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(written from a Production point of view)

Digitally remastered television episodes or films are in current understanding (re-)releases with audio and video digitally, or computer-aided, enhanced.

For video this currently means enhancing, or upscaling, to either 720p – usually for non-television display[1] – , or 1080p/i[2] – usually for motion picture productions – high-definition (HD) standards, typically for Blu-ray Disc releases in 2K HD 1080p resolution as far as derivative home video formats are concerned. The 720 and 1080 refer to the horizontal or height resolution (in parlance often abbreviated to "res", or "high-res" in these two cases) lines on a viewing screen, measured in pixels, whereas the "2K" refers to the approximate number of vertical resolution lines, or the width measured in pixels. Anything upward from, and including, 720p is considered HD as opposed to the old television – and their home video derivatives such as VHS and DVDstandard-definition (SD) of 480i (for America) and 576i (for Europe, meaning that non-American video formats were actually of a higher picture quality, though in both cases still considered "low-res"). Typically, video remastering entails the digital scanning of the individual film cells of the original masters in 720p/1080p/2160p resolution, after which, optionally, digital editing is performed in dedicated image manipulating software packages, such as color correcting or repairing damage on the cells.

Visually, it is the special and visual effects (VFX), most notably in science fiction productions such as Star Trek, which are particularly well served with remastering. Even higher HD resolution home media formats are currently under development, 4K HD 2160p resolution in particular, the first three Star Trek titles released as such in 2016 in what was coined the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray home media format. Indicative of the accelerated development of HD is that the very first 8K UHD 4320p resolution (starting to approximate something akin to pseudo-3D) television sets were already marketed by late 2019.

Digital audio enhancement usually involves upgrades from any older sound system or format to DTS standards, which could be either Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio or the even more recent Dolby Atmos format. These formats are at the very least employed for 6 channel (5.1) sound systems, though the newer 8 channel (7.1) norm is steadily gaining ground as of 2016.

As far as Star Trek is concerned, all its remastering projects fall under the auspices of what is currently Paramount Consumer Products.

Early Star Trek: The Original Series remastering[]

While the current understanding of the Star Trek remastering projects concern the digital projects CBS Consumer Products embarked upon in the 2000s, essentially started by predecessor Viacom Consumer Products with the 2001 release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition), its predecessor, Paramount Marketing and Licensing Department, had already embarked upon an early Star Trek: The Original Series "proto-remastering" project in the early 1990s. Called "digitally mastered" (as indicated on the below-mentioned UK VHS box-art, and the "digitally" essentially referring to the computerized editing equipment instead of the films themselves) at the time, new, cleaned-up and color corrected, transfers were analogously (meaning that each individual film cell was separately photographed with a high resolution camera, instead of digitally scanned) produced from the old masters. The operation was especially commissioned for the 1992-1993 Japanese Original Series LaserDisc collection releases, Star Trek - Log 1, Log 2 and Log 3. Picture quality wise, it was the best edition commercially available until the advent of the 2007 TOS-R Season 1 HD DVD version, the earlier DVD versions still making use of the original masters. These Japanese transfers were used twice more, for the lesser known UK 1996-1998 VHS re-release, and the likewise UK 2007-2008 Star Trek: The Original Series - The Collector's Edition DVD/Magazine combo partwork release.

Though not seen by American audiences, the new transfers of the second season episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", proved exceptionally useful three years later when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's tribute episode, "Trials and Tribble-ations", was in production, as studio model maker Gregory Jein, who had to recreate the Deep Space Station K-7 model, explained, "Fortunately, the clarity of detail revealed by the newly-transferred original footage of "The Trouble with Tribbles" proved useful. The art department sent over a drawing that they'd made of the station, Then we made some modifications based on color prints made from the original negative, which we felt were faithful to the original design. And we sort of winged it from there. Then we made molds and cast them, cut the windows out, and put neon inside." (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, p. 42)

