Since the first airing of Trek Remastered many have raised the question of CBS possibly being ‘too faithful’ to the original effect shots. ST:TMP Director’s Edition Visual Effects Supervisor Daren Dochterman, who reviewed Balance of Terror Remastered for TrekMovie.com, takes a different view on ‘faithfulness’. Dochterman blogs today: I don’t think it’s a bad idea to be slavishly copying the original 60s visual effects. I just think it should be done more accurately. To demonstrate this he has created what he considers a more accurate but still faithful version of the proximity phaser shot. click to launch QT video of Dochterman’s Proximity Phaser Shot (see below for CBS’s version and the original version)
Trek on TV
I first started working on 3D models of the USS Enterprise in the early 90s when I was studying computer-aided design. I got hooked on the idea of updating those beloved but antiquated special effects using modern computer technology and I have continued to pursue it on my own ever since. Given my interest in updating the look of the show, you might think that I would be ecstatic at this development and I am for the most part, but I still haven’t decided exactly what to think about certain aspects of it. Somewhat to my own surprise, I have come to realize that my own unofficial tinkering and that of other much more accomplished 3D artists like Darren Dochterman is an altogether different thing than an official production by CBS. Theirs is the definitive version, after all, and will be remembered as such for good or ill. From what I’ve seen so far, the transfer to HD was a definite improvement even when viewed as an SD broadcast, but I daresay the replacement of the original effects shots is going to generate far more controversy, not only among purists but also among those who might have wished for something even more radical.
Today TrekMovie.com ran our first review of Trek Remastered from Daren Dochterman and it was decidedly mixed, summing the first episode up as a missed opportunity. More reviews are coming in and it appears Daren is not alone. On one hand, the transfers of the original episodes look absolutely gorgeous. The vibrant color, the fine detail, the light texture of the print grain… it’s just exceptional. The new HD transfers offer really a great looking image. On the other hand, the new CG effects aren’t nearly what I’d hoped they’d be. – Bill Hunt, Digital Bits A few of the FX seemed appropriately organic, while others screamed out tacky CGI that didn’t integrate with either the feel of the show, or other newly rendered effects…. all in all, a mixed bag thus far. – Merrick of Aint It Cool News
Because Trek Remastered is syndicated the airtimes are based on the local broadcaster, with the show often being aired in the wee hours of the morning. Some stations are taking a different tack and Chicago’s WWME is a perfect example. Up until recently Star Trek Enterprise showed at 11 am on WCIU in Chicago, the nation’s third largest media market. When Star Trek Remastered was announced Weigel Broadcasting, who had the conract for Enteprise, took it as an opportunity. They decided to move the show to 6pm Saturdays and put it on WWME (also known as ‘MeTV‘) with a rerun on the following Sunday night at 11 pm. "It is a much better time and a pefect fit for MeTV," says Sean Long Program Director for Weigel. MeTV almost exclusively shows reruns of classic TV shows and starting next week Trek will be preceeded by the classic scifi show Lost in Space. "We are really excited about the the show and especially the new effects," said Long. They were so excited about new Trek they issued a press release and have been heavily promoting the show (see previous story). "We expect better ratings for the show in its new slot," said Long. WWME are already happy with the results telling TrekMovie.com that their overnight ratings showing a 550% improvement for the timeslot (previously airing back to back episodes of Batman). "Enterprise never really found its audience, but the classic show is for everybody," said Long. WWME plan on continuing to promote the show and said they would even be interested in showing Trek in its uncut form if CBS made that available.
I’m torn. Torn between my reaction to the IDEA of this project and the final realization of it. Also, I’m torn between knowing the dedication and talent that the people responsible for this obviously have, and my ho-hum reaction to the final product. Bottom line… Star Trek Remastered is ok. But it is mostly a wasted opportunity. Why just ok? I don’t know… honestly. After one episode, all I can think is that I hope it gets better… because right now, it isn’t justifying its existence. Obviously, the new HD transfer is lovely… I just wish it were being broadcast that way. The original film elements look excellent. The effects seem flat. I guess having those transfers paid for is reason enough to do this project, since theoretically all the new transfers will be made available in the future in their original form. But frankly, the new additions aren’t up to snuff just yet.
