Enterprise on Blu-Ray: First News Emerges

Just as news of the Star Trek: The Next Generation remastering project broke initially through a tweet from LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge), the first details of Star Trek: Enterprise's transition to Blu-Ray have emerged in a similar fashion.

Mike Sussman (long-term writer and producer on both Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise) revealed in a tweet on September 23 that another Star Trek series was destined for Blu-Ray:

Have it on good authority that another Trek series is making its Blu-Ray debut early next year...

In our exclusive interview with TNG Remastered's David S. Grant (VP of Multimedia, CBS) and Ryan Adams (Director of Multimedia, CBS) I asked David and Ryan if the series mentioned by Mike Sussman could in fact be Enterprise. Their response was encouraging:

David Grant: Well we’ll keep that… I’m not going to… Let’s just say there’s talk.

Ryan Adams: There are discussions happening as we speak. Discussions about other Star Trek entities, properties.

In a further tweet today, Mike Sussman confirmed these hopes, with some other very interesting information:

Trippin' down memory lane: just wrapped up an interview for the @StarTrek Enterprise season 1 Blu-Ray set coming next year. #itsabouttime

Fans have long since hoped that a release of Star Trek: Enterprise on Blu-Ray would come sooner rather than later as that series was already filmed in native 1080p HD, and as such requires no remastering (unlike the series that preceded it). CBS would now appear to be already prepping the bonus features (or VAM, Value Added Material) for the release of Enterprise. In light of their incredible work on Star Trek: The Next Generation Remastered VAM, it's highly likely that Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay Jr. will lend their extensive talents to the Enterprise Season 1 VAM production.

One potential obstacle in putting Enterprise out on Blu-Ray is that all the special FX sequences were rendered at 720p resolution, lower than the native 1080p live-action sequences. As a result, CBS would appear to have two choices - either up-rez the 720p to full 1080p or re-render the CGI sequences in native 1080p. In the case of Enterprise, an up-rez isn't necessarily a bad thing. Iconic shows such as Firefly and Battlestar Galactica have both used up-rezzed special effects in their Blu-Ray releases, and such a technique is often a creative choice to avoid the overly sharp VFX imagery which would result from a 1080p render. Doug Drexler (Senior Illustrator on Enterprise, but has also worked on Battlestar Galactica) sums it up nicely in an article he wrote some time back:

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about the fact that the CGI on BSG is rendered “only” at 720 and upscaled to 1080 for the final. Everyone should understand that render time was the LEAST important factor in this decision.

The fact is, at 1080, the CG just came out WAY too crisp. When intercut with the live action (or even composited), the CG popped off the screen and didn’t match the look and feel of the rest of the show. I’m sure all of you have had the experience of watching computer generated material on a flat panel or other high quality display and noticed just how razor-sharp it can look. It can often appear unnaturally crisp.

TrekCore will of course keep you up-to-date with all the developments of Star Trek: Enterprise's transition to Blu-Ray, so make sure you check back regularly for all the latest news!

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