Little information is available on this project, as this version was never released on any home video format in America and only on an extremely limited basis in mainland Europe. It was disclosed in 2012 what eventually became of the Japanese master transfers, when it was revealed that stills originating from this particular project were the ones that were included as illustrative backdrops in the 2010 reference book, Star Trek: The Original Series 365. The authors – unaware of the original intent and therefore misguided in their belief – have elaborated, "Most of those wonderful TOS photos that had never been seen before came from a very expensive project that the licensing department conducted many years ago. In order to find new images for the licensees, the department struck new 16-millimeter copies of the TOS masters – which were then carefully cut up, frame by frame, and mounted into slides." [1]

Second early Original Series remastering[]

TOS DVD Volume 1 cover

The first, 17 August 1999, "digitally enhanced and remastered" Original Series DVD release

When Paramount Home Entertainment started its release of the Original Series on DVD in August 1999 as the "bare-bone" two episodes per disc release, it had it proudly stated on the cover art that it was a "digitally enhanced and remastered" edition. Paramount's Project Manager for the DVD release, Ron Smith, stated to the press at the time, "We have dutifully cleaned up the opticals, which have become predictably dirty. And part of the endearing charm of the original series are the cool opticals." However, he also intimated that his team did not use the analog Japanese transfers but rather revisited the old worn-out original 35mm film masters, cleaning and color correcting them up before digitally transferring them. Yet, despite his team's efforts, in the picture quality department their work was still inferior to the work done for the Japanese LaserDisc releases – especially where color vibrancy was concerned – as digital scanning techniques were at that time still somewhat in their infancy.

Nevertheless, a significant improvement was made in sound quality as a new Dolby Digital Surround Sound track was created for the release, and picture quality was markedly improved over the prior home media formats, including the US LaserDisc releases – having made use, unlike the Japanese version, of the original film masters. Smith additionally intimated that it was for this occasion that the original pilot episode, "The Cage", was restored to its full color version. Only a hybrid black and white/color version had hitherto been available. [2] This however, was a "commercial exaggeration" on the part of Smith, as the full coloring of "The Cage" had already been completed for the 1989-1991 (low-res) Betamax/VHS and Laserdisc home media format releases.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director's Edition[]

Air tram station internal, original Air tram station internal
Original footage of the air tram station
Foundation's digitally enhanced version of the same

In 2001, the aforementioned Director's Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released on DVD. While the production did not, strictly speaking, conform to the current understanding of remastering, i.e. the upgrade from SD to HD (as DVD the production was merely meant to be played on television sets and was therefore executed in the SD 480i/576i video format with picture quality enhanced by traditional analog methods instead of digital upgrading [3]), it still was in essence a remastered production as it did receive a new, upgraded soundtrack. Most notably, however, was that many scenes were digitally enhanced and visually changed with the addition of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Striking examples of these were the enhanced air tram station as well as the first and only full view of V'Ger, which was not there in the original version.

Produced under the aegis of Robert Wise Productions, the CGI for this production was provided by VFX house Foundation Imaging and supervised by Daren Dochterman, while the soundtrack was remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 by Chuck Michael under the supervision of Michael Matessino at the production company. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, pp. 52-62)

A remastered HD Blu-ray version of the Director's Edition was reported on 30 April 2013 for release. The announced release date proved to be premature though, as it turned out that Paramount had failed to maintain ownership over the CGI elements that were added to the Director's Edition. Former Foundation VFX Supervisor Adam Lebowitz has reported that all these elements were left on the company servers when they were auctioned off after the company went out of business shortly after having completed the Director's Edition commission, which would mean that the studio had to painstakingly recreate all these elements. [4] Yet, his former Foundation colleague, Robert Bonchune (having also worked on the Director's Edition), strongly implied in 2013 that these elements were still in existence, as some ex-employees had made backups, including Bonchune, of all the Star Trek files on their own computers, and could be made available to the studio if they were so inclined. [5]

