Last week we posted a small selection of tantalizing HD preview stills from the upcoming release of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 on Blu-ray. With the July 30 release date fast approaching, we're once again putting the spotlight on the gorgeous remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation with another collection of high definition images from the 4th Season set for our readers to enjoy.
The selection showcases a variety of shots from a number of different episodes, including "Family", "Reunion" and "Galaxy's Child". As usual, we have a full breakdown of the new shots, side-by-side comparisons with the SD DVD and extended analysis on the remastering. Enjoy!
|Original SD (DVD)||Remastered HD (Blu-Ray)|
|Many episodes in Season 4 suffered from washed out color due to the limitations of the videotape resolution. The rescanned 35mm camera negative looks vibrant and fresh after being color timed by CBS Digital's Colorist Marvin Hildebrandt. There's some nice bluescreen compositing on display in this shot from "Family", with care taken to reproduce the reflections of Earth in the observation lounge table. Fans can also relax as there's a healthy amount of grain present with little DNR visible.|
|The iconic matte painting of the Picard Family Vineyard in La Barre, France by Illusion Arts' Syd Dutton always managed to amaze me when watching the series on TV and DVD, but remastered in high definition it simply blows me away. The improved color timing of the lush green vineyard and the blue skies gives the painting such a boost in realism. Tiny buildings in the background all of a sudden resolve into an ancient French chateau surrounded by 24th century architecture. Truly breathtaking! ("Family")|
|Certainly the shot which we've received most questions about, the Enterprise docked at McKinley Station in Earth orbit from "Family" has always been overly bright and toy-like in appearance. Modern Video's HD remaster certainly improves over the standard definition copy, retaining the original NASA photography of Earth that was used back in 1990 and giving us some wonderful detail in the model of McKinley Station. However, to my eyes the ship is still a touch too bright and could have really benefited from some more shading and blending to better integrate the Enterprise into the shot and give the shot a greater sense of realism.|
|The trio of Talarian ships from "Suddenly Human" look fantastic composited into this shot. The detailing visible on the models is terrific - tiny little windows can now be distinguished, giving us a better reference to determine a scale for the ships. The vessels' hulls now have a clear texture and configuration which was totally obscured in standard definition. Great work on display here - as well as the other shots of the Talarian ships we've shown (in our previous S4 images article)|
|This shot of Starbase 133 from "Remember Me" was originally reused from Starbase 74 in the first season episode "11001001". Modern Video have taken the original assets from CBS Digital (who remastered Season 1) and thrown in a nice bit of variation in the planet to distinguish both starbases from each other. The new green-hued oceans add an alien feel to the world, a departure from the standard Earth-like appearance. An effective and welcome change!|
|More color timing magic on display! Many of the dimly lit scenes in crew quarters (like this one from "Legacy") would be especially affected by the limitations of standard definition and made even worse on DVD on account of the compression techniques used. This unique shot of Riker's quarters bathed in green lighting looks particularly impressive in high definition with some great color contrast between the flowers on the table, Riker's uniform and the green background. Shots like this are almost as exciting for me to see and compare as the visual effects due to the major improvements in clarity and color timing.|
|This has to be one of my favorite angles of the 4-foot Enterprise model - it has a commanding presence and the rich blue glow of the ship's large arboretum viewports (under the main shuttlebay) really draws the eye. There's some beautiful compositing work on display here from Modern Video as the Enterprise is bathed in a nice amount of shadow, going nose-to-nose with the three Klingon vessels in the episode "Reunion". It's in keeping with the style Eric Bruno and his team at CBS Digital have established for the VFX compositing and a testament to the fact that the two companies worked closely to ensure consistency.|
|Another nice use of blending and shadow to better integrate the often overlit 4-foot Enterprise model into the scene. This shot from "Galaxy's Child" features the original physical model of the spaceborne lifeform built by Tony Meininger shot from three differing angles, and it holds up pretty well! We can make out "veins" on the organisms (or at least some indication of a circulatory system) and some very cool skin textures which are finally visible in HD.|
|A second shot of the rather unique spaceborne lifeforms seen in "Galaxy's Child". The asteroid field in high definition is a reuse of the original element and holds up very well. Yet again I'm impressed with the look of the spaceborne lifeforms in HD - the surface texture on the physical model looks fantastic and really shines on the Blu-ray! "Junior", the younger lifeform in the middle of this shot, was originally created using CGI by Rhythm and Hues. For the remastered Blu-rays, the team have rendered a new Junior and the results are rather convincing!|
In addition to all 26 original Season 4 episodes, the Blu-ray set comes with a host of newly produced bonus features, including:
- In Conversation: The Star Trek Art Department
- Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek – The Next Generation (2-Part Documentary)
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentaries
I'm sure everyone has seen the trailer many times by now, but just in case you want a re-watch:
Let's hear your thoughts on the new images! McKinley Station yay or nay? How do the Galaxy Child aliens look to you? And what about that beautiful rear-angle shot of the 4-footer in Reunion?
If you haven't preordered the set already, what are you waiting for!? Head over to Amazon with the links below and lock in your copy... it's time to set a course for Season Four!