WB looking into Babylon 5 in HD?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Neroon, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^I'm genuinely surprised. Honestly I thought everything was unionised in that town. Still, there's no way in hell WB is ever going to hire a bunch of fans to do the VFX work. They're going to hire a reputable effects company. Someone they can have some assurance will actually deliver and have a viable legal recourse if the find themselves in breach of contract.

    I actually agree with both of you. WB should by now have learned that there is a market for B5, but I would understand their hesitance (though we are still talking theoretically here) in investing what'll probably end up being tens of millions of dollars upfront. Presumably the home video people are answerable to corporate higher ups who need to see a neat little line graph before they OK that kind of expenditure.

    That said, if they ever want the show to be on Netflix in HD, then they'd still need to go through the same remastering process. Of course it's possible that the part of WB responsible for licencing online streaming may be separate from the home video people, which given WB's bonkers internal politics may actually end up hurting the project unless they come to some kind of mutually beneficial agreement.

    Seriously now, who thought this was a good way to run an entertainment business? He must have been absolutely mental.
     
  2. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    They have the original film, so that's not the issue. The problem is with the special effects. The original files were destroyed in a fire, so they would have to redo the effects from scratch (ala TNG). That's also the reason why the widescreen DVDs had to use a cut version (top and bottom bits removed) of the standard definition special effects shots (rather than use the original files that had a widescreen option, supposedly).
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Erm aren't most of the FX from TNG just the orginal's cleaned up from the orginal camera negatives. With maybe some touching up. As TNG largely used models whilst B5 was CGIthe elments of which have all but been lost?
     
  4. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    I haven't seen more than a couple episodes with the new FX, so I'll have to take your word for it. I thought it was all done with new CGI but based upon the original shots.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There are plenty of film workers that don't have union representation, which is why many are paid very poorly.

    Which, of course, is why Warner Bros. would never hire fans to do a project like this. Why not pay the professionals pennies to do the same job instead?
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    No. Most of the work uses the original film elements.
     
  7. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, okay.
     
  8. NewHorizon

    NewHorizon Captain Captain

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    TNG uses all of the original filmed elements when possible, recomposited with modern equipment...and it looks phenomenal. I still can't believe they're doing it. Babylon 5 FX would have to be recreated from scratch.
     
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They should do a big budget Babylon 5 reboot movie, and then remaster the original show. ;)
     
  10. Santa Garrus

    Santa Garrus Calibrating the Holidays Premium Member

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    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?
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^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?
     
  13. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    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.
     
  14. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks You move! Premium Member

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

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. dansigal

    dansigal Captain Captain

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    ^ Those are beautiful!
     
  16. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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: Nov 28, 2013
  17. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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?