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Old April 20 2011, 02:02 PM   #16
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Pingfah wrote: View Post
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.
How about using CGI models of the actors as with Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy? Even more expensive, but hey, we're talking silly money anyway.
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Old April 20 2011, 02:58 PM   #17
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Forbin wrote: View Post
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.
Totally agree with that.

BAck in the day B5 was groundbreaking for a number of reasons - in the US that included the story arc idea. But another of the bigger more well know areas is the extensive use of CGI. If it wasn’t for that the thing would never have been made in the first place. (The whole 5 years trying to find a home because of trek is a bit of a red herring – it was FX costs that scared off the execs)

It sounds a little weird saying it but it is kind of historical and what would actually be achieved by replacing it!? Besides if you modernised the CGI then many of the sets, alien prosthetics and even dialog would then seem really out of place.

The only bit I wouldn’t mind seeing ‘fixed’ is the live action/cgi composited shots as some of them can be pretty rough on the eyes, but that’s highly unlikely.
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Old April 20 2011, 03:24 PM   #18
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Triple-F wrote: View Post
BAck in the day B5 was groundbreaking for a number of reasons - in the US that included the story arc idea. But another of the bigger more well know areas is the extensive use of CGI. If it wasn’t for that the thing would never have been made in the first place. (The whole 5 years trying to find a home because of trek is a bit of a red herring – it was FX costs that scared off the execs)
I've been recently reading JMS's numerous posts and as far as I've understood the story, Babylon 5 was a hard sell because at the time most of the high profile science fiction shows went way over budget. For instance V nearly destroyed Warner Bros. so they were understandably very cautious. Also the sad fact is that Trek did pretty much monopolize the so called "space adventure" area of science fiction in television and no one thought that smaller shows could compete against Paramount's success. That's just business.

I would say that CGI actually helped to sell the show because using computers was a lot cheaper than making traditional models. To directly quote JMS: "On a cost-per-shot basis you can get a lot more bang for your buck with CGI than models."
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Old April 20 2011, 03:40 PM   #19
Deckerd
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Aeon wrote: View Post
I would say that CGI actually helped to sell the show because using computers was a lot cheaper than making traditional models. To directly quote JMS: "On a cost-per-shot basis you can get a lot more bang for your buck with CGI than models."
Yeah I wonder how much more expensive Avatar would have been using some models.
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Old April 20 2011, 03:41 PM   #20
Triple-F
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

A while back I found some (on-line) press releases from around 1996/7 which put some meat on the bones of the subject for me – at the time I was looking for information on the show.

Cost was the big factor.
http://www.midwinter.com/b5/Releases/96pr_pioneering
The problem was, Netter recalls, that "the networks had had science fiction pitched to them before, along with the caveat, 'We can do this for a reasonable price.' Of course, that was one of the great lies in Hollywood. And even though John and I had an excellent reputation for bringing shows in under budget and on time, as soon as they heard about big effects, red flags would go up in their minds. They were afraid that any attempt to do a science fiction show on a tight budget might result in inferior production values."

And like everyone else, Warner Bros. didn't see how a high-quality show could be done on a cut-rate budget. "They said, 'Well, if you are going to do it for that, this stuff will look terrible.' And we said, 'No, it won't," Netter remembers. To prove their point, Straczynski, Netter, and Copeland had Ron Thornton -- who had worked with them on "Captain Power" and subsequently pioneered the use of CGI effects on an Amiga computer -- produce a startling 50-second sequence featuring a computer-generated space ship being tracked from far in the distance to its arrival at the space station's docking bay, all in one shot.
Another highlights who’s idea it was for going the CGI route (the demo he showed them is the one they showed Warner) – Thornton was originally approached to hopefully do the miniatures on the cheap as he was a friend of Copeland and they had worked with him before.
http://www.midwinter.com/b5/Releases/96pr_production
It was mid-1991 when Thornton was approached by the producers of "Captain Power" to bid on miniatures for a sci-fi project they were developing, Babylon 5. At that time, Thornton had been working with innovative rock music and multimedia artist Todd Rundgren on a short computer-animated film. The work with Rundgren led Thornton to suggest using computers for the effects on Babylon 5.

Thornton and Beigle-Bryant created a one minute video of proposed visual effects for Babylon 5, which would become instrumental in selling the show to Warner Bros. television in July 1992. Upon pick-up of the new series, Thornton and Beigle-Bryant formed Foundation Imaging to continue creating the visuals for Babylon 5.
I’ve always had a teeny bit of a problem seeing how Trek could have been a big hurdle for them at the time of pitching the show. (later, keeping it on air, and the whole DS9 hoo-ha is a different story I suppose). According to jms posts he’d been trying to sell B5 since 1988, or there abouts, but back then the only trek was the long finished original that had been cancelled after the third season and the next generation which had only just started.

