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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old November 26 2013, 01:09 PM   #1
Neroon
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WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Link to story

Everything I've heard on this subject has said it's a technical impossibility due to the condition of the source material stored. Even the WB executive cited
George Feltenstein, Senior Vice-President for Theatrical Catalogue Marketing at Warner Brothers (translation: he's one of the guys in charge of the DVD and Blu-Ray department) has recently confirmed that the company are actively looking into the possibility of re-releasing Babylon 5 on Blu-Ray. Feltenstein acknowledged that this would be expensive and possibly impractical, but that the B5 fanbase is large enough to warrant making the effort.
But it does bring a glimmer more of hope than we Babyloniacs have had before.
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Old November 26 2013, 02:20 PM   #2
Fist McStrongpunch
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

I don't really know or care about blu-ray, but I'm always confused by this B5 thing. Isn't blu-ray at its core a way of storing media? Why does it being on blu-ray necessitate it being HD?
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Old November 26 2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Fist McStrongpunch wrote: View Post
I don't really know or care about blu-ray, but I'm always confused by this B5 thing. Isn't blu-ray at its core a way of storing media? Why does it being on blu-ray necessitate it being HD?
That's more of a market assumption than a technical requirement.

Since all Blu-Ray players are DVD-compatible (at least for now), and it's already out on DVD, there would be no point in a Blu-Ray release unless it were HD.
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Old November 26 2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Probably the best B5 fans can hope for is some kind of upscaled standard version à la the Farscape BD release.
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Old November 26 2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

I'm not sure HD would do Babylon 5 any favors. The show was pretty cheap looking in SD.
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Old November 26 2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Yeah, blu ray and 1080p HD go hand in hand now, even though it's not necessary. I do wonder how they are going to sell UltraHD or 4K films, because those will be released on blu ray as well.

"blu ray 3D" is one of those marketing inventions. No, it's not a special blu ray. The data stored on it is different.
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Old November 26 2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Probably not something I'd buy, unless they truly remaster as they did with TNG. A simple upscaling doesn't really do much, and a true remaster will be difficult thanks to the huge amount of CGI involved.

So no, I'll probably stick to my DVD's.
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Old November 26 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Might but it, depends on the cost, and quality of the transfer.
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Old November 26 2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

B5 always had a very video-ish feel to it. Did they even shoot it on film?
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Old November 26 2013, 08:42 PM   #10
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Fist McStrongpunch wrote: View Post
I don't really know or care about blu-ray, but I'm always confused by this B5 thing. Isn't blu-ray at its core a way of storing media? Why does it being on blu-ray necessitate it being HD?
Not HD necessary but i recently tried to watch my DVD version of Friends on my HD and it just looked like crap when you're used to HD TV.

Also while the SFX were par for the course for the 90s they don't age well on HD and given the apparent bad quality of the original source it would take a major investment to spruce up the picture quality to make it HD comparable.

Star Trek has the legs to do it and while B5 still hase a very good reputation i don't know if it warrants the investment.

I would kill for a B5 with updated CGI though.. something on the level of BSG
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Old November 26 2013, 08:47 PM   #11
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

At least they could hire A LOT of hobby 3D artists, because even newcomers produce B5 images and animations that are at least as good as the original effects.
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Old November 26 2013, 08:58 PM   #12
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

^Actually, no, I don't think they could do it that way. Aside from the issue that getting a mishmash of amateurs to work together on a long term project is like herding cats, I'm pretty sure it'd be against union rules.

Regarding the CG: it's not so much an issue of quality so much as resolution and aspect ratio. From what I gather the way things currently stand, the best/cheapest option is to do an up-scaled transfer of the 4:3 masters. Basically a slightly cleaned version of the old VHS releases.

If they want to do a widescreen transfer then thing get *very* expensive and complicated. It'd mean redoing every single CG and comp shot. No simple thing since it's not just the cutaways and establishing shots of spaceships and the station. It's any time a PPG is fired. Any time there's a bluescreen back drop like the central core, the docking bay, windows and the like. Plus things like the odd CG creature, enhanced VFX (electrical arcs etc.) and it all adds up to a *lot* of work on just about every episode.

Then there's the matter of the flood/rodent damaged masters.

It's technically *possible* to do all this, it's just that up till this point it hasn't looked terribly practical from a commercial POV. Add to that WB's internal competitive structure and...well...let's just say I shan't be holding my breath.
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Old November 26 2013, 09:56 PM   #13
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Given all the technical and economic barriers to this happening (all of which are summarized in the article), I wouldn't hold my breath over this happening. But it would be a pleasant surprise if it did.

Then again, I'm not sure HD would do the program's production design any favors. But it would be nice to see a proper transfer of the series (the cropped VFX widescreen version on DVD at the moment is appalling, and the original 4:3 version isn't available except as a digital download).
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Old November 26 2013, 10:45 PM   #14
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

It's one of those nice if it happened dreams but I'm doubtful it will happen.
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Old November 26 2013, 10:51 PM   #15
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Re: WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

If WB are actually serious about this, then I suspect what they'll do is remaster one of the movies as a test case and see how it sells before even attempting to show proper.
IMO 'In the Beginning' would be the most obvious choice, even over 'The Gathering'.
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