Star Trek: Voyager fan taps AI for unofficial 4K remaster

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 30, 2020, 6:03 pm CDT
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Star Trek: Voyager fan taps AI for unofficial 4K remaster

A number of beloved older shows are doomed to languish in low-resolution quality due to costs associated with properly remastering them for modern displays. In addition to reprocessing raw footage from these shows, many would require entirely new computer graphics for an official remaster, making the cost astronomical for lengthy series. That hasn’t stopped a number of fans from using the next best thing: artificial intelligence.

The latest classic TV show to get an unofficial (and quite limited) remaster is Star Trek: Voyager, the series that premiered in 1995 and ran for seven seasons, ultimately ending in 2001. Though you can stream the series on Netflix and purchase all seven seasons on DVD, you shouldn’t hold out hope for an official HD or 4K remaster of the series.

YouTuber Billy Reichard has published several short clips from Star Trek: Voyager on its YouTube account; they have been unofficially remastered to 4K resolution using an application called Gigapixel AI. With this, anyone can upscale the individual frames pulled from a video; these frames must then be recompiled into a video with the audio added back in.

Though the process is not terribly complicated, it is very demanding on one’s hardware — the average gaming laptop, for example, may require multiple weeks to upscale a 40-minute video’s frames to 4K resolution, which is why some unofficial remasters are done at a lower 1080p resolution.

Though there are limitations to using AI for upscaling and improving lower-resolution images, the results are very consistent. The software adds in some details lost at a lower resolution, offering not just a resolution boost, but also an overall quality improvement. Sadly, the entire series itself is not available as a remaster, unofficial or otherwise.


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