Twilight? Did someone say that some sparkly vampires were in the house yesterday at Comic-Con? Well, they had nothing on Picard, Riker, Troi and the rest of the Enterprise crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 25th anniversary of which was feted in style with a PACKED panel devoted to the lengthy, ambitious and ultimately rewarding process of transferring TNG to high-definition for the July 24 release of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One on Blu-ray.
The TNG panel consisted of Robert Meyer Burnett (moderator), Roger Lay, Jr. (Producer/Director, Blu-Ray), Mike and Denise Okuda (Project Consultants), David S. Grant (Vice President, Multimedia, CBS Television Distribution), Ryan Adams (Director, Multimedia, CBS Television Distribution), Craig Weiss (Creative Director, CBS Digital), Eric Bruno (Lead Compositor) and Wade Felker (Film Transfer Technician). Every 15 minutes during the panel, a new, never-before-seen image was transmitted via Star Trek's twitter (@StarTrek). David Gerrold, creator of Tribbles, sat in the front row. As the event commenced, Mike and Denise Okuda admitted they never thought the high-def transfer would happen because of the costs involved, but here we all are. TOS was a far easier process; they had six reels, all cut on negative, but TNG wasn't cut on negative and had 10 layers of film. To bring the TNG episodes to high-def, they were finished in 1080i.
As video footage compared and contrasted the broadcast and Blu-ray versions of images and scenes, Burnett noted that TNG never had black, or never seemed to, but that now, with the Blu-ray, black existed and you can really notice the detail and the color. Burnett also commented that, "For the first time, you can actually see the color of the uniforms." He added that, “Everyone has been cosplaying wrong for the last 25 years.” Fans chuckled at footage of LeVar Burton’s first VISOR test. Mike Okuda said that one of the most important aspects in bringing TNG to Blu-ray was making sure none of the intent of the original filmmakers was lost; even if they didn't agree with the original intent, they wanted to make sure it was as accurate and true to the original as possible. "It was very important to recreate what they did,” he said. The Blu-ray shows a lot of existing elements, actually. They just stabilized and re-layered everything to be faithful to the original element and to make it more beautiful. Nothing was changed; it's all the original photography. Mike Okuda said that, make no mistake, TNG was cutting-edge at the time, especially when it came to the use of planets and phasers in filming.
The panelists went on to reveal that Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Season Two will come out on Blu-ray during the fourth quarter of 2012 and that fans can anticipate seeing a TNG cast reunion on that season-two Blu-ray. The reunion will mark the first time the entire cast has been seen on film since Nemesis. Burnett joked that the Blu-ray “is better than Nemesis.” Roger Lay Jr. noted that there will be hours and hours of extras and special features… some of which will be teased during the TNG in-theater event set for July 23. When it was further revealed that a sneak peek of the TNG cast reunion will be part of the July 23 event, fans went wild.
QMX (Booth #2944) debuted the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, which is at the prototype build stage. It is expected to be released in September, with a limited edition of 50 pieces. Trek fans stopped in their track when they saw it, and we’re not exaggerating; it's pretty breathtaking. QMX also debuted a TNG keychain and a Starfleet Academy Class of 2258 ring, both of which are not on sale yet.
At the Lightspeed Fine Arts booth (#3745), Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis signed autographs and took pictures with fans. As always, Spiner and Sirits had a blast interacting with everyone in attendance.
Robe Factory (Booth #834 and #229) sold their Star Trek Towels and Star Trek Robes. The towels are $24 each, while the robes go for $60. Each comes in Command Gold, Ops/Security Red and Sciences Blue.
Quote of the Day: “Going through the boxes (of TNG footage) in the vault is like a scene from Indiana Jones.” – Roger Lay, Jr. talking about the surprises to be found amidst the wealth of TNG footage while working on the TNG Blu-ray project.
And our Fan of the Day for Thursday was Garth Bauman dressed as Data!
And now for a preview of today’s events:
LeVar Sirtis and Brent Spiner will be at the Lightspeed Fine Art booth (#3745), greeting fans and signing autographs.
Star Trek Comic-Con exclusives will be available at the booths of several Star Trek licensees. Follow @StarTrek for announcements about products and booths.
To keep tabs of all the Star Trek action at Comic-Con, be sure to follow us at www.twitter.com/startrek. And check back with StarTrek.com tomorrow, as we’ll recap Thursday’s Trek happenings and preview what’s in store on Friday. Click HERE to read our day-one recap.