Anyway, the above is another reason why I'm none to fond of the idea of the CGI being given a modern face lift.
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Old April 20 2011, 04:27 PM   #21
David cgc
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
Pingfah wrote: View Post
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.
How about using CGI models of the actors as with Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy? Even more expensive, but hey, we're talking silly money anyway.
You'd practically have to have made the assets necessary to remake all of B5 as CG animation. You'd need pitch-perfect 3D models of the sets and the actors (adjusted episode by episode and shot by shot to match hair, makeup, wardrobe, and aging) to match any shot where a PPG was fired or someone looked out a window.

At that point, you're starting to get to the point where you're doing a shot-for-shot remake rather than an enhancement of the existing show to bring it up to spec.
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Old April 20 2011, 04:28 PM   #22
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Sindatur wrote: View Post
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)
I think (correct if wrong) that Resonator meant that on the DVDs, live action shots have been sourced from the widescreen set footage, but shots which have added effects have been cropped/stretched from the 4/3 transmission edits, with an off-puttingly noticeable change in quality. Nothing to do with the quality of the effects, just an inconsistency in the quality of the image.
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Old April 20 2011, 04:39 PM   #23
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

David cgc wrote: View Post
Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
How about using CGI models of the actors as with Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy? Even more expensive, but hey, we're talking silly money anyway.
You'd practically have to have made the assets necessary to remake all of B5 as CG animation. You'd need pitch-perfect 3D models of the sets and the actors (adjusted episode by episode and shot by shot to match hair, makeup, wardrobe, and aging) to match any shot where a PPG was fired or someone looked out a window.

At that point, you're starting to get to the point where you're doing a shot-for-shot remake rather than an enhancement of the existing show to bring it up to spec.
Which isn't possible as the assets are no longer available. You might as well keep the audio and turn the whole thing into a machinima.
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Old April 20 2011, 04:49 PM   #24
JarodRussell
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Deckerd wrote: View Post
Aeon wrote: View Post
I would say that CGI actually helped to sell the show because using computers was a lot cheaper than making traditional models. To directly quote JMS: "On a cost-per-shot basis you can get a lot more bang for your buck with CGI than models."
Yeah I wonder how much more expensive Avatar would have been using some models.
They used models. They didn't use what was cheap, they used what was good. Considering how bad the VFX of Babylon 5 look compared to - dare I say it - DS9, JMS really went for the truly cheap.
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Old April 20 2011, 05:07 PM   #25
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Totally ignoring all the logical financial, technological and social arguments presented upthread, and delving here into pure fannish dreaming (), I like the idea of new CGI for one reason - they can introduce more ship models to better represent the diversity of the setting. There were several scenes of importance over the series where much significance was made of the number of races and nations involved, yet the available models were limited to only a few ship designs. "Over two dozen races", yet what we see is rather limited to "about five of them". Sure, races could share designs, but often the vessels in question (and their technologies) were portrayed as exclusive to their races, even jealously guarded. If they ever did update the effects, they could sprinkle more designs in and truly represent what we're told in dialogue we're seeing (throw in some of the League ship designs from the "Into the Fire" concept art).
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Old April 20 2011, 10:41 PM   #26
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Hey, I'd be happy if they just swapped the name-plates of the Roanoke and Agrippa in "Severed Dreams"!

All joking aside would love to see B5 remastered, but it's probably way too expensive.

Besides, where does the remastering stop? Land of the Giants? The original V? Seaquest DSV?

The Last Starfighter....


I'll just wait 20 years for the remake...
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Old April 20 2011, 11:02 PM   #27
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Forbin wrote: View Post
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.
Finally.

Another voice of reason.
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Old April 21 2011, 01:34 AM   #28
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
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.
perhaps in 10 years time, don't think it is necessary atm.
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Old April 21 2011, 03:29 AM   #29
Candlelight
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

diankra wrote: View Post
Sindatur wrote: View Post
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)
I think (correct if wrong) that Resonator meant that on the DVDs, live action shots have been sourced from the widescreen set footage, but shots which have added effects have been cropped/stretched from the 4/3 transmission edits, with an off-puttingly noticeable change in quality. Nothing to do with the quality of the effects, just an inconsistency in the quality of the image.
One that always sticks out is during Endgame, when the soldiers aboard the Apollo rush up to destroy the telepath hacking their network. When they fire, the shot drops in quality.
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Old April 21 2011, 04:36 AM   #30
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Re: Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

No sci-fi TV show or movie "should" be given more updated visual effects, because it is already a finished product. Having said that, it can be fun to watch an old favorite with new VFX.
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