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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: 2nd season letterboxing?
    Date: 10/30/2000 2:40:00 PM  

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>The letterboxing for the first two episodes of season two thus far
>looks pretty bad; mouths are dropping below the bottom bar, heads
>sliced off at the top. Looks pretty bad.
>Is it possible that the directors or director of photography didn't
>compose shots properly to allow for the widescreen dimensions, or
>is this likely a problem at the "conversion" end?

In a to the first prospect.

The Science Fiction Channel has been getting a lot of guff about the condition
of the letterboxed episodes, and while the guff is *correct*, it is not
correctly *aimed*.

Insofar as I know, SFC has nothing to do with the conversion of these episodes.
They run what WB gives them to run. If there are audio or video glitches, the
eps came that way.

The audio is a good example. A number of people have voiced concerns about how
the eps sound, and I think I've figured out what the problem is there.

When we mixed B5, we used the full dynamic audio range. We came close to
illegal audio every so often -- y'know, when your subwoofer threatens to
explode during a shadow battle -- but we never crossed the line. Nonetheless:
it's a VERY dynamic mix.

I suspect -- I don't know but I suspect -- that when they did the transfer of
eps, they didn't go back to the original stems. They probably just transferred
the eps via a standard duplication system which has built-in audio limiters
that look for excessive (for TV standards) highs and lows and damp them down.

The result is that the audio becomes "crunchy," if you will, or static-y,
because you're losing frequency waves at either end.

What they're doing to the video, I don't know.

But SFC is getting a bad rap on this, and it's undeserved.


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