Star Trek TNG in HD, with an interesting workaround

by Paul William Tenny

Enterprise D model created by Industrial <br/>Light and Magic for Star Trek: The Next <br/>Generation. (Source)
Enterprise D model created by Industrial
Light and Magic for Star Trek: The Next
Generation. (Source)

Paramount is remastering Star Trek: The Next Generation for Blu-Ray release sometime later this year. I sincerely hope this will result in higher quality video on Netflix's streaming service. TNG on Netflix looks like worn out VHS with constant color shifts and epic blurriness.

All of that is rather standard fair, except the part where Paramount doesn't have any of TNG's special effects in HD. So they're dumping what you have to figure is some pretty serious cash into recreating every special effect shot (that's not purely optical) anew for the entire series.

All-CGI special effects for space dramas on a television budget were being pioneered by Babylon 5 right around the time that TNG came to an end in 1994. Like Deep Space Nine for many years, TNG used large and expensive models for ships like the Enterprise. Complex camera rigs were created that could do a "fly by" of ships several times, repeating an exact path so that you could do a pass of the model without lights, another pass with a different model with window lights turned on, etc. And things like weapons fire and stars were laid in later.

So I'm wondering how much of that will they be recreating. The "fly by" shots of the ship should have been done on film just like everything else, and so be a source for direct conversion to HD. But nothing else would be. Will Paramount reuse that footage, thereby preserving the real-life look of a model, or will they create a CGI model for every ship in the TNG universe and do it all on a computer?

Guess we'll see.

in Television


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Good points. I'm hopeful that they will treat this remastering in the same way they did the original series (TOS) where they took some creative license and improved the effects to such a point that they look good on the screen but don't get so far away from the original that it looks completely different.
Maybe they will overlay modern CG over the original model footage? That way they could clean up some of the details like windows and stuff, but they could leave the original texture of the surface untouched. Regardless of how they do it, I'm excited to check it out.

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