Thursday, 6 December 2012

TNG season 2 bluray round up, part 2

Last time I looked at the official descriptions, trailers, and release events, now I'm going to see what some of the people working on the restoration have to say about the newly released TNG season two bluray set. With a few sample screenshots to show their work:

Blu-ray Producer-Director Roger Lay, Jr. on the hopes to exceed expectation after the tremendous first season release:
The big challenge for season 2 was the fact that we delivered such an amazing set for season one which was so well received by fans and praised across the board by reviewers and the industry. So we knew the bar was high and we had to deliver something that was not only on par with season one by offering fans as satisfying an experience, but we also needed to surprise the viewers as much as the content on the first one did. The first-ever extended cut of an episode with "The Measure of a Man" and the cast reunion special "Reunification" became high priority pieces for us in order to not only fulfill fans' expectations for this set, but also shatter them and give them something they probably never even thought they'd get to see. Along with the documentaries and the other special features, I also wanted to produce commentary tracks for a couple of episodes on this set, which was something we did not get a chance to do for the season one set
An impressive effects shot from Time Squared.
The extended cut of The Measure of a Man was initially planned to be a standard def transfer from the VHS they were basing the edit on, but the team decided to get a bit more ambitious:
Originally the plan was to include the episode in that rough standard-def format from the VHS copy, but then we all started thinking that the negative to those deleted or trimmed scenes should technically be in storage with the rest of the cans from the episode. So our fearless leader, Ken Ross at CBS Home Entertainment, agreed to the idea of trying to find the original negs for those trims and edits in the hopes of restoring the extended cut in true HD. And thanks to the efforts of the entire team it became a reality
One of the new scenes from The Measure of a Man.
They were also lucky in having originally composed music already existing for the extended scenes, as CBS's Ryan Adams explains:
..the scenes that created the extended version primarily were extensions of scenes that were pre-existing. So we were able to go back and use, by going back to the original audio tracks, and able to use that audio that was originally scored for those pieces.

The Measure of a Man is also one of the episodes in this set to feature an audio commentry, as Roger Lay, Jr. describes:
Melinda's background as a lawyer was key to the creation of the episode and she shares her story in great detail. It's actually quite an inspiring tale since she wrote the episode on spec and had a friend's agent submit it the producers of TNG, which led to her start as a TV writer. So you get to hear that in the commentary track along with some great insights from Mike and Denise regarding that 23-year-old VHS tape that served as the basis for this groundbreaking extended cut of "The Measure of a Man.”
The Borg engage the Enterprise in Q Who?
Due to the massive workload on the TNG restoration CBS Digital have not in fact been working on season two, which was given to another vendor, working with of TNG's original effects masters: Dan Curry, David Takemura, and Doug Drexler. Meanwhile while CBS continue to work on season three. The Okuda's maintain consistency across the series in their roles as consultants in the process. CBS's Craig Wiess explains the extend of work between the two teams:
...we do collaborate on sharing elements and stuff. Sometimes we might have a film plate that they need and vice-versa, so we share that. But for the most part it’s their artists working on that season, and us here. We don’t have our guys over there and vice-versa, it’s pretty separate.
Both teams have faced certain challenges recreating effects. Wiess on the complexities of recreating effects to match the tecniques of two decades ago:
...something as simple as what would be a phaser beam, there’s a lot of R and D time and work that went into getting the right look and building a system that is consistent throughout. You know, sometimes the simple things are even more difficult because you have to go back and recreate what was originally done, but recreate that same flavor.
In fact in some cases they did indeed use the original techniques, as CBS's Eric Bruno explains:
Replicator, you know where you make all the food. We were creating that element, and through some research we found out it was basically a tube of water with sparkles in it swirled around. So we went on to our stage and got a big giant vase, filled it with water, bought a bunch of sparkles from a local store and we shot it! That’s what we’re using for all the replicator shots. Our new shot isn’t CG, it’s faithful to how they did it 25 years ago.
Indeed Mike Okuda as praise for Dan Curry in being able to recall how many of the original effects were achieved:
Having someone like Dan Curry there who actually remembers, “Oh yes, we did this with a pom-pom” or “We did this with liquid nitrogen” or “We did this with the paint box” gave us an enormous leg up on a lot of these things.
A stunning recreation of the original Borg interior matte painting from Q Who?
Mike Okuda on matte paintings, particularly the impressive recreation of the interior of a Borg cube made for season two:
A lot of the original matte paintings – not all of them, but a lot – were done by the legendary visual effects company Illusion Arts by the great Syd Dutton and Bill Taylor. A lot of those were done old-school style, that is – composited in-camera from the matte painting – and in many cases those original film elements still existed, and that was the case here. Usually when we have something like that, we will simply clean up the shot a little bit and use it. However in this particular case, because there was that very dramatic pull back, at the beginning of the shot, they were quite close to the painting and as a result you could see some of the brush strokes. Now this was not at all a problem in standard definition – even though the brush strokes were there, you didn’t really notice them. Now suddenly in high definition, it became an issue. Dan [Curry] suggested – and CBS concurred – that this was a case where it was appropriate to try to recreate the sense of the original but make it look better in high definition.
Going back to the original negatives has been a gold mine for finding new behind the scenes footage. As Lay explains, this includes a whole new gag reel for season two:
We've gone back to the original film elements and created a true HD gag reel rather than just utilizing an old tape master from a wrap party. There's a lot of great content and this is one of the luxuries the decision to rebuild the show in HD from the original camera elements offers you -- you get to find all these missing gems and share them with the fans in the best possible sound and picture quality.
Data and Geordi as Holmes and Watson in Elementary, Dear Data. Showcasing the costumes and sets in HD.
There is a wealth of information and featuring highlighting the work in TNG season two. Continue reading after the jump for links to many more interviews and previews:

The CBS Digital and FX Guide features give particularly detailed incites into all the technical and effects work that has gone into the restoration.

Interviews

Previews:




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