FLASH! B5 Season 1 DVDs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joseph DeMartino, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Warner Bros. has created a Macromedia Flash promo for video stores ordering the DVD with details on features. Looks very cool, although the copywriter should probably be shot. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  2. Britton

    Britton Supporting Actor

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    Sweeet!!! Hearing that Season 1 theme has gotten me really psyched for this boxed set!
     
  3. Charles Maesschalck

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    I cant access the site, can someone please list all the special features and specs for me which are mentioned?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  4. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  5. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    No. But it may have to serve, since we're not likely to see it in any other format.

    I love the text, by the way: "PRESERVING *A* THEATRICAL EXHIBITION ASPECT RATIO" (emphasis mine). They couldn't really say "THE", could they? I laughed when I saw this on "V: The Final Battle" the other day.

    My understanding is that while some of it is indeed matted (and FX, for instance), many of the live shots are from the original 16x9 quasi-composition.
     
  6. Mike_G

    Mike_G Screenwriter

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    Yay. I can FINALLY get rid of these damn S-Video SP tapes that are littering my media room.

    Mike
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    What Dave quoted is just the standard WHV widescreen boilerplate, meant to cover all anamorphic discs. It is not specific to B5. (I think the "matted" reference is to cover them on 2.35:1 and greater films, since these are letterboxed even on 16:9 televisions.)
    And yes, this is the correct aspect ratio as far as the creators are concerned - and I thought this forum was biased in favor of getting things released in the form that the creators preferred. Since the show was shot on Super35, arguably neither the 1.33:1 original TV version nor the 1.77:1 widescreen version are "correct" or "complete". The CGI was, of course, "padded" from day one, so that it could be trimmed to 1.77:1 without serious loss (and often with a notable improvement in focus and composition.) The producers knew that it was unlikely they'd ever get the cash to re-do all that CGI, so they planned ahead. The tiny percentage of shots that blend live action and CGI (virtual sets, pure CGI charaters - not PPG blasts, since these were rotoscoped) will simply be matted. But, again, this was anticipated, and they were mostly shot with that in mind. I think the gain in the 95% in composition and cinematic "feel" of live action-only shots more than off-sets the small losses elsewhere. I've watched many of the widescreen episodes "zoomed" on my widescreen set and they look just fine. Can't wait for the anamorphic DVDs. Unless you've memorized every bloody shot in the series, or sit down and do frame-by-frame comparisons, I don't think you'll find the few "cropped" shots especially distracting. The fact is that anyone who hasn't already seen the 4:3 version won't notice anything "wrong" at all. And odds are that (just as the creators expected) over the years the vast majority of people who see the series will never have seen the old version.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  8. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    I'm drooling for this release [​IMG]. This has been one of my most anticipated releases since DVD came out. I'm glad we are getting the Widescreen versions that we petitioned Warner Bros. for back in 99. I just hope they release at least 2 seasons a year for this show. I'm really looking forward to seasons 3 and 4 in Anamorphic Widescreen [​IMG]
     
  9. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Okay, so 6 DVD-9s; I guess they'll follow the TNG model (last 2 eps + extras on the last disc).

    Two JMS commentaries is a bit lame though (still, better than nothing). I'd like some cast commentaries next time, esp. where focus is given on a particular actor for an episode.

    But I'm pleased for the 5.1 remix, and it'll be interesting to see the eps in widescreen!
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I think that Niall's petition (and the letters to WHV that it generated) was one of the rare cases where something of the kind actually influenced a studio's decision making. WHV had planned a 2-episode-per-individual-disc, 1.33:1, no extras release for late 1999 or early 2000, something like Paramount's Star Trek: TOS discs. Falling sales for the VHS tapes had them worried about that, although there was some indication that people were skipping the tapes because they expected the DVDs soon. But the petition helped convince them that the DVD release they were planning wouldn't sell either, which caused them to scrap it and put the whole project on the back burner. (BTW, I'm pretty sure that Niall started the petition in the fall of 1998. And I know that I was writing WHV urging a widescreen B5 release shortly after I got my first DVD player in the late summer of 1997.)
     
