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The 'New' Original Star Trek

I think the overhaul of the original Star Trek is . . .

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    ReclusiveWriter

    [101]Jan 26, 2007
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    Sorry, Mac-ale, but I have to disagree. To me, the older image makes the Enterprise look like a model on a stick, and what does the asteroid look like it's made of to me? You don't want to know.

    The night after tomorrow night, I get to see this episode! (Assuming the Fox network doesn't BOTCH things again!)

    add: Well, thanx 4 nothin' Fox network!   NOW they're gonna run "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which means yet ANOTHER episode I'm missing because they are SO lackluster on running the new old Trek.

    Edited on 01/26/2007 2:21pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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    123home123

    [102]Jan 27, 2007
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    I'll split the difference here. The original Enterprise actually looks a little better but the original asteroid looks goofy. The CGI asteroid looks a little better but I don't think it's the best of the new effects. Maybe it'll look better in motion.
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    Mac-Ale

    [103]Jan 27, 2007
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    LOL...

    I admit to being old school.

    I don't think the 60s series is perfect.

    When you look at the previous pictures some things strike me.

    1. The asteroid (I love the lighting effects on it) is a one dimensional optical imposition on the space background. It never rotates or can rotate or be seen from any other than one angle (its one dimensional). Therefore it can only advance (get bigger), retreat (get smaller) or be pushed aside (which looks VERY fake in "Paradise Syndrome"). So I would have liked CGI to adapt the original look and give it more on screen "ability".

    2. The original ship was filmed by cameras on tracks and had limited motions (it would have looked great with computer-controlled motions like in the original "Star Wars" film of the late 70s). Since it was "blue" screened onto the space background, some old shots do show thin pieces of it "missing" (particularly the thin supports of the nacelles). Would be good to fix that. But in many shots it had a very solid look, nice exterior lights and still looks impressive today. The CGI Enterprise does not always look better, and sometimes looks very uni-colored in the new epeisode shots.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [104]Jan 27, 2007
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    The model shots from TOS sometimes looked solid to me, but a lot of the time, I could see the stars passing through it as if it were partially transparent.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [105]Jan 28, 2007
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    Well, this coming weekend will offer a bit of a treat for Writer.

    It seems I messed up on scheduling, so this coming Saturday & Sunday, I'll be treated to "Journey to Babel", followed Sunday night by "For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky."

    I can't WAIT to actually SEE the Orion ship in "Journey to Babel" instead of that ridiculous spinning light.

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    Mac-Ale

    [106]Jan 29, 2007
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    The Orions were too fast to see anyways, with an abnormal power consumption curve...
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [107]Jan 29, 2007
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    I don't buy that.  Abnormally fast, I could see, but we should've still be able to SEE the frakkin' ship!  The spinning light was the result of a crappy budget.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [108]Jan 30, 2007
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    YEAH BABY! www.startrek.com has posted images from the upcoming "Journey to Babel", including a shot of the never-actually-seen before Orion ship!!  Cool design, IMO!

    Here is the old -

    and here is the NEW! 8-D

    And it looks like it'll still have spinning lights, but with an actual form!

    The shuttlecraft fx at the beginning of this episode have also been majorly overhauled, leading to a very different look, and Vulcan itself FINALLY looks as it did in the TOS movies, TNG, and Enterprise!

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    Mac-Ale

    [109]Feb 3, 2007
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    "Journey to Babel" worked well, a nice and clever substitution of effects without overdoing it. Thumbs up for me...thumbs DOWN for replacing the best of the 60s, like the Enterprise model or the best and most beautiful matte paintings like in "Where No Man Has Gone Before"...
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [110]Feb 3, 2007
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    Excellent job Okudas!

    The battle between the Enterprise and the Orions remained faithful to the original, without looking cheesy.

    The improved phaser shots, and the actual Orion ship was outstanding! I especially loved the closeup shot on the aft section of Enterprise's saucer section, while the phasers miss the Orion ship. Reminiscent of a TNG shot!