Bonchune's supervisor Dochterman had already indicated previously that the digital sequences were produced at a high definition resolution in a remark made in 2009 to DrexFiles(X), "I sure wish we had had the time and resources [note: either for the remastering of the analog film footage, the home video production as the Blu-ray format was not marketed yet, or both] that Warner Brothers had allotted to the Blade Runner redux. That would have been great. And it would be on 1080p Blu-Ray as we speak…" [6](X) The 2007 Blade Runner Ultimate Collector's Edition Dochterman spoke of, was withheld from release until after the introduction of the Blu-ray format the year previously, in the process becoming a standard for such releases. [7]

In 2017, it was one of the co-producers of the Director's Edition, David C. Fein, who came forward to substantiate Bonchune's claim – incidentally having already mentioned it in a 2007 podcast, produced for – by stating it was he who still had all the Director's Edition's original digital effects elements available for remastering to Blu-ray standards. "We have all that we need. Would I like a few more pieces… sure. But we have everything we need," stated Fein, "All of the shots in the film were created with HD in mind so the quality of the models and elements were much higher than the SD renderings. We have everything, and when the time is right, we'll use them. Again, there is no truth that anything is missing." Fein also confirmed that a Blu-ray release was put on the back burner as "Paramount has yet to green light the project. We've had some discussions," adding that "it'll happen, the only question is when are we going to go ahead with it". [8] As of 2019 though, the status of a truly remastered Blu-ray release remains yet unknown, and as a result, only the original theatrical version has seen a remastered HD release to date. Still, preliminary talks were reported to have resumed in July 2019 for a remastered release, albeit for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. [9]

There is a mystery involved with this release however; five days prior to the official DVD release, on 1 November 2001, Paramount Pictures had organized an event in its Paramount Theatre of the Arts, called the "Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director's Edition DVD Premiere Event". Since the SD digital sequences do not hold up on the big screen, as explained below, this implied that the attendees were presented with a higher resolution print. If so, then a HD ready (master) print already exists – further implying that the DVD release actually concerned a downscaled product, the technique still in its infancy at the time – , though its current whereabouts are either unknown, or that the print is unsuitable for other technical reasons as a Blu-ray master.

Star Trek: The Original Series[]


A shot from the revamped intro

On 31 August 2006, CBS Paramount Television announced that, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, Star Trek: The Original Series would return to broadcast syndication for the first time in sixteen years. Beginning with "Balance of Terror", each of the series' 79 episodes were digitally remastered to 1080p HD video, and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 Surround audio standards, [10] with all newly (re-)created visual effects and music. The refurbished episodes were converted from the original film to a high-definition format similar to that used on Star Trek: Enterprise. The opening theme was re-recorded in digital stereo with new vocals by Elin Carlson, and William Shatner's opening monologue was remastered from the original elements. Most notably, though, many of the visual effects were recreated using CGI by CBS Digital. The opening credits sequence was revamped, several matte paintings received a CGI face-lift, and spaceship exteriors including the Romulan Bird-of-Prey and the Klingon battle cruiser were recreated using state-of-the-art digital effects. However, for some reason, the credits at the end of the episode were not remastered and digitally enhanced. The new CGI Enterprise was based on the exact measurements, originally taken by Gary Kerr, of the original model, which is on display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

In creating the newly-conceived visual effects, CBS Digital made use of the Autodesk Maya CGI software. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 49)

Comparison TOS original remastered

Comparison of effect shots. Top: original, bottom: remastered

In an interview with, project supervisor Michael Okuda said, "We're taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original… Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?" Denise Okuda and Dave Rossi were also involved with this relaunch of the original series; Niel Wray is the visual effects supervisor. A Q & A with the production staff was posted by the official website on 6 September 2006, shortly before the site was taken off-line by the franchise. While it was still featured, a video preview and interviews with people involved in the project could be viewed by clicking the link to the left of the page.

