Ryan Adams and David S. Grant from Multimedia at CBS Television Distribution are two of the key figures who have been working for years behind the scenes to get Star Trek: The Next Generation's HD remastering project off the ground. I was fortunate to catch up with David and Ryan who both took time out of their busy schedule to answer questions on TNG Remastered and the future of Star Trek in high definition.
Ryan Adams & David S. Grant:
TNG Remastered Interview, Part 3
Interviewed by Adam Walker for TrekCore.com
TrekCore: Moving onto the other angles you’ve been taking such as the cinema screenings. I know that Fathom’s Season 1 screenings were a huge success with fans and I understand that there’s a similar event planned for Season 2. Could you tell us which episodes will be featured? Do you think this is going to be a regular occurrence as the project continues?
Ryan Adams: I know that Ken Ross and Jeff Nemerovski who really drive the theatrical screenings, and Mike and Denise – and all of us have been talking about them – we’re finalizing that right now, so I don’t want to speak out of turn in case we go in any different directions. But as far as I know, Season 1 was a success in regards to the theatrical screenings, so we’re doing Season 2. If Season 2 is a success, who knows? It would be nice!
TrekCore: We’ve had a lot of European fans asking if the screenings will ever hit Europe. Are there any plans for this or is it just an American and Australian deal?
David Grant: I don’t know. We’re not privy to that information yet. It comes out of New York.
TrekCore: Regarding the audio on the remastered release - How was it originally recorded? Is it contained on the negatives you are unboxing, or is it on a separate tape somewhere? If that’s the case is there a possibility of a missing audio track at some point?
David Grant: Well the audio goes back to the original quarter-inch audio that was done on the set. Then, there have been mixes done throughout the years. There was a stereo mix, they did a 5.1 mix and stuff. We’ve gone back to the stems, the individual stems, on all the different elements and recreated it for 7.1. And then, from there we can derive a 5.1. So it’s sort of re-posting the audio also. Nothing has been missing so far on the audio. Ryan and I both give our great applause to the original editorial team, because a lot of times when you’re done with the show, you just box it up quickly and you don’t do a good inventory because not a lot of people are going to get into it. This show did an amazing job of the inventory and trying the best they could to keep everything where it was supposed to be and an inventory of it. We still have huge battles – visual effects were used in [an] episode, and then [might be found in another] one – but we have a whole team deciphering where all of this stuff is, kind of learning the language that they did 25 years ago. With the audio, it’s been, you know, we haven’t missed anything.
TrekCore: Do you have to re-edit the audio as well? Or are you synching up to the original audio track to guide the visual edits?
David Grant: Yes, it’s just the original tracks. And they go back and they do a restoration of it and we do a whole new mix of it. And Ryan and I go in on Fridays and we review the mix. So there’s not really – there’s no editing – it’s coming off all of those original network stems.
TrekCore: I see, so in terms of sound effects and things like that, they’re all contained on the original stems?
David Grant: Yes, because just like we’re trying to keep the picture as original as it was for the fans, we’re trying to do the same for the audio too. We’re not adding effects, we’re not taking effects out – we’re leaving it and it’s just … it sounds cleaner, it’s more restored.
TrekCore: We had a very interesting question from a fan regarding the possibility of isolated scores in future blu-ray releases. When “The Twilight Zone” was released on blu-ray, they equipped the sets with a separate score-only track. Is that a possibility for TNG? Would you consider it?
David Grant: Yeah, it’s probably more in the DVD world – we don’t know. It’s funny, because we did the remaster on “Twilight Zone” too. Yeah, we did it for CBS and – I can’t remember the company that put it out – but anyway, that’s another show. But yeah, anything’s possible – if there’s a cry for it from the fans – I wouldn’t be surprised if we did it.
TrekCore: Is there a chance that Star Trek: Enterprise might be released on blu-ray some day soon? Mike Sussman tweeted the other day that he knew of another Trek series coming to blu-ray soon, is that by any chance Enterprise?
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.
TrekCore: Last time we heard from you guys at Comic Con, DS9 was officially “on your radar” for remastering. Ryan gave a beautifully cryptic quote that CBS were “considering it”. How are plans moving along? We have a constant stream of emails, with hundreds of fans asking about it.
Ryan Adams: See, well that’s wonderful! Here’s the thing, David and I would love nothing more than to segue from TNG into DS9 and all of them to be honest with you. We’re having a blast doing this. And when I see that we engage with the fans, I love the fact that they’re writing in. In order for us to go to John Nogawski, Scott Koondel – the decision makers, let’s call them – and get an approval for this, we need that kind of stuff behind us. We need to be able to say “The fans are screaming for this. This is what they want next.” And like we said at Comic Con too, it would really depend on – because let’s be honest, it’s financial as well for the studio – on how well TNG does. And since it’s doing well thus far, David and I are still very hopeful that [DS9] will be one of the next big projects that we do. So our hope is “yes”, but we still have to get the decision makers to say yes.
TrekCore: So there’s been no official green light yet?
Ryan Adams: No, there’s no official green light on DS9 yet.
TrekCore: Fans need to keep writing then, that’s good to know!
Ryan Adams: Keep writing, and keep buying TNG.
David Grant: The more you buy TNG, the more you get DS9! Put it that way! Laughter
TrekCore: We’d love to know if there are any future plans for bringing TNG in HD to iTunes?
David Grant: That comes out of our digital distribution division, so I can’t answer for them. I don’t know what they’re doing.
TrekCore: What have been some of the lessons you’ve learnt along the way with this project, and what are some of your personal best and worst moments?
David Grant: Laughs Well, they’ve all been good, it’s just levels of goodness.
Ryan Adams: The best was getting the “yes”! You know, to do this project. Because David and I, we were pitching this when we worked under the Paramount umbrella, and then when we came under the CBS umbrella with the split that happened several years ago, we continued pitching this. So when we were finally told “Yes, you can move forward” – that, by far, was the best moment for me.
David Grant: Yeah, and it was very funny, Ryan and I talk about this a lot. We were with John Nogawski, the President of Distribution, and Scott Koondel, the President of Distribution Sales, and they kinda gave us a “yes”, and we hopped in the car, Ryan and I called each other and were like “I think we just got a yes”
TrekCore: It was great when I spoke to Craig [Weiss], he said the best moment for him was getting the “yes”, the worst moment for him was getting the “yes”!
Ryan Adams: Very well put!
TrekCore: It’s been a pleasure talking to you both, I know you have to run off to color correction now…
Ryan Adams: It was great talking to you too, hopefully we’ll talk again when we’re doing Season Three!
David Grant: Yes definitely, it’s been great and we hope to talk to you again soon.
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