Is Babylon 5 suppose to be seen in widescreen?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dream, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I'm getting ready to see this series for the first time, and was very surprised to see that the back of the dvd says this show is in widescreen. But wasn't B5 orginally aired like DS9 in fullscreen?

    I'm not one of those people that always say widescreen is always better, I go for the OAR. I think I would have prefered if they had released the show on fullscreen as it was shown on tv.

    How does B5 look in widescreen? Would it be better to see the series in fullscreen by zooming in?
     
  2. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    It was shot in widescreen. However, the CGI was rendered in fullscreen. Therefore, any shot which is all CGI or is a composite shot is cropped at the top and bottom to fit the widescreen presentation. It's not ideal, but it's the format you'll mostly see it available in today.
     
  3. TemporalFlux

    TemporalFlux Commodore Commodore

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    If I remember right, it was shot in widescreen; but they didn't seem to take it seriously that it would ever be broadcast in widescreen. As a result, you have some scenes in season one where you can clearly see crew members in the background; some shots of the end of the set (where a wall just ends for no reason); and I think that there are also a couple of boom mikes that creep in.
     
  4. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    URG! I hate hearing that.

    I heard that the UK released Buffy on widescreen season sets and they ended up having the exact same problems that you mentioned in your post. Whedon never intended that show to be in widescreen unlike Angel.

    When will people realize that OAR is the most important thing and not widescreen? Widescreen is not always better! :(
     
  5. Timby

    Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

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    The widescreen is B5's original aspect ratio. Straczynski had it framed for widescreen because he figured that HDTVs would be A Thing in the not terribly distant future.

    The CGI wasn't rendered in that high of a resolution because they were using Amigas, and they figured it would be easier to re-render the CGI in whatever higher resolution became the standard down the line. No one expected the master files to be lost.
     
  6. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    The master files were lost? What's the story behind that?

    Does this mean Babylon 5 will never be released on Blu-Ray since it will be too costly to redo all the CGI?
     
  7. Timby

    Timby LIKE LIGHTNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING Administrator

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    Exactly what I said: Warner Bros. lost the original CGI master files. The Lost Tales used fan-made models for the CGI.

    It's possible that someone will go back, re-scan all of the Babylon 5 footage, remaster the episodes, and redo all the CGI and it would be glorious. But it's more likely that I will be the first man on Mars.
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Well, considering the shows you've mentioned were shot in the 90s, I think it's a little silly to get upset about them "realizing" anything.

    I doubt this kind of thing really happens too much today.
     
  9. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't Trek fans once say TNG would never get remastered and put on Blu-Ray? Didn't they say it would cost too much and be too time consuming?

    Quick! Someone needs to do a Babylon 5 remake movie and it needs to turn into a huge hit!:D
     
  10. Chris3123

    Chris3123 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Starting with season 4, yeah. When I watched Buffy on Netflix last year, it was the same; seasons 4-7 were streamed in the widescreen format. It was quite obvious just by watching that the show wasn't meant to be shown that way. Boom mikes, cameras, crew members. One instance that stuck with me was during Buffy's vision quest in "Intervention", when it was just supposed to be her and the First Slayer in the desert, and you see some guy there in the shot (No, not the Cheese Man; that was in "Restless" ;)).
     
  11. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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  12. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Thank god I'm a Buffy fan living in America! :eek:

    'Hugs Buffy dvds'

    Damn, Whedon should have really demanded Warners release Buffy in fullscreen everywhere. Too bad he wasn't that well known back then instead of being big shot Avengers Whedon right now.
     
  13. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Stop this, you're making my SciFi gland swell up with bile :(

    JMS Future Proofed it by filming in Widescreen from the mid-late 1990s before anyone else did, and WB did him from behind...without grease :(

    B5 is my all time favorite show (DS9 directly behind it, and Doctor Who will always have a top 5 place along with Farscape and Blake's 7)

    No, WB has no faith in the Franchise (and maybe the ratings prove that lack of Faith?) and will never spend the kind of money required to "TNG Remaster" the B5 DVDs
     
  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    It's not just TV shows, a lot of the movies shown in widescreen on TV channels are cropped to fill the screen. I often find myself watching a movie and thinking it just doesn't look right and go to IMDB and find it was shot 2.35:1 or whatever.
     
  15. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nope, not the case. Everyone knew widescreen was just around the corner, and it was producer John Copeland who convinced WB to let them film it wide.

    http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#Screen1_07_4

    As for the CGI. As Copeland explained, there was never a plan to re-render for widescreen –it’s just a much repeated myth. It was rendered in 4:3 - not because of hardware limitations - but due to a penny pinching short sighted decision (which saved 75 bucks an episode).

    Even though jms has said for years that it wasn't possible – after reading the following he admitted that he’d foolishly believed what he was told by Netter at the time, and would have paid for it himself if he knew about it.

    http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm#Screen1_01_4
     
  16. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    John Flinn absolutely knew he was filming widescreen. The cameras were marked for both fullscreen and widescreen. You can see this in one of the early documentaries (the one hosted by Walter Koenig). Such shots don't exist as far as I know. Stuff like the painting at the end of the central corridor was visible in either version.
     
  17. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought that the CGI was framed to *expect* to get cropped down to a widescreen format. In other words, they were told not to put much of anything important in the portion of the frame that would get cropped off.
     
  18. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    The CGI for the first three years was done by Foundation which rendered them in PAL format instead of NTSC and PAL format has a higher resolution than NTSC.
     
  19. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Commodore Commodore

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    With today's tech, & lots of fans, as well as for-profit schools...the cost of re-doing scenes might not be as bad as we think...
     
  20. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^I think you're underestimating the sheer volume of work involved in replacing every CG effects shot in 110 episodes. It's not just spaceships. It's also the PPG bolts, bluescreen backgrounds/set extensions, the occasional creature and...well let's just say "today's technology" and enthusiasm are poor substitutes for a talented crew and a budget.

    Oh and then there's the fact that some of the raw footage was eaten by rats...
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012