On Thursday, William Shatner breezed into Richmond BC for an event so far off the radar it didn’t appear on his website’s official schedule. Shatner was in BC to host the first ever Canadian Awards for the Electronic Arts and Animation. Prior to the show there was a "Champagne Reception" and it was here that Shatner fielded all manner of Trek related questions. The press gaggle was on him like an EF Hutton commercial peppering with questions, however Shatner did try to stay on message about Canadian animation. As a result, many of his replies to Trek questions were brief and often showed his trademark sarcastic wit. On how he he celebrated the 40th anniversary of Trek Shatner quipped, that he and "George Takei spent some time alone together but I’d rather not go into details."When asked by one reporter about his years as Capt. Kirk, he said: "I’m all done talking about that stuff." He did say that he thought that the role of Captain Kirk should be played by somebody very handsome, "just like in the original series," being careful not to endorse Matt Damon when the interviewer mentioned his name. When asked about JJ Abrams, he quipped in reply, "JJ Abrams? Who’s he?..is he an actor" — still apparently stinging from the"odourous gas" comments earlier in the week and trying to dodge any further controversy. When asked if he was involved in the production of Star Trek XI he replied "I haven’t been asked for input on the new movie".
Here are some screenshots from my local digital TV carrier of Trek Enhanced. Remember that these aren’t HD resolution, as CBS Paramount isn’t sending HD feeds yet. Some screenshots from the DVD of Balance of Terror are provided for for comparison. Notice in the live action shots that there is better contrast and more detail in the faces, even in the standard definition version, you can certainly tell that it comes from a remastered high definition source. Click "More" to see them all!
Don’t forget boys and girls…today is the day (for many of you) to see the first episode of the remastered Star Trek The Original Series: ‘Balance of Terror’. Our stations & showtimes list has been updated again. Showtimes vary from this morning to Monday morning, and if you dont find your showtime…check local listings and then let us know! Some stations will also air ‘Miri’ at a special time this weekend, but if your local does not it will repeate it repeats later in the year. You can check the full list of episdoes air dates here. TrekMovie.com will have reviews of both ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘Miri’ hopefully by Monday. StarTrek.com has put up a brief promo vid for Balance of Terror (click to launch player) What did you think of Trek Remastered?if you have seen Balance or Miri, feel free to share your thoughts with fellow TrekMovie readers (just make a comment to this article)
Today the folks at williamshatner.com sent out an email special announcement: "SPECIAL NEWS EDITION: William Shatner on the Star Trek Movie." William Shatner has released a statement on the new Star Trek MovieBill has posted a short comment on the Star Trek movie on his website that we feel is important enough to send out an additional bulletin this week…. What was the big deal? It turns out it is just the rather oddly worded ‘gas’ comment from his forums which was reported here yesterday. For some reason Shatner and/or his people feel this is so important that every knows his vews on ‘the gas coming from Abrams.’ It does seem a bit strange after weeks of Shatner talking up JJ Abrams every time he was interviewed or appeared at a convention that he feels this comment must get out to everyone.
The Akron Beacon Journal spoke to Leonard Nimoy yesterday mostly about is photography, but he dropped a couple of Trek bombshells on the way. On whether or not (if asked) he would reprise his role as Spock in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek XI he said he would be willing "if I thought they had a project of merit". One would also imagine that (as Nimoy and Shatner have recenlty joked about) Abrams would also have to ‘meet his price’. But the Beacon reports he wasn’t so optimistic on Trek Remastered: …he also worried about a newly enhanced version of the original series…Nimoy, who has not seen the new version, said at first that he thought the changes were simply sprucing up the colors and clarity of the show, and that was fine. Told the new version also had computer-updated images of the starships and other new details, he said, “Shame on them.”
