WARNER: Thank you for the first B5 disc!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob T, Dec 7, 2001.

  1. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    I finally got it today and I watched the pilot tonight! I love the special edition of it! [​IMG]
    I shall watch In The Beginning tomorrow.
    I can't wait to have season box sets of the show. I hope you make the discs anamorphic widescreen and put them in alpha or aamaray cases. Please don't package them in those crappy snappers! Thanks a lot! [​IMG]
     
  2. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I too want to thank you for releasing B5 on dvd. I really hope you release all the seasons in box sets on dvd. I WILL buy them all.

    Thanks!!!!
     
  3. ShaneP

    ShaneP Stunt Coordinator

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    I hope to find one in my Christmas stocking. If not, I'll be at the store on the 26th =)
     
  4. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    So what's the status on the disc? 4:3 or 16:9 anamorphic? On which episodes?
     
  5. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    The pilot episode, The Gathering, is fullscreen as it was originally shot.
    The 1st TV-movie, In the Beginning, is anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) as it was originally shot.
    I'm not sure about the audio, but I think it's DD 2.0 surround. [​IMG]
     
  6. Joseph Burns

    Joseph Burns Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you WB! I am cruising over to Amazon right now to pick mine up! Please please bring us the full seasons soon, in anamorphic like JMS intended. I'll plunk down my $$ for the boxed sets any day. FYI, I only bought a couple of the VHS because I had already taped most off the air and was waiting on the DVDs, which I had already moved on to by then. I suspect this may be the case for many fans, and I'll wager you will see a much better response for the DVD format (especially if you do them right[​IMG] ).
     
  7. Bob Engleman

    Bob Engleman Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob T,

    If "The Gathering" was originally shot in full screen, why is the format change notice on the disc?

    Bob Engleman
     
  8. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    because that was a mess up by Warner. Just ask Joe DeMartino, the frequent B5 know-it-all poster. He knows that they shot that episode in 4:3 because they didn't have the 1.85:1 cameras at that time.
    Look on the back of the case near the bottom. It says:
    STANDARD VERSION THE GATHERING (SIDE A) IS PRESENTED IN A FORMAT PRESERVING THE ASPECT RATIO OF ITS ORIGINAL TELEVISION EXHIBITION.
    WIDESCREEN VERSION IN THE BEGINNING (SIDE B) IS PRESENTED IN A "MATTED" WIDESCREEN FORMAT. ENHANCED FOR WIDESCREEN TVS.
    The Gathering was shot in 