I just want to know how wide the aspect was that they shot it on film? Was it 1.37:1? Or did they use an anamorphic lens to widen it (for some reason)?
It was probably the standard Panavision 35mm TV transmitted area... and it was also probably hard matted onto the 35mm film for the entire run of TNG -- that is, a black matte or mask in the familiar 4:3 (or 1.33:1) shape was placed into the film gate so only that area was exposed to light. The surrounding area should have no exposed picture. See below (From a Panavision brochure circa 1999):
Remember the First Contact
teaser trailer? Remember the shot of Beverly from "The Best of Both Worlds"?
Here is how it originally appeared in the episode and where they cropped it (zoomed in slightly for tighter close-up it appears):
This demonstrates, I think, two things:
- The original 35mm negatives were telecined (transfered to video for editing) and stored for later use.
- There is no picture information on either side of the originally exposed frame due to hard matting in-camera.
(which is why they had to crop the image for the trailer.)
If the above is true, it means the 35mm negatives do
exist somewhere in storage at Paramount or CBS. These can be transfered to HD in exactly the same process that was done for TOS Remastered: That is, 4:3 pillarboxed within the 16:9 HD frame.
Also, I recall that Jonathan West (Director of Photography on later seasons of TNG and DS9) once explained to a poster on this very forum (through email) that they only started protecting for widescreen in seasons 6 & 7 of DS9 and that Marvin Rush was doing the same on Voyager.
Hope that helps.