In recent weeks William Shatner has been quite chatty about Star Trek XI and producer JJ Abrams. 10 days ago in Toronto he said he thought Abrams would revive the franchise and spoke about how Abrams wanted to talk to both he and Leonard Nimoy. Then last weekend in Chicago he told a convention audience he had indeed spoken to Abrams last Friday and was planning on meeting him this week. He repeated hints that he may be involved in Star Trek XI to another audience in Sacramento on Sunday. Just this Tuesday he posted the following on the front page of his offical website On Star Trek’s 40th: Forty years of age, as far as I’m concerned, is still a child. STAR TREK is in its infancy-wait until We Really Get Going.- My Best, Bill ‘we really get going’…is Shatner including himself in that future? But early this morning in his chat forums there is the following reply to queries about Abrams:
CBS have released their full list of 39 episodes for season 1 of Trek Remastered. The list has been been integrated into the TOS Remastered Episode Guide on this site. You will note an empty space next to each episode for ‘review’, starting next week there will be a full review by an industry expert only here on TrekMovie.com. Before year’s end we will see remastered versions of many fan favorites like ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’, ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’, ‘Space Seed’, ‘Trouble With Tribbles’, ‘Mirror Mirror’ and the 2 parter ‘The Menagerie’ In addition CBS have updated their Stations list , unfortunately the CBS list does not have showtimes. The TrekMovie.com stations & showtimes list is now half complete. If you don’t see a showtime for your station then please do us (and your fellow citizens) a favor and look it up and send it in…we really appreciate all the help of those who have provided showtimes in their cities.
When word of Star Trek Remastered hit the web last week, very often discussion mented the name Daren Dochterman. It was a reasonable to speculate that Dochterman was inovled in the new project since he was the digital effects supervisor for ‘Director’s Edition’ of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and had recently launced TrekEnhanced a site dedicated to the notion of adding CGI effects to the original series. The speculation of his involvement was so rampant that after the official announcement from CBS, Dochterman issued an official statement to tell fans that although he had pitched, he wasn’t involved. TrekMovie.com decided to give Daren a ring and talk to him about his history with Trek and the new Trek Remastered project.
TrekBBS friend Sean brings TrekMovie this new con report: Nimoy and Shatner Look Back, Express Hope for the Future Two legends, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, shared the stage on Sunday to celebrate Star Trek’s 40th Anniversary at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Sacramento, California. As usual, they didn’t disappoint the sold out audience gathered to hear them share their memories of the franchise. Nimoy appeared first, looking fit and happy. He shared with the audience that he had “been contacted” by JJ Abrams, director of Star Trek XI. He did not go into anymore detail, except to express positive impressions of Abrams and hope for the film. One audience member asked him if the movie was supposed to be about a young Spock, would Nimoy consider an offer to play Sarek? After a brief pause, Nimoy said “Someone get Abrams on the phone right away!” Nimoy went on to say in all seriousness, that he was retired from the movie business, preferring to focus on his photography and spending time with his family. When it came time for Shatner’s appearance, he began with the statement that, although there was no Star Trek right now, “Something is in the wind. Something exciting.” He was referring obviously to the new movie, and also had praise for Abrams. “He seems to be a bright and talented young man.” Shatner said he did not know whether or not he would be asked to appear in the film, but did not rule out an appearance.
Creation Chicago Star Trek 40th Anniversary Convention: Sept 8th: Shatner & NimoyThe hall was filled to capacity to see Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Nimoy took the stage first and reminisced about for about 20 minutes, taking time to discuss the origin of his book ‘I am Not Spock’. Then Shatner came on and in his usual energetic way, shared memories of Star Trek, and going on to volunteer several interesting discussions about Star Trek XI. Shatner mentioned that he had spoken with JJ Abrams just one day earlier. [Editor’s note, TrekMovie.com reported last week that Shatner and Nimoy said they were expecting calls from Star Trek XI producer Abrams] Shatner went on to say that he and Abrams will be meeting some time this week. He talked very positively about Abrams, believing that he will be able to create a great version of Star Trek. He also jokingly discussed how very young Abrams is. Shatner’s enthusiastic comments certainly connoted that Kirk and Spock are characters for the film, and that there is a good possibility of Shatner and Nimoy reprising their roles for the film. Nimoy also seemed to be amenable to the film and Abrams, but said he had not yet spoken to Abrams directly. Here are a couple examples of Shatner’s hints: "On the horizon there are good things for Star Trek and hopefully my involvement" "the magic of Star Trek is in its origins and that is coming back."