    Next up: The DOOMSDAY MACHINE!!

    The only downside - having to wait until next Saturday to see it!!

    A recent interview from www.startrek.com gives you an idea of what to expect. Here it is -


    The Star Trek Remastered project is in full swing now and producers Mike Okuda, Denise Okuda and Dave Rossi recently checked in to update us on the progress and to answer some of the questions we've received from the viewers.

    What's coming up in Star Trek Remastered?

    Dave Rossi: Right now, the big project is "The Doomsday Machine"  I think it's the biggest single episode in terms of shot count, as well as the complexity of effects. Not only is it a great episode for story and character, but it really has some of the best space combat sequences in the entire original series.

    Mike Okuda: The folks at CBS Digital have been working on this one for weeks. I love the detail they've put into the wrecked Starship Constellation! You can see mangled details inside the decks. One of the nacelles is ripped open and you can see the warp coils inside. The other one is partly shredded. You really get a sense of the power of the planet killer and the desperation that drives Decker.

    Denise Okuda: Every time I see Niel Wray (visual effects supervisor) lately, the dark circles under his eyes are a little bigger, and he looks a little more haggard. He and his team have been working late into the night on this one. Even later into the night than usual! But the smile on his face keeps getting bigger because the work is so cool.

    Mike: Niel's not the only one. I heard a rumor that a bunch of the guys are heading to Vegas for a long weekend as soon as "Doomsday” is finished. They deserve it!

    Have you changed the Doomsday Machine itself?

    Dave: We wanted to honor the original concept, and in fact, we researched some original story notes in which Norman Spinrad described the planet killer as bristling with weapons. At the same time, we wanted to retain as much of the original model design as possible. We gave the new planet killer a texture reminiscent of hammered titanium and solid lava, trying to indicate that the surface of the machine had been pounded by untold arsenals over the aeons.

    Denise: The artists at CBS Digital came up with a cool animation effect that they call "nuclear fire” for the heart of the machine. It looks a lot like the original, but has a 3D quality and swirling streams of energy. We wanted it to look like the fires of hell.

    Why didn't you add Spinrad's "bristling weapons” to the machine?

    Mike: We always try to be aware that this show belongs, in a certain sense, to the fans who have loved and supported it so strongly for so many years. We are consciously trying not to stray too far from the familiar elements that they've loved for so long. It would be very different if we were making all-new episodes set in that time period. If that were the case, there are a lot of changes that we'd love to make, but that didn't seem appropriate for this project.

    Dave: Besides, the original planet killer was scary looking. Very alien.

    Denise: Also, we've added some tiny hints of machinery, mostly in the cracks, that might be all that's left of the bristling weapons. Most of that stuff is melted into the surface.

    How do you pick the shots to do?

    Dave: Denise, Mike, and I meet a couple of times a week to review episodes. We watch an episode and build a list of ship shots, viewscreen shots, and matte paintings. We also take detailed notes on what's happening in the story at each shot, what we think the original writer, director, or editor was trying to convey. That's the heart of the project. We also build a list of other effects that we feel should be redone. Sometimes it's what we call "broken shots,” effects that just need to be fixed. Sometimes it's things that we just think will look cool.

    Denise: Naturally, we can't do everything that we'd like to do. Mike really wanted to replace the medical records and Gary's speed-reading screens in "Where No Man Has Gone Before,” but it just wasn't possible. He sure tried, though!

    Mike: The next step is that we meet with Niel Wray and Toni Pace at CBS Digital to go over our "wish list.” Together, we hammer out what can and can't be done for each episode. Niel and Toni are really our partners in this project. Sometimes, when we ask for something that is too time-consuming they will suggest alternatives to give us what we want.

    Such as?

