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Old November 27 2013, 10:01 AM   #31
MacLeod
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

LeadHead wrote: View Post
While I'm quite unsure this could ever happen due to the special effects issues, I'm quite pleased the possibility exists. My question about the original effects is: how much does it matter that the originals are gone? I mean, CGI effects would be a whole different thing to upscale as opposed to filmed effects with models like on TNG, right?
Well yes and no. If you've seen some of the chat regarding DSN in HD which has some of the same issues as B5 i.e. large parts done in CGI, in the case of DSN however it seems as if some of the original elements still do exist and at least some of the CGI models were over engineered to be good enough for HD. In the case of B5 aren't most of the models/elements lost, and even if they were around are they good enough for HD.
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Old November 27 2013, 01:07 PM   #32
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

^In a word, no. Even IF the original files were found intact and IF they're still compatible with the current version of Lightwave and IF the scenes could all be re-rendered, they'd look like a blocky, blurry mess. The models would be very low-poly by today's standard and the textures were (due to technical limitations) low resolution even back in the day.

I think it'd actually be easier and less expensive to rebuild the main assets from scratch than try to manipulate the old ones into some semblance of acceptability. This is why on the Lost Tales DVD they had to re-design the Centauri warship. The original design just didn't work in hi-res, no matter what they tried (and they did have the original to work with) they just couldn't reproduce it accurately without it looking weird.

Speaking of; I assume it'd be a simple thing to release TLT on Blu-ray. It was shot & rendered in HD was it not?
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Old November 27 2013, 03:16 PM   #33
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

They've still got the station, starfury, and Centauri ships from TLT, and the Minbari cruisers from LotR. That covers a lot of the models.

It's too bad they don't have the scene files, though.
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Old November 27 2013, 04:00 PM   #34
Tom Hendricks
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Here are a couple of renders I did in 2009 or 2010 in Lightwave.



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Old November 27 2013, 04:16 PM   #35
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

^ Those are beautiful!
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Old November 27 2013, 06:26 PM   #36
Reverend
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Lindley wrote: View Post
They've still got the station, starfury, and Centauri ships from TLT, and the Minbari cruisers from LotR. That covers a lot of the models.

It's too bad they don't have the scene files, though.
That's not even close to one tenth of onc percent of the total number of models they'd need to replace *everything* on the show.

Regardless, building the meshes is only the beginning of the job. They have to be textured, mapped, lit, animated, rendered, edited and probably post-processed. This is not an insignificant undertaking.

Last edited by Reverend; November 28 2013 at 02:38 AM.
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Old November 27 2013, 06:33 PM   #37
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

A B5-remaster would require all new effects. So it really doesn't matter that the original ones are lost.

If the original *live-action* elements were lost, then of course it'd be hopeless. But logically speaking, the original effects don't matter. It's not like TNG, for example, which was largely done on film - even the effects. B5's were all CGI, so of course they'd all have to be replaced.

Upscaling is a total snow job. It doesn't even matter. When you watch any DVD on a high definition set, you're *already* watching it upscaled. That only means that the image fills the screen. It sure doesn't make it HD, or anything close to same.
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Old November 27 2013, 07:22 PM   #38
Reverend
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Well the idea was back in the day that if the show ever needed to be converted to widescreen or a higher resolution then all they need do is load up the .lwo and .lws files and re-render the scenes at a higher resolution. Indeed, had Netter Digital not mishandled things that might even be possible (though they'd still need some finessing and the maps would probably need to be replaced.)

In truth, the most valuable things aren't actually the meshes themselves, but the .lws files. Those (if memory serves) are "scene files" that have all the key frame animation and virtual camera data. With that you could essentially drop in all new-models in place of their old counterparts and be able to render the exact same scenes. At the very least it'd be a much better and mroe useful starting point than an archive of old low-poly meshes.

Of course if it's gone it's gone and this is all rather academic. Still, my point stands that the models themselves aren't what's going to make this an expensive endeavour.
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Old November 27 2013, 08:05 PM   #39
lennier1
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

No thanks!

They'd probably mess with the CG effects and since those are not just mere effects but a testament of the pioneer work done by Foundation Imaging and Netter Digital that paved the way for an entire industry in the TV sector, it's like scribbling around in a history book because the contents don't suit modern tastes.
Much of the stuff today's CG artists take for granted (editable lens flares, various volumetric effects, multi-layer noise maps, ...) was introduced back in that day because the FI guys needed to get things done for B5 and the NewTek guys helped them out because they were not just useful features for their product but another way to push the envelope.
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Old November 28 2013, 12:04 AM   #40
MacLeod
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

But isn't part of the reason for a potnetial HD transfer to ensure it survives and continues to be re-run as more and more TV stations become HD?
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Old November 28 2013, 01:14 AM   #41
Harvey
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Syndication is certainly important, as are home video and digital distribution (iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, etc.). Being in HD will help keep the series circulating in all three arenas.
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Old November 28 2013, 01:34 AM   #42
MacLeod
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

At the end of the day it comes down to money, will they earn more money in the medium to long term by spending money in the short term. Unfortunatly sometimes studios look at the short term, i.e. it will cost X amount but we only thing we get Y amount back in the next year (were Y is less than X)
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Old November 28 2013, 03:06 AM   #43
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Babylon 5 only has a fraction of the fan base Trek does.

JUST the first three years of Babylon 5 (66 episodes) has more FX shots in it than the whole of ST:TOS and ST:TNG combined (258 episodes)

I’d say it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing a full HD version of B5 anytime soon. Doesn’t make a lot of economic sense to even try it at this point in time.

(BTW, the article linked to at the start was talking bull shit – the Warner VP never said the B5 fan base is large enough to warrant a blue ray release….. typical half arsed internet reporting just to get people to share it.)
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Old November 28 2013, 04:49 AM   #44
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

^ Perhaps, but any publicity is good publicity, the mere idea being discussed hopefully helps the campaign to get the show back on the air and streaming services.
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Old November 28 2013, 06:39 AM   #45
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

LOKAI of CHERON wrote: View Post
Probably the best B5 fans can hope for is some kind of upscaled standard version à la the Farscape BD release.
This. If WB is determined to squeeze a few more drops out of B5 on home video, this is the way to go. While still SD, the 4:3 NTSC masters are the best quality that exist right now, and are a good bit cleaner than the 16:9 mess on DVD. Put them onto a full series blu-ray set at a reasonable price, and I'd buy that. As other have said, a full-on HD remaster would just be way too complicated.
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