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Old November 21 2010, 06:40 PM   #1
Gotham Central
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Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

As one of the first all CGI tv series created for American TV, it seems like it would be perfect for remastering.

It would be great to see what could be done with the show with modern CGI.

I'm sure that there are some technical difficulties in making a transition...or conversion to HD.

I suspect that like most of the modern Trek series, much of the CG work was added to the show in video...thus making it much more expensive to clean up.
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Old November 21 2010, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Well, to bring it in to HD and have it look decent, it'd require more than just remastering it. It'd need a whole set of new effects, as was done with TOS-R. And if that's the question, then yes.

A thousand times, yes. I've often thought of doing some scenes myself just as a personal project. Especially after The Lost Tales showed how damn pretty it would be (scroll down on this page for some HD screencaps)

There are two main problems: The first is money. Babylon 5 is not, and never will be, Star Trek. It's doubtful Warner will ever decide to pony up the money to have somewhere between 110 and 130 or so (depending on if they decide to do the movies and Crusade as well) get their CGI effects completely redone.

The second one is that, while they already have digital HD copies of the live-action footage that they made for the DVDs and Sci-Fi Channel reruns, they may not have it for any live-action shots that included special effects (from set extensions to CG aliens to PPG shots). Babylon 5 hasn't had the best luck with the archives (many of the original CG files were lost in storage only a few years after the show ended, and I believe rats got into the original film from "The Gathering"), and if those shots are unavailable, then the whole project would just be a waste of time, because you'd still be stuck with a massive quality loss in shots combining live action and visual effects even if anything that was pure live-action or pure CGI looked perfect.
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Old November 21 2010, 07:31 PM   #3
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

I am one who found the CGI in Babylon 5 already totally ugly when the show first aired, so yeah, it should be remastered.
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Old November 21 2010, 07:49 PM   #4
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

No. It's fine the way it is.
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Old November 21 2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

It would be great to do so but unless you can wave a magic wand and fix all the issues that David mentioned above I wouldn't bother. SD DVDs upscale just fine on my HD tv, and the original CGI works well with the era it was shot. It's not like the FX shots hampered the pacing of story telling that today's audiences demand, as some consider the case with TOS-R episodes.
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Old November 21 2010, 10:33 PM   #6
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

The original CGI, though intensely dated, would still work fine if it hadn't been cropped to fit in widescreen for the DVDs. "The Gathering" and "Crusade," which were released in their original 4:3 full screen, look fine.
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Old November 21 2010, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Recently JMS commented about this subject.

On Aug 9, 8:40=A0pm, Matt Ion <soundy...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 09/08/2009 2:35 PM, Immortus45 wrote:
>
> > =A0 =A0A long time ago I heard that the CGI files of B5 are missing and
> > that's why it can't be converted to high resolution. My assumption was
> > that they had been accidently erased or destroyed or something, but
> > somewhere online I read a message from someone who said something to
> > the effect that Warner Brothers has massive archives and it's possible
> > that they're still there somewhere perhaps misplaced in some forgotten
> > corner on zip drives or something. =A0Does anyone think that's possible=
,
> > or is that just wishful thinking ?
>
> I suppose anything is POSSIBLE. =A0It's also possible that they're sittin=
g
> on wiped disks or drives that are still recoverable.
>
> Whether anyone has the inclination to go looking, however...

Doesn't matter if any of them exist, they could never be upgraded to
HD or anything close to that. They were produced on antiquated
equipment at a resolution that's ridiculous in comparison to what's
currently being done now.

And honestly, what you'd pay to try (and fail) at up-resing them would
be nearly what you'd pay to render everything fresh.

(Haven't been around much because the ear infection which turned into
a throat infection which turned into a bronchial infection turned into
walking pneumonia, so I've been spending most of my time trying to get
better -- which I'm finally starting to achieve -- and any time at the
computer, which wasn't much, went to work. I want to be sure I'm well
and able to travel for the Toronto convention later this month. Last
time I had a bad ear infection it prevented me from getting on a
plane, and I had to take a train from LA to Vancouver. It was no
fun.)

jms
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Old April 20 2011, 08:44 AM   #8
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

I agree 100% with the 4:3 comment by Harvey. It would've looked just fine if they'd realeased it in it's broadcast form.
I'm wondering, is there still a place on earth where the series is still AIRING in 4:3 (and NTSC)? We could use a good clean capture for our personal archives. The DVDs are so inconsistent that every time an FX shot comes up it takes me right out of the story.
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Old April 20 2011, 09:13 AM   #9
Harvey
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Is Babylon 5 still airing anywhere in the United States? It seems like a series mainly seen on home video to me. That's where I saw it for the first time.
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Old April 20 2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Should it be remastered? Yes.
Will it be remastered? No.
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Old April 20 2011, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Many of the shots looked worse than first season TNG. ut i can't see them getting the money for it.
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Old April 20 2011, 01:02 PM   #12
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

G2309 wrote: View Post
Many of the shots looked worse than first season TNG. ut i can't see them getting the money for it.
Probably because TNG was all model work. However, the video quality of TNG generally is appalling, and yet there's talk of releasing it on Blu-ray.
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Old April 20 2011, 01:35 PM   #13
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

When the show premiered, nobody said "wow, that's bad CGI!" They said "WOW! You can do that with computers!?!? That looks GREAT!"

When I watch a TV show I put my head into the time it was made. B5 is an archeological gem of early TV CGI, and I love every minute of it, no matter how much better CGI has gotten over the intervening years. I'll expect current-quality CGI in any NEW B5 productions that may happen, but I'm perfectly happy with the originals as they are.
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Old April 20 2011, 01:52 PM   #14
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

David cgc wrote: View Post
The second one is that, while they already have digital HD copies of the live-action footage that they made for the DVDs and Sci-Fi Channel reruns, they may not have it for any live-action shots that included special effects (from set extensions to CG aliens to PPG shots). Babylon 5 hasn't had the best luck with the archives (many of the original CG files were lost in storage only a few years after the show ended, and I believe rats got into the original film from "The Gathering"), and if those shots are unavailable, then the whole project would just be a waste of time, because you'd still be stuck with a massive quality loss in shots combining live action and visual effects even if anything that was pure live-action or pure CGI looked perfect.
That is my understanding. As far as I know the original footage that was combined with CGI, and also live action leading into and out of CGI shots is also missing. Although there are a few B5 experts around here who might know better.
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Old April 20 2011, 01:57 PM   #15
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

resonator79 wrote: View Post
The DVDs are so inconsistent that every time an FX shot comes up it takes me right out of the story.
I've never understood this comment. Can you not watch Classic SciFi like Forbidden Planet or War of the Worlds? Can you not enjoy Blake's 7 or Space 1999?

The only thing that takes me out of a good story, is subtitles and Silent Films, where you have to concentrate on reading the text (And I realize this is my own failing)
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