    Mike: In "Journey to Babel,” we really wanted to put the full hangar deck behind the shuttlecraft in the doorway shots when Sarek and his party are disembarking. Niel and his crew did such a great job on the landing that we wanted to see more of that digital set. The problem was that it was a very long shot that would have involved an enormous amount of rotoscope work and motion tracking.

    Dave: Niel came to our rescue. He suggested a simplified version of the shot in which they put in the bottom of the observation gallery in just part of the sequence. Now, when the camera pushes in, we can see at least that part of the back wall of the hangar deck. It's a nice tie-in.

    What is "rotoscoping”?

    Dave: Rotoscoping is a process in which you trace the outline of an object, frame-by-frame, so that you can put a new background behind that object. It's very labor intensive. It takes a good eye to do it well because the objects are usually in motion.

    Denise: It's much easier when you shoot an actor in front of a blue or green screen, but that wasn't an option for this particular shot. There was a TON of rotoscope work in "The Menagerie, Part I” to clean up the cityscape outside of Commodore Mendez's office window. And in "Wink of an Eye,” to replace the recycled matte painting of Scalos. Also in "The Devil in the Dark.”

    What's everyone's role and do you ever disagree with one another about shots?

    Dave: Having three of us works out very well; there's always a tiebreaker! There was one though: Denise and I were vehemently opposed to one another regarding the middle initial on Kirk's tombstone from "Where No Man Has Gone Before." In fact our arguments actually shook the heavens. Even Mike was staying out it. We did the only honorable thing. We tied our wrists together with a leather sash and Mike stuck a knife in the floor 30 feet away. Denise got a lucky shot in. Whatever, I don't want to talk about it anymore.

    Denise: Yeah, I went so far as to do a quick little poll of Star Trek fans at a convention in Sacramento last September. There was a huge majority in favor of changing the "R” to a "T.”

    Mike: Actually, all three of us changed our minds on the Kirk's middle initial at least once. The real tiebreaker was time. There were nine shots with the tombstone, and the camera is moving in some of them, which makes replacement more time consuming. Fixing one or two of them wouldn't have been a big deal. But fixing all of them would have forced us to cut too many other things. The funny thing is that we got a lot of comments from fans who approved of the "decision” not to change the tombstone!

    Why did you change the ship's chronometer in "The Naked Time”?

    Dave: That was another shot that we debated about. We all had a fondness for the charm of the original, but the truth is that it was something they bought at Sears in 1966, and it looked it.

    Does this mean you're going to change all the chronometer shots?

    Denise: We're going to try. With the artists and computers at CBS Digital, we have a lot of powerful resources at our disposal. But with every episode, the challenge is to put the most cool stuff on the screen, given the available time and resources. Sometimes this means that we can do some fun "extras” like the chronometer. But sometimes it means we have to focus on elements that are crucial to the story. Sometimes it means we have to make tough choices.

    How come the impulse engines aren't always lit?

    Dave: Two reasons. First, our theory is that the engines can be running, even when they're not glowing. We try to show them glowing whenever Sulu is stepping on the gas, for instance pushing the Enterprise out of a planetary orbit. The other reason is that we're trying to keep the original look of the ship — with the dark impulse engines — in most shots. Of course, sometimes we mess up, and maybe you can chalk that up to the new Starfleet catalytic converters.

    What's your favorite shot?

    Denise: Probably Sarek's shuttlecraft landing in "Journey to Babel.” The hangar deck is a part of the ship that we didn't get to see very much in the original series, and I think it's really fun that we get to show it using the new CG effects.

    Dave: When the Enterprise releases the Botany Bay in "Space Seed.” When we decided not to use a visible effect for the tractor beam, I envisioned that shot as a way of letting the audience know that the Enterprise tractor beam had been turned off. Seeing the shot executed in exactly the way I saw it in my head was a real thrill. CBS-Digital did an amazing job realizing the shot for me.

    Mike: It changes almost every week! Right now, it's the nuclear fire inside the maw of the planet killer in "The Doomsday Machine.” Awesome!

