Had there been an HD release of the early seasons of this show?
I'm rewatching it from the beginning and have trouble tolerating DVD quality in this new age of HD. Everything looks blurry and... bad.
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No. According to the show's Asst. Producer, the original shows were filmed in 16mm film stock. After "Nemesis", the crew switched to 35mm with the final 2 seasons being filmed directly onto filmless HD cameras.
Q. ...What has been the biggest change (in a logistical way) from COTG to SGU?...
JGL: Good question…their have been a few logistical things to speak about. Firstly, from a logistical stand point, we used to shoot SG-1 on 16mm film, then in season 3 I think, we went to 35mm film and then in season 8 we went to the Sony F900 HD cameras and then on the last couple years of Atlantis, we went to the Panasonic HD cameras and now on SGU, we are using the Genesis HD system. You must realize that there are so many idiosyncrasies with working with each camera system. We had to adapt to each one both on set and in postproduction. All of the above had some pitfalls. The best one to work with thus far is the Genesis system. Although expensive to rent, the picture looks fantastic, as close to a film look as you are going to get in the digital domain. Film still is from a look perspective and in my opinion, the best looking format to shoot on. We extensively tested 9 different camera systems over a two-day period prior to settling on the Genesis system for SGU. The only reason that we didn’t go film is financial. Film still is roughly $18,000 more per episode then digital as you have all the developing and transferring of the film to do after it is shot.
The short answer is that there appear to be no current plans to upscale the footage from the early seasons into HD quality. Not only would it be insanely expensive (Star Trek:TOS cost about $1M to remaster each episode) but with the waning popularity of the show and the fragile financial state of the rights-holder, there seems to be little or no appetite to turn these into something more watchable.