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"Babylon 5" Blu-ray Question


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#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Joey Gunz

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Posted December 10 2009 - 08:29 AM

As far as I know, there are no plans as of yet to bring this classic series to Blu-ray.

But I was wondering - if it does eventually end up on Blu-ray - will the episodes look better than they did on DVD?  I know Blu-ray is a superior media.  But so was DVD when compared with VHS tapes.  But when I rented the Babylon 5 DVDs from Netflix I was shocked to see that the visual quality was pretty bad.  I don't know if it was because the film stock was in poor condition or if Warner Bros.  just couldn't be bothered to spend the money to clean everything up.

If or when this series is released on Blu-ray, what are the odds that we'll get a better picture quality than what we've seen on the DVDs?  I'd like to think that Warner Bros will take great care with it but given the way they treated the DVDs, I'm not so sure that they will.


#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted December 10 2009 - 08:52 AM

The magical question with B5 is going to be how post-production was done. If it's the same situation as the Star Trek series produced from the 80s onward or Firefly (which were both completed in the video domain), they may be able to get better quality out of scenes that didn't involve special effects, but effects would either have to be redone ($$$$$$) or upscaled (more likely) for BD.
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#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Bill Buklis

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Posted December 10 2009 - 10:02 AM

I believe a lot of the early effects files are no longer available. On top of it these were done 4:3 in SD quality only. The video was shot with 16:9 in mind, but the effects were not, which is why some scenes look a little odd in the DVD release. Unfortunately I seriously doubt we'll see this in high-def. I'm just not sure it's reasonably possible.
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#4 of 22 OFFLINE   ATimson

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Posted December 10 2009 - 12:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Gunz ">

But when I rented the Babylon 5 DVDs from Netflix I was shocked to see that the visual quality was pretty bad.  I don't know if it was because the film stock was in poor condition or if Warner Bros.  just couldn't be bothered to spend the money to clean everything up.
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#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Joey Gunz

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Posted December 14 2009 - 10:47 AM

Thanks guys.

@ ATimson:

Thanks for the link.  I found it to be very interesting.  :)


#6 of 22 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted December 15 2009 - 12:39 AM

B5 was broadcast originally in 4:3, while it was shot with 16:9 in mind there still is some info that gets lost. The effects very early CGI was shot 4:3, so the zooming neccessary to crop those to 16:9 which looked ugly and horrible on DVD would look worse on Blu ray. I'd like to see a remastering done, as was done for Star Trek done to B5 to redo the CGI, I just don't think WB would spend the money, they've never exactly treated B5 with any respect.
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#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted December 15 2009 - 04:18 AM

The only way the studio would pay to re-do the effects and put the show on Blu-Ray is if a feature film ever gets the green light. It's been 11 years since the show ended, and 5 since the last DVD set. So even though WB knows the show is profitable, there's no recent event to remind them. A lot of it is "what have you done for me lately?" 


#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Ace Macleod

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Posted September 13 2011 - 12:52 PM

In Answer to your question, what you probably don't realize is when you change resolutions You have to re-do all of the CG at the new resolution. The fuzziness of the picture had a lot to do with the process they used for the cg graphics, some due to poor film quality all of which were perfectly acceptable for 480i which has been the resolution for television for a very long time. In order for Babylon 5 to put to Blu-ray, they will have to redo ALL of the CG. Visual effects. They will basically have to do the same treatment to Babylon 5 that Paramount did to Star Trek The original series. very time intensive and very costly. putting it to Blu-ray now with current stock is useless. Even when they do finally make the decision to put it on BLu-ray it will be a long time coming with the redo of all of the effects.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted September 13 2011 - 01:30 PM

A lot of the problems here were also mentioned by someone who told me a few months back that Star trek next generation could not possibly see the light of day. And now its coming out. Of course,if as Bill says,the early effects files are no longer available,thats another thing.

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted September 13 2011 - 01:42 PM

As much as I love B5, it would never sell enough copies to justify the expense of completely recreating the CG effects. With ST:TNG, they're putting out a test disc with four episodes before committing to doing the entire series and it's freakin' STAR TREK! B5 was always a cult show with a fiercely-dedicated but small audience. I have a feeling that DVD will be the last physical format for the show. Also, the story had a definite beginning, middle, and end. All of the TV films and the one DTV film done subsequent to the series have been, well, pretty terrible. That, combined with the death of three of the regular cast members means that a feature film will never, I repeat, NEVER happen. Nor should it.
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#11 of 22 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted September 13 2011 - 03:13 PM

As much as I love B5, it would never sell enough copies to justify the expense of completely recreating the CG effects. With ST:TNG, they're putting out a test disc with four episodes before committing to doing the entire series and it's freakin' STAR TREK!