    Denise: Oh, and the tiny shuttlecraft as Decker plunges into the maw of the planet killer. Really gives a sense of scale to the immensity of the beast.

    What has the fan reaction been to the project?

    Mike: Overwhelmingly positive. Naturally, there was a lot of skepticism at the beginning, but once fans realized that we're working so hard to be faithful to the vision of the Original Series, a lot of them came around. That means a lot to us.

    Dave: I think it's safe to say that we've hit our stride. The guys and gals at CBS Digital are working their butts off, and their efforts have paid off ... of course they no longer have butts.

    Denise: We've heard that some fans are having weekly Star Trek Remastered viewing parties. Someone even e-mailed us a list of "rules” for a Star Trek Remastered drinking game! I don't remember the rules, but something about taking a drink of beer whenever a new visual effect was on the screen. I think Mike and Dave said they were going to try it. I just hope they don't do it with "The Doomsday Machine,” or they'll both be totally plastered.

    What do you think Gene Roddenberry would think of the remastered effects?

    Dave: When Gene passed away and his estate requested that all memos and paperwork from the Original Series through TNG be turned over, I was the person whose job it was to wade through 27 years of material. One theme that popped up with some regularity in Gene's memos was "What can we do to improve the visual effects?" While that alone isn't an answer, the support the Roddenberry family and people like Bob Justman have shown during this project really reinforces the notion that Gene was always striving to improve the effects to help bring the world of Star Trek alive. We're honored to help fulfill that wish.

    Mike: We had a number of long talks with Matt Jefferies before he died. For understandable reasons, Matt was one of our heroes. He was inwardly very proud of his work on Star Trek, but he was always very apologetic for the limitations of 1960s production techniques. He kept saying how he wished he had the technology that was developed after the show ended. We always responded by reminding him that his designs were a major reason why the show remains successful and watchable to this day. At the same time, it convinced us that he would have been the first to stand in line to update his own work, if he had been able.

    Will the Enterprise ever fire red phasers?

    Dave: Ha, another debate that we wrestled with for a long time. When it came down to it, we all agreed that our favorite shot of phasers is from that iconic image of the Enterprise as twin blue beams lance out towards their target. Of course tying in shots from "The Apple” or "Who Mourns for Adonais?” may tie our hands. It'll be up to Niel and CBS-Digital to let us know what's possible given the schedule.

    What's something you wish you could have changed, but couldn't for whatever reason?

    Dave: There was this tombstone …

    Mike: Gary Mitchell's speed reading screen. I even found the original text that they used …

    Denise: Beauregard in "The Man Trap.”

    What about "Amok Time”? Are you going to replace that horrible red Vulcan sky?

    Dave: No. Of course, we really wanted to. The problem is that there are so many shots in front of that cyclorama. There are something like a hundred and fifty shots with actors in front of that red sky.

    Mike: All that rotoscope work would have reduced our friends at CBS Digital to quivering blobs of jelly!

    Denise: We've asked CBS Digital to create a couple of matte paintings of the Vulcan landscape. Digital artist Max Gabl has painted two spectacular desertscapes that show the land of Spock's ancestors. We'll see those shots early in the episode. Our hope is that these shots will give a sense of scope to the planet that will carry over to the rest of the episode.

    Will the matte paintings show a moon in the Vulcan sky?

    Denise: Don't be silly. Vulcan has no moon.

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    Mac-Ale

    [111]Feb 4, 2007
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    Good interview, thanks for posting it.

    I don't always agree with these guys, buts its fun to hear about what they are up to.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [112]Feb 7, 2007
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    YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

    www.startrek.com has posted image of the NEW U.S.S. Constellation!!!! There are also some shots of the Planet-Killer, but I'm going to leave a few surprises.

    Here's the old U.S.S. Constellation -

    and here's the new -

    How about that? The Constellation ACTUALLY looks like a starship!!

