Buffy Dilemma... Please help

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Matt`L, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Matt`L

    Matt`L Stunt Coordinator

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    (Please feel free to skip to my questions, the bold portion of the post).


    As mentioned in the title, I'm having a bit of a dilemma in regards to Buffy at the moment.

    Fox Home Australia recently slashed their prices, bringing Buffy prices here in line with U.S. prices, and X-Files sets down to the equivelant of $55.16USD.

    Now, I went out and bought seasons one to six of Buffy to make sure I had them before the discount ends on Christmas days.

    But I've since been doing some research and would appreciate your help.

    It appears that Joss Whedon has stated in no uncertain terms that the Seasons of Buffy that were filmed in widescreen were in fact intended to be seen in fullscreen. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here with the widescreen versions if seasons four to six.

    Now, I really want to buy the version Whedon, the creator, intended to be sold.

    Season four is a no-brainer. I'm definitely getting the U.S release of that, but I'm a bit unsure of seasons five and six.

    Basically, this is where my questions come in.



    Am I correct in believing that Whedon's "4:3" statement applies for seasons five, six, and seven of Buffy, as well as seasons two and up of Angel? If so, I intend to get the 4:3 U.S. version of them.

    Just out of interest, do the 4:3 versions look good, composition wise? I'm having a hard time believing they didn't compose for widescreen, especially in Seasons five and up. I know season four has filmic related things going on off-screen, but I assume these were eliminated in later seasons... making me lean back to widescreen again.

    The other problem relates to the missing "previously on" clips from the start of episodes. I can live without these for the most part (they are redundant on dvd, although they'd be nice to have). But I've been hearing that the one for episode 100 was very special. My question is, is it so special that it warrants keeping the widescreen version, which does contain the clip? Or would I be better off getting the 4:3 version and finding a friend with the episode on tape, so I can watch the clip?

    I'd appreciate any help that you guys can provide, and thanks for reading [​IMG].

     
  2. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    4:3 is Whedon's preferred AR for Buffy all the way through (except for Once more with Feeling, obviously), for Angel it's widescreen (seasons 2 and up). That's why the R1 release of Angel Season 2 is WS as well. They never composed for WS on Buffy, and while the goofs got less after season 4, they're still there. I noticed quite a few of them.

    As for the missing previously segments: Personally, I find it quite disappointing that they still leave them off even though fans complain every single time. Just yesterday I watched an episode of Firefly that had the tell-tale chopped off music in the beginning of an episode which made it clear that the music from the recap segued into the episode. And of course leaving of the previusly for "The Gift" is a crime. I'm not sure I'd watch a whole season in the unintended aspect ratio because of the missing previously though. I do have the R2s for Buffy because I bought them before it became clear that 16:9 was not the preferred AR (although even at the time I was confused that the 16:9 ratio exhibited so many goofs). I'm glad that my player's got an excellent zoom feature is all I can say.

    Chris
     
  3. Matt`L

    Matt`L Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you ever so much for your comments. Basically I just needed some reassurance and that's what you gave [​IMG].

    I still have one question, for anyone reading. Obviously any 4:3 presentation is going to feel 'cramped' in comparison to a WS equivelant, but I was wondering if - just by watching - you can tell that the later seasons of Buffy are composed for 4:3. Does 4:3 feel 'right', and for those watching the 1.78:1 version, does it seem (composition wise) to be 'wrong?

    Thanks [​IMG]

    edit:
    Christian, I'm not sure if you have the region one copies as well, but would you recommend that I get the region one version? That's the way I'm definitely leaning, it sounds as though (previously missing aside), it's what you would prefer to. But it's goign to be a bit of a headache returning the ones I bought and then tracking down the region ones, so I'd like to know for sure.
     
  4. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    This is a touchy subject for many, and I'm sure it won't be long before many people will chime in and tell you that they prefer the WS composition and that it looks better. For me it's very simple: Joss wants it in 4:3, so that's the end of that.

