See my latest posts for the latest updates on this evolving project
I find my self in a position with spare time, a powerful PC, visual & auditory monitoring equipment, appropriate software, and plenty of motivation to compile a new edition of one of my favorite Star Trek films: The Motion Picture.
I saw this film when I was very young, and all I knew of Star Trek was some very faded memories of the beginning of Generations and TNG. I knew Trek was fun in space, but not much beyond. One season in my youth, my family spent some time at a bed and breakfast on the Pacific coast. This residence had a large CRT projector in its basement, and copies of all the Star Trek films. I started with the first film of course, and was completely mesmerized by the sights I saw, the places that film took me. It left a mark that’s never lessened its impression.
The flames of intrigue only grew when I heard about the director’s edition. I recall watching it so many times so as to ruin the DVD. Watching it now, I find it very satisfying, yet lacking in some ways; many small oddities went unfixed or unfinished, some sections of the film remained way too bloated, characters lacking enough character while others had ridiculous elements.
Basically here is what I wish to do for one of my favorite films:
Lord knows the Blu-Ray needs this sorely given how over boosted in levels it is relative to the previous versions we’ve had available (The amount of detail clipped out in certain shots is amazing). It also has major problems in terms of frozen or missing grain fields (a result of too much grain removal processing) which suck out the detail in several scenes. To address this issues I’d like to use the DE DVD, set photos, and personal judgment to correct the color and add grain back in to the picture.
-More Color Correction!
Due to the nature of the effects work and schedules involved, many scenes featuring what is supposed to be the same elements in the same environments feature a lack of continuity in many regards; a good example of this is the Spock walk scene, which shows the inside of V’Ger as many shades of blue, with exterior shots that show with great detail the interior, and others that drown out all detail with nothing but blue! To help fix this scene, and others like it, I’ll be color correcting the elements or simply (mostly in the case of back grounds) replacing them all together. I’ve already completed a large amount of work when it comes to the Spock walk scene, having rotoscoped Spock out of many completely washed out blue back grounds, and replacing them with a V’Ger interior I assembled from other scenes, and also correcting Kirk’s color changing space suit.
-Trimming the Fat
The Cloud and V’Ger flyover sequences are some of my most favorite put to film simply due to the incredible effects work, the score, the fact that the tone is so different from the first part of the movie… but they do bog down the flow, in addition to many many other sequences. The Klingon battle, the spacedock, the wormhole, the V’ger scenes all posses a large amount of redundant scenes and filler that I’ve been trimming out. I have a rough draft of the film edited, with character building scenes from the SLV and DE reinserted.
Also involved with trimming flat is reflowing what is there for maximum effectiveness: I’m working on reordering certain scenes so they are more efficient and impactful in their message (the Klingon Battle is an example of this).
What was accomplished was stunning and amazing given the constraints involved. That doesn’t change the fact there were many corners cut, from backgrounds not filled, blue screen bleeding, huge matte lines, etc. I’m not a fan of scrubbing every spot and flaw off the picture, as it adds character to be able to see the seems in a piece, reminds that it came from a physical process that took time and patience and skill. I would like to fix some of the easier things though by removing lingering dirt on the print in some shots, blue screen bleed, and several other surprises.
I’m also considering adding to what is there in subtle yet affective ways; many shots of the E are beautifully lit against the back ground, some others it sticks like a sore thumb, some environmental lighting would help in this matter. In other ways, I’d like to add some overt aspects, from showing the final destruction of EP9, to adding Klingons to the Spock walk (the concept art boggles the imagination to what could be added to what’s already there), to creating entirely new shots for situations where existing shots do not satisfy the demands of the scene or the effects work is too far beyond repair.
I have a very nice pair of headphones designed by a mastering engineer. While they shall help me greatly, I do not have a 5.1 monitoring setup, and I’m greatly considering constructing a stereo or three channel mix, as it’d be more in keeping with the tone of this film being from 79 (little in the way of surround sound).
That should cover the main points. While I know there are those who find the theatrical cut on the blu-ray to be perfect for their needs, I also know there are those who feel there is more potential in this film. So, if any one has some feed back or interest in assisting with the project, feel free to discuss it here. I’ll keep this thread updated as best I can, and post my video updates in the post below.