Behind the Scenes at CBS Digital, Where Trek Is Remastered

By Michelle
November 22, 2006 - 10:58 PM

CBS Digital introduced its twenty artists and showed off some of the elements being remastered for the new syndicated original Star Trek episodes, showing new model renderings and admitting that some of the production crew appear in miniature in the refurbished scenes. visited the offices at CBS Television City, housed in a dim room formerly called "the morgue" to avoid glare on computer screens. "For me it is kind of a dream project," Visual Effects Supervisor Niel Wray said, explaining that while not everyone on the team is a lifelong fan, they are all familiar with the TV show and films' special effects.

Producers David Rossi, Mike Okuda and Denise Okuda - all long associated with the Star Trek franchise - come up with the initial list of shots they want to recreate digitally from original series episodes. The focus is meant to be on space shots and exteriors, but the producers have worked on action shots as well. "Itís beyond the scope of the work, but because we are all huge fans of the show and we want to do everything we can to make it look fantastic," Wray explained.

To shoot the Enterprise, Wray said that they begin with a model which is given texture by painters and then rendered for color, shadows and other enhancements. "Then the planets and the star fields which are their whole separate thing." Different artists work on different aspects of the shot.

The team is so pleased with the new model of the Enterprise that they plan to redo shots that have already been remastered. "You will never see that [old] model again - it is gone," Wray stated. Even the opening credits will be altered, beginning with third season episode "Wink of An Eye" which will air in January. "I donít want to take us out of 1966 Star Trek but I am willing to push it a little bit...I know what I can and canít get away with," said Wray.

Wray and another team member appear in "Devil in the Dark" in a remastered scene where workmen are seen working in a tunnel, and he said that when Starbase 11 appears in "The Menagerie", there will be miniature versions of Rossi, the Okudas and others. Cliff Welsh, a 2D Compositor, said that he became hooked on the show after seeing "The City on the Edge of Forever" and admiring the quality of the story, so most of the team wants to become a part of the onscreen franchise.

The original article with images is here.

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