Planned to coincide with Star Trek's 40th anniversary, the "new" Star Trek debuted 16 September 2006. See side-by-side comparisons of the new visual effects from the first episode broadcast, "Balance of Terror".

The first few episodes were rushed, as CBS only gave its team "one month to deliver the first two episodes with over 120 new effects shots." Starting with "The Trouble with Tribbles", a new, improved Enterprise model was used. Members of the effects team have commented that they may go back to the earlier episodes and re-render the ship scenes with the new model, [11] [12] though that did not come to fruition.

When TOS cast member Leonard Nimoy heard about these changes in special effects, Nimoy simply responded "Shame on them" for changing the effects, saying that it was "out-of-bounds" for them to do that. However, after viewing a remastered episode, reportedly he was quoted saying, "I'm amazed." [13]

The seasons were to be released in an HD DVD/DVD combination set, with season one released in November 2007. The release of seasons two and three were canceled in February 2008 due to the decline of HD DVDs in comparison to rival format Blu-ray. However, the second season was released on regular DVD on 5 August 2008. [14] all three seasons are available on Blu-ray Disc, as well as through Apple's iTunes Store (along with a "best of" collection for budget-minded fans), with select episodes available on Microsoft's Xbox 360 Video Marketplace. Unlike the HD DVD releases, the Blu-ray editions also include the original versions of each episode, allowing the original special effects and images to be seen in high-definition for the first time and providing viewers who did not wish to view the remastered versions an option.

CBS Digital wrapped up their visual effects work on TOS Remastered just before midnight on 21 April 2008. The last episode they worked on was the show's first pilot, "The Cage". The last shot rendered was of the Enterprise "sailing off into the unknown at the end of the episode." [15]

After the official Star Trek website had been taken off-line, CBS Consumer Products had few to no official lines of communications with the Star Trek fan community left (see main article for particulars), and in an effort to remedy the situation sought out cooperation with Anthony Pascale's news website, in order to keep the community appraised of every aspect of the project, among others by publishing sneak previews and the like, and allowing the blog editors exclusive access to CBS Digital to report on the progress.

Star Trek films[]

The success of the remastered Original Series, as well as the upcoming re-launch of the Star Trek franchise in 2009, encouraged Paramount to push forward with the remastering to 1080p HD video, and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround audio standards of their film properties. [16] The remastered versions of the first ten Star Trek films were released from 2009 to 2010 in both the DVD and Blu-Ray disc formats. According to the box-art of the remastered DVD version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it was this film that has required the most extensive restoration work and was "fully restored in high definition with brilliant picture quality", whereas the remaining nine were just "digitally remastered". The film's director, Nicholas Meyer, has stated that this was due to the fact that the original master print "was in terrible shape". (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (2009 DVD)-audio commentary) Compared to the Original Series and the work needed for The Wrath of Khan notwithstanding, the remastering of the films was a relatively straightforward process, and thus cost-effective, as explained below.

A striking detail was, that when it came to the remastering of The Motion Picture, as one of the last released in 2010, only the original theatrical version could be done so, and not the Director's Edition for the reasons mentioned above. A conceivable rationale for the studio to proceed in this manner was, that re-compositing the available HD CGI elements was deemed too cost-prohibitive when compared to the work needed for the other films. Nevertheless, according to one reviewer, the sound quality was superior to all the others. [17] What this reviewer had overlooked however, was, that the soundtrack had already received its extensive overhaul in 2001 for the Director's Edition, a privilege the other nine films did not enjoy. It is unclear which company has been responsible for the remastering of the first ten films.

On the other hand, the eleventh, 2009 film Star Trek and its two alternate reality sequels did not need any remastering, as they, as the first ones entirely produced digitally, were already shot to the high HD standards required for their respective large screen theatrical releases. Produced in the new 4K UHD standard, some remastering in the form of down-scaling (see below) was required though for the underlying regular DVD and Blu-ray home video formats.

