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Old March 5 2011, 02:12 PM   #1
JekylHyde
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are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Hi
are the babylon 5 films available at HD?
what about the series babylon 5 & crusade?
thanks
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Old March 5 2011, 02:16 PM   #2
Mr Light
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

I'm pretty sure nothing of B5 was filmed or stored at that quality. There's a bit on the wikipedia page about how they'll never be on Blu Ray because the CGI was created at standard def and would have to be completely redone.
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Old March 5 2011, 02:54 PM   #3
JekylHyde
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

so only the lost tales are at hd?
too bad
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Old March 5 2011, 07:16 PM   #4
Mr Light
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5
Mastering problems

The transfer of Babylon 5 from fullscreen to widescreen (originally for the Sci Fi Channel; later released on DVD) created significant problems with regard to special-effects/CGI footage. Several factors complicated the process.[118]
  • Although originally broadcast in the standard television aspect ratio of 4:3, all live-action footage was filmed on Super 35 mm film (with a ratio of 1.65:1). The idea was that, once widescreen televisions (with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1.78:1) became more popular, the episodes could be easily converted into a widescreen format.
  • CGI shots were rendered in the 4:3 ratio, but designed so that the top and bottom of each shot could be removed to create a widescreen image without ruining the image composition. For the widescreen DVD releases technical problems occurred during the progressive scan transfer and re-formatting, introducing artifacts that resulted in a picture quality of the CGI shots now inferior to the few laserdisc and other 4:3 home video releases.
  • While the camera negatives of the original live-action shots held the potential for high-definition digital images, the CGI shots and shots combining live-action with CGI, were stored in the much lower-definition NTSC digital format. (Again, the expectation was that it would be relatively cheap in the future to recreate the CGI in widescreen.)
  • Over the years, the original computer-generated models, etc., have been lost, making it necessary to use the old 4:3 CGI shots. Both Foundation Imaging and its successor, Netter Digital, have gone out of business.
This has resulted in several consistent flaws throughout the Babylon 5 widescreen release. In particular, quality drops significantly whenever a scene cuts from purely live-action to a shot combining live-action and CGI. This is particularly noticeable on the PAL DVDs, since CGI shots had to be converted from NTSC, as well as being blown up to fit a widescreen television. In addition, while the live-action film was originally widescreen, shots were composed for 4:3, resulting in a conspicuous tendency for actors to clump up in the middle of the screen.[118]
For these reasons, Warner Home Video is unlikely to release the series on Blu-Ray. Additionally, a Blu-Ray version of the first Lost Tales installment, Voices in the Dark, was cancelled due to poor sales.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:36 AM   #5
Candlelight
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

I always find it funny that the elements weren't kept. If I were JMS I would've kept everything I possibly could've for future use.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:51 AM   #6
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Candlelight wrote: View Post
I always find it funny that the elements weren't kept. If I were JMS I would've kept everything I possibly could've for future use.
WB seem to have a complete disdain for the property. From comments made by JMS, I believe TPTB there were somewhat shocked when the DVDs sold in much greater volumes than they expected, and yet they still couldn't seem to give two hoots. I'd love to see B5 released in HD, but I'll make do with what I've got.
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Old March 6 2011, 04:18 PM   #7
TtotheC
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
Candlelight wrote: View Post
I always find it funny that the elements weren't kept. If I were JMS I would've kept everything I possibly could've for future use.
WB seem to have a complete disdain for the property. From comments made by JMS, I believe TPTB there were somewhat shocked when the DVDs sold in much greater volumes than they expected, and yet they still couldn't seem to give two hoots. I'd love to see B5 released in HD, but I'll make do with what I've got.

Yep, WB has always treated Babylon 5 as something of an annoying gnat that they haven't bothered to squash because it still makes them money. It was WB who lost the original stock CGI for all the ships in Babylon 5 due to some kind of storage error. Basically it's WB own inept management which has hurt Babylon 5 every step of the way.