One area that hs been the source of much discussion regarding Star Trek Remastered has been the issue of it’s availability in true HD. The original press releases was not entirely clear and at one point CBS did claim that ‘only a handful’ of stations would be getting Trek in HD. However, when pressed on the issue during last week’s conference call, CBS downgraded ‘handful’ to ‘none’. Trek Remastered producer Dave Rossi stated “Our understanding is the major affiliates don’t have the storage capacity to do anything but live broadcast, so the choice has been made that we’re going to air them in their standard definition" TrekMovie.com has spoken to some Trek Remastered affiliates who say they are fully capable and want the show in HD. CBS acknowledged this in an email to TrekMovie.com, but claimed that these affiliates are only a small minority. CBS did tell us that they would start sending out the HD version ‘once enough stations have upgraded,’ but weren’t specific on what constitutes ‘enough stations’. Now TVWeek have picked up on this issue: But some station owners, who have spent millions to upgrade to high definition, said the "Trek" team’s argument is not, as a certain Vulcan officer would say, logical. "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" are going to be syndicated (by CBS) in HD starting next week, with about 50 upgraded stations on board. And Bill Carroll, VP director of programming at Katz Television Group, said stations want "Star Trek" in an HD format." Stations are looking for as many HD opportunities as they can, "Mr.Carroll said. "You don’t make these kind of investments if you don’t believe there’s an emerging audience."
It would seem that the line outside Star Trek XI honcho JJ Abrams door gets longer every day. First up is Brent Spiner (TNG’s Data) who appears pessimistic about his future in the franchise, telling fans in a GMTV chat “I liked (Star Trek) Nemesis too. I don’t think you’ll see the Next Generation cast in another film; though, I hope I am wrong.” Like many other Trek fans, JJ Abrams has stated that he never bothered to see the latest Trek film (Star Trek Nemesis), which has a story co-written by Spiner and the dubious distinction of being the only Trek film to lose money. In a reply to a question about reprising his Nemesis character ‘B4’, the actor lamented "I would enjoy playing him if I ever had the opportunitybut I think that’s doubtful." So perhaps an ‘A Search for Data’ isn’t in his future, but it appears he hasn’t given up hope of being in Star Trek XI. When asked if he would like to play yet another ‘Soong ancestor’ he replied: "I’d be happy to. Let’s start a letter writing campaign. Address them to J. J. Abrams care of Paramount Pictures." While Spiner is thinking of ways to get into Star Trek XI, it appears that Leonard Nimoy and WIlliam Shatner are already counting their money. Nimoy and Shatner have been talking quite a bit about Abrams Star Trek XI lately, Nimoy even revealed he has a ‘casting approval contract’. TrekMovie.com confirmed that both Shatner and Nimoy are signed up to new contracts for the film, but it is still unclear as to their nature. AP interviewed the original Kirk and Spock and Nimoy told them that he thinks JJ Abrams is "a very talented man, which is high praise indeed coming from the director of highest grossing Trek film (Star Trek IV). Nimoy is eager to hear from Abrams telling AP "I think he should get in touch with us right away," to which Shatner added, "And pay our price." Nimoy agreed saying "That would make us happy, to be helpful."