Technical ramifications for the Star Trek remastering projects[]

The remastering projects did involve some technical aspects that had bearings on those originating from the Star Trek franchise, but which, in general, applied to other motion picture productions as well. Some of these technical aspects are explored in some detail below, as far as their effects on the Star Trek remastering projects were concerned, while several of these did steer some decision making processes of CBS Consumer Products, when releasing their remastered Star Trek products lines.

Analog versus digital[]

While analog photography is currently increasingly considered antiquated and obsolete, especially by the younger generations, analog photography still holds, given the current state of technology as of 2015, one huge advantage over digital photography; Due to the underlying physics, analog photography differs immensely from digital photography in that analog images can be (from their negative film cells) enlarged almost ad infinitum, as generations of 20th century cinema goers can attest to, and actually the primary reason why digital scanning for remastering purposes is even possible at all in the first place. Not so with digital images, once originally shot in a predetermined resolution in terms of number of pixels and predetermined frame size, it will indefinitely remain so. While enlarging an analog image will not noticeably result in loss of sharpness (actually the main reason why, as of 2015, so many professional still photographers still ply their trade "old school"), the same can not be said of digital images. When a digital image is enlarged, each single pixel is accordingly enlarged in size, which works out fine up until the point that the Human eye is able to discern each and every individual pixel, a phenomenon known to every Photo-shopper around the world as "pixelation". This is the reason why later episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, or The Motion Picture Director's Edition for that matter – the DVD version that is – originally produced in analog SD standards, can never be shown theatrically – enlarged onto the very big screen, the digitally-rendered VFX scenes would fall apart due to the pixelation phenomenon.

Though it is, due to the underlying physics, impossible to objectively determine the resolution of analog imagery in terms of the later digital resolution standards, serious efforts have been made to do so. Currently, after heated debates among professionals, a sort-of-consensus has been reached that analog imagery struck on the traditional 35mm film is comparable to a 4000p-6000p digital resolution range, while 70mm analog prints (typically for Imax films) were estimated at 18000p. [18]

Downscaling and spatial resolution[]

USS Enterprise, 2266 (remastered) USS Enterprise upgraded CGI model by CBS Digital
Original appearance of CBS' high-rez CGI model of the Enterprise on the left, and its lower-rez, but more crisp for spatial resolution reasons, upgraded version on the right

No matter what the "real" resolution of analog film footage was (being more than ample for any 1080p remastered project – and even for its 4K UHD 2160p successor format for that matter), in more than one way Paramount "lucked out" with the remastering of four of its ten original theatrical features.

While all the analog, live-action footage could be scanned digitally without much further ado, it should be noted that the four Next Generation films, starting with Star Trek Generations, contained an ever-increasing number of digital VFX sequences, culminating in that virtually all exterior VFX sequences of Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek Nemesis were digitally composited. This could have been a problem as far as the digital sequences were concerned, were it not that they were all composited for major theatrical features (i.e. far larger screens), and therefore constructed in a resolution which at the very least approximated the resolution of the rest of the live-action footage, i.e. a resolution far higher than required for any contemporary SD television series or home video format. This meant that when the films were remastered for their respective home video formats, the digital sequences of the four Next Generation films were actually down-scaled, as were the three alternate reality films for that matter.

Digital down-scaling encompasses the processes computer algorithms perform by, given a set frame size, removing pixels of digital footage stills in order to have the remaining ones fit a given frame. Typically, these algorithms remove the more ambiguously-coded pixels, often resulting in far more crisp and more sharply defined images to the Human eye when viewed on the smaller screens, even though they are then, most counter-intuitively, of a lesser resolution. This phenomenon, where reducing the resolution actually enhances the perceived image quality, is called improving the spatial resolution and a principle which states that, simply put, the more pixels there are in a fixed frame dimension, the less a pixel can resolve itself – in layman's terms, becoming more blurred to the Human eye. A similar effect is noticeable when a 1080p or 2160p HD home video format, presently produced with the current dimensions of home screens in the mid-to-large size range in mind – and thus the very reason for the down-scaling of the Star Trek films – , is viewed on smaller sized view screens, even if they are technically capable to play back such formats in said resolutions. In these cases viewers are, again counter-intuitively, better served with 720p versions.[3]

