Just Watched “What We Left Behind”. Why is HD DS9 footage in 16:9? Is CBS interested in HD DS9?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by GuyX, May 21, 2021.

  1. GuyX

    GuyX Ensign Red Shirt

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    What a terrific documentary. I’ve said elsewhere that I had been waiting years to watch DS9, hoping CBS would splurge for an HD remaster(granted this is before I found out about the difficulties of remastering the CGI). I finally gave up hope and dove in. It’s become one of my favourite shows. But! The recent documentary has some of that beautiful remastered DS9 footage. I expected it to be 4x3 much like TNG’s beautiful HD remaster. But everything was 16:9, from the live action to the model/VFX footage. Why? Was DS9 “protected” for 16:9 like some shows were? I can’t imagine that being the case given it debuted in 1993. Was the footage cropped?

    Also...I know some of the CGI was re ended to HD resolution but there’s just no way that’s all that was done. The sequence from “Sacrifice of Angels” looked like it had been completely re done. The explosions looked different, there looks to be fluid simulations happening which is way, way beyond what a TV could’ve done in the mid 1990s. Does anyone know what the truth is?

    Finally, I’m new to this board so I’m not sure how connected some of you are, or not, to the people in the know/position of power. But what are the odds we ever see DS9 in HD? Babylon 5 got an HD release for Christ sakes! I see Youtubers posting amateur attempts at remastering DS9 by using A.I and the results are outstanding! I have zero idea how it works but why isn’t this an option CBS/Paramount could take? Would it be cost prohibitive?
    I know how insane and costly an undertaking the TNG blu ray remaster was + how disappointed they were in its sales numbers. But most of that cost was having to basically redo the show in post production. If Youtubers are using the available DVDs & having success, would that take a huge chunk out of the expense? While also sidestepping the issue of re rendering potentially lost CGI files to 1080p or higher?

    CBS or Paramount has to see the upside to this. I won’t sugar coat it. This show looks like shit in its current streaming form on Netflix. Absolute shit. It looks like a VHS copy recorded off TV. How many potential viewers are turned off by that? I know for a looong time, I sure was. When I saw the difference between TNG DVD and TNG blu ray...my jaw dropped. Granted some still won’t watch even TNG because it’s 4x3 and people are stupid but whatever. If DS9 protected for 16:9 then that have that AND 1080p if CBS/Viacom pull the trigger. An entire new generation would discover the show. I truly think, out of all the older Trek shows, DS9 is most likely to appeal to a modern audience. It has more action, it’s partly serialized, it’s darker. There’s war & politics & comedy. This show is just waiting to be discovered. HD would really sell that.

    Plus, selfishly, I need this show in HD damn it!
     
  2. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    AFAIK the sequence was recreated by the same people who did it in the 90s using modern techniques. I'm not sure about the specifics. I read about it in another thread about the documentary.

    As much as we would all like to have Voyager and DS9 remastered, general consensus is there is little chance of it at least in the near future. :(
     
  3. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    I have never streamed anything through Netflix, but watch the show on the DVDs I don't think it looks bad at all. To be honest, I hope it does NOT get the treatment the original series got, where they made loads of unnecessary changes in the sets and special effects. I wanted to see the Enterprise looking as if it had been through some things, not brand new from the showroom. I want to see the Enterprise moving as if it had mass and momentum, not whisked about like a firefly.
     
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  4. GuyX

    GuyX Ensign Red Shirt

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    I’m not talking about they did with remastering the original series, just TNG. Why would they give it the TOS treatment? That would be insanely expensive.

    DS9 wouldn’t need all new effects. The first 3 seasons were done just like TNG, with models. So it would look largely like how TNG looked on blu ray, which was gorgeous. The later DS9 seasons used CGI which would only need to be re rendered at 1080p not redone. Rendering at a higher resolution is basically a button click if the files can be found & still work. They wouldn’t need to complete redo all the effects like TOS did.
     
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  5. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I stream most of my Trek right now I don't see the issue. The show stands on its own without updating.
     
  6. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    TNG-R had a ton of thought put into it, keeping gratuitous and whim-based changes on a whim. If any proof was needed that scanning in and restoring original films, even with their color faded from decades of storage and let's be glad said films haven't succumbed to "the vinegar effect" yet, could pull out so much more detail -- and in a show that had the most lush sets and intricately detailed costumes from the very get-go -- to not do the same remastering would be a sheer loss.