In their recent press call, CBS said they would give Star Trek Remastered a promotional push. Well that push has started. At a number of Con this weekend (more on that soon), CBS showed a new trailer that they have also put up on YouTube. UPDATE: TrekMovie.com now has a higher res version available as a download …and stations across the country are also starting to show promos…here are a couple from WWME (Chicago)
As mentioned here earlier, CBS was planning on putting more behind the scenes stuff up on YouTube…the two short vids up so far are taken from the same source as the vid put up on StarTrek.com, but some is new
As mentioned in a previous article, the Emmy Award winning team at EdenFX love Star Trek. Although CBS decided to go in-house for Star Trek Remastered, the team are still inspired to play with their Enterprise models. Eden sent over some of their ‘fun shots’ as a 40th birthday present for their fellow Trekkies…try not to drool. NOTE: These are shots being done independently of CBS and Star Trek Remastered. (click on the pics to see them full sized)
The first set of showtimes is up on the TOS Remastered Station List, which is part of the TrekMovie.com TOS Remastered Subsite.The list has full list of TOS Remastered stations and a partial list of showtimes. Note that stations that list a ‘yes’ in the ‘Digital?’ column are confirmed to run a separate simulcast channel on digital cable and/or satellite. The showtimes page will be updated regularly and is based on user submissions here and on TrekBBS, so if you want to help with corrections and/or additions please send send them in. The subsite has also been updated with the latest info sent out by CBS this week. Editor’s Note: TrekMovie would like to welcome Cameron Martin to the family, he will be updating the subsite and contributing more in the future
CNN have put up an article including 3 video clips of an interview with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. It appears the interview was done a few weeks ago at the time of the TV Land Launch. One of the questions was about younger audiences accepting the original effects, to which Shatner said that ST audiences “ignore the primitive effects” and Nimoy quipped “the audience is in it for the stories and we had good stories.” Ironically, just yesterday the President of CBS Paramount Television said that it was ‘imperative’ to update the ‘primitive effects’ for the younger audiences. For the most part it seemed hard for the interviewer to get a straight answer out of the pair, but the subject of Star Trek XI did come up. When asked if Paramount should just ‘declare victory’ and stop making new Star Trek, the actors mocked the question saying sarcastically “so you want Paramount to say we’ve made enough money?”. On the notion of Paramount recasting their characters, Nimoy said “I think they should” and again Shatner responded with a joke saying “I on the other hand, resent it totally.” When asked specifically about Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams, Nimoy commented “he is very talented,” going on to say “We will help anyway we can.” Shatner added “as long as they can meet Leonard’s price.” Again it is worth noting that Shatner and Nimoy continue to talk up Trek XI and take it as a given that their original characters will be recast. They also had some good anecdotes about the animated series and even John Wayne. Check out CNN for the article, partial transcript and links to video. .
This morning CBS Paramount held a telephone press conference with Star Trek Remastered producers David Rossi, Mike Okuda and CBS Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski. Although the call covered a number of issues, the CBS team wanted it to be clear that Star Trek Remastered was about improving quality and not about changes to the narrative of Star Trek. “We are not changing the story,” said Okuda “We are passionate about Star Trek and are just enhancing the experience”. Nogawksi discussed their reasoning behind the project saying that with a new generation being brought up with HDTV it was ‘imperative’ that they update the classic series. Mike Okuda said that like Rossi he was initially reluctant, but after he was assured that CBS wanted to preserve the shows original intent he became very enthusiastic. Okuda and Rossi went into detail on how every new CGI shot will mimic the original choices made the original editors and director, right down to the placement of stars. “We think of the original show like a period piece,” said Okuda. The producers said that they have been checking out fan response on various Trek boards and felt that their respectful approach has gone over well.
As with anything regarding Trek, news of the newly remastered Star Trek: The Original Series with new CGI effects has sparked much debate amongst Trekkies, pitting enhancement advocates against Trek ‘purists’. Today on G4’s Attack of the Show, Star Trek Remastered producer David Rossi debated the project with Geek magazine editor (and contributor to the new ‘Star Trek Constellations‘ book) Jeff Bond. Rossi began by saying that he considers himself a ‘purist’ and would have been against the project years ago, but after seeing how younger audiences ‘snicker’ at the old effects he feels the show needs a facelift. “There is no reason why a ten year old shouldn’t be able to to sit down and get immersed into the show and realize that Captain Kirk and the crew and the Enterprise are kick ass,” argued Rossi.
It would appear the answers to questions about the future of Star Trek Enterprise in syndication and where one can find the newly remasted Original Series are related. The Trek Movie Report has confirmed what many have suspected, CBS Paramount Television will no longer send Enterprise episodes to stations currently running the show. Staring Sept 16th CBS will begin providing remastered Star Trek The Original Series episodes. Star Trek Enteprise began it’s life in syndication in September of 2005, 4 months after the end of it’s fourth and final season on UPN. In it’s first year CBS Paramount ran 26 episodes, the last of which ‘Regeneration’ will air this upcoming weekend. CBS Paramount will be sending out 35-40 episodes of the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series in each of the next two years allowing them to run through the entire series by the end of the original 3 year syndication deals. Stations that were airing Enterprise were informed of the coming change over the summer. Although it is leaving broadcast syndication, fans of Star Trek Enterprise will be able to find the show on both HDNet and SciFi channel staring this fall. And of course all 4 seasons are availble on DVD.