These technological properties made the remastering of the franchise's first ten Star Trek films a relatively cost-effective – meaning the studio did not need to revisit the original digital VFX sequences for reconstruction in higher resolution – and therefore profitable effort in comparison to its very costly previous Original Series project, and its subsequent, even more expensive, Next Generation project. It has concurrently explained why the studio was able to release the remastered films in such quick succession, spanning a time period of merely two years, 2009-2010. It also means that if the new 2160p format becomes the new norm, the procedure can be repeated for the first ten films, though not from the digitally enhanced 1080p versions; the original film elements have to be revisited in that case, as had indeed been done for the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Director's Cut) Blu-ray, though it had been downscaled to the 1080p resolution format for its 2016 Blu-ray home video release. [19] Nonetheless, because of the 4K HD 2160p resolution remastering, the film was able to enjoy a limited theatrical release in its full glory to celebrate the film's 35th anniversary in September 2017 [20], and a subsequent 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray home video format release is currently under advisement. [21]

Incidentally, CBS Digital had four years earlier already stumbled upon the "spatial resolution" effect by accident, when they decided out of cost considerations to cut down on computer rendering time by dialing down the (pixel count) resolution of their highly detailed original CGI Enterprise model. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 49) As explained above however, when enlarging, the original high-rez image becomes much clearer and more crisp due to the spatial resolution phenomenon (this picture is a good example), whereas the down-scaled image falls much sooner prey to the pixelation effect.

Downscaling is also applied for remastered/HD production transfers onto the 720(w)x480(h)[3]/720x576 DVD home video format. Besides technological advances of the format proper, it was the spatial resolution phenomenon that became partially responsible for the perceived image improvement for these releases, such as those for the remastered films, Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise. Spatial resolution also explains the perceived higher picture quality of remastered DVDs in comparison to their standard DVD counterparts originally produced in SD such as those for, again, the films and the Original Series, even though they are technically both of the same resolution. Ironically, it became a contributing factor of the slower consumer adoption of the Blu-ray disc home video format, and one of the primary reasons why as of 2020 DVDs are still concurrently released alongside their Blu-ray counterparts. (see: main article)

Star Trek: The Next Generation[]

TNG film storage

Canisters of film, in storage, from the show's production

After several months of speculation and partial confirmation, on 28 September 2011 (the 24th anniversary of the series premiere), announced that Star Trek: The Next Generation was to be remastered to, again, 1080p HD video, and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 Surround audio standards, for release on Blu-ray Disc and eventual syndication, starting in 2012.

The remastering process required returning to the original film negatives, as all editing and visual effects compositing took place in post-production on the magnetic videotape format back in the day, which not only lacked the required resolution for high-definition, but more importantly, not being a film format, simply can not be scanned digitally for HD remastering, unlike the Original Series project, which was originally edited into the final product on 35mm film masters. As a result, the collection of original Next Generation footage, totaling over 25,000 reels, was painstakingly re-edited exactly as had been done for the original airing, essentially doing the post-production process all over again in its entirety, which, in the process, also explained why the remastering project turned out to be so costly. Visual effects were entirely re-composited from the original constituent film elements, and not up-converted from the derivative videotape end products as explained. Compared to its Original Series predecessor, this had, excepting the construction of the new digital visual effects, made the Original Series project actually the more straightforward one. Audio is the form of 7.1 DTS Master Audio.

