Observations in TNG: "The Child"

A joint project with TrekCore, by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Here are some observations about sets, props and visual effects in TNG: "The Child" without a specific theme, and a comparison of the original TV release (TNG) with the remastered episode (TNG-R).

"The Child" HD Screencaps @ TrekCore

Description TNG Other caps Comparison TNG to TNG-R Description TNG-R
The footage of the USS Enterprise-D and the Excelsior-class ship (the USS Repulse) first appeared in this episode, although it was originally shot for "Encounter at Farpoint", where the Excelsior-class ship was the USS Hood. The same footage showed up in some later episodes, like "The Offspring" and "The Best of Both Worlds I". This shot looks particularly beautiful in HD.
According to the script of the episode, the name of the star seen in the screenshot is Alvacorn Major. A close-up of the star.
The labels on the hull of the shuttle were expanded since the model was last seen in "Coming of Age". This is the only episode in which footage of the miniature is inserted into life-action footage of the shuttlebay set.
Variations of the Type-7 Shuttle
The shuttlebay looks quite realistic in HD.

The complete shuttlebay set (in this case shuttlebay 3) is seen for the first time. While the set did appear in season 1 (including the large doors), it exclusively represented various cargo bays in the first season. The set insinuates that the outer hull in this area is vertical, although it is actually around 45°. Furthermore, we should be able to see parts of the Enterprise's hull from this perspective.

The pentagonal cargo containers seen in the background debut in "The Child". They are seen up close later in the episode.

An orange bag briefly appears behind Wesley at the bottom of this shot. The bag on the floor is no longer visible as the shot has been reframed. The power connections under the captain's chair are visible, however.
The holoprojector in Picard's ready room desk appears only in this episode and in "Loud as a Whisper", when Picard views an animation of the highly erratic orbit of the third planet in the Lima Sierra system.
"Loud as a Whisper"
The animation of the containment unit was replaced by a new CG animation. The LCARS display on the unit is different and now matches the actual containment unit seen in the cargo bay.
Another new shot of the USS Enterprise-D, created for the second season. This shot looks just stunning in HD.
The shot is lacking color. The maneuvering thruster, seen at the top of the screenshot, should normally be yellow. The thrusters are yellow now as they should be. Also note the high level of detail in HD.
The (in)famous skants DID appear in some episode of the second season. They were only worn by female officers and only with black trousers underneath, though. A close-up of the skant in HD.
This part of the junior crew quarters set was first seen in Spock's quarters in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". It rarely appeared in the first season. Like Kirk's quarters aboard the USS Enterprise. It contains the bed. The aft part of the set, containing the "office" was seen more often in season 1, for example as Data's quarters. One notable appearance in season 1 was in "The Naked Now", where the set was used as the SS Tsiolkovsky crew quarters. It was also briefly seen in "Code of Honor" where the set represented Geordi's quarters.
"Star Trek II"

"The Naked Now"
No changes

"Code of Honor"
In season 2, the captain's chair has new armrests and there are additional tape details behind Picard.
The Evolution of the Enterprise-D Bridge

"The Neutral Zone"
A close-up of the changes in HD.
In season 1, the sickbay set served double duty as the observation lounge, explaining why the port door was attached to the corridor set in season 1. For season 2, a new observation lounge was built which was no longer connected to the corridor set (it was built on a completely different stage, namely the one that also housed the bridge and ready room set) so a short corridor with beige walls is seen when the door port observation lounge door opens in this shot.
"Coming of Age"
No changes
Rebuilding the observation lounge made it possible to include two large viewscreens on both sides of the set. In the past, paintings normally hung here. No changes

A rare stardate with 4 digits after the decimal point is seen on the viewscreen.

Mike Okuda: "I always thought that the numbers after the decimal were fractions of a 24 hour day, meaning that .1435 would be about 3:20 in the morning. Which is really early in the day for a doctor's appointment..."

In the remastered version of the episode, the LCARS display looks slightly different, the text has stayed the same though.
The footage of 'aucdet IX appeared as several other planets in later TNG episodes, including Gagarin IV in "Unnatural Selection", Galorndon Core in "The Enemy", Barzan II in "The Price", Jouret IV in "The Best of Both Worlds I" and Bilana III in "New Ground".
Re-Used Planets in TNG
The planet, which most likely was realized as a matte painting, stays the same in the HD version of the episode.

The static background of the Federation Medical Collection Station behind Hester Dealt is interesting for several reasons:

Mike Okuda: "Hester Dealt's background was a cool photo backdrop of some kind of cyclotron. Richard James found that one."

Many years later, the same backdrop appeared in the Earth 2 episode "Better Living Through Morganite II".