I’ve got a few con reports from today’s Toronto Fan Expo regarding Abrams, Nimoy and Shatner. At the con, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner stated that their representitives have been contacted by the office of Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams. Apparently JJ wants to to talk and has requested their home numbers. Nimoy said he gave his out and is awaiting JJ’s call. Shatner, who had brought the subject of Abrams up, joked that he wasn’t ready to talk to the man who was ‘going to revive the franchise’. Shatner in recent weeks has made many glowing comments about Abrams and about wanting to be in Trek XI…we suspect he will take Abrams call.UPDATE: Video from inside the room from John at the MovieBlog
Since breaking the story on Star Trek going HD, TrekMovie.com has been trying to get more and more updates to keep answering the questions coming from the fans. One burning question was about the ratio, will it be formatted for HD TVs in 16:9, or as originally formatted in a 4:3 ratio, or both. Many thought that after seeing the Eden test it might be in 16:9 widescreen, but the official CBS photo is in 4:3. Now we have that info and some more directly from CBS Paramount: Ratio: 4:3 (no letterboxing on regular TVs, ‘windowboxing’ on HDTVs) Countries: USA only Episodes/yr: 40 (one new episode per week, with some repeats) First Episodes: “Balance of Terror”, “Miri”, “The Devil in the Dark”, and “The Naked Time” Station List: TBA (only ‘handful’ will broadcast in HD) Runtime: TBA (not original 51 minutes, will be edited down for commercials) New TOS In HD Section There is a new “TOS In HD” page which will have all the details on the new project, it will be updated regularly.
Four days ago we reported Leonard Nimoy had told the Toronto Star ” I do, by contract, have the right to approve the casting” (for a recasted Spock). Well this bombshell ran around the internet and raised 4 key questions: Is this true? Does it apply to Shatner too? Is this an old contract? What power does he (do they) really have? Yes/Yes/No/Some According to a Paramount source it is indeed true: “I can tell you what Nimoy said is accurate, and it applies to Shatner too”. The source also confirmed that no other Trek actor (including ones no longer alive) has the same deal, just Nimoy and Shatner. For the third question, a reasonable assumption would be that these must be old contracts from their heyday in the 80s or maybe during the run-up to Star Trek VI (the last time Paramount considered recasting Kirk and Spock). As it turns out, according to the source, the contracts are brand spanking new and related specifically to Star Trek XI. Which begs the obvious question…why on earth would Paramount and JJ Abrams go out of their way to hand over casting veto power to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy?
One company that vied for the CGI effects work on the new HDTV Trek project was EdenFX. The L.A.-based digital effects house has a long relationship Paramount and Star Trek dating back to the 90s. The team has racked up a couple dozen Emmy’s for their Trek work, most recently in 2004 for Star Trek: Enterprise. Last year when Eden created a digital version of a ship from Kirk’s era for the ‘In A Mirror Darkly’ arc, fans got a taste of what the classic Trek might look like with state-of-the-art visual effects on HDTV . When word of a new HD Star Trek: The Original Series project started going around town, EdenFX was on the scene immediately. The company quickly put together a bid including test footage (see below). In the end CBS decided to do the initial CGI work in-house. However, EdenFX owner John Gross is still optimistic they can be part of HDTV Trek as the project goes along. CBS Paramount has committed to deliver ‘new’ episodes on a weekly basis, so it sounds like there is a lot of work to do over the next two years. EdenFX Test video (QuickTime – opens new window)
You heard it here first CBS Paramount are now confirming that Star Trek: The Original Series is coming to a HDTV near you, a story first broke by the Trek Movie Report earlier this week. TV Guide has the details, but they are pretty much what has been reported here: TOS remastered for HDTV Syndication No DVDs New CGI effects for space shots and static paintings Static paintings will add some new animation and details Will ‘honor original’, but fixes some ‘goofs’ Original title music re-recorded Starts Sept 16th First episode “Balance of Terror” One episode per week (out of order) over next two years