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  #61  
Old 12-03-2008, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by KoshN View Post
Man, of all the luck, the only thing that could be easily converted to Blu-Ray is the Legend of the Rangers pilot/TV movie.

The universe is convulsing in laughter at our expense.
it could be worse...Sci-fi Channel could make one of their horrendous mutant flickss set in the B5 universe...ugghh....imagine "Babylon 5:Rise of the Shadow-Lizard"..talk about dousche chills....
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  #62  
Old 12-13-2008, 06:03 PM
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Newer shows are HD ready. Older TV shows are also well on the way to Blu-ray (like TOS) because they were filmed in HD. Most TV shows from the 80's and 90's were done on film with effect post production on video at 480 resolution.

Those series will be very difficult to remaster in a TOS style effort, should they want to CGI the effects. The existing B5 effects may not hold up to even SD resolution.

I don't know about the new productions from just a few years ago, if the effects were done in post production, traditionally on film or digitally. Like many pre HD material, it's certain for sure most of them were shot on film but edited on video. Not just the effects. Meaning the masters are on video.

They would have to go back and found ALL the original film footage, rescanned it in HD and redid ALL the FX. What would they do if they can't find all the footage? Just upscale the missing bits? Would look awful and mismatched.

Star Trek TOS was shot and edited on film so the original masters for that show (unlike all the later Treks save Enterprise) are on film which has a higher resolution than even HD. That's why TOS has been remastered in HD.

They didn't have to re-edit the shows save for inserting the new FX. It is possible to redo DS9, TNG, Voyager, B5, etc. but will cost alot of $ and take alot of time. It still took 2 years to redo a show like TOS and that was just for 3 seasons. B5 ran for 5.

It's odd that a show like The Twilight Zone (minus 6 episodes that CBS experimented on videotape) from the early-mid 60's can look utterly gorgeous and easily be HD ready but almost every show from the 90's is Screwed right now. Unless they undertake a massive project.

But before the HD wave, Video was the wave of the future, especially in cutting down production costs. Most 80s and 90s shows will wind up never being HD because of the shoot on film, edit on video practices of the time.
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  #63  
Old 12-14-2008, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidrack Marinho View Post
The existing B5 effects may not hold up to even SD resolution.
The intention was to re-render the effects later for HD. Joe intended the show to be HD from the beginning. The problem was, WB *lost* the CGI files for this purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidrack Marinho View Post
Like many pre HD material, it's certain for sure most of them were shot on film but edited on video. Not just the effects. Meaning the masters are on video.
B5 was shot on film, and edited on the Avid. The finished shots were kept on a conformed *film* negative. The film was kept with the intention of making an HD version later:

(George Johnsen):

Quote:
We do a conformed film neg of every episode for archival that
is just for this purpose [HDTV]. CG and composites can be rerendered to
whatever new rez that is required, and we welcome the opportunity.
The issue here was that those CG and composites couldn't be rerendered without the files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidrack Marinho View Post
They would have to go back and found ALL the original film footage, rescanned it in HD and redid ALL the FX. What would they do if they can't find all the footage? Just upscale the missing bits? Would look awful and mismatched.
The film is archived (the conformed film negatives described above). There isn't a problem finding it. There is no problem converting this film to HD. It's the same film that was used to convert to widescreen. That's an easy process. The only problem with the negatives is damage to the film (water damage, eaten by rats, etc.). The CGI doesn't exist on film however, which is where the problem comes in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidrack Marinho View Post
almost every show from the 90's is Screwed right now. Unless they undertake a massive project.
If the CGI files still existed, it would barely be any cost or time to WB.

Last edited by JoeD80; 12-14-2008 at 02:08 AM.
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  #64  
Old 12-14-2008, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeD80 View Post
The intention was to re-render the effects later for HD. Joe intended the show to be HD from the beginning. The problem was, WB *lost* the CGI files for this purpose.
That’s not entirely correct. There was NEVER any plan or intent to re-render the CGI or composited shots at a later date. At least not according to John Copeland who was more than a little involved in how the thing would be shot.