  11. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Joe,

    Huh. Maybe you have me there. I thought that the standard verbage on WB boxes was "PRESERVING *THE* THEATRICAL". I don't have a WB box nearby to check, so I may have been wrong.

    As for the legitimacy of the widescreen versions, I'm well aware of the way in which B5 was composed and produced, and the compromises that were made regarding aspect ratio. I'm also aware of what JMS has been saying on the issue... and I disagree with him.

    I can honestly say after viewing the SciFi Channel's broadcasts of the widescreen versions that, to me, the FX in the first and seasons, and most of the third, look cramped due to excessive cropping. They don't look like they were composed with excess headroom for eventual widescreen release: they look like they were composed for 4:3 and eventually someone had to go back and pan/scan them to fit the widescreen frame everyone was demanding. The worst cases are in virtual sets, where not only were the original 16x9 live shots cropped to fit 4x3, they were *further* cropped to fit 16x9 again.

    The fourth and fifth season FX are a different story; it's evident that when Netter Digital took over someone was thinking ahead and composed the shots so they could be cropped without looking like a hack job, and we have it on the authority of Mojo that in the middle part of season three (Messages From Earth or thereabouts), Foundation was at least *starting* to experiment with producing widescreen versions of the FX shots, and it shows.

    The live shots all look great in 16x9; you'll find no objections from me there. But while I love the show and respect JMS, I think he's 180 degrees wrong to assert that the FX on all the episodes (or at least S1 and S2) were composed with extra padding. Check out the Kosh flying scene at the end of S2 for one of the best examples.

    The best possible scenario, now that the Lightwave models are lost, would have been a dual aspect ratio release. Since I'm sure we'll never get that, I'll be buying the DVD sets.

    But that doesn't mean I'm thrilled. It just means I'm tolerant; I bought Anchor Bay's "full frame" cut of Midnight Madness because I knew the film was too niche to ever warrant the widescreen version I wanted to see, and I'll be buying the B5 sets because I know the show is too niche to be released in a dual AR set.
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    P.S.
    The "Making of" documentary listed appears to be the one produced to kick-off the first season. It originally aired on The Sci-Fi Channel in 1994, and was hosted by Walter Koenig. (I've never seen it, but I've heard it was good.) Buried in the fine print of the Flash page is a notice saying that the documentary is copyright 1993, 1994 by the PTEN consortium. The other documentary as produced for the DVDs ((c) 2002) and will include the interviews with cast and crew members that were shot last month. Drool, drool. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  13. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    I think the Koenig documentary originally aired on PTEN stations, not on the SciFi Channel. And it was a very cool documentary. I still have it on tape somewhere.
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  15. Matt Whealton

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    Another vote thumbs up - Just pre-ordered the set. [​IMG]
    Hope it helps encourage WB to bring on more seasons quickly. Although, since I only really picked up watching the series somewhere in Season Three, it will be great fun going back to the beginning...
     
  16. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    well at least the price isn't the same fiasco as the TNG sets where paramount did not set a MAP therefore allowing retailers to charge what they wanted. Does Map Mean it cannot go Below 79.95 and would tat hold true yo Etailers?
     
  17. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  18. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    We are lucky JMS had time to do the commentaries. He mentioned this on the B5 newsgroup a while backWhen they were making the set he was working on Jeremiah, Spiderman comics and a bunch of other products. WB dosnt pay for people to do commentaries at all. Nothing. Any other person probably wouldnt do anything, but JMS did the 2 commentaries and helped with a lot of other things for the set

    capt
     
  19. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Well, this is/was JMSs labor of love. I'm not surprised he pushed aside whatever else was in the way to make time for a couple commentaries.

    He earlier mentioned doing a commentary for "... And The Sky Full Of Stars" and [other episode... Mind War?], if time permitted. It's a shame that he ran out of time... AtSFoS was one of my favorite episodes in the first season, and I'd have liked to hear JMS talk about it.

    This will be a fun set.
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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