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Star Trek: The Original Series preservation (a WIP)

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 (Edited)

I did not see this in the thread and I apologize if it appears elsewhere.

I’ve not seen a preservation effort for the original Star Trek tv series.
So, Trek has been released on DVD and blu-ray. However, it’s been changed each time.
The DVD added a 5.1 soundtrack which included new sound effects like the rumble of the ship. There are also some other sound effects and music cues which were changed. A list (not created by me, but I compiled them) appears at the bottom.

The blu-ray release of the series contains a mono soundtrack, but I think few (if any) of these are original.
There is also some debate about early episodes and which had the “electric violin” music and which had the standard opening theme. It seems to have been tinkered with over the years in an effort at standardization.

There were early vhs releases which I’m told have original soundtracks or at least much closer to them. Also, the laserdiscs should be the same as the vhs releases.

Thanks.
Live long and prosper.

David

 

VHS: the first season opening theme was standardized so the electric violin theme was only heard in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

Gene Roddenberry’s up front “created by” credit for The Man Trap and Charlie X were moved to the end of the episodes (these may have been “first rerun” prints).

The sound mix was fiddled with here and there but for the most part, it was pretty faithfully reproduced to my knowledge (City on the Edge of Forever had very objectionable music replacement when they couldn’t secure the home video rights to “Good Night Sweetheart”). The Paramount Logo at the end of the 1968 episodes of the second season was replaced by the third season logo (exception being The Omega Glory, which retained it on the Columbia House VHS print only).

Depending on whether you got the Colombia House releases of the Paramount HV single episode tapes, some scenes were missing in a small # of episodes (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, Requiem for Methuselah, All Our Yesterdays)

 

DVD: the sound mix was brutalized, adding the exterior engine rumble (which was phased out midway through the first season) to the entire series.

The Menagerie part 2 had some music cues replaced for whatever reason by rerecordings and cues from The Doomsday Machine (you can still hear this on the stereo track on the blu-rays).

Balance of Terror now has a photon torpedo sound effect over the shots of the “proximity blast” phasers, where they were originally silent.

The electric violin theme was restored to the opening credits of the first season, but on far too many episodes (including Balance of Terror and The Corbomite Maneuver which always had the cello theme). The end credits of the electric violin themed episodes still retain the cello version from their 80’s revisions.

 

Bluray:
The sound mix was screwed with again. The “original broadcast mono track” still is wrong, with the engine rumble prevalent and sometimes VERY LOUD in a few first season episodes, drowning out the captains log entries. The only accurate post first season episode appears to be Amok Time.
New sound effects overlay some scenes (Errand of Mercy and The Paradise Syndrome).
The new CGI opening theme is seen in one episode of the first season no matter which version you choose.

 

A Doomsday Machine cue replaces a Friday’s Child cue in The Deadly Years as Spock enters the turbolift, being told to conduct the hearing on Kirk.

Added phaser/photon sounds as the Romulans fire at the Enterprise, same episode.

Doomsday Machine and re-recorded Corbomite and Mudd’s Women music replace three opening music cues in The Menagerie, Part II. The opening teaser, (Corbomite re-recording), Act 1, (Doomsday Machine, original) and Act 2, (Mudd’s Women re-recording).

An added ‘sting’ from the Rigel Fortress music is laid onto the soundtrack as Pike first appears in the illusion. This wasn’t present on the original broadcast of The Menagerie.

The condensed Max’s Factor music as Vina is restored to beauty, has been re-edited to create a smoother transition, for the DVDs and beyond, of The Menagerie, Part II.

After the Memory Alpha technician dies, a freeze-frame replaces the original shot where it was evident the actress was still breathing in the Lights of Zetar.

The closing credits have two differing sets of background pictures for the Lights of Zetar.

Added sound effect as the satellites enter orbit in Operation: Annihilate.

Door effect added to obelisk lightening hitting Kirk

Friday’s Child dialogue improvement

Mirror, Mirror added sound to mirror transition

There were some changes made to the sound mix for these as well. The sound effect of the phaser rifle hitting the ground after Mitchell flings it from Kirk’s grasp in WNMHGB is all but inaudible.

The finale music in “The Man Trap” as the Salt Vampire dies is much lower than it used to be.

