Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Re TV Trek to a High-Definition Format

Classic television programs have been released to home video over the years, with a recent push to the high-definition "Blu-ray" format. Not counting recent Star Trek shows, which were produced wholly in Hi-Def, the process is actually made easier when transferring old(er) programmes as those were often produced on film.

"Oldies but Goodies" is preferred.

From August 6, 2017:

Trek to Possible Blu-rays

Yesterday I wrote about not looking for but finding the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on a heavily discounted DVD set:

BSG Miniseries from the Discount Bin

Today, while listening to the radio, I heard a brief story which mentioned that Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered thirty years ago next month. Thirty years ago. I remember that night well. Two friends came over and we watched the horrible two-hour opener, "Encounter at Farpoint".

I doubt I will have the spunk required to generate a 'ST:TNG, 30 years celebration' piece when the proper time comes.

This all reminded me that when I was reading a media magazine a few months ago, I happened upon a piece about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans demanding a Blu-ray up-rate job -- just like what Next Generation had received. Because that series was post-produced electronically on video (in order to save money overall and to allow for more visual effects, and at a lower cost than what the original series had been saddled with), the drawback was that in order to release the series on a high-definition format, all the camera rolls, of visual effects and general live action material, had to be re-transferred --- this time around to HD instead of the original production's 1-inch or Betacam "standard def" process. To boot, the visual effects elements all had to be re-composited. Keep in mind that there are seven years-worth of episodes.

The decision to 'reprocess' Next Generation for high-definition cost Paramount's home entertainment division a lot of money; man-hours and time. As the reader can imagine, even for those who don't know an original camera-negative from a Panaflex, it was quite the effort.

The article about DS9's hoped-for Blu-ray release stated that sales of ST:TNG's Blu-ray set have been "underwhelming". (The fact that it's not a very good series might have something to do with it. Fans-only.) Deep Space Nine's fan base, however rabid, is too small to warrant a whole series up-convert. (A friend of mine loves that series, but he admitted to me recently that his DS9 DVD set is most sufficient.)

My guess is Paramount will not discuss the issue of further archival Star Trek Blu-ray releases. It's a numbers game. And a certain precedent will close the tables.

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