    And here's the plastic Constellation on approach to the planet-killer -

    And here's the REAL Constellation approaching its final destiny -

    I can't WAIT to see this one!

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!   (girlish scream)

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    Mac-Ale

    [113]Feb 7, 2007
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    LOL, if you were 46 years old like I am, and actually built the plastic model at home, you wouldn't call it fake...

    But, I agree that most of the effects of the episode should probably be re-done, if re-doing is what you are up to.
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    123home123

    [114]Feb 8, 2007
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    This episode is supposed to have more than 100 brand new digital effects shots, the most of any in the remastered series.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [115]Feb 9, 2007
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    123home123 wrote:
    This episode is supposed to have more than 100 brand new digital effects shots, the most of any in the remastered series.

    YEEEAHHH, BABY!

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    Mac-Ale

    [116]Feb 10, 2007
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    It appears that the CBS/Paramount tech crew was on a budget..lots of shot change-outs, some not that effective, especially the Enterprise being drawn into the Doomsday machine. A lot of phaser shots looked cheesy. Yeah, the scale of the ships was better.

    And of course, at the cost of cutting some of ther best lines, including Spock's second request to "Mr. Scott!" when the transporter was down and more importantly - Spock: "Vulcans never bluff", and Decker: "No, I don't suppose they do"...

    I gave "Journey to Babel" a thumbs up, I give "The Doomsday Machine", a thumbs down.
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    ReclusiveWriter

    [118]Feb 12, 2007
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    I strongly disagree, Mac-Ale. I LOVED the remaster!

    So a few lines were cut. I admit, the Vulcans never bluff bit probably should've been retained, but you know how commercials are. I blame the commercials for anything good being cut.  Besides, the whole episode will eventually be available on DVD.

    I especially liked the shots of the Enterprise making the strafing run on the Planet-Killer, instead of two clunky plastic models, one of which looked like a blue carrot, slowly coasting toward each other.  Not to mention the scale corrections between the shuttlecraft, the Planet-killer, and the Constellation.

    I also liked seeing the debris from the destroyed planets in the beginning as the Enterprise flew through it, instead of a few semi-transparent chunks of 'something' shown at bad angles on the viewscreen.

    At any rate, it sounds like we're on the opposite sides of the coin here.

    Next up: Amok Time.   Not much to be overhauled here, except perhaps the orbital shots of Vulcan, and perhaps the vista behind Spock's family grounds.  Should be interesting though. It's a great episode!

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    ReclusiveWriter

    [119]Feb 16, 2007
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    Well, this I wasn't expecting!  Vulcan has been overhauled for "Amok Time"!

    Here's the Enterprise in orbit -

    You'll notice that it's the 'real' Vulcan, as previously seen in the TOS movies, TNG, and ENT, instead of the standard TOS red-stock planet.

    And here's a new look at Spock's family grounds. In the distance, you can see the Vulcan city of Shi'kahr, home of Sarek and Amanda. It was previously seen in TAS's "Yesteryear".

    If you ask me, this finally looks like the Vulcan we've come to know in the TOS movies, as well as its subsequent appearances. In a rustic way, I'd even say it's beautiful.  One guess where I'll be tomorrow afternoon!

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    123home123

    [120]Feb 17, 2007
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    I was expecting a little more from The Doomsday Machine. Some of the new scenes looked like something from The New Voyages. Not to knock New Voyages but I thought the space battle scenes here would look better coming from the big studio.

    I also realized that the episode had more of an impact on me when I first saw it in grade school than now. The story is pretty simple: (spoilers)

    Find the Constellation; Decker takes over the Enterprise; Kirk gets angry; Decker takes shuttlecraft; Kirk learns from the example; Kirk destroys the planet killer with the Constellation.
    (end spoilers)

    I'm looking forward to something like The City on the Edge of Forever.
    Edited on 02/17/2007 5:42am
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