Trojan had a lot of postproduction in 1080 to paint out camera faults. I don’t think any Dave Dwarf has masters in excess of 1080i, and it’s unclear how much rushes/raw stuff gets archived these days – with no physical medium to transfer to and high wrangling/preservation costs, it’s possible that no true RAW footage has been archived.
In terms of shots that only exist at a max of 1080p, I’d expect that they wouldn’t take a hit so much as the rest of the footage would look much sharper. It definitely wouldn’t be on par with instances in the HD version of Star Trek TNG where the raw footage of certain shots couldn’t be found, necessitating the use of the umpeenth-generation videotape version with its almost early Red Dwarf levels of blurry greyness.
The X-Files has the same kind of problem, only worse because that show was shot in a way that permitted the HD version to go 16:9 (seasons 1-4 were 4:3, 5 and on were 16:9) with actual expansion of the sides and minimal cropping on the top and bottom. However when they weren’t able to find original film were certain shots, that meant not only would they have to flip back to the grey blurry SD version, they’d have to blow that up about 200% to crop it into 16:9. Not only does resolution half all of a sudden, we blow up it up to reach the edges of the screen so that we’re seeing the limits of the resolution literally twice as easily. It’s a double degradation of picture quality and resolution, compared to TNG’s single level of quality drop.
But here’s the beauty part.
The majority of what got cropped are special effects shots created in SD in post-production. So you’d have instances where what you’re supposed to be seeing is the money shot of a three-part episode where this giant fucking UFO with Close Encounters-levels of lights flies over Mulder and it looks worse than the DVD.
A hypothetical 4K Red Dwarf would be a breeze compared to that. The quality drops would be only down to Blu-ray-quality 1080p, no multiple generations of picture degradation involved. That’s significantly less distracting.
Although I think the 4K would be an utter waste anywhere outside the location filming.
The X-Files has the same kind of problem, only worse because that show was shot in a way that permitted the HD version to go 16:9 (seasons 1-4 were 4:3, 5 and on were 16:9)
I worded this poorly. I meant that the original broadcast switched to 16:9 in the fifth season, not that the Blu-ray did. The Blu-Ray was in 16:9 from the beginning.
Still, switching to producing the show in 16:9 in the late ’90s alongside filming much of the 4:3 seasons almost totally 16:9 safe (with the notable exception of the pilot) shows a lot of foresight on their part on the direction television was eventually going. It’s one of the few 16:9 conversions that (A) doesn’t feel utterly pointless and (B) actually leaves you with more picture than you started with.