End users are waking up to the idea that AI-based products can demonstrate practical use cases for ordinary people. About a month ago, I covered my early work upscaling Deep Space 9 for the modern era — and I’m not the only one working on this sort of project. I was inspired by the work of CaptRobau back in 2019, and now a new individual has launched a project of his own, this time to remaster Star Trek: Voyager.
Reddit user theboomsterz remastered the TV show using Topaz Gigapixel AI initially before switching to Topaz Video Enhance AI. He’s published a couple of clips to show the net effect, and it’s interesting to see them now that I’ve been working on DS9 for the past few months. One bit that theboomsterz states in his Reddit thread is that he’s run some of these episodes through the application more than once. I admit, I haven’t tried that, but there is a theoretical method for doing so — Topaz VEAI has recently added the ability to run a video file through without upscaling it, in order to remove noise and other visual artifacts. I haven’t tested the impact of running it 3-4x in a row, though.
Here’s a second clip. This clip implies that Voyager suffers from the same problem Deep Space 9 does — namely, it’s quite dark. I’ve been collaborating with a few interested readers who wanted to contribute to the Deep Space 9 project by looking for solutions to this issue.
It’s great to see more fans taking up this kind of work. ExtremeTech, again, does not condone piracy or working from downloaded torrents — if you want to perform this kind of upscaling work, you should work from the original DVD source — if only because, believe me, you’re going to want every single bit of detail you can scrape out of these DVDs. It doesn’t amount to nearly as much as you might hope.
The big question, of course, is whether these various fan efforts have a chance in hell of persuading Paramount to actually do the job itself. The answer to that is probably no. I really hate to type that, because Paramount is capable of doing some absolutely stunning work. Here’s a clip from the DS9 episode Sacrifice of Angels that Paramount remastered for the What We Left Behind DS9 documentary.
Nothing anyone is going to be able to do with source footage is going to approach this kind of fidelity, and each series of ST brings it own challenges. Voyager was apparently filmed in variable frame rate, which theboomsterz discusses as a challenging issue to deal with. I’ve been grappling with some issues myself, but I’ll drop an update on my own progress into a separate story.
Feature image from the first upscaled video clip posted above. Video by theboomsterz.
- Upscaling Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Using Topaz Video Enhance AI
- Modders Are Using AI to Overhaul Old Games Textures, With Gorgeous Results
- Fan Works to Remaster Star Trek: Deep Space 9 in 1080p HD, Using AI