Quote:
No comment. Though the question is, why was the live action shot in one aspect ratio and the CGI created in another.
Back in the early 90s when we started B5, everyone pretty well knew that Advanced Television Technology was on the horizon, but it wasn't here at that point. What the Warners Tech Center people were concerned with (they were the ones who were responsible for Warners product being able to make the transition) was the 4:3 aspect ratio of standard def television - everyone knew that ATT would be 16x9 or 1:85 aspect ratio.

What those bright idea folks came up with was stretching the horizontal interval of the image when you were doing the telecine. Basically, back in the days of B5 we shot on 35mm film, developed the negative and then telecined the negative to digital video tape. All the rest of the post production process was done electronically.

I went over to where Warners was doing a series - Lois & Clark - where they were doing this stretching of the horizontal interval. Using this technique the image would indeed play on a regular tv set and also on a 16x9 one. However it was a video hack and not a solution. It took only a second to see that all they were doing was stretching pixels and therefore making the picture noisier.

I was able to convince Warners to let us shot 1:85. The idea being that we would telecine to 4:3 for the original broadcast of the series. But what it also gave us was a negative that had been shot for the new 16x9 wide screen format televisions that we knew were on the horizon. The show was actually broadcast initially in some international markets in 16x9 - but for some reason the UK didn't take it that way - Portugal did though - go figure.

With regard to the VFX. We just couldn't double render stuff in two aspect ratios, no time. But at the end of every season we delivered all the VFX shots for each episode on a exabyte tape (the precursor to DLT) which WB were supposed to run through a "black box" - actually an early TerranX - to upres them and then cut them into the retransferred shows in 16x9 for home video release. For whatever reason, they didn't do it. I think Warren Leiberfarb, then head of Warners Home Video wouldn't authorize the expense for this.

Good grief I actually understood that. But in the DVD’s we do see the VFX on widescreen. If Warners never correctly upres’ed them what did they do to those scenes then?
They did another video hack and simply used a digital post production device like a DVE (Digital Video Enhancer) to blow the material up. They essentially stretched it approximately 1/3 to fill the larger aspect ratio.

Got it. Though the story on the net is different. Roughly, the VFX were created in 4:3 for the initial broadcast, the plan being that in the future, when computers were better & cheaper, you'd re-render in 16:9 - in preparation for the video/DVD releases. This wasn't done as WB lost . . . well I’m a bit unclear on that bit. But they lost something to do with the VFX’s.
The big mistaken assumption here is your phrase - " in preparation for the video/DVD releases." The show was already produced. We didn't have anything to do with the creation of the videos or DVD’s - outside of being interviewed or in the case of Joe and some of the cast doing commentaries for the episodes. It was all up to Warners Home Video.

You have to understand that Home Video Divisions - up until quite recently - have never been ones to actually pay for anything in creating Home Videos. They get the show from the Studio, decide what the packaging is going to be and then put it into production. With DVD’s, as consumers were used to getting more material than just shows, they did - for movies - usually include interviews, trailers and electronic press kits that were created as part of the publicity surrounding the movies initial cinema release. So Warners did - because of Doug – also add interviews and create some additional materials for the B5 DVD’s.

But as far as going back and creating new elements for the episodes and then cutting them in, etc. They just aren't used to doing that. They are just interested in getting them made as inexpensively as possible and then releasing them.

So just to make sure I haven’t picked this up wrong. Your saying it was NEVER your intent to re-render the VFX footage on widescreen for DVD release.
We never had a plan to re-render the VFX footage - rendering takes time, resources and consequently $$ - it's always a question of who is paying for it. You know the old adage - there is no free lunch. Well, there is no free rendering, either. In fact the filmed 16x9 versions - Warners had even forgotten that they had those. They used PAL versions and converted them to NTSC for the US market. They actually didn't go back and retransfer the shows.

Putting the blame squarely on WB shoulders for loosing the CGI files is fair enough, but some responsibility also lies with Douglas Netter as well due to the shortsighted cost cutting– according to Ron Thornton. The interesting bit here is how jms might not have been aware of this.