    Yes, yes, we've all seen those AI upscaling methods. The technology has come a long way and even enhances low-resolution videotape material a bit (though it's not perfect, nor does it make the rend result compete against even scans of 16mm film either, but depending on what's done and how it can still look better than the original 525i NTSC VT recording - or 625i in PAL...) None adds real detail as such considering how much has to be extrapolated based on what amounts to crude outlines - if they did, the Doctor Who blu-ray releases covering episodes made 40 years ago on 625i videotape would look as "crisp" as something filmed on 35mm in 1996 or 2006; by the mid-2000s, most production methods have been strictly digitally-based due to film and how it's manufactured and it's easier to preserve data integrity -- again, there's that "vinegar effect" to consider... One sees selective edge/contrast enhancement, but telltale signs still exist. Once you see the difference you'll just giggle. It'll be a long while before AI replaces proper remastering, which was why Babylon 5 had its live action footage properly remastered - and the differences are jaw-droppingly massive on all counts (lighting/shadow gamut, set detail, costumes, etc, etc.) That said, how they improved on upscaling 30 year old native CGI was pretty nifty, all things considered... but CGI of the time doesn't have as much information as the live action footage.

    I can't deny DS9 stands up in its own right as the stories do the bulk of the gruntwork despite the sumptuous forward-thinking visual quality (which only makes the visuals seem that much better when compared to a piece that has nothing except the effects to sell itself with), but if there's a chance to faithfully improve upon it, also noting how Doctor Who also had tons of film copies junked and a lot of what gets returned nowadays is often heavily damaged or irreparable... (even the Radio Times had a nice piece on the most recent recoveries and the sheer amount of problems in remastering them...) then it only seems to make sense that if one can do it, to preserve as much quality and get it on par with the rest of the shows before the original material becomes unusable and impossible to scan or even to properly archive if nothing else. That'll happen to all these carefully-stored canisters of footage as well.

    Plus, it's weird how much of the franchise is only available at SD, with streaming quality that seems remarkably low at times. At least they didn't change the aspect ratio to 16:9 then enlarge it. Some streaming sitcoms had that treatment done and while the AI applied makes the credits' text look like near-HD, everything else still looks blurry, muddy and murky next to the original 4:3 ratio with pillarboxing, despite DVD compression artifacting. :wow:
     
  7. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Didn't TNG-R cost more due to more expansive effects (especially space shots where numerous motion-controlled films were composited together, but sometimes inlaid CGI as well) whereas TOS-R mostly had space scenes replaced with a comparable CGI scene but with a few extra model assets added? IMHO, I'd be happy with live action film remastered but even the f/x scenes upscaled, jaggy lines and all. Even then there's still a lot of compositing work that would need to be done, which is also why Odo didn't morph into something in every episode...

    Re-rendered. I'd read various articles in the past; apparently some of the old 3D assets and complex timeline/keyframe files still exist and could arguably be re-rendered with newer versions of the software if they're compatible, but there'd still be a massive amount of work to do...

    ...back to Odo and other CGI overlaid in live action scenes - like phaser beams on steroids - was more prevalent and would still need time and consideration to do right, which is big. And exponentially more prevalent in VOY as well... that's arguably the biggest reason why they're left as they are.

    Not just a button click; 4K requires a lot more disk space and processing time. When TNG-R came about, 4K was only just starting to come in and 1080P was the go-to standard. One could argue if they should have scanned in 4K at the time, but it's a moot point so I'll save at least one big tangent. Not to mention, most movies made today are edited for their CGI effects in 1080P anyway and for the same reasons - space and rendering factors involved... (and since 1080P has much more data per frame than 525i ever would, it's easier to upscale that and still have it look decent. Back in the days of print media, if you designed something for 8.5x11 at 300DPI, you could get away with enlarging it to 11x14 where it comes out at a lesser DPI, but the more you enlarge or remove dots per inch, the softer or fuzzier it would look. I'd avoid stretching below 150DPI too as no amount of clever edge enhancing will help, even some of the modern day tools I bought only go so far and it's still very selective and what isn't enhanced is still soft by comparison... Anyway, that's all not a direct parallel, but pixels on a screen isn't much different in some ways.)

