Should Babylon 5 be remastered?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gotham Central, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, to bring it in to HD and have it look decent, it'd require more than just remastering it. It'd need a whole set of new effects, as was done with TOS-R. And if that's the question, then yes.

    A thousand times, yes. I've often thought of doing some scenes myself just as a personal project. Especially after The Lost Tales showed how damn pretty it would be (scroll down on this page for some HD screencaps)

    There are two main problems: The first is money. Babylon 5 is not, and never will be, Star Trek. It's doubtful Warner will ever decide to pony up the money to have somewhere between 110 and 130 or so (depending on if they decide to do the movies and Crusade as well) get their CGI effects completely redone.

    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.
     
  3. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I am one who found the CGI in Babylon 5 already totally ugly when the show first aired, so yeah, it should be remastered.
     
  4. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No. It's fine the way it is.
     
  5. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    It would be great to do so but unless you can wave a magic wand and fix all the issues that David mentioned above I wouldn't bother. SD DVDs upscale just fine on my HD tv, and the original CGI works well with the era it was shot. It's not like the FX shots hampered the pacing of story telling that today's audiences demand, as some consider the case with TOS-R episodes.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The original CGI, though intensely dated, would still work fine if it hadn't been cropped to fit in widescreen for the DVDs. "The Gathering" and "Crusade," which were released in their original 4:3 full screen, look fine.
     
  7. Aeon

    Aeon Commander Red Shirt

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    Recently JMS commented about this subject.

     
  8. resonator79

    resonator79 Cadet Newbie

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    I agree 100% with the 4:3 comment by Harvey. It would've looked just fine if they'd realeased it in it's broadcast form.
    I'm wondering, is there still a place on earth where the series is still AIRING in 4:3 (and NTSC)? We could use a good clean capture for our personal archives. The DVDs are so inconsistent that every time an FX shot comes up it takes me right out of the story.
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Is Babylon 5 still airing anywhere in the United States? It seems like a series mainly seen on home video to me. That's where I saw it for the first time.
     
  10. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Should it be remastered? Yes.
    Will it be remastered? No.
     
  11. G2309

    G2309 Captain Captain

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    Many of the shots looked worse than first season TNG. ut i can't see them getting the money for it.
     
  12. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Probably because TNG was all model work. However, the video quality of TNG generally is appalling, and yet there's talk of releasing it on Blu-ray.
     
  13. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    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.
     
  14. Pingfah

    Pingfah Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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)
     
  16. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  17. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  18. Aeon

    Aeon Commander Red Shirt

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    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."
     
  19. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Yeah I wonder how much more expensive Avatar would have been using some models.
     
  20. Triple-F

    Triple-F Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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
    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
    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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