Quote:
Now that’s something I have wondered about. Somebody somewhere (seems to be John Copeland actually) had the foresight to film the live action shots on a widescreen format, so why didn’t you produce the VFX on the same aspect ratio? The quality of those things after being ‘converted’ for the widescreen DVD release is terrible.
The widescreen conversion thing was executive short sightedness at it's finest!!! We offered to do ALL of Babylon 5 in widescreen mode if Warner Bros would buy us a reference monitor so we could check our output. (only $5000 at the time) Ken Parkes (the "Business affairs" guy) and Netter (penny wise, but pound foolish) said no! So we did everything so it could be CROPPED to be widescreen! Each blamed the other by the way. Doug Netter said, "Ken Parkes said no". Ken Parkes said, "Doug Netter said no". SHEESH!!! So for $75 an episode they could have had AWESOME near Hi-Def. Bet Joe never heard about that!!
While I’m here. The address to that site with the anti-jms tone has moved. The guys hosting it changed ISP without letting me know a few months back. Just a FYI type thing for anyone who bookmarked it. There's also a little update to the thing as well - new artwork (lost tales and one for miscellaneous and a new interview with Jack Nichols who worked on the abandoned Sierra game – into the fire.
http://themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm

Last edited by Triple F; 12-14-2008 at 08:02 AM.
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  #65  
Old 12-14-2008, 09:37 AM
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Thanks for the post triple F. When I saw you posted to this thread, I knew I was going to learn something. You did not disappoint.
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  #66  
Old 12-14-2008, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
That’s not entirely correct. There was NEVER any plan or intent to re-render the CGI or composited shots at a later date. At least not according to John Copeland who was more than a little involved in how the thing would be shot.
So George Johnsen wasn't as involved as Copeland? Bull and shit. That quote I posted was from 1997, long before the DVDs. The point *WAS NOT ABOUT THE WIDESCREEN OR THE DVDs*, which is all Copeland is talking about in your quote -- it was about re-rendering for HD -- and Joe always had the plan for HDTV mentioning at as early as 1992 whether Copeland was aware of the plan or not. The quote from Johnsen was because he was going to an HDTV conference.

Johnsen:

Quote:
CG and composites can be rerendered to whatever new rez that is required, and we welcome the opportunity.
Quote:
plus the animation files are stored so that they can be recreated and rerendered at
whatever resolution is needed
Joe described transferring the CGI to film several times. I'm not sure exactly what the process there would be, if that counts as "rendering" because I don't know enough about computer animation, but I think that's what it is (taking the files and rendering them on film?)

jms:

Quote:
At the end of the day, when the series is done, we'll transfer all the CGI to film so we can deliver the entire series on film stock.
Quote:
Re: transferring the CGI to film...this will be done as part of redoing each episode to meet HDTV standards and laser disks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
While I’m here. The address to that site with the anti-jms tone has moved. The guys hosting it changed ISP without letting me know a few months back. Just a FYI type thing for anyone who bookmarked it.
Thanks for the link! I was wondering where that site went.

Last edited by JoeD80; 12-14-2008 at 12:16 PM.
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  #67  
Old 12-14-2008, 01:49 PM
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Ah, I found another quote from Joe made in 1996:

Quote:
We'd pretty much have to re-render the CGI for important shots,
while more mundane stuff where there's nothing in the upper and lower
parts of the frame could be safely cropped and lose nothing.
So at least in jms's mind, he was thinking some of it would be re-rendered, and other shots would be cropped.
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  #68  
Old 12-14-2008, 04:58 PM
Triple F Triple F is offline
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Hi,

Fair enough, not looking for an arguemnt on the subject. But . . . .

This quote (from 1994)
Quote:
We'd pretty much have to re-render the CGI for important shots,
while more mundane stuff where there's nothing in the upper and lower
parts of the frame could be safely cropped and lose nothing.
Basically says if I’m reading it right that, in order for the CGI to be transmitted in widescreen that they would have to pretty much re-render unspecified “important shots” while the remainder would be left cropped. That quote was a reply to a technical question about how the CGI would appear in widescreen. It does not say there was a long held plan to re-render the CGI. It’s just a rather obvious comment on what would need to be done in order for that to be achievable.