    There's an old thread where I posted a 16:9 comparison from season 5's "The Body" that, together with Joss's comments, makes it blatantly clear what the correct aspect ratio is. I've dug that post out, and here's the relevant part of it:

    The following comments are taken from Joss' audio commentary for the episode:

    "We're actually coming up on one of my favorite shots that I ever composed. And it's very simple... which is this:

    [​IMG]

    Very simply, it's an over, where I squeezed her into the frame as much as possible so that it's like she didn't have room to manoeuvre.
    [...]
    A normal over would have been her with a tiny slice of his shoulder. Instead I let his shoulder own the frame. [...] It's an obvious thing, not great filmmaking, but when I did it on the day I saw the over and thought "He's a little too much in the frame. Keep pushing it. Keep pushing. Giver her less room, give her less room." It excited me. It made me realize that something not particluarly clever but useful could just appear on the day."

    Well, you've heard (well, read) the man. And now, here's the same shot as it appears in Widescreen:

    [​IMG]

    I rest my case. [​IMG]

    Chris
     
  5. Matt`L

    Matt`L Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks once again for the reply. Looks like it's OAR for me [​IMG] (not that I was ever truly going to go any other way [​IMG]).

    If it's not too much trouble, could you provide a link to the thread you referred to? I wouldn't mind reading the responses of others.
     
  6. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    The post was in a thread that was originally about season 3, but as so many Buffy thread it started to become a 4:3 vs. 16:9 battle. [​IMG]
    Here's the link that leads you directly to my post:

    Buffy Season 3 problems

    Chris
     
  7. Terry H

    Terry H Second Unit

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    So, what happened? After Season 1 God appeared before him and directed Angel be shot in 16:9? He suddenly realized he was shooting it wrong? I have my doubts.
    I've read interviews where he stated Buffy was always intended to be 4:3. Fine. I also saw an interview where he said he ALWAYS saw Angel as more "cinematic" than Buffy and so it was shot widescreen. Oddly, I don't recall him saying "widescreen beginning with season 2". [​IMG] If anyone can explain why the first season of Angel is 4:3 I would love to hear it.
     
  8. Chet_F

    Chet_F Supporting Actor

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    "If anyone can explain why the first season of Angel is 4:3 I would love to hear it."

    I believe it was shot and composed for 4X3 by Joss. He later changed his mind for Season 2 and shot and composed for 16:9.
     
  9. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    AU pricing is weird. Great prices for the X-Files, lousy ones for Buffy. Silly studios..
     
  10. Matt`L

    Matt`L Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, normally the prices suck for both shows. But Fox has been nice and given us all down here a nice Christmas present by bring buffy about in line with U.S. prices, and made X-Files cheaper than the U.S. (from what i can tell).

    I know it's off topic, but does anyone know the reason why there is such a huge price gulf between X-Files and Buffy in the U.S.? Royalties to the actors?

    edit:
    On the off-chance that someone from region-one land knows, is the oft-used capability 'pan and scan on the fly' enabled on the widescreen region four/two dvds? I'm currently looking at returning my sets tomorrow and buying from amazon.ca (for about the same price) the region one sets. i've never experienced p&s o.t.f, but if it does work 'properly', it would mean i could get the intended aspect ratio and the 'previously on' clips.

    why, oh why, couldn't fox leave at least the one for the 100th episode intact? [​IMG]

    edit two:
    is there a buffy season five review available on this site?
     
  11. Mark Turetsky

    Mark Turetsky Supporting Actor

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    Here's a thought: Keep the aussie versions, and set your player to Pan and Scan. That way, you keep the "previously" segments and the 4:3 OAR compositions.
     
  12. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    P&S on the fly is not enabled on the R2/4 sets. That probably would have made too much sense. [​IMG]
    And enabling P&S on your DVD player won't do much good, since that only works when P&S on the fly is enabled. There may be the odd exception to the rule here, but generally it doesn't work.