    Will home video see 4K truly take off? Maybe for the odd movie and we're already seeing that, with jaw-droppingly great results. And pretty much reserved for material that was shot and edited solely on film; rest assured that the Star Wars prequel trilogy won't upscale anywhere as good as a direct scan of the original trilogy... But will 8K? I highly doubt it. Any home theater distance calculator will show how large a set one needs to really make use of the pixel density - so the target market might be large projectors and arenas and that's about it. Never mind that blu-ray 1080P still looks better than 4K streamed (though this is slowly improving, especially as bandwidth and compression methods improve - but the factors involved are many...) So either which way, 1080P is the perfect standard and perfect balance for processing/rendering/production time factors.

    In the end, and on top of numerous other reasons not mentioned here, 4K blu-ray or even blu-ray in general is as niche to collectors as laserdisc was in the late-1970s, often for the same reasons. I'm still amazed DVD became as much a ubiquitous standard as it had.
     
  8. Grizzlor

    Grizzlor Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Babylon 5 was scanned into 4K, and is now available on HBO Max in 4:3 HD. The 4K scan was corrected/cleaned. SD CGI generated effects were upscaled (presumably with AI software) and given minor tweaks. If Warner Bros can do this with B5, what is stopping Paramount from doing the same for DS9 and Voyager???

    Yes there are fan-derived upscales making use of commercially available AI software. However, those are never going to be as good as a studio can do by scanning negatives. DS9 also used plenty of 90's CGI like B5, and all you have to do is upscale it. That's perfectly fine. I've watched DS9/VOY on say Netflix, it's okay but not good enough.
     
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    The seven seasons of TNG had a huge TV audience, but the remastered Blu-Ray sets did not bring in the anticipated profits. DS9's audience was smaller than TNG. VGR's audience was smaller than DS9. The sales predictions cannot (yet) be justified. (We only got ENT on Blu-Ray because it was filmed for HD.)

    The enhanced footage in the DS9 documentary was no doubt to canvas whether interest had improved.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
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  10. RedAlert

    RedAlert Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, but I think Babylon 5 had a smaller audience than DS9 or any Star Trek series, and thus, WB equally did a beautiful job remastering that beautiful serie.

    I think that is just a matter of time that ViacomCBS bring us the entire HD ST series collection.
    Lets stay positive.
     
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  11. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No doubt someone will pay money for it.
     
  12. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    I wasn't being negative. CBS took a bath on their TNG releases, much to their own surprise. Longterm, the investment will pay for itself. But the shareholders would be disgruntled if the number crunching said "no" but they did it anyway on 14 more seasons of Trek. ;)

    And yes, eventually, everything needs to be converted if future audiences are to view them on future equipment. Maybe they will wait for holodeck versions.
     
  13. Grizzlor

    Grizzlor Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well TNG was restored meticulously similar to TOS. The key is AI technology that has emerged the last few years, and used on Babylon 5, does not require you to do anywhere near that amount of work. While I would agree that DS9 or VOY on Bluray is not likely to sell much at all, streaming customers would definitely like to see the shows upscaled. Again, it can now be done relatively easy and quick.
     
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  14. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If a market can be demonstrated that it is worth the money then it will be done. I don't think the demand is there, nor do I think that people will buy it or be more inclined to stream it just because it is upscaled. I don't expect people to buy it just because they say they will.
     
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  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    As much as we might dislike it, just as in any business it comes down to return on investment. In the case of TNG-R how many waited until the complete set came out or waited until the sets were on sale?

    The market has also moved on since TNG-R came out, studio specific streaming services have launched so would CBS sell DSN-R to other providers i.e. Netflix or use it to try and drive new customers to their platform. As for international sales are studios eyeing launching their platform in other countries like Disney have?
     
  16. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't dislike it at all. I think it makes the most sense and would love for the demand to be demonstrated for people who say they would buy it to actively put up and buy it rather than just saying "Oh, CBS should throw all this money in to HD scaling but I probably won't buy it."

    I hear a lot of sizzle from the fan base but not a lot of steak.
     
  17. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's the thing: if upresing does not earn them more money, not upresing could lose them money. There are people who will find all pre 2009 Star Trek to look dated, moreso because of the video quality. Most major streaming platforms have Star Trek available for streaming--to some degree it makes those streamers, and subsequently CBS, money. And it does make sense to maintain access to Star Trek while new series are being made.
     
  18. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's a stupid thing to not watch a show for but yeah I definitely see that as a possibility.

    Whelp, hopefully that means the DVDs will be cheaper.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    Exactly. Until the balance levels out, nothing happens.
     
  20. Captain Kris Kringle Pike

    Captain Kris Kringle Pike Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And here I just bought a whole bunch of VHS. Silly me!