The george Johnsten quote (once seen in context), again does not talk about a *plan* to re-render the CGI, just that it would be possible to recreate things after a nuclear attack.

Quote:
No, I wouldn't like to have B5 lost in a nuclear holocaust, but film
won't do us any good in that instance, as the theatres will also be
blasted, methinks.

As to the issue of archival, there is no complete film print, but all of
the live action sequences are conformed on negative, plus the animation
files are stored so that they can be recreated and rerendered at
whatever resolution is needed (post explosion, of course).

This protects us from allowing our follow on civilizations from being
fooled by the shadows.
The reason why I pressed John Copeland on this is nicely demonstrated on the quotes your providing. They dance around the subject without actually saying anything. Other than what would/could be possible.

What John Copeland said, however, leaves no room for interpretation or ambiguity (hence the number of questions). There was no plan to re-render the CGI. It was possible, yes. But that would have been down to WB as the owners of the product.

This quote from jms (from 1996) does seem to be a bit more definitive.

Quote:
We're already on top of this. At this point what it looks like we'll be doing (having run some experiments and test runs) is to transfer all of our composite shots/CGI to film, and recut the negative using the added
replacement footage. We have to do this *anyway* to do the change back to the original aspect ratio, so it's not that big a deal. I think one reason ST simply doesn't think it's worth the time is that they aren't shooting in HDTV widescreen format *anyway*, so any changes to accomodate that format would be of limited use anyway.
But, and it’s a big BUT, it does not talk about re-redndering the CGI, it mentions experiments and test runs. Which fits in with what John C was talking about.

Same thing with this quote you highlighted.
Quote:
Re: transferring the CGI to film...this will be done as part of redoing each episode to meet HDTV standards and laser disks.
Where does it mention re-rendering. The transfering process mentioned is the one John C describes in a bit more detail (which was the plan) and WB didn't bother doing due to cost, as shown below.

Quote:
With regard to the VFX. We just couldn't double render stuff in two aspect ratios, no time. But at the end of every season we delivered all the VFX shots for each episode on a exabyte tape (the precursor to DLT) which WB were supposed to run through a "black box" - actually an early TerranX - to upres them and then cut them into the retransferred shows in 16x9 for home video release. For whatever reason, they didn't do it. I think Warren Leiberfarb, then head of Warners Home Video wouldn't authorize the expense for this. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They did another video hack and simply used a digital post production device like a DVE (Digital Video Enhancer) to blow the material up. They essentially stretched it approximately 1/3 to fill the larger aspect ratio.
One last quote – from jms from 1996
Quote:
widescreen...I've noted this before...we would have to go back and re-telecine the film stock back to its original format for every frame of film, which would cost upwards of $250,000 up-front, and we don't have that
capacity. That could only be done when a major player comes in to distribute
disks.
That’s just re-telecined not re-rendering, Something to remember about these quotes from jms. He was (still is) a very busy man and he was often relaying his interpretation of events as he understood them often late at night and in a rush (typo's and all). That last quote for example confirms bits of what John C was saying and contradicts other posts by jms- IF you decide to interpret them the way you have.

Last edited by Triple F; 12-14-2008 at 05:08 PM.
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  #69  
Old 12-14-2008, 05:25 PM
JoeD80 JoeD80 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
The george Johnsten quote (once seen in context), again does not talk about a *plan* to re-render the CGI
No, I agree with you here; just wanted to add that Joe at least had it in his head that he wanted to make B5 HD eventually, even if there wasn't a formal plan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
Quote:
Re: transferring the CGI to film...this will be done as part of redoing each episode to meet HDTV standards and laser disks.
Where does it mention re-rendering. The transfering process mentioned is the one John C describes in a bit more detail (which was the plan) and WB didn't bother doing due to cost, as shown below.
How would you get the CGI to film stock without re-rendering it? Golden pixies? You'll notice that Copeland mentions 16x9 film versions existing that WB forgot they had. I would think that those are the film versions that were supposed to be used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
That’s just re-telecined not re-rendering
Telecining is a different process. And the re-telecining *was done* -- for the widescreen version. jms was referring in that quote to the live action film *NOT* the CGI.