Exactly. I love The X-Files but, like you said, if they have to test the waters for Trek, I have almost no hope of ever seeing it on Blu-ray.

#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Bill Buklis

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Posted September 19 2011 - 07:55 AM

Yes, the original CGI files are gone. I don't remember offhand if that's for every season or just the early ones. It has been mentioned a few times by JMS (the creator of B5). I'm sure there are many available sources of information about that. Even that article listed above mentions it. Sad, but true. I've heard that some fans had "recreated" some or all of the effects. But, how accurate or how good they are is anyone's guess. I'd be first in line for a high-quality Blu-Ray release of B5. But, I doubt it'll ever happen - at least not anytime soon.
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#13 of 22 OFFLINE   greyeyed123

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Posted September 30 2011 - 05:01 AM

"As much as I love B5, it would never sell enough copies to justify the expense of completely recreating the CG effects." I'm not sure this is true (although it MAY be true at this point--someone at Warner Bros. would have to crunch the numbers carefully). When the DVDs were released, (if reports were true, and the numbers did seem to make sense) Warner Bros. made something north of $500 million--of course, that was during the first frenzy of buying tv on DVD, and the first time B5 was available for ownership in "widescreen" after Sci-Fi hyped it up, and when it was common for a single season of a show (such as B5) to cost around $90 bucks a pop. If they sold somewhere around 1.5 million of each season worldwide, they made 500 million+ easily. (And they're still selling them at $20 a pop nearly 10 years later with that "reissue" thing with the different box--kind of like a reprinting of a book when the first print has been sold out.) Now the market is different. It's been some time after B5's popularity, but it has a solid fanbase worldwide. The CG technology is 15-20 years more advanced than it was during B5's original run (and hopefully cheaper and faster to create). And if the Next Generation blu ray transfers sell well at a high enough price, it may not only be feasible but very profitable for Warner to try something similar--even if they only transfer a couple episodes to see if anyone is interested in buying them. If they sell well, they can go from there. If they don't, then they'll know not to go any farther. It all kind of depends on how well Next Gen transfers (does it blow people away, or is it only a tiny bit better than watching in on netflix streaming or DVD?), what its price is, and how well it sells. B5 isn't Trek in terms of presale, but B5 has its own presale value (worldwide) and may be able to ride a Trek wave in blu ray similarly to how it borrowed an audience for its original run on tv. Or not. It all depends on what happens in the next year or so, but I suspect there is money to be made somewhere.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   ScottHM

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Posted September 30 2011 - 05:23 AM

I would like to believe this, but it seems quite fantastic to me.  I can't imagine a Blu-ray release not forthcoming if sales were anywhere near this good.


Originally Posted by greyeyed123 

When the DVDs were released, (if reports were true, and the numbers did seem to make sense) Warner Bros. made something north of $500 million--of course, that was during the first frenzy of buying tv on DVD






#15 of 22 OFFLINE   greyeyed123

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Posted September 30 2011 - 05:44 AM

"I would like to believe this, but it seems quite fantastic to me. I can't imagine a Blu-ray release not forthcoming if sales were anywhere near this good." Check this out: "The series, which was profitable in each of its five seasons from 1993–1998, has garnered more than US$1 billion for Warner Bros., most recently US$500 million in DVD sales alone. But in the last profit statement given to Straczynski, Warner Bros. claimed the property was $80 million in debt. "Basically", says Straczynski, "by the terms of my contract, if a set on a WB movie burns down in Botswana, they can charge it against B5's profits."[11] Source: http://en.wikipedia....wood_accounting (Footnote is directly from JMS: http://groups.google...de=source&pli=1 )

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted September 30 2011 - 08:18 AM

I would like to believe this, but it seems quite fantastic to me.  I can't imagine a Blu-ray release not forthcoming if sales were anywhere near this good. 

 

Its probably from inflation. Back in the day a season of Bab5 cost upwards of 99 bucks on dvd.

