The TMP DE vfx company was Foundation Imagining. When I tried looking them up just now, I found a company with the same name, but their website can't even spell 'aerial' properly. Turns out FI went out of business early in the run of Paramount's Lil ENTERPRISE series, its assets sold off more than a decade back. So the equipment to re-render the DE animation is ... where? Do you need a render farm to re-output the animation and do so in HD, or can anybody with an old Macintosh handle it? (I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm actually asking does anybody know?)
Foundation used LightWave for their 3D, so all their stuff was off-the-shelf. It'll run on pretty much anything (a friend and I taught ourselves LightWave back in high school on a crappy 300mHz first-generation iMac). LightWave is a dying program in the VFX industry, but there are still companies here and there that use it. I have a few industry buddies who recently started up a LightWave house and have a small render farm for it. And seeing as the file format hasn't changed in a good couple decades, opening and rendering old scenes is doable; current editions of the software can still open files created umpteen versions ago. So it would "merely" be a matter of finding all the objects, scenes and textures and making sure they're up to snuff for HD rendering.
If Doug Drexler's blog
is anything to go by, the artists seem to have made off with personal copies of almost all the Foundation Imaging/Eden FX models. It would be hard, but I suspect it's possible
– the LightWave community is small and pretty much everyone knows everyone else, so if the files exist, I imagine they could be located and spruced up.
That assumes that Paramount would want to dredge the old work out of mothballs and not just toss it to CBS-D or something to do anew. Like I said, LightWave is becoming passť these days, and even though it can still turn out stellar hard-body work, there's a strong prejudice against it in most of the VFX community now. Everybody is Maya with Mental Ray/Vray/Renderman and the suits may want it done that way so they can rest easy knowing it's being handled "right."
, grumpy former LightWaver.