s just YouTube, it does not look anything like what was shown at the premiere – it exceeded my already loft expectations of the remaster. Don’t fuss or worry lol

Cygnus-X1

I’m at the very end of my 4th or 5th run through DS9 now, and this time through I skipped over a lot more episodes than in past run-throughs. Some of the episodes were as strong as ever. Of the 5 Trek TV series, DS9 is the most emotionally evocative for me. Episodes like “Sacrifice of Angels” and “The Siege of AR-558” are just wonderful. The Ziyal death scene is one of the most outstanding moments of Trek TV in my mind. But, for reasons that I haven’t entirely pinned down, many episodes throughout the series have largely lost their appeal after 3 or 4 viewings: being well familiar with the plots of those, it’s rather boring to watch them unfold. There aren’t enough plot twists and/or the thematic concepts are too commonplace or insufficiently impactful. I don’t want to say that they’re banal, because that’s not exactly it. They just need a plot twist or two to keep me interested after a few viewings or more sophisticated development of their thematic concepts. An example that comes to mind is “Convenant,” in which Dukat becomes a cult leader. I really enjoyed this episode the first 2 or 3 of times through, but now I’m too familiar with the story to enjoy it. The episode needs something more than just Dukat being a Jim Jones knockoff. At any rate, if I can draw an analogy to popular music, some artists (The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, for example) made albums that are typically enjoyable and high quality all the way through. And some artists (Duran Duran or Steve Miller Band for example) are better enjoyed by their “Greatest Hits” albums. At this point, I’d put TNG in the former category and DS9 in the latter. Though, again, those DS9 hits are outstanding.

Afterburn

Funny, for me it was the opposite: episodes I had largely felt were forgettable during it’s original run, and even when I got them on DVD, have become a lot more enjoyable since they went up on Netflix a few years ago.

I find TNG more the way you describe DS9, though I still find it very re-watchable. But after dozens of views, they just don’t captivate me anymore and I find myself skipping many episodes.

That said, my nostalgia soft spot still rests with TNG.

Sam

Apparently SD was so primitive it looked like old b&w 8mm footage shot at 18fps.

PaulB

Well, yeah…that’s the joke. Thanks for explaining the obvious.

Sam

That was completely and utterly unnecessary.

PaulB

How so? You pointed out the obvious, so I did too. Did you have a point besides explaining the obvious joke?

Sam

You could have, I don’t know, moved silently on by if you chose to find someone’s comment so peculiar. It wouldn’t be that hard. It’s probably within your cognitive capability.

Matt

If CBS wants trek on year round, use CBSAA as a platform for DS9 and VOY in HD, release the episodes week to week, put a disc set out at the end of each year. Has to be cheaper than new content still

Sam

This has unfortunately been discussed in almost every other TrekMovie talkback, and rebuilding either show for HD shot by shot would still be most likely far too expensive to justify, seeing as how neither series has ever enjoyed the mainstream popularity of TNG. And the TNG Blu-Rays already didn’t sell well enough.

If more people wanted DS9 in HD they could certainly show their support by getting the TNG sets. Although I doubt even a sudden uptick in sales would make that much difference five years too late.

Mike Williams

How do we know the TNG Blu-rays didn’t sell well enough? Who has said this? Where is this reported. In 2012, shortly after the release of Season One, TrekCore.com reported this:

Box Office Data site The-Numbers.com has published some initial sales figures for the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 on Blu-Ray. According to their estimates, the set sold a massive 95,435 copies in the first 5 days after release – and those figures are just for the U.S. market. These figures would seem indicate an initial income of well over $5.5m, a large chunk of the $9m which CBS invested in the first season remastering process.

Curious Cadet

@Sam — the decision has to be made on the evergreen nature of the franchise. Whatever the cost, it will be recouped over the life of the franchise, not immediate profits. CBS has a massive cash cow in the entire catalogue, and sacrificing several hundred episodes from syndication is a far worse business decision than investing now against future sales. History suggests CBS will eventually get around to remastering the entire Trek catalogue.

Afterburn

if CBSAA became the exclusive home to HD versions of DS9, VOY, and TNG, you can bet Trek fans would be be subscribing year round.

Afterburn

Likewise, if they remastered DS9 and VOY they could recoup the money by doing an exclusive syndication deal with ONE network for linear TV rights, and when licenses expire with Amazon/Netflix, keep them exclusively on CBSAA for AVOD/SVOD rights wherever they distribute, and a deal with someone like Netflix for outside their territories.

In today’s climate I bet that back catalog is worth quite a bit on an exclusive deal.

Charles

You know, if CBS All Access released these shows like that I’d happily subscribe for a long time!

PaulB

Matt Wright, I noticed you shut down a thread because two of us were sniping at each other, yet you regularly allow bigotry and sexism and homophobia to go unchecked. Is there a set of guidelines around here to tell us exactly what is allowed and what isn’t it?

It seems that Trekkies being mean to each other is bad but hateful bigotry against minorities, gays, etc. is okay.

Any clarification here? Or can you maybe do something about the hatred and bigotry as well as the extremely minor sniping issues? Seems odd that homophobia and sexism are okay here but sneering at fellow fans is not. Not very Trek-ish.

ML31

Ira, I’d rather wait a few months and get those nice HD clips. It’s not a THAT big a deal. And I do plan to purchase the disc.