However, there was one happy side effect; because the editing process had to be done all over again, it enabled some episodes to receive the "Director's Cut" treatment, by reinserting scenes that were originally cut, trimmed or deleted for their original airings, provided the original film elements were still available for remastering. Unfortunately, the practice was abandoned after the second season of the remastered project. Aside for organizational reasons, there were in some cases also practical reasons for abandoning the practice; some of the deleted scenes only still existed on so-called taped "workprints", pre-final edited versions of episodes made for evaluation purposes by producers. Most of these workprint tapes were habitually not archived at Paramount and ended afterwards up in the possession of collectors such as Cyril Paciullo, having acquired them at the various Star Trek auctions. Paciullo has made his collection available to CBS for inclusion on the fourth season release of the project, but being magnetic tapes, even though some digital cleaning up could be performed, true remastering remained outside the realm of possibility as explained. For integrity reasons, the conscious decision was made to include such deleted scenes as separate special features on the releases, as reinserting them would constitute a too large a break in quality with the rest of the remastered footage.

USS Enterprise-D, 2364 (original footage) USS Enterprise-D, 2364
The Enterprise as it appeared in the original video tape footage on the left, and as it ultimately did in the remastered version on the right

As with the remastering of The Original Series, Denise and Michael Okuda served as consultants. Unlike its predecessor, none of the visual effects were slated for replacement with newly conceived CGI, or as Project Consultant Mike Okuda explained it, "We love the approach that CBS took for this project. We take the original film elements and put them together in a new way. The material still has all the details and they are beautiful. And the new visual effects are really the old visual effects but a lot more beautiful than you have ever seen them." [22] However, some use of CGI was made. This was restricted to correcting continuity details, or for replacing original elements that were either lost, such as in the case of the Crystalline Entity, or technically impossible to upgrade. The most notable examples of the latter case were the replacements of long shots of planets, which were originally executed as matte paintings, by newly created CGI effects, though Digital Artist Max Gabl took care they approximated their original appearance. Gabl stated, "I think most of them are total recreations. Because the planets we're looking at from the original [TNG] series are very low-res and blurry. There's no way to put more detail into those, so it's basically all recreation. Mike Okuda tells us exactly what we need in there, and it's just back and forth – playing it and seeing what the details are going to look like and then I put them in, compare with the old, [Mike will] look at it, I'll make the changes and that's how it goes." [23]

CBS Digital was again appointed lead company in the remastering project, as well as being made responsible for the creation of the replacement CGI effects. [24] Contrary to The Original Series remastering project, CBS Digital had by this time switched over to the LightWave 3D software (as used by Foundation Imaging for the earlier Director's Edition of The Motion Picture) for the recreation of missing elements in CGI. In a similar fashion as they had done for the Original Series remastering project, CBS Consumer Products again reached out to the Star Trek fan community, this time by giving access to the project to the administrators of the TrekCore news website. It was TrekCore's Adam Walker in particular, who was given access to production staffers and actors alike for conducting in-depth interviews that were published on the blog. Cooperating with the blog was beneficial for CBS as well, as it was through TrekCore that Paciullo's above mentioned workprints became available to them. [25] TrekCore is cooperating with another blog, Ex Astris Scientia, where MA admin Jörg broke down each episode for the differences and occasionally received input from production staffers to explain detail issues. [26]

The first release for high-definition Star Trek: The Next Generation was a Blu-ray sampler disc, Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level, released on 31 January 2012, [27] and the full series Blu-ray release followed suit. The TNG Season 1 Blu-ray was released on 24 July 2012, Season 2 on 4 December 2012, Season 3 on 29 April 2013, Season 4 on 29 July 2013, Season 5 on 18 November 2013, Season 6 on 18 June 2014, and finally, Season 7 on 2 December 2014.

