It's well-known that (especially in the TNG era), shots of ships and planets were frequently reused since they were expensive to create. Many matte paintings were reused with minor (or no) retooling, but especially the same shot of the Enterprise coasting along or banking or going to warp appears many times. I also imagine that establishing shots of DS9 are a likely candidate.

What is the single effects shot used the most times?

Fine print:

Usage in title sequences or in "last time on" sequences, or sequences representing the ostensibly same event (e.g. time loops, flashbacks) don't count. I'm asking about reuse of the shot for cost-saving reasons, not story reasons.
Also, it definitely need not be the entire final shot. New compositing, scaling, or altering speed of play, of the same original take is still reuse.
Finally, even though background star fields are reused like crazy, they are out of bounds. That would be too tedious and uninteresting.


1 Answer 1


Could it be the Enterprise in orbit, moving from left to right above this episode's planet? In TOS at least. Probably in TNG there's a shot used much more, since that show simply had more episodes.

This shot is usually seen at least 4 or 5 times every episode: after most advertising breaks, and often when the scene changes from planet to ship. The sceenshots here are from the remastered version, but in the original I believe they used the exact same footage and simply composited in a different matte painting of the planet.

enterprise in orbit 1

enterprise in orbit 2

enterprise in orbit 3

  • 2
    I wouldn't count those. Those aren't the original effects from "Star Trek." Those are the newer CGI effects that they used to ruin the original series on DVD.
    – JRE
    Aug 5, 2018 at 8:47
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    @JRE , The remastered shots are the same angle, motion, duration, etc, just made pretty through CGI. If you can screencap the same or similar shots from the unremastered version, please feel free to edit and replace my pictures in my answer. Aug 5, 2018 at 8:54
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    "Pretty" is debatable. And, the new CGI doesn't match my memories. Though that may be because the memories are old. I don't have source to view the originals. All I have is a set of DVDs with the mangled CGI.
    – JRE
    Aug 5, 2018 at 8:59
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    @JRE The originals all looked like Gas-giants. Generic Planet 6 on Memory Alpha Aug 5, 2018 at 11:44
  • This seems fairly convincing since it may even occur multiple times in the same episode? Aug 6, 2018 at 16:13

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