Observations in TNG: "The First Duty"

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

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

"The First Duty" HD Screencaps @ TrekCore

Description TNG Other caps Comparison TNG to TNG-R Description TNG-R
A shot of the bridge. This is one of the most obvious uses of upconverted footage, necessary because the original film was not found in the archives. Note how the color was corrected and some noise reduction was applied, though.
The graphic displayed on Troi's bridge console can be seen well in this screenshot. The graphic hasn't been changed since the beginning of the series so far. In the first few seasons, Riker's console displayed the same graphic, for "New Ground", a new graphic showing the USS Enterprise-D was created, however. The graphic on Troi's console will be changed a little later this season as well. By the time of "The Inner Light", it displays the same graphic as Riker's updated console.
The Evolution of the Enterprise-D Bridge


"The Inner Light"
A look at the graphic in HD.

"New Ground"
The USS Enterprise-D drops from warp.
Enterprise Flybys in TNG and TNG-R
As the original footage of this shot could not be located on film, it had to be recreated using CGI.
The console behind Crusher was originally created for Data's psychotropic stability examination seen in "The Schizoid Man".
"The Schizoid Man"
An HD close-up of the monitor.
The USS Enterprise-D in orbit of Earth. This shot of the planet has not been used before on the show. A new shot of Earth was used for the remastered episode.

Starfleet Academy is seen for the first time in this beautiful matte painting that incorporates live action footage filmed at the Japanese Garden of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys. Notice how the flag is flying at half-mast, a nice detail.
Re-Used Planet Sets
Locating Starfleet Buildings in San Francisco

Examining the two caps provided here closely, one can see that Wesley is exiting the screen to the right in the first screenshot. He is right in front of the bush and the tree at the right edge of the screen. In the second screenshot, a Starfleet officer (not a cadet) wearing a standard red uniform can be seen exiting the screen to the left. This is actually Captain Picard. This shot was filmed for the last scene in the episode when Picard and Wesley say goodbye to each other. As will be seen later in this article, this is a different take of the same scene that appears at the end of the episode.

The great shot in HD.
A white flag with the Starfleet Academy logo can be seen behind Admiral Brand. This is the only time this flag is seen. A better look at the flag in HD.
The Starfleet Academy logo is seen up close a little later in the episode. In "The First Duty", it famously still contained wrong Latin. The motto of Starfleet Academy was incorrectly given as "Ex Astra, Scientia", instead of the grammatically correct "Ex Astris, Scientia". When the logo re-appeared in the second season of Voyager and the fourth season of Deep Space 9, the mistake had been fixed.
The Emblem of Starfleet Academy
The mistake was also fixed for the remastering of this episode, as can be seen a little later. It is seen twice on a viewscreen a little later in the episode, both times the correct Latin motto was used. The logo also appeared in other places in this episode, however, like on the glass panels seen here. In these cases, the logo could not be fixed and "Ex Astra, Scientia" can still be read.
The lamp on Wesley's desk is similar to the countless lamps seen on the large desk during the Starfleet Command meeting towards the beginning of "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country". The skyline of San Francisco in the background was realized using a painted backdrop.
"Star Trek VI"
The set in HD.
Two models are on display in Wesley's dorm room. One of the two, the model of the Apollo Command/Service Module would later re-appear in Commodore Forrest's office in ENT: "First Flight", while the other one, a model of the USS Enterprise, appears only here.
NASA References in Star Trek

ENT: "First Flight"
HD close-ups of the two models.
As mentioned before, the scenes set on the grounds of Starfleet Academy were filmed at the Japanese Garden of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, where outdoor scenes on Rubicun III in "Justice" were filmed as well. The comparison screenshot from that season 1 episode shows the same building in the background.
The location in HD.
According to the script of the episode, "one or two statues or busts of alumni" are seen on the Academy grounds. One of the busts can be seen here.
The wall behind Picard was also seen in "Justice".
No changes
The animation shows how Nova Squadron's accident near the moons of Saturn happened. The Academy flight trainer, which only appears here as a graphic, will be seen up close a little later in the episode. The reconstructed graphics in TNG-R.
This is the first time the 24th century United Federation of Planets flag appears on Star Trek: The Next Generation. A blue Federation flag was last seen on Spock's coffin in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". The 24th century flag would be seen in many future Deep Space 9 and Voyager episodes and would also show up in one Enterprise episode.
The Evolution of the Federation Emblem

"Star Trek II"
The set and the flag in HD.
Robert Duncan McNeill, who plays Nicolas Locarno in this episode, would later go on to play Tom Paris on Star Trek Voyager. When a photo of Tom Paris as a cadet was needed as set dressing for Admiral Owen Paris's desk, a publicity photo from this episode, showing Nick Locarno, was used.
Biography Inconsistencies

