Hello, and Welcome to Startrekhistory.com
It’s hard to believe, but the original Star Trek – the
television series that went where no television series has gone before – is
over 50 years old. This website is about its production, and includes
rare behind-the-scenes photos, documents, and interviews.
Open Call For Original Series Film Trims and
We like to have fun, but there is a
serious side to this site as well.
Where are they now?
The television series shot with 35mm motion picture film and to ensure their longevity, the
original negatives of the series are kept in
a climate controlled storage
facility deep within a converted salt mine in the central part of the United
There is, however, a part of Trek history
that is being lost as you read this–a visual record of the
behind-the-scenes aspects of the series.
The Trek Film Clips
First, some history. As Star Trek was nearing the end of its
production, Gene Roddenberry answered the fans calls for Star Trek
to them single frames of film called “film clips.” These
clips were trims from the work prints of the episodes that were normally
discarded. Roddenberry’s company, Lincoln Enterprises (also
called Star Trek Enterprises) packaged and sold these trims in categories
such as planet interiors, planet exteriors, Kirk, Spock, aliens,
etc. Fortunately for us, anything and everything that went before
the cameras wound up in these packages, so mixed in with the “normal” episodic
film clips are frames that show studio personnel, pre-special effects
work, etc. From a historical perspective, these clips are excellent
sources of information as to how The Original Series (TOS) was produced.
If you have any of these clips you should be aware of their longevity
and what you can do to preserve the images.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Unlike today, negatives of film footage not used in the actual
episodes were not saved. Unused footage from these
negatives was eventually considered garbage and were discarded.
Many work prints from the negatives have survived to this day, and many have been lost. All will eventually be lost to the ravages of time as the work prints (prints made on Eastman
Kodak color film manufactured prior to 1982) have begun to deteriorate
due to the instability of the color dyes. Specifically, as the yellow and cyan dyes
degrade the magenta layer becomes more prominent, or as we call it the "Magenta Scourge". Numerous
professional attempts to chemically restore the faded films of that era have thus
through the use of software manipulation of digitized images, it is
possible to regain or restore much of the original color fidelity of
the restoration is performed before the film has deteriorated further and there's nothing left to restore.
Before & After The best way to illustrate how the original luster of these
fading clips can be restored is to show some compared examples.
Do you know what episode this is from? Probably not, it was a scene
filmed but never shown from the third season episode, Elaan
Another example. This clip hasn't succumbed to the magenta tint yet,
but it has plenty of stains and scratches.
This is a behind the scenes special effects shot. The gray circle
has the dual purpose of providing an exposure for a spot
meter and is also used in color
timing. Notice also that the interior lights of the model are not
lit. This is to prevent heat build up and use of the lights. The slate,
also known as the clapper, is shown in this image being held in front
of the camera lens. It contains the scene, take and other information
and is typically photographed before principal photography begins. Model maker Richard Datin is shown here looking at the models support base.
This next clip literally had the scene number and take scratched into
the film. Editors would do this to quickly find a particular
Some of you may own black and white film clips. In the process of shooting
films on a day to day basis reviews were done of the previous days'
work. These segments of film are referred to as dailies or rushes.
They are very rough cuts of film without sound tracks or effects
of any kind. They are printed in black and white as it takes less
time and costs less then processing color prints. Dailies are viewed
daily early in the morning by the producer, director, cameraman to see what has been accomplished and what else needs to be done
for the completion of a particular scene.
Dailies are often referred to as rushes because of the haste with
which they are assembled for viewing. In the trek blooper reel there
is a shot of Shatner addressing the camera saying, " I want you
to know in the rushes that I am doing this shot under protest".
If you happen to see this scene in color and with sound it is because
it was saved specifically for the Christmas party blooper reel by the editors.
Titan's 10th anniversary issue of Star Trek magazine published in the UK.
“My favourite feature this issue is probably our revamped Flashback feature, which covers the making of the ST: TOS episode ‘Space Seed' and features some great behind the scenes visual effects images. A guy called Curt McAloney has digitally restored them and they look terrific.”
Chris Teather, Titan's Editorial Director
Restoring Your Faded Clips We've restored many clips from contributors like
yourself. If you want to have your clips digitally scanned and restored,
this is the process.
First, for us to restore the images on your clips, they need to qualify
as unique and/or special (e.g., behind-the-scenes, special effects,
scene and/or anything else that you would not find in a broadcast episode).
If you think your clips qualify, you need to contact our restoration
expert Curt via e-mail. After
you have contacted him, and if he determines that your clips are unique,
he will e-mail you with an address to send the clips to. You may send
your clips insured, but be aware of the post office’s regulation
for insuring packages. Once he receives the clips, they will be handled
with lint-free gloves and be inspected, then cleaned with PEC-12, an
archival emulsion cleaner, which will remove the embedded dirt, stains,
grease pencil marks, etc. The clips will then be scanned on a high
resolution scanner and imported into a computer for processing. After
scanning, the clips are returned to you. When the clips have been restored,
you will be contacted via e-mail. Depending upon your needs, you will
be sent either low resolution or high resolution images or both. Remember,
we do not need your clips after we have scanned them, therefore there is no
incentive for theft.
FAQ's What will the restoration cost me?
Other than your postage and insurance, all of this will cost you nothing.
Normally this would cost hundreds of dollars for the time and effort
spent for restoration.
What's the catch?
When you send startrekhistory.com your clips for restoration, you are
agreeing that the restored digital images are property of startrekhistory.com
and can be used as startrekhistory.com sees fit, such as posting on
the internet or used for any other venture without compensation to
you. Considering you get your restorations for free, we feel this agreement
is mutually beneficial for both parties involved.
Please be advised that printing services are not offered. You will
be able to print pictures from the digital files provided to you, or
you can take them to a professional photo finishing service. You should
be able to print pictures up to 8.5 x 11 inches.
What about rolls of film? Can you transfer those to a digital format so that I can watch them on a DVD? You bet! If you have a roll of Star Trek film that you’d like transferred to a digital format, we’d be happy to take a look at it. Be advised though that, similarly as for the film clips discussed above, it needs to qualify as unique and/or special (e.g., special effects, a missing scene, an outtake, and/or anything else that you would not find in a broadcast episode). If you think you have such a roll, definitely contact Curt via e-mail and he will send you an address to send it to. We will examine it and see if it's unique and worth transferring. Of course, if you send the roll to startrekhistory.com for transferring, then you agree to allow us to use the resulting digital movie in any capacity as we see fit. We will return the original roll to you along with a DVD that can be played in any home player.
How can I find out when the site is updated?
Click on this e-mail link and ask to be put on our mailing list.