P'trick

Perhaps my eyes are deceiving me? However, that footage did not, to me, look at all like it was HiDef. Yes, as a teaser, they cropped it for Widescreen and it does give us fans/supporters a taste of what to look forward to. Am I the only fellow, having watched the 1080p-Clip, who is left wondering if this rather unremarkable, fuzzy-footage was actually remastered at all? And it’d explain why they chose to make fun of the “unremastered” footage by altering it to make it appear like some old film-footage from the 30’s? Am curious what other people may have observed? Happy Holidays, folks!

Sam

I didn’t think it looked that remarkable either. But then I realized my browser’s displaying the thing at… 480p.

Charles

Don’t judge it too harshly, Youtube’s compression does a number on even the best HD or 4K footage. The Blu-ray footage will be great, lightyears ahead of what we had before!

Chuck Abernathy

So, are you guys going to update the site sometime, or shall we wait until you get back from Christmas in Cancun?

Phil

Update: Discovery Season Two starts in a couple of weeks. Trek 14 is still dead, though you’re not likely to hear that here. Apparently fan flick Axanar has been retooled to comply with fan film rules. Stay tuned…

DataMat

Why not chill out and let everyone have a week off with family?
Just saying . :D

Disinvited

DataMat,

Well, one flaw with your reasoning is not everyone and their families involved with Trek from both sides of the camera were/are Christian.

Afterburn

Regardless of religion, everyone is entitled to use this time to take a vacation, whether it’s actors, directors, studio heads, or website administrators.

Heck, website admins can take a week or two off any time of the year, they don’t owe their readers anything.

Disinvited

Afterburn,

Re: “website admins can take a week or two off any time of the year”

Exactly my point, as my understanding is the bulk of the work done here is a labor of love and volunteer.

I believe people who find article production inadequate are encouraged to write articles of their own as this is an action they can take to directly attempt to remedy the situation as opposed to frittering away their typing skills on fantasies of imagined resources being available to finance Cancun vacations fot all the contributors to TrekMovie ink?

Afterburn

No, they were waiting for you to whine like a baby.

CBS and Paramount always say Star Trek is there cash cow ,yet in the end it’s not ,it’s just business.I get it ,all the work to get these clips to HD is costly,but you think CBS would help a little bit.Maybe cut a deal with cost. But nope all business.So it’s clear as much as we think Star Trek is important they don’t. How important is DS9 to me , it’s needs a blu-ray release.

Afterburn

It being their cash cow AND it being a business are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are part of the same thing. Prior to CBSAA they were doing very well with deals for DS9/VOY/TNG on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. In fact, it was the deals they did for those outlets (for all their content, but Trek chief among them) that convinced them to invest in their own platform.

Unfortunately, the ROI on the remastered TNG wasn’t really good enough to justify the remastering of the lesser-watched DS9 and VOY.

I’m certain one day it will happen, but probably not in the immediate near term.

Theoden_of_ODU

It was mentioned a little bit further up in the the comments, but I’d like to reiterate the question (not to you specifically, but to the entire thread), “How do we know the TNG Blu-rays didn’t sell well enough?” These days I hate speculating on virtually anything behind-the-scenes related, largely because with having family in the entertainment business, they’ve educated me on how common apocryphal nonsense/rumors can end up becoming codified as “the truth.” For example, just now I saw a Reddit thread where someone said the TNG re-master “lost money” multiple times in the thread. What got me was that instead of calling out that user, asking for any kind of proof to their claim, the other user just kind of brushed it off. This is in part how this kind of stuff becomes “the truth.” Back in 2012, TrekCore reported on initial sales being pretty good. In fact, based on what I’ve read estimates the first week of sales alone recouped over half of the remastering investment for Season 1. Articles for further season sales seem sparse or non-existent, which doesn’t necessarily point to anything nefarious in particular. Fanfare of the initial few season releases had died down and if you don’t have a writer willing to put in the effort to write something up, it won’t get written. On the flip side, it’s also been a few years and those articles could also have been lost to time. I’m not sure if his numbers are accurate, but Robert Meyer Burnett claimed that it cost about $70,000 to remaster each episode in HD. To put that amount of money in perspective, Discovery costs between $8 and $8.5m per episode. I know, different pots of money, but anyone claiming that TNG didn’t recoup the cost, even on Blu-ray sales… Read more »

slider

No, don’t you get it? Star trek is a cash cow, it’s the fans who spend the money on it not CBS (wink).

R. W. Tompkins

Looks like it was done 16×9, throwing out all of the excuses as to why TNG was not. Didn’t they realize what a full screen HD TNG would have meant? More sales for one thing. It’s as if they didn’t want it to succeed.

slider

This isn’t correct. TNG, Voyager and DS9 were all shot in widescreen but condensed for a 4:3 ratio. If you’re saying what I think you’re saying it’s possible they took the original clips and further chipped off the top and bottom. As for TNG this is a moot point as you’d be able to see camera crew and stuff like that. Just because you can’t in the above clip doesn’t mean it was like that every scene of every episode.

slider

My only worry here is Behr is going to feel the need to get funding for so many clips from the fans that they’ll end up getting the entire series remastered, not CBS. Not blaming Behr because he wouldn’t be put in this situation had CBS not been so close minded.

Numenosium

They should crowdfund an HD remastering of the entire series.