What's really annoying is that we've seen from the Lost Tales how gorgeous the show could be with updated CGI.
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Old March 6 2011, 06:35 PM   #8
Reverend
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

A while ago JMS gave a podcast interview where he basically laid out why B5 so often gets the short shift. Basically it comes down to the way the different internal division of WB are encouraged to actively compete with one another. So (as insane as it seems) Warner Bros Home Video has zero inclination to help out a show by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

As for HD, as others have pointed out, it's just not financially feasible to go back and redo *every single vfx shot* for all 110 episodes. It *might* be doable for the movies (or one of them in the very least) but that'd require WB to be convinced it'd be worth the investment and even then they'd probably lowball the project.

On the other hand, a few cryptic comments by JMS indicate that something may or may not be announced sometime in April, so wait and see.
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Old March 6 2011, 08:30 PM   #9
Candlelight
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Reverend wrote: View Post
As for HD, as others have pointed out, it's just not financially feasible to go back and redo *every single vfx shot* for all 110 episodes.
Funny, when I did a marathon of Season One a while back, I was surprised at how often the stock shots were recycled (establishing shots of the station, cargo or non-descript vessels waiting, etc).

If you managed to get enough decent stock shots then that'll take care of a third of the show right there.
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Old March 6 2011, 08:45 PM   #10
Mr Light
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

The exterior establishing shots were definitely recycled over and over but every episode also had unique battle/ship scenes in it as well.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:32 PM   #11
lennier1
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
The exterior establishing shots were definitely recycled over and over but every episode also had unique battle/ship scenes in it as well.
Too true. There was even one where the camera rotates around the station in the distance. Only problem is, somebody forgot to include that inner door that closes off the hangar area. As a result you can see right through the station.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:40 PM   #12
Reverend
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Candlelight wrote: View Post
Reverend wrote: View Post
As for HD, as others have pointed out, it's just not financially feasible to go back and redo *every single vfx shot* for all 110 episodes.
Funny, when I did a marathon of Season One a while back, I was surprised at how often the stock shots were recycled (establishing shots of the station, cargo or non-descript vessels waiting, etc).

If you managed to get enough decent stock shots then that'll take care of a third of the show right there.
Oh sure, that'd reduce the overall number of effects shots, but only so far. I don't have the numbers but one would imagine the number of "new" shots would outnumber the "stock" shots by quite a wide margin.

Also don't forget that at certain points the establishing shots had to change to reflect the change in the story arc. The sudden presence of Minbari and League warships after 'Severed Dreams' for example, or the gradual fleet build-up in early season 4.

So while it might have *some* impact overall, it won't be much and hardly any in the first season especially.
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Old March 6 2011, 09:59 PM   #13
Candlelight
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Mr Light wrote: View Post
The exterior establishing shots were definitely recycled over and over but every episode also had unique battle/ship scenes in it as well.
Obviously they'd need to create specific shots for episodes. I mentioned season one only as it had a large number of station-in-a-bottle episodes, but obviously when you get to episodes like Signs and Portents or Babylon Squared you'll need more.
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Old March 7 2011, 12:03 AM   #14
Reverend
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

It's not just exterior shots though. Any scene that takes place in the core shuttle, the sanctuary, Fresh Air or the rotunda will need to have the digital elements replaced and one assumes comp shots are more expensive than just a straight up CG render. Indeed, though it may not be immediately apparent, most of the sanctuary was a digital set. IIRC the only real parts were the floor and the green panels under the windows!

Additionally I'm pretty certain they even used CG for things usually (at the time) done optically like electrical discharges (pretty heavily used in 'Infection' and 'A Spider in the Web' to name just two), the PPG blasts, all the funky telekinetic business in 'Mind War' plus almost every time Kosh pops his lid there's a digitally enhanced light. On top of that you have the occasional CG critter like the grylor, na'kaleen, holo-demons and of course the Shadows. It'd all add up.
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Old March 7 2011, 12:27 AM   #15
Jan
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Re: are the babylon 5 films available at HD?

Just curious...is rotoscope work considered CGI? It seemed like JMS referred to CGI and roto work separately although they both needed rendering from what I could tell from the context.

Assuming the answer isn't too complex, that is.

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