I vividly remember from Trekcore’s interview session with CBS Digital from last year, that a replacement of the 4-footer Enterprise-D
(e.g. on behalf of Tobias Richter’s CGI 6-footer) would be an option for a 4K (i.e. Ultra HD) version of TNG - which I did interpret as a hint that TNG-R is a realistic option for the future.
The mission goal for the current Blu-ray release was to stay faithful to the original presentation and therefore neither massive visual effects upgrades (exceeding the fix of a few all-too-obvious flaws) nor a 16:9 reformatting were to be expected.
But once the original version is completely available as purists requested and demanded (one must hate to be a fan of the original Star Wars Trilogy...), there’s no further reason not to take some artistic (nevertheless tasteful, hopefully) license to upgrade TNG, especially if this enables to realize new VFX that back in the day were impossible to achieve because of time and/or budget restraints.
This starts with the first scene in “Encounter at Farpoint”. The camera closes in on the large model of the Enterprise-D
and next the edit cuts to Picard in the (forward) observation lounge.
CGI to enable a seamless zoom-in (category: they would have done but couldn’t do it, then).
Next, I always have to think of “11001001” and in particular of Starbase 74. The entire arrival VFX is as derivative as it could have possibly gotten because they simply recycled the footage from “The Search for Spock” / ST III. In essence we have Starbase 74 orbiting a planet which looks like Earth and has a moon that looks like our moon (category: would have done it differently but didn’t have the budget), add to this that the Starbase would have to be much bigger to accomodate the Enterprise-D.
Change planet’s appearance, erase moon and “stem” of the Spacedock “orbital mushroom” to suggest it’s a different planet and type of station.
While we are at “11001001” the correction of the current faulty editing in the docking tube scene also has upgrade potential (that would make Andrew Probert, the Enterprise-D
designer and matte painting artist of that scene, very happy. Justin Olson did a 16:9 widescreen enhancement of the matte painting – based on an even wider ILM studio shot of the models docked together – which has Mr. Probert’s full blessing if they were to go widescreen. Just for the record).
And then there are all these shots with the Excelsior Class starships. Originally, Andrew Probert had come up with his (!) Ambassador Class design
as a credible transition from the Excelsior Class to the Galaxy Class of the Enterprise-D
and her sister ships.
Unfortunately, the similarity to the Excelsior Class and the small TV screens of the late 1980’s were justification enough for the cost-conscious producers of the series not to order the construction of an Ambassador Class starship model but rather to reuse the existing Excelsior
model (category: could have done it differently but didn’t have the budget and/or affection to do so).
Replace existing Excelsior Class VFX with Probert CGI Ambassador Class wherever feasible (and allow Blu-Ray viewing choice to either experience the Ambassador Classin the Sternbach-Jein configuration or alternately in the original Probert configuration from “Yesterday’s Enterprise” on).
Apparently, with the exception of editing oddballs, any version of TNG-R would mostly focus on VFX changes / updates / upgrades.
I think this is an important topic we should all think ahead. Therefore, while you enjoy your current TNG Blu-rays but find something you think could be improved for a future version of TNG-R, make sure you now voice your desire (unless you want to see yourself in the future complaining about an upgrade possibility you failed to mention when you had the opportunity...
P.S. Love the photoshopped results of our protagonists as they actually look now, great work!