USS Enterprise-D at Qualor II USS Enterprise-D at Qualor II, remastered
The physical four-foot Enterprise studio model as it appeared in its original appearance on the left, replaced for its remastered counterpart by a digital version in its first appearance in TNG-R: "Unification I"

Highly anticipated, the first season release was well received and did very well in initial sales, selling 95,435 copies in the first week after release in the US alone, which was expected by the franchise to earn an initial US$5.5 million in domestic sales alone, putting it well on its way to cover the US$9 million the first season remastering had cost. [28] By then, CBS had already decided to speed up the release schedule for the remastered series. For CBS to be able to do so, they had to sub-contract, considering the amount of work the remastering entailed, other companies to do the work on a season alternating basis. Independent company HTV-Illuminate was awarded the commission for the upgrade of the second season. However, their work was less well received, as many considered their efforts sub-par to that of CBS Digital. [29] Though not having confirmed if this was in any way related, CBS has made the decision to go with another effects house, Modern VideoFilm, for the remastering of season four, while simultaneously keeping a tighter rein over the work [30], aside from doing the two-part episodes "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Redemption" themselves. While the work of Modern VideoFilm was far more favorably received [31], the services of the company were not retained for the sixth season, the remastering of which, like the seventh one, entirely performed by CBS Digital themselves, the workload on the company due to the tight release schedule notwithstanding. [32]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine[]

The Way of the Warrior scene, standard definition The Way of the Warrior scene, high definition
Standard definition frame grab of Deep Space 9 (left) compared to an enlarged, 1080p HD version (right)

Although there have been no officially announced plans to remaster Deep Space Nine (or Voyager), the documentary What We Left Behind has over 20 minutes of remastered footage from DS9, including some special effects shots, spanning all seven seasons, which involved scanning 400 reels of 35mm film. The original film reels had to be located, brought out of storage, scanned, and then color corrected and generally cleaned up of any blemishes.

Documentaries and specials[]


  1. The 720 resolution format is not used for any of the main feature presentations included on physical home video format releases, where 1080 had been the norm from the moment the Blu-ray disc was introduced. It is occasionally utilized though for newly-produced accompanying special features – older such specials ported over from prior SD formats are rarely, if at all, remastered to HD standards – when physical disc space and/or cost considerations are an issue. At the time of its introduction it was used as an intermediate/preliminary HD format by the producers of viewing screens, both television sets and computer monitors, and not considered as "Full HD" by them. Television set producers in particular marketed their 720 resolution products as "HD Ready" (meaning they – contrary to the classic SD television sets – were technically able to display 1080 productions, though downscaled to the 720 resolution), instead as "Full HD" which they reserved for their 1080p products. Actually, very few small-sized television sets are produced by manufacturers as Full HD products as the "spatial resolution" phenomenon would render such a product void. Their more recent higher resolution products are marketed as "Ultra HD", reserved for the largest-sized television sets, likewise for spatial resolution reasons.
    However, due to the usually smaller file sizes, the 720 resolution format remains a popular choice for both individuals and companies to upload their productions onto internet and social media sites such as, and most notably, YouTube or Facebook Live.
  2. Contrary to what one might assume, the letter "p" after the pixel count does not stand for "pixel", but rather for the technical way a watched device refreshes its viewing screen. "P"rogressive scanning is the protocol in which a watched device refreshes its horizontal resolution lines sequentially, whereas the letter "i", also utilized for the earlier 1080 productions, stands for "i"nterlaced scanning in which first the odd resolution lines are refreshed, and then the even lines. This incidentally, was also part of the technical reasons why the early generations of Blu-rays (the "1080i" versions) still exhibited the differences in run times for those regions that employed the NTSC television format, and those that employed the PAL/SECAM format (see Video releases). The interlacing protocol had been the standard for television sets in the "low-res"/low-frequency era, and has become obsolete, mainly because more modern television sets have a higher refresh rate.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The downscaled HD 480p format is a commonly used format for display on the small screens of smartphones, whereas the larger-screen computer tablets, such as the iPads, usually make do with the 720p format – as do most small-screen television sets incidentally, most notably the so-called "HD Ready" television sets. Note that it is the devices themselves that do the downscaling when accessing the HD files.

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