The Blu-ray (and newer DVD) versions of Tribbles (accidentally) has one of Spock’s lines muted. “He’ll do it.”

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Isn’t there also some oddity with “The Cage” where it has been edited shorter with each subsequent re-release?

Also, if you really want to be thorough, my understanding is that the complete series blu-ray has the worst copies of the episodes of any release, so any episode which is included on “The Roddenberry Vault” or other non-complete compilations would be worth checking for superior video encodes.

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For some reason the TOS seasons with dual audio have always been insanely priced.

I’ve only seen them go up in price with time when you would assume the opposite being obsolete media and all.

The fact you could spend thousands on some lousy laserdiscs is kind of crazy. I’ve spent that but over a period of some twenty years and filling 3 closets full of laserdiscs. Not for 3 seasons of one show.

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Similar things have happened with 80’s horror movies. Japanese discs command even more money for some reason. But nothing tops the insane prices for titles that came out at the very end.

The Season One TOS set has one thing never released on video elsewhere, the first all color broadcast of The Cage that was hosted by Patrick Stewart in 1988.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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My project is underway. I have secured VHS copies of the 79 episodes of the original series.
I have obtained the CBS Home Video set which I believe was issued through Columbia House.

I have a capture card and software and am able to preserve the episodes to a digital file. Because the source is vhs, I am not making huge files. The picture quality is never going to match blu-ray or even dvd. I’m more interested in watching with the (mostly) original audio. The episodes also end with the Desilu logos.
My blu-ray player is able to play it and actually upscale. I’m still watching a vhs capture, but it’s at least watchable.

Of course, as a previous reply mentions, laserdisc would be the preferable best source. I’d love to do that some day. If I ever obtain those, I’d likely do a larger capture to preserve the audio and better picture quality.

Other items on my “wish list”:

The ORIGINAL vhs issues.

There was a set of 5 vhs tapes called Television classics collection from 1980.
1). Vol 1 The Menagerie, part 1 / The Menagerie, part 2
2). Vol 2 Amok Time / Journey to Babel
3). Vol 3 Mirror, Mirror / The Tholian Web
4). Vol 4 The Trouble with Tribbles / Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
5). Vol 5 Balance of Terror / The City on the Edge of Forever

Particularly interested in volume 5 as the tape of City on the Edge of Forever has a music substitution. This was later corrected on the DVDs and blu-ray. Not sure if that volume 5 had the original song “Goodnight, Sweetheart” or not.

6). There was also a one-off Paramount Gateway VHS issue of the episode “Space Seed” which came out at the time of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

7). Also, it’s disputed this even exists, but I believe it does, a vhs issue of “The Cage” by Columbia House in the silver cardboard packaging, similar to the others, but with Pike and crew as artwork rather than Kirk and crew. I am certain, if it exists, it is only the black and white print.

As another reply mentions, I am no expert, but I understand “The Cage” has also been tinkered with. It was cut up and used to produce the two episodes called “The Menagerie” and somehow in that process some of the audio was re-done or doesn’t match the original. Sources online indicate the voice of the Talosian Keeper was messed with and the colorized version found on dvd doesn’t match. I read someplace on blu-ray the voice has been tinkered with even further, modulating it in an attempt so that the voice matches.

If anyone has access to these items on my wish list, please reach out to me. I’d LOVE to see them and preserve them. Will treat them as bars of latinum. I’d happily pay for postage and return them undamaged.

Somewhere at my parents house was (is?) a vhs tape with the Star Trek: From One Generation to the Next special hosted by Patrick Stewart where the full color version of “The Cage” was aired for the first time. If I come across that tape, you bet I’m going to preserve it too (I have seen it available online, it would just be cool to have my local station ID and commercials).

Live long and prosper.

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If i’m not mistaken before Columbia house you could only rent the VHS tapes of Star Trek. My Science teacher bought the rental tapes, in a less than legal way. A lifetime rental.

We watched the rental tape of the Devil in the Dark in class. The shows were aired in syndication in reruns for years by this time, where i saw every single episode even the reruns of the animated series.

The only Columbia tape i bought and still have is Encounter at Farpoint with the collector’s pin.

Would be awesome to get Star Trek from one generation to the next without burned in subtitles, but i’d take either. I don’t have the Japanese Laserdisc i wish i did.