"Earth 2"
No changes
The fabric used for the "frame" of Hester Dealt's hazmat suit was re-used countless times on TNG. The 21st century military uniforms seen in "Encounter at Farpoint" and the Ferengi headgear, seen in "The Last Outpost" and "The Battle" were made from the same fabric. The whole suit will reappear in TNG: "The Hunted", used by Roga Danar.
"Encounter at Farpoint"

"The Last Outpost"
A close-up of the material in HD.
The medical carts in this screenshot appear for the first time on TNG. They would regularly be seen in sickbay until the end of the series. A similar cart appeared on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-A in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". No changes
For the first time in the series, somebody is seen wearing special sickbay garb, although the color and structure of the fabric would change over the years. No changes
The large medical monitor in sickbay was completely redesigned for the second season.
No changes
Worf's make-up has changed noticeably between the first and second season. He is also wearing a new sash with new insignia to his now yellow uniform.
The Evolution of Klingon Foreheads

"The Neutral Zone"
No changes
Picard wore a similar medical probe in "The Battle".
"The Battle"
A close-up of the device in HD.
A similar shot, filmed through the corridor window of the senior officers' quarters, was seen in "Justice".
No changes
The tactical console LCARS display. The text on the display is legible now. It reads "target acquisition" and "Doppler compensation".
The microscope seen behind Pulaski was rented from Modern Props. The prop appeared countless times over the course of the next 17 years and was modified for the Enterprise episode "Stigma" where it appeared as a neutron microscope. No changes

The alien alphabet seen in the background looks familiar.

Mike Okuda: "The alien alphabet was Bandi, from 'Encounter at Farpoint.' Rick Sternbach designed that for me, way back during the pilot. You might see it on Groppler Zorn's desk. Elsewhere in the classroom, you might catch a glimpse of an alphabet based on the original Star Trek title font."

Rick Sternbach: "I don't recall the Bandi script exactly; most one-off alien written languages, at least ones that I drew up, were basically a set of scribbles or more formal strokes in a consistent style. I never got that deep into the detailed workings or origins, just searching for an interesting look."

The script was also seen in "The Last Outpost" as the Tkon script. A celestial globe, like the one sometimes seen in Picard's quarters and ready room, is also seen in the background.

Speaking of script, the Latin alphabet appears in the same font as the classic Star Trek main title.

"Encounter at Farpoint"

In the remastered version of this shot, lighting equipment is visible at the right edge of the screen.

Note that at 1080 lines the visible portion in season 2 is wider (1458 pixels) than in season 1 (1440 pixels). We cropped it to 1440x1080 (because the EAS scripts and layout require exact 4:3 aspect ratio) in a way that the equipment on the right edge is visible.

"The Last Outpost"
The hardware part of the holographic game was originally created for "When the Bough Breaks" where it is seen on Aldea.
"When the Bough Breaks"

Like in "When the Bough Breaks", the three-dimensional shapes displayed by the game had to be recreated for the remastering of the episode.

Several toys, including small robots, can be recognized in HD on a shelf in the background. The red and blue ones seem to be Horikawa Star Striders, while the small one to the right of them is a Tomy Chatbot.

A diagram of various aquatic lifeforms first appears in this episode.

Rick Sternbach: "Denkir IV was a habitable planet from a story I had started toying with in 1974, inspired roughly by Arthur C. Clarke's 'Second Dawn.' His intelligent critters had two forelimbs and a single bounding tail limb, but I went back to a 'normal' pair of back legs. The evolved creatures in the schoolroom diagram were not the land dwellers, but a separate offshoot that developed in the seas. No specific reason to show the aquatic cousins; just seemed interesting. I patterned the present-day aquatic Denkiri after dolphins, probably because I like cetaceans."

The lower aquatic forms were given strange in-joke names, mostly from anime characters and mash-ups of pseudo-Linnean species labels.

The display was later seen in the school room aboard the USS Enterprise-D in "The Offspring", "Reunion", "Imaginary Friend", "Rascals" and "Masks". It also appeared in the biolab in "New Ground" and in the classroom aboard Deep Space 9 in "Cardassians".

"Imaginary Friend"
A close-up of the chart in HD.
The climbing frame in the classroom was colorfully repainted and appeared in the classroom in episodes such as "Hero Worship" and "Imaginary Friend".
"Imaginary Friend" HD
Miss Gladstone's science uniform has only one hollow pip, meaning she is no officer but rather an enlisted member of the crew. This is the first time someone is seen wearing only a single hollow pip. A close-up of the pip in HD.
An animated sequence of the containment module. The animation of the containment unit was recreated for the remastered version of this episode.
Similar building blocks in a different color appeared in Crusher's quarters in "Lonely Among Us" and in the starboard lounge in "Justice".
No changes
The bathroom area of crew or guest quarters is seen for the first time since "Symbiosis" after it made its debut in "Too Short a Season". Between the first and this appearance of the part of the set, a sink has been installed, as can be seen behind Counselor Troi.
"Too Short a Season"
No changes
Glassware like this is seen for the first time in this episode. Glasses of this type would continue to be used on TNG during the next six years. No changes

A close-up of the sensor strip on the rim of the saucer section, above the Ten Forward windows.
The Saucer Rim on the Galaxy Class

Mike Okuda: "I made the sensor strip model for Rob Legato and Gary Hutzel. It was a cool idea, but I don't think it was successful in conveying the location of Ten Forward on the saucer rim."

