Remastered Original Trek HD Aspect
TrekMovie.com – CBS are giving themselves options by creating all the new CGI effects in HD 16:9 wide-screen. However no decision has been made on whether they will ever actually see the light of day. The issue is that the live action shots are all in 4:3. Therefore in order to make a fully wide-screen version of the show, the live action shots would have to be cropped using what is called ‘pan and tilt’. For now the HD masters of the show are ‘pillar boxed’ (black bars on the left and right) so you see the full frame live action and the extra CGI shots are cropped to fit.
This article pretty much confirms what I would have assumed anyway. It makes sense that they cover their options by doing the new shots with both 4:3 and 16:9 in mind. As they state, though, to go 16:9 with the actual episodes themselves, they’d have to crop down to that ratio. I’m for keeping the original 4:3 ratio as it was intended, but I think it’d be interesting for them to do an alternate video stream (an “alternate angle” in DVD terms) with the 16:9 as well, on whatever HD format on which they eventually end up released. While they’re at it, they could use seemless branching and alternate angles to keep the original effects in the 4:3 version as well. I know it sounds like lofty wishes, but so far they seem to be approaching this project with the right intentions and genuinely respectful effort. Who knows, perhaps we finally can get an “ultimate” version of something the way us fans really want it. Either way, it’ll be a while (and understandably so – it’s a lot of effort to do these right).