In a breaking news update from the What We Left Behind documentary, the upcoming look back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the team behind the project has announced another round of fundraising efforts to expand the quantity of high-definition Deep Space Nine footage in the final project.
After raising over $645,000 dollars for the project in early 2017, allowing the documentary team to conduct interviews across the United States, expand the project to include new graphics, new writers-room discussions, and of course, license the use of Deep Space Nine episode footage for the project — the most costly part of the project — it was finally confirmed that a portion of the DS9 footage would be scanned for HD presentation earlier this year.
But that fundraising effort only resulted in about five minutes of HD footage to make its way to the documentary — compared to more than fifteen minutes of standard-definition footage — and producer/director Ira Steven Behr is once more asking fans for help to get the last of the low-quality episode clips upgraded to high definition.
While the team showcased a tiny clip of HD footage from “Emissary” at their STLV panel earlier this month — one which was not able to be shared online, and was only able to be seen on a large projector screen in Las Vegas — the first comparison of SD-to-HD Deep Space Nine imagery was revealed in today’s update video, from the famous ‘root beer’ scene in Season 4’s “The Way of the Warrior.”
New $50 backers for this HD-upgrade push will be eligible to receive collectible What We Left Behind challenge coins, and higher-level $500 backers will be personally credited in the documentary itself as specific scenes can be ‘sponsored’ in the final project.
As you may notice in the ‘backer credit’ illustration and HD framegrab of Garak above, there’s some additional picture information on the sides of the image, allowing the scene to be presented in a 16×9, widescreen format.
What We Left Behind producer Kai de Mello-Folsom told us that while a hypothetical full-series remaster may be presented differently if it ever comes to fruition — remember, CBS Digital maintained the original Next Generation 4:3 ‘full frame’ format — the documentary project will be showcasing the HD Deep Space Nine footage in widescreen.
While this may result in some minor cropping on the top and bottom of the frame, it will include ‘overscan’ content — that extra picture on the sides — which weren’t seen in the classic television or DVD presentation. In addition, for the later seasons, a special contributor has even been helping out with the DS9 episodic footage.
“We have been consulting with director of photography Jonathan West,” de Mello-Folsom told us, “who confirms that, at least from Season 3 on, camera operators were framing ‘action-safe’ for widescreen — in order to future-proof [the episodes] for eventual, possible, widescreen release.”
To be clear, this is not an indication of how any (still hypothetical) CBS-lead remaster might look; the documentary team is rescanning this footage on their own without the supervision of CBS Digital, who managed the Next Generation project. This HD content is only for the documentary and would likely be re-assessed if a formal DS9 remastering would ever occur.
No formal ‘stretch goal’ has been set by the What We Left Behind team for this new fundraising push, but we did learn that the team is working to include in scenes from across all seven seasons of the series — which means taking care of research and film transportation costs, scanning the film elements and cataloging, conforming, recoloring, and licensing that rescanned footage… plus taking care of any visual effects which may need to be handled in those clips.
(It’s a complicated process!)
The new fundraiser campaign is being managed through DS9Documentary.com — to contribute, follow this link!
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In addition to the renewed fundraiser effort, the team revealed that longtime Emmy Award-nominated Star Trek composer Dennis McCarthy, along with Star Trek: Enterprise composer Kevin Kiner, have signed on to score the documentary. McCarthy, of course, is one of the most prolific composers in Trek history, scoring over 250 episodes (as well as the Star Trek: Generations film) including 76 episodes of Deep Space Nine.
Finally — in an update that was revealed to backers over the weekend, and formally announced in today’s update — the biggest question about What We Left Behind has been answered: when will this film actually get to be seen?
The first public screening of the documentary will take place in Los Angeles on Friday, October 12, followed by the East Coast premiere in New York City on Sunday, October 14.
(The planned premiere in London is not yet scheduled, but we hear it’s tentatively planned for later in October — details on that, along with plans for streaming and Blu-ray/DVD releases, are still being finalized.)
Keep your sensors trained on TrekCore for all the latest news on this exciting project!