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    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Plea to JMS Fans: The B5 Widescreen Madness Must Stop!!!
    Date: 12/4/2002 9:19:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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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)
    From: (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Re: Plea to JMS Fans: The B5 Widescreen Madness Must Stop!!!
    Date: 12/8/2002 9:34:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>Indications are that Warner Home Video is happy enough with the sales of
>S1 that beginning with S2 they won't be waiting for sales reports on
>each set before starting work on the next.
I don't know that they've committed to that extent, but they are very happy
with the sales, and are accellerating things.

Interviews for year 2's DVD have been set, or already conducted, with Stephen
Furst, Andrea Thompson, John Iacovelli, Anne Bruice-Ailing, Jerry, Claudia,
Bruce, me, John Copeland, Doug Netter and others.

In addition, I'll be doing commentaries on "The Coming of Shadows" and "The
Fall of Night," and there will be a bonus group commentary by Bruce, Claudia
and Jerry on "The Long, Twilight Struggle."

There's talk about a special musical sequence for the season 3 DVD, with Chris
re-scoring 2-3 episodes end to end with non-stop music, future segments on "The
Future According to Babylon 5" with NASA and JPL guys (btw, James over at a
certain House subcommittee, if you're reading this and could drop me a note,
that'd be great). I'd like to see the final bonus section on year 5 be about
the fans of the show.

Point being...they're putting a LOT of energy and work into this to make each
set better than the one before.

(And yes, still writing my brains out here this weekend, except for a brief
Bejeweled break where I finally broke 400,000 points.)


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

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