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Quick update - I’m getting some captures I’m really pleased with.
I upgraded my VCR to a nicer model.
I also just got a Panasonic DVD recorder which can be used as a pass thru time base corrector.
It all works as planned, I should be able to get even nicer captures.

The episode “The Omega Glory” has the original Paramount logo after the Desilu studios logo at the end.

Also confirmed - episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Kirk is carrying a large phaser rifle. His old friend Gary Mitchell uses his ESP super powers to fling the rifle out of Kirk’s hands. On the dvd and blu-ray, you hear a large crash noise offscreen. On the vhs, there was no sound effect.

Would like to find a replacement CBS Home Video / Columbia House video of Assignment: Earth / Day of the Dove / That Which Survives. It’s the only one with 3 episodes on it. My vhs has a bad spot at the beginning.

Also still would like to get hold of the others mentioned in my previous post (above).
Cheers!

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Is the plan to ultimately create audio files which sync to the bluray picture?

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I’ve traveled down this research path for a little while now and as far as I can tell it essentially boils down to this:

The original video masters existed in a variety of masters tweaked and untweaked starting with the initial VHS and LD releases here in the US from 16mm sources. In Japan they got the big Log boxsets that added PCM mono but appear to be ports of the same USA LD masters otherwise and they all have apparently Season 3 opening credits. Some claim the Japanese LDs have spiffed up transfers and other say the opposite. In my experience most Japanese LDs do port US picture masters.

For the first DVDs of the two episodes per disc they went back to the existing masters and brought them into the digital realm-and also upmixed the original mono to 5.1. They also have 2.0 tracks but sadly these are not mono but Dolby surround versions of the 5.1 upmix. I thought I would have to track these down for a mostly untouched TOS but apparently the main plastic shell 2004 DVD set reused these disc masters with better bitrate and encoding-representing the final release of the 16mm sourced video editions that closely resembled the original broadcast appearance-albeit without the original mono.

When the remastered versions arrived on DVD and then HDDVD they lacked original audio and effects but were the first time we saw what the new scans and cleanups looked like. Finally the BDs arrived and added the original effects plus lossy mono but more clearly showed these were indeed 2006 era transfers riddled with DNR. That said they look very good and more like film-but they do look different to the earlier appearance and how the broadcast would have looked. The audio remix appears to have been done again with new effects and nowt like the original 5.1 on first dvds which merely spread around the mono.

The monos seem for the most part intact but you do notice some new effects here and there and some episodes have the new theme rerecording downmixed in mono for some reason. It is the first time since the final VHS run any form of mono is on a TOS release but infuriating they couldn’t just give us proper lossless mono and no DNR to make a definitive TOS BD release.
They really need to do it again and finally do it right.

I’ve often thought about getting the Japanese LD boxes but they are very expensive and I don’t know if the mono quality is worthwhile enough to justify the purchase. One could get the entire run on VHS on the 1994 blue spine ediiton for hifi mono but still the japanese pcm would be best overall. Has anyone been able to make a definitive list of all Blu-ray mono differences?

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This is “Star Trek” we’re talking about, and this is the Internet. I’m 100% sure there are people out there who have already collected those laserdiscs and digitized those audio files.

For instance, here is a thread from a Star Trek BBS discussing. Granted, the conversation was ten years ago, but there are people in it who are still active on the site.

https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/do-tos-laserdiscs-offer-digital-output.134979/

Before you go paying a thousand bucks for some laserdiscs, you should reach out to that guy ssosmcin and see if he is willing to donate his LD audio tracks to a fan preservation project. Or just post a request thread over there and see who responds.

Also note that from what they are saying over there, this still won’t be perfect, because the Japanese discs use the third season opening credits for all the laserdisc releases. So you’ll still need copies of the alternate mixes of the theme song. But that’s still a lot better off.

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Where resolution is concerned i think 2K is the sweet spot they’ve decided on for Star Trek television and 4K for the films. Although only the Kelvin films and Wrath of Khan have 4k masters, and Deep Space Nine And Voyager haven’t been scanned in 2k yet. Enterprise is close enough with 1080P filmout tapes.

I cannot see them going back and doing TOS again in 4K.

Has anyone listened to the analog audio off the US discs yet, analog audio can be quite good.

I’m tempted to get some of the episodes on Laserdisc just to listen to them.