VOY: "Pathfinder"
An HD close-up of Locarno/Paris.
Among the spectators during the hearing are two Vulcan cadets. Both are also seen walking in the background in the scenes set in the Starfleet Academy gardens in the episode. The Vulcans in HD.
Courtroom bells like the one seen here have appeared in other Star Trek episodes, like TOS: "Court Martial", TOS: "Space Seed" and DS9: "Rules of Engagement". The bells used in all three series looked different, though.
TOS: "Court Martial"

DS9: "Rules of Engagement"
The bell in HD.
In the first five seasons of TNG, a turbolift access was located behind this door in main engineering. In the sixth season, however, a Jefferies tube access was located here, as can be seen in the screenshot from "The Quality of Life".
"The Quality of Life"
No changes
The window in Wesley's dorm room is identical to the one later seen in Picard's room on Starbase Earhart in "Tapestry".
The set in HD.
We can't read the (wrong) inscription of the Academy emblem in SD. The fixed Starfleet Academy logo with the correct Latin motto can be seen for the first time in the HD version.

A microphone boom can be seen in the top right corner of this screenshot. In SD, the text displayed here can only be made out with great difficulty.

The metallic pieces of wall decoration to the left and right of the view screen would go on to appear in several later episodes, like on Kataan in "The Inner Light" and in a bar on Torman V in "Chain of Command I".

"The Inner Light"

"Chain of Command I"
In HD, everything is perfectly legible. No microphone is visible.
This female alien cadet who is seen in the background on the Academy grounds and up close here seems to be of the same race as the inhabitants of Peliar Zel II who appeared in "The Host". This is one of the rare cases where they are seen without their elaborate headdresses, however.
"The Host" HD
The depth of field doesn't allow to recognize the alien woman better in HD.

This sequence features the only appearance of the Academy flight trainer model especially created for this episode.
Federation Shuttlecraft

Saturn and its moon Titan are also nicely seen in this episode. Saturn previously appeared in "The Best of Both Worlds II". The planet looked vastly different in that episode however.

"The Best of  Both Worlds II"
The recomposed sequence in HD.
Here, the Starfleet Academy logo is seen in detail. As mentioned before, in the original version of the episode, the motto is "Ex Astra, Scientia". The grammatical error was fixed for the remastered version of the episode and the logo now reads "Ex Astris, Scientia".
The rings of Saturn and the Academy flight trainers in orbit of Titan can be nicely seen in these two screenshots again. The recomposed sequence in HD.
Another comparison screenshot from "Justice" shows what the same building in the background looked like 4 years earlier.
The location in HD.
This shot of the USS Enterprise-D in orbit of Earth is new as well. It would reappear a few episodes later in "Time's Arrow I". Another shot with new footage of Earth.
An animation of the spectacular Koolvord Starburst is displayed on the desktop monitor in Picard's ready room in this series of screenshots. The graphics were newly created for TNG-R and exhibit more detail.
Captain Picard can be seen entering the screen from bottom right-hand corner here. Maybe this is an unused take that was originally filmed to show Picard approaching Boothby, as he does twice in the episode? The shot in HD.
Seen on the table in the background is a Terrace board game, also in Ten Forward since a little earlier in the fifth season.
"Power Play"
An HD close-up of the game.
Wesley's dorm room features something rarely seen on Star Trek: an "old-fashioned" hinged door with a mechanical door handle instead of automatic sliding doors. The door in HD.

Several red PADDs all containing the same white text on a black background are seen in the hearing room in this episode. Both Wesley Crusher and Jean Hajar have a red PADD while Nicolas Locarno has a gray one displaying the same text.

Both the red and gray PADDs seen here, still displaying the same four columns of text, would go on to appear in several season 6 and 7 episodes of TNG, no more in a judicial or engineering context.

"The Outcast"

The four cadets and their PADDs in HD.

"Chain of Command I"
Up until now, red PADDs have been used in two occasions: Both Dexter Remmick ("Coming of Age") and Nellen Tore ("The Drumhead") used red PADDs when questioning people, so it makes sense for red PADDs to appear in this similar context. Red PADDs were also used as engineering PADDs by Geordi La Forge, however.
"Coming of Age"

"The Drumhead"
The Starfleet Academy logo with the grammatically incorrect motto can be seen once more here. The motto was not corrected in this shot.
Two more busts of famous Starfleet Academy alumni are seen behind Picard here. The busts in HD.
Small details in the background matte painting can be nicely seen in this zoomed-in shot. We can even recognize buildings on the opposite shore (Presidio) in HD.
The Starfleet Academy flag seen flying at half-mast here also displays the Starfleet Academy logo. An HD close-up of the flag.
This is the shot of Picard and Wesley parting ways mentioned earlier in the article. If one compares Wesley's position behind the tree on the left here and in the shot at the beginning of the episode, one can see that two different takes were used. Proof for that are the different positions of all the other cadets, the different shadows cast by the plants and an additional bush in front of the building on the left which only appears in this one use of the matte painting. Some parts of the building on the right also seem a little brighter in this shot.
Earlier in this episode
The final shot in HD.


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