Re: Plea to JMS Fans: The B5 Widescreen Madness Must Stop!!!

 Posted on 12/5/2002 by to

I don't think this got through the momentary message blockade, so I'm sending
this a second time....

There are a number of elements to this discussion that need to be addressed.

First, a lot of the flaws being seen on the film were there in the beginning;
the difference is that the DVD transfer shows those little flaws more clearly
than when the show is broadcast on tape over the air. Just as a CD will pick
up any glitches in the original analog master, so a DVD will show any
shortcomings in the film or the transfer.

On the CGI question, bear in mind that we were making this show at the very
beginning of CGI effects, and that they had never been done for TV on this
scale before. Many andvancements have been made in the intervening years, but
at the time, the hardware and software we had was pretty rudimentary.

We did not have the tech, at that time, to do our comps in widescreen super35
versions. The software that we used to dump the footage into couldn't handle
it. So we had no choice but to render the CGI and the comps in standard ratio.

We cannot intercut full-frame CGI with widescreen non-cgi stuff because
sometimes we intercut in two-second intervals or less, and the banging back and
forth between aspect ratios would be extremely hard on the eyes.

Nor can this footage be re-rendered because the separate elements do not exist
anymore, only the original un-comped film elements are there. The CGI files
are not around anymore, and to recreate every shot would be prohibitively
expensive. In a big way.

Because of the trend to HD, the widescreen versions, even with these small
glitches, will still have a longer shelf life than if we put them out in
regular aspect ratio. And that is the purpose of the story, to keep it around.

We were the prisoners to the tech that was available to us at the time (for the
first season we were using home Amigas, no less). It was all experimental and
by the seat of our pants kind of stuff. But it was the best anyone was doing
at the time, and we did the best we could with the tools we had.


(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
and don't send me story ideas)