Star Trek: The Next Level

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  • #487
    ZLoth
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    I got this BluRay last Friday, but didn’t have an opportunity to give it a spin until now. And, even then, it was only to sample a few scenes.

    Where to begin? Well, Star Trek: The Next Generation was a reboot of the original Star Trek series. This was 1987, when high-definition television was just a proposal, and everyone had a 4:3 tube television. (My, how times have changed). However, Paramount filmed the series on film, and then transferred the show to videotape for final editing and broadcast. Thus, most of the source material is intact. When I played back the show, I noticed that it was adjusted for 24p broadcast, same as film speed. The only gotcha, as noted on the packaging, is that a 13 second scene from Sins of the Father was upconverted from SD tape, as the film elements could not be located. Also, there is no attempt to adapt it to 16:9 format. It is shown in “Pillarbox” format.

    This is an interesting marketing ploy by CBS Home Video. Many of the dedicated fans have picked up the original series sets since the original series was released on DVD over the course of 2002, as well as selected episodes in special releases over the years. This is a sort-of “sampler” edition to encourage us to re-purchase the series as they start coming out later in 2012. It would be interesting how many people will “double-drop” for the new format.

    What has me chuckling is that it has been several years since I last watched more than a clip of a Star Trek episode. I had moved on, perhaps suffering from Trek Overload. While I had purchased the BluRay TOS movie set shortly after it’s release, I did not purchase the TNG movie set until it went on sale for $18 last November. Will the same fate occur for the TNG episodes?


    “You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz

    #3654

    The last issue of the ‘zine had my take on this BD in it, but basically… I was amused at how clearly visible stuff was that was never meant to be noticed. Little patches of carpet covering the electrical connections at Data’s helm console, the ever-present sheets of matte black paper covering parts of the shiny rear bridge consoles to eliminate the glare of the stage lighting, that sort of thing. And in Farpoint especially, some of the makeup is extremely stagey and not natural at all; Picard looks like he’s going out for an evening with the ladies in some scenes.

    Some of this stuff was never meant to be viewed at a much sharper resolution, which makes me wonder: now that conventional wisdom seems to have landed on the side of “yes, films should be viewed in their original aspect ratio,” are we ever going to have a debate about viewing stuff at the original intended resolution?

    #3655
    ZLoth
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    If I read my stuff correctly, HD Televisions did not hit the market until 1998. That is several years after TNG ended and near the end of the run for DSN. Are you going to work with the 480i to your full advantage? Yup.


    “You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz

    #3656

    So at what point does the awesome restoration work actually damage directorial intent?

    #3657
    Steve W
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    @earl wrote:

    And in Farpoint especially, some of the makeup is extremely stagey and not natural at all; Picard looks like he’s going out for an evening with the ladies in some scenes.

    I thought the makeup was badly done in the first couple of years of the show. Everybody was caked in it, and yet everybody was shiny like they’d been covered withe Vaseline too. Maybe they learned how to properly light the actors after season 2. They started using subdued lighting rather than Easy Bake Oven lightbulbs directly over the actors.

    @earl wrote:

    Some of this stuff was never meant to be viewed at a much sharper resolution, which makes me wonder: now that conventional wisdom seems to have landed on the side of “yes, films should be viewed in their original aspect ratio,” are we ever going to have a debate about viewing stuff at the original intended resolution?

    I remember reading in a magazine in 1989 that high definition TV was already on the drawing boards, and that a representative for HBO had said that they could get the network up and running in high def in six months, but that they’d have nobody to broadcast to because all of the technology companies were arguing on what specifications the new standard should be so there’s not a repeat of the PAL/SECAM/PAL-M/NTSC format issues. There were high def TV sets supposedly around in Japan at some point after, since I’d read an article not long after about the author seeing a commercial for something or other there on a demo HDTV screen and being impressed. So high definition TV was at least brewing during TNG’s original run. Maybe they could have done something forward thinking like Babylon 5 did with widescreen.

    #3658

    If I recall correctly, I think there may have been a change of director of photography in season 3 – that may have been when Marvin Rush came aboard (and stayed for most of the rest of the franchise – I forget if he was connected with Enterprise or not). As odd as it may sound, the DP does usually have some say with regard to makeup, or can at least make recommendations about it. If he can light the set in an awesome way but the actors look like crap, he could consult with the makeup department.

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