Babylon 5

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kail, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. JaffreyPanthosa

    JaffreyPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I find B5’s acting good enough for the show but a tad hammy.
     
  2. Dobby Is Free

    Dobby Is Free Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two things you should be aware of. The late Michael O'Hara was struggling with severe mental health issues during season one, which is why he was replaced in S2.
    John Straczinsky (AKA JMS) actually wrote Sinclair's backstory and plot arc to parallel O'Hara's condition - an interesting take on method acting.
    The second thing that will hopefully blow your mind - digital animation was still in its infancy. The complex calculations for animating trajectory used by planes and starships and everything else simply did not exist yet. The animators "flew" each Starfury by hand, laying out flight paths and so on practically frame by frame.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I guess we'll just have to wait for the hour of longing then. ;)
     
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  4. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That first thing is more than a bit spoilery...
     
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  5. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    That's a little bit of a stretch. A starfury or cruiser flying in a straight line was still just defining two positions at two times and the software would move it appropriately. I think what you're thinking of is more when the 'furies engaged in more complicated maneuvers, in episodes like "Midnight on the Firing Line," "Soul Hunter," and [[IMMINENT DOGFIGHT-HEAVY SEASON ONE EPISODE]], where the animators had to synchronize the thruster flares with the maneuvers by hand, something that'd typically be done automatically with scripting tools a decade later (such as with the tiny thrusters on the Vipers in nuBSG) (God, I hope those were automatic, I've never seen anyone actually say, but there were a lot of them, and I'm sure Lightwave's scripting and expressions tools were able to handle such a task by 2003).

    I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say Sinclair is riddled with PTSD.
     
  6. flavaflav

    flavaflav Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I think Donlago is referring to the second sentence of Jedman's post. That is a definite spoiler
     
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  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.
     
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  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    From the beginning, LigtWave used paths to plot motion, so the flight paths weren't necessarily just keyframe animation. Though I'm sure there was a lot of that too. to add other motions.
     
  9. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The actor is Christopher Neame, previously in Doctor Who and Blake's 7, later in Voyager (among much more). But Patrick McGoohan was initially approached.
    Walter Koenig was also asked, but was in hospital during the shoot, so he was cast as Bester once well again
     
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  10. BlueStuff

    BlueStuff Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interesting. I remember the actor from Licence to Kill (1989); he's a British agent charged with bringing "loose cannon" James Bond back to headquarters.
     
  11. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not sure which aspect ratio you're watching this in but the cropping of CGI 4:3 content in the conversion to 16:9 severely degraded the picture quality. But, yes, the FX do improve steadily over time. 25 years ago I was seriously impressed with what they could create.
     
  12. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I'd say by season three, you couldn't really find anything to complain about with the CGI. It was every bit as good as the rest of the industry which it helped create. ;)
     
  13. Spocktoberfest!

    Spocktoberfest! Commodore Commodore

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    I never noticed a problem with the cg ships until after watching season 5 I broke out my VHS of The Gathering, then I noticed it wasn't as good as what I was used to. I had no problem with it the first time around.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I feel as though something happened with the VFX in S5 that made them slightly less appealling than they had been previously, but I don't know/recall whether they changed VFX houses or whether there were BTS issues or whether I'm just completely making this up...
     
  15. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    You're not imagining things. Between season 3 and season 4 there was a whole rigamarole with their VFX provider, Foundation Imaging, which ended up in B5 producer Doug Netter founding his own knock-off CG Studio, Netter Digital Entertainment, which took over for the last two seasons. They inherited a lot of work from Foundation, but NDE's staff largely didn't have as much experience, and generally had a different sensibility and style. And, while I never found out who, somewhere between season 4 and 5, at least one person on the team just fell in love with snap-zooms, so you'd keep getting these weird shots that didn't match with the sensibility of the show at all.

    The interviews on B5 Scolls (plenty of behind the scenes info on B5's makeup and VFX, but beware of spoilers, new people) have some information/gossip on the Foundation Imaging/Netter Digital transition. I don't recall where it all is, but this is the first page I found that starts to go into it a little. I believe there are more takes in other interviews.
     
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  16. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IIRC there was eventually a settlement with Foundation that barred both sides from discussing the case, but Netter Digital had to start from scratch without access to Foundation's files.
     
  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it's always nice to know my memory is based on some level of reality, though it seems to have been to B5's disadvantage in this case. :/
     
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    According to Ron Thornton, Netter was basically sabotaging Foundation Imaging and B5 and wouldn’t budget an extra $75 per episode for a $5k NTSC Widescreen monitor.

    http://www.b5scrolls.com/#Screen1_01_7
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I increasingly think it's amazing B5 turned out as well as it did given all of the BTS stuff that occurred....

    Shame JMS never quite recaptured that magic with most of the movies or otherwise...
     
  20. Dobby Is Free

    Dobby Is Free Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's been years since i read that, but a lot of the work was done by hand that even a few years later would become much more automated.

    I don't think it's much of a spoiler either. It's been there since the first few episodes.