    Chris
     
  13. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Supporting Actor

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    Neither region has a flawless set. The Region 1 Buffy has combing issues from being improperly flagged. The "Previously on" intros are missing. And then you've got minor problems like loose discs in the packaging and the incorrect theme music on the first two episodes of Season 3.

    Then with Regions 2 and 4, Season 4 onward have 16:9 transfers which go against Joss Whedon's wishes as well as PAL speedup. The higher prices vs. Region 1 aren't as big an issue for me since they've been coming out on DVD so much earlier overseas.

    Honestly, it comes down to which stuff annoys you the least. For me, the combing and lack of "Previously on" intros are serious enough to stick with the other regions for Seasons 3-6(and presumably Season 7).
     
  14. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    not to stir the pot, but yes, there are a few gaffes noticeable in the WS versions, but there are examples of the opposite... In the Xander/Anya wedding, there are scenes with the guests in the corners of the frame and they are doing action so someone, (2nd unit director most likely...) gave them direction. They are not visible in the 4x3 version and the special FX like vamp dustings etc... extend all the way to the edges of the 16x9 frame so the FX artists were composing the shots using the full 16x9 frame. Now, whether this affects the scenes is debatable, but certain eps. definitely look like everyone is jammed into the center, but some definitely look like they were using the whole wide frame. And the non-inclusion of the previously on's is inexcusable...
    The packaging for the r2 sets is vastly superior and the pic. quality of S5 and S6 look superb. When comparing my R2's to my friends R1's... The R2's look better. And the combing issues EEEK!

    So it's a judgement call... I happen to prefer them in 16x9 and it is a hot-button issue for some folks...

    Plus, they come out alot earlier in R2. I'm getting S7 next month.... [​IMG]

    Just my opinion, folks...


    But what do I know.....
     
  15. Matt`L

    Matt`L Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, the Buffy releases in different regions do end up bringing on a lot of headaches.

    In the end, I decided that the AR that Whedon has strongly asserted is what he desires should be what guides me in terms of buying sets.

    For the most part, I didn't care enough about the missing 'previously on' clips in region one to warrant buying the 'unintended' aspect ratio version present in Australia. Although, I still don't see why they weren't included...

    In the end, I bought the local versions of Buffy Seasons 1-3 and Angel Seasons 1 and 3. I will most likely be buying Angel Season 2, and Buffy 4 and onwards from Canada.

    I will, however, be hanging on to the local 'half season' set which features the supposedly cool 'previously on' at the start of episode 100. I am also hanging on to this set just so I can have a little 'token' of Buffy's widescreen-ness.

    Argh, I feel that headache coming on again...
     
  16. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Supporting Actor

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    Next month? Where did you hear this? I know Angel Season 4 is coming out 3/1/2004, but I haven't seen any news about Buffy Season 7.
     
  17. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    I believe it had to do with THE WB not allowing them to show it in widescreen. When season 2 rolled around, they asked to show the show in widescreen and WB still said 'no'.

    At this time there was some indication BUFFY was going to be released on DVD and Joss probably thought "let's film Angel Season 2 in widescreen." most likely thinking it would be released OAR at some point.
     
  18. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Supporting Actor

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    I thought I read somewhere that the reason Angel Season 1 was released in 4:3 was because no WS masters were ever done for the DVDs. By the time the Season 2 box set rolled around, Fox had heard all the complaints and released it in 16:9(except in Region 4 for some odd reason).
     
  19. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Hey Adam, Amazon UK has S7 listed for a Jan. release in general although they don't have a specific date set yet...
    Makes sense as I got S6 around july...


    [​IMG] D
     
  20. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Dave,

    you might want to have a look at the year. They have it set for January 2003! That's their "opening date". Plus, if it in fact were released in January, it would have been officially announced by now.

    Chris
     

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