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   greyeyed123

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Posted September 30 2011 - 08:29 AM

I said somewhere (perhaps in private message) that Warner Bros. was sitting on B5 for a reason. After our discussion, I found this from a couple months ago: http://www.babylonpo...w-248/#comments Apparently Warner Brothers approached JMS for a reboot of B5 (I'm listening to some of the podcast now). If that is their interest, they'd probably be more interested in developing new content before taking on a huge effort to restore an old version of the same franchise. From what I can tell, their talks broke down. Still, this demonstrates that Warner Bros. knows they are sitting on a very valuable franchise--whether that includes a blu-ray restoration of the old show, a movie, or a new show...who knows? But I don't think they'd be dumb enough to go ahead with a "rebooted" show without JMS. (And they certainly aren't dumb enough to do NOTHING with the franchise--they're in a business, after all.)

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted October 01 2011 - 08:15 AM

I'm not certain if JMS or WB owns the rights to the B5 story, characters, etc. If it's WB, they wouldn't hesitate rebooting without JMS if they thought the chances of a profit were there. Creative people are the lowest folks on the totem pole in Hollywood. I hope they don't. The story has been told and I can't see that a reboot would bring anything to the table that wasn't there in the original series.
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#19 of 22 OFFLINE   greyeyed123

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Posted October 02 2011 - 06:20 AM

WB owns everything except the movie rights, according to JMS. http://groups.google...65?dmode=source For the recent podcast, JMS was approached by WB to do a reboot series of B5 in order to use it as one of 3 or 4 shows that would be featured on a "new delivery system" for content. In essence, it seems WB was hoping new B5 content would help anchor an audience for a new delivery system (not the first time B5 has been used in this way over the years). From what JMS said in that podcast, it wasn't a "redo" of the B5 we know and love. It would have been a reimagining, with some of the original actors doing different characters (he mentioned Mira doing a human character, for instance), and a purposefully diverging here and there from our familiar story. This could be very interesting. The original B5 has been in the can long enough that a new incarnation by JMS would be very interesting (anything NOT involving JMS I simply can't imagine working at all). He said he would only do it on a solid budget (more than double the budget of the original show), with total creative control, no notes from the studio, etc...and they said YES. The problem, it appears, was whatever that "new delivery system" was going to be fell apart...and as a result, so did the 3 or 4 shows that they wanted to feature on it, including the new B5. But it is good news that Warner still has B5 in the back of their minds, and has already demonstrated that they can and would commit to JMS in a way that he (and the fans) have always wanted. BTW, I don't think Warner Bros. would ever do B5 without JMS. They don't understand the show well enough to take that financial risk, and they at least seem to know that they don't understand the show well enough to pull it off...and they also know JMS already HAS pulled it off. That's why they already agreed to all his terms--the problem was not Warner/JMS, it was the new delivery system. (And with Netflix imploding and competitors scrambling to pick up the slack...maybe there is still hope for new content?)

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted October 02 2011 - 06:36 AM

Interesting. I'm still not sure it's necessary. The reason the "reimagining" of GALACTICA worked so well was that, though the idea of the original series was good, the actual show was pretty crappy. Ronald Moore was able to take that great idea and build a great show around it. B5, on the other hand, was great as it was, save for the low budget. I'm not saying I wouldn't give a new series a try; I just think it would be an uphill battle to top the original series. As for the "implosion of Netflix", I wouldn't count them out just yet. Remember, the problem isn't Netflix so much as it is the studios who want more money for their content and cable companies panicking over lost subscribers. The streaming framework that Netflix has set up works remarkably well at different bandwidths and on a huge number of devices. Studios will be making a huge mistake if they sink Netflix in a vain attempt to set up their own proprietary streaming services. Services like Netflix and, to a lesser extent, Hulu are one-stop solutions for streaming entertainment. People don't want to subscribe to multiple services in order to get the variety of programs and films that they want to watch. The nature of the entertainment business has been fundamentally changed by Netflix. The reason they have been so successful is that people like being able to see a wide variety of programs and the service is incredibly easy to use. Destroying Netflix will only lead to more pirating. I'm more than happy to pay what I feel is a reasonable price for a streaming service with no commercials that interrupt the content. I would even consider paying for a service with a few forced commercials at the beginning of a program or film. What I won't do is pay what cable and satellite companies are charging. Money is very hard to come by for a lot of folks nowadays, including myself, so I have to be very picky how I decide to spend it. Netflix Instant has been wonderful for me. Sorry I got off-topic. :) I hope B5 gets some love from WB at some point down the road.
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