At one point it looked like we would never see a HD version of DS9. With the cost of converting Standard Definition to High Definition and the fact that a lot if not all of Deep Space Nine Visual Special Effects where shot on tape and not film and have been lost. (with the VFX being shot on tape, this is not able to be converted to HD as the quality of tape is far lower than film.) Also toward the end of DS9 run, they moved towards using more CGI in these VFX, the digital files for these VFX have presumed to have been lost.
However that could change. Ira Steven Behr the former Executive Producer of Deep Space Nine is make a documentary about the show, and how it has gone from the black sheep of the Star Trek family to one of the most beloved.
The documentary titled “What We Leave Behind.” will feature footage from the show. As the show is currently in standard definition it would not look good with everything else filmed in HD. So Ira Steven Behr been able to convert five minutes of footage into HD, and this looks stunning. The footage is also in widescreen instead of the standard 4:3 which was broadcast at the time.
Don’t fear the footage that has been converted has not been stanched to fit today TV standard of 16:9. At the start of season 3 of Deep Space Nine, the cinematographer’s working on the show started to shoot the show in widescreen but still framing everything for 4:3 aspect ratio. The idea was to future prof the show. (While 16:9 Aspect ratio was not yet available for home TV’s it was coming and the cinematographer’s knew it.) unfortunately this means that if a HD version of DS9 is realised the first two seasons would be in the 4:3 aspect ratio like the TNG remastered realise.
Now I know what you are asking how can this documentary give us a HD version of DS9? In short it can’t, but it proves that it can be done. As I have stated before the VFX shoots can’t be converted but CBS still has the original film of the actor of the acting in a scene that had VFX added in post production. This also incudes the early shoots with a physical models.
As for the full on CGI VFX, a lot of the artist that worked on these shoot kept hold of the files, although not all of them was kept. For the files that was it would only need a little work to touching up the scene for HD and re-render them out. As the files that have been lost this would have to be recreated from scratch and far more incentive to do. But it can be done.
What are the chances of getting a HD Version of Deep Space Nine?
At the time of writing this post is not likely to happen anytime soon due to cost of conversion and redoing the lost VFX, But I would not write it off just yet. Even though “What We Left Behind” is still in production, there seem to be a lot of antiapation for it.
Fan have been asking for a HD version for years and the documentary could push CBS into doing it, but it also depends on how the Remastered version of The Original Series and The Next Generations have done in sales. Here hoping that we final will get a HD version.
For those intreated in Documentary you can visit the website here.
(as of posting this post Ira Steven Behr is looking for help to raised funds to get another ten minute’s of footage converted for the Documentary information on how to do this on the website along with a video showing a still of a shoot that has been converted and comparing it to the SD version.)