Monday, April 27, 2009

The Original Star Trek Series with new graphics added

The Fortean  Times has a Star Trek thing going on, and David Sutton has this review of the re-working of the original series for DVD:
A project that got underway back in 2006 for Star Trek’s 40th anniversary, Star Trek Remastered was an attempt to make a 40-year-old TV show sparkle for the dawning High Definition age. It involved a complete digital overhaul of the original camera negatives (which were, fortunately, in good shape) in which every shot was been cleaned up and rendered sufficiently pristine to withstand the scrutiny of the next generation (excuse the pun) 1080p resolution HD televisions.

Even on DVD, the improved picture quality is noticeable: those fantastic, primary coloured uniforms simply leap off the screen with a new depth and vibrancy, as do the weirdly-hued lighting schemes and sets. Watched in HD, the incredibly detailed textures of the costumes (mmm… velour) and the subtle effects of Shatner’s eye shadow become equally stunning.

The project, however, didn’t stop at simply remastering the original film elements; more controversially, it extended to redoing all of the show’s external effects shots (planets, ships, weird space stuff) in CGI, with digital versions of the Enterprise being used in place of the original models and optical work (which, despite their inventiveness and effectiveness in the 1960s, were clearly going to look pretty ropey in HD). Some fans cried sacrilege – but a look at the results suggests that the process has been both admirably restrained and amazingly faithful to the originals; you could argue that this is simply doing what the original effects artists would have done had they possessed similar technology. While the tight budgets and deadlines involved with getting the remastered shows ready for TV screenings in the US mean that the digital effects work is sometimes a bit basic compared to what you’d see in the cinema, this, in a way, actually helps to maintain a continuity between old and new materials; since the new effects are very much ‘in the spirit’ of the original 1960s ones, the transitions from new digital shots to the cleaned-up original elements is remarkably seamless. ...

via The Original Series | Star Trek | Specials | Fortean Times UK.

So far I've avoided the Blu-ray thing. I'm waiting to see if it ends up like eight track tapes... but a review at IGN says Trek in Blu-ray is worth it. special effects, while enhancing the scope of such episodes as "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Arena" and "Balance of Terror" (Trek's version of Run Silent, Run Deep) feel cheap. The CG Enterprise and planets are vivid and beautifully rendered, but there is no weight to the Federation's flagship; she moves without mass. The subtler effects are the ones that really deliver, as they so often do. For example: adding the much-needed phaser beam to Scotty's weapon as the engineer tries to cut open a panel and gain access to the engine room in "The Naked Time" or the expanded battle damage given to the planet Kirk and company first visit in the Gorn-centric "Arena." (Check out the brief, but impressive, disc one featurette chronicling the above for a better appreciation.)

Spread across seven discs, TOS season one is one of the best seasons of television Trek has ever produced. As double dips go, this is the one to invest in. Whether you're revisiting an old favorite, or watching Bones accuse Spock of being out of his Vulcan mind for the first time, season one should be the excuse you use to justify the purchase of a Blu-ray player.

Remastered Enterprise vs. the original effects.

Hmm. I don't know. I like the look of the original models.  Well, you get that option too if you buy the disk. Nice.

Trek's first season on Blu is by far the best presentation and experience the series has received yet, managing to appeal to die-hard fans and curious newcomers by refusing to be just another reunion tour of what has gone before (pun not intended). With the option to toggle between the remastered and original effects, coupled with a reference-quality transfer that puts all other 40-year-old shows to shame, TOS: Season One is arguably Paramount Home Entertainment's best catalog release on the format, giving their Godfather set a run for its money. - ign

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