The old "DS9 stole from B5" thing

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Forbin, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Actually, yes, it does.

    Which, sadly, isn't that good.

    It should be noted that the pure live-action scenes were actually filmed in widescreen. It's only the space shots (EFX) that were in 4:3. And since those space shots would have to be redone from scratch anyway, making the new EFX in widescreen would be in perfect keeping with the 'best possible quality'.
     
  2. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Well, it's a matter of opinion (and what we mean by "need"), but even with new HD effects, the sets and overall aesthetics would still be that of a low-budget 90s TV show... Which is fine, since that's what it is. And I'm perfectly ok watching that in it's original SD resolution, as a product of it's time.*

    The problem is, what's on DVD now is in many ways WORSE than what we originally saw on TV. Yes, I know the live action was shot in widescreen, but the sides of the picture are rarely utilized for anything interesting. In fact composition in the early seasons is actually better suited to full screen, with characters oddly bunching up around the middle of the screen.

    On top of that we get the cropped CGI, which isn't so bad in itself... but the blown up resolution makes it look pixilated and jagged. And any shots with mixed live action and effects fare even worse - way below broadcast quality. The full screen versions simply look better overall, or at least much more consistent. AND they already exist. They're the definitive versions of B5 as originally produced, and it's just a shame we can't get our hands on them. :(


    *Yeah, I kinda feel the same way about the Star Trek HD upgrades. They're nice I guess, and very well done, but not strictly "necessary".
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    It was shot in widescreen, but protected for 4:3, which explains why the edges of the frame don't usually contain much of interest. All you have to do is watch "The Gathering" followed by any other episode on DVD and you'll see the difference between the original effects in 4:3, and the original effects cropped and zoomed to fit 16:9.

    Unfortunately, Warner Bros. doesn't seem to be interested in investing much into the show (despite claims by JMS that the DVDs have profited the studio billions -- a silly exaggeration if there ever was one). Mastering new discs with the original aspect ratio seems unlikely, especially since the home video market is shrinking.
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    ^ Since all TVs currently being sold are widescreen, then it seems to be a no-brainer to master B5 for widescreen live-action. The footage exists, it was shot natively in widescreen, so therefore it should be preserved that way.

    Obviously the new effects would be freshly made, so therefore *they* will be made in widescreen. Whenever that happens.
     
  5. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    But that's precisely the issue. None of the original CGI models still exist for B5, so they'd all have to be done from scratch, which (at the moment) is waaaay too expensive and time-consuming for WB to consider for a property like B5.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    That assumes Warner Bros. is interested in investing in new visual effects. I've seen nothing indicative of that over the past decade.

    Also, for what you propose, the original film elements would need to still exist (in order to redo any effects combined with live action -- not an insignificant number of shots). Now, I believe that is the case (although some instances, such as rats eating original elements of "The Gathering," are not promising), but who knows how long that will continue to be true?

    I'd purchase what you propose in a heartbeat -- but it seems, at present, unlikely. In lieu of that, a 4:3 version (which would look far better, since the effects wouldn't be crappy due to cropping and zooming) would be preferable to the versions that exist in wide circulation at the moment, and take a far smaller investment from Warner Bros. But, it too, is unlikely.
     
  7. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    You mentioned the home video market is shrinking, which is true, which is why I hope we will eventually be able to purchase the show for download via iTunes or some other source in 4:3. Actually, can it be purchased via iTunes? I don't use it so I'm not sure.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    No idea about itunes; I am a stick-in-the-mud who prefers the tangibility of physical media. But making the 4:3 versions available for download would cost very little, since they've already streamed the series in that format (apparently; I never watched it while it was on Netflix).
     
  9. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Season 1 is on iTunes in 4:3, Seasons 2-5 are 16:9.

    As I mentioned one page back, Seasons 2, 3, and 4 are on Vudu.com in 4:3, for download or streaming.

    So actually, you CAN see everything except Season 5 in 4:3... But like Harvey, I'd love to have them on disc too.

    Sums it up perfectly. New effects simply aren't going to happen in the current market. A 4:3 re-release on DVD is also unlikely, but I'm still holding out a small hope for that. Maybe they could even do something like Farscape, and release the whole series on Blu-Ray using the NTSC masters as the source. It wouldn't be true HD, but it would look slightly better (then again Farscape had the benefit of PAL source tapes).
     
  10. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I burn my own disks from downloads. I'm pretty sure iTunes has a converter, that builds the DVD Menus, doesn't it? Get a stack of 50 blank DVDs, it only costs about 33 cents a disc (Can easily put 3 or 4 episodes on a disk without degrading quality), and then get a CD/DVD Wallet to hold the discs in I mostly buy music ownloads but have done video as well)

    Heh, if B5 was a Lucas Product, we'd be able to grumble about not wanting new effects ;)
     
  11. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Actually he said that the DVD sales were half a billion.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    You are right. My memory was wrong and I should have checked. I still think it is quite an exaggeration, however.
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    I have a couple of Season 3 and 4 eps from iTunes, but I noticed that all scenes in outer space have a rather jerky feel, like somebody's constantly pausing the action. Has anyone else noticed this? What's the reason?
     
  14. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    This is where we see how important the backing of a studio and it's fans are...Paramount/CBS is backing remastering 100% with $$ while B5 languishes.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    The object is to make money, not lose it. If there were money to be made from remastering B5, it would happen. The fact that it's not happening means that the investment in it would be too big a risk, in the opinion of experts at making money. Remastering Star Trek, on the other hand, was and continues to be an opportunity to make money.