Last edited by JoeD80; 12-14-2008 at 05:37 PM.
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  #70  
Old 12-14-2008, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
You'll note on the last quote I put "at least in jms's mind"
DidnÆt notice that bit, sorry. (need more smilies on here)

Whatever the exact details, B5 could have û should have û and was even intended to have û been displayed in hi-res and wide screen, and it was basically scuppered by WB (with just a teenie weenie bit of unfortunate cost cutting by Doug Netter) by not doing what they were originally meant to, and apparently agreed to. But then, the halfwitts go and lose the orginal animation files basically making sure it will never happen û as no one will every pay for the things to be recreated.

You couldnÆt make this stuff up. And is why (along with things like SierraÆs aborted game) at one point I asked John C if B5 was cursed in some way.
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  #71  
Old 12-14-2008, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
And is why (along with things like SierraÆs aborted game) at one point I asked John C if B5 was cursed in some way.
Sierra was cursed. I loved all their old games. And then they decided to cancel their old classics for some reason (King's Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, etc...) They just didn't know what a good decision was!
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  #72  
Old 12-15-2008, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
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But then, the halfwitts go and lose the orginal animation files basically making sure it will never happen û as no one will every pay for the things to be recreated.
I wouldn't put it past WB/WHV to "lose" (and by that I mean actually throw it all out, on purpose.), just to prevent everybody asking them to re-render the CGI to 16x9, and come out with an HD version in the future. Yes, I think they (WB/WHV) are more rotten than stupid.
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  #73  
Old 12-19-2008, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by KoshN View Post
I wouldn't put it past WB/WHV to "lose" (and by that I mean actually throw it all out, on purpose.), just to prevent everybody asking them to re-render the CGI to 16x9, and come out with an HD version in the future. Yes, I think they (WB/WHV) are more rotten than stupid.
Sorry ... I just have to bring up Hanlon's Razor here.

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  #74  
Old 01-02-2009, 05:02 AM
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I ran across this on mojo's blog. I thought it was worth duplicating for the discussion here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
Actually, the problem with the B5 DVDs was twofold - first of all, they cropped all the FX shots to be widescreen, so image information has obviously been chopped off, but the REAL reason it all looks so crappy has to do with the way the discs were mastered.

For some reason, Warner Brothers decided to master the B5 DVDs in PAL. The visual effects were originally done at 24 frames per second, and then converted to NTSC 30 frames per second. This is a pretty standard procedure, but since the DVDs were done in PAL, it meant the FX shots were then converted from 30 frames per second to 25 for PAL, and then BACK to 24 for the NTSC DVD set. All that frame rate conversion is what REALLY screwed up the FX shots (and live action composites).

Essentially, the BEST version of B5 that anyone can have are the NTSC laserdiscs, followed by the VHS tapes. These are all 4:3 fullscreen and don’t have anything cropped or turned into scrambled eggs with frame rate conversions. Were all the episodes released on Laserdisc? It would be great for someone to released a DVD set mastered from the Laserdiscs!
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  #75  
Old 01-02-2009, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glindros View Post
I ran across this on mojo's blog.

Were all the episodes released on Laserdisc?
No.

Code:
Babylon 5 Laserdiscs		
		             Episodes Available
	             Episodes  on Laserdisc
Season 1	        22	     22
Season 2	        22	     12
Season 3	        22	      0
Season 4	        22	      6
Season 5	        22	     22
In the Beginning         1	      1
The Gathering (remix)    1	      1
Thirdspace               1	      0
The River of Souls	 1	      0
A Call to Arms           1	      0
Crusade	                13	      0
	               128	     64
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