The HD version doesn't reveal much more detail.

A small pyramid shaped game is seen on some Ten Forward tables. This game is called "Pair Match" and was made by Bandai.
Present-Day Devices as Props

The season 1 3-D chessboard can be seen in the background. It still features the two special game pieces shaped like animals standing on a ring.

A close-up of the game in HD.

The wall panels in Ten Forward are commercially available acoustic panels, here still in their original orientation on the starboard side until they will be rotated in season 5.
Acoustic Panels as Wall Coverings in TNG

"Ensign Ro"
The containment unit was turned on its side, expanded and reappeared as the "Egg" probe in "Evolution".
The HD version allows to recognize more details of the probe.

This console later appeared again in the transporter room (a redress of the USS Enterprise-D transporter room) aboard the USS Enterprise-A in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". The silkscreened 24th century buttons were still present in that subsequent appearance.

Mike Okuda: "I used similar silkscreened buttons on the tabletop for the Obs Lounge, although they weren't always there. Also used similar technique on the small 'doorbell' panels after the first season, as well as the small vertical button panels used on the side of the Obs Lounge wall screens. I might have done some of these as early as the first season, although I did not do this for the doorbells until the second season."

"Star Trek V"
No changes
Thin, pentagonal cargo containers are seen for the first time in this episode and would appeared in countless more episodes featuring the cargo bay. They are also seen in several places in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier", including the Paradise Bar and the roof of the turboshaft of the USS Enterprise-A.
"Star Trek V"
No changes

"Star Trek V"
Similar decorative light fixtures are also seen in Picard's quarters and quarters of other high-ranking guests and in the various guest lounges seen in season 1. No changes

The data about the plasma plague contains several in-jokes. Maurice Hurley, Jaron Summers and Jon Povill wrote the "The Child", Rob Bowman directed the episode. Rob Legato and Gary Hutzel were visual effects coordinators on TNG.

The text also contains two errors as "northern" is spelled "norhtern" and the word growth appears twice ("with growth growth proceeding exponentially").

Furthermore we can see that the central part of the LCARS display is slightly inclined relative to the buttons around it and to the console.

Both mistakes still appear in the remastered episode. The slope of the display was not fixed either.
For the 24th century, this scanner seems rather anachronistic with its seven-segments displays. It was previously seen in "Coming of Age".
"Coming of Age"
No changes

This is the only time integrated window blinds are seen in crew quarters on TNG.

Mike Okuda: "In 'The Child,' the blinds were closed specifically because the story required the ship to be at warp, and the budget wouldn't cover the number of bluescreen warp streak shots that would be required for a scene of that length."

No changes
A perspective like that is only possible by filming through the window. No changes
Ian Andrew Troi transforms into a glowing light. The apparent camera movement in this scene was achieved with the pan & scan technique.
Pan & Scan Effects in TNG
When Ian Troi turns into the ball of energy, the moment of his transformation was smoothed out greatly. In the original episode, the shot of the humanoid Ian Troi lying in bed simply fades to the shot of the ball of energy. In the remastered episode, the depression in the pillow caused by Ian's head slowly disappears and the blanket sinks down onto the mattress.
Planetary graphics, similar to the one Picard views on his desktop monitor, appeared in several first season episodes.
"When the Bough Breaks"

"Skin of Evil"
A close-up of the monitor in HD.
Science Station Tango Sierra is a re-use of Regula I as seen in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", which itself is a modification of the Orbital office complex, seen in the first Star Trek film. The footage of the station does not appear in the second Star Trek film, so this was either newly shot for this episode or unseen footage of the model, filmed for Star Trek II was used.
Redresses of the Orbital Office Complex

"Star Trek II"
There is something odd about the HD version of the station. It is possible that it is upconverted SD footage with retouched lighting. Note that the shuttle hangar is missing the characteristic X-shaped lighting.



Thanks to Aatrek for finding the sandbag and power connectors, to Rob for a correction about the shot of the Excelsior-class ship, to Joe Giannetti for reminding us of the TOS font and to Björnar Dohm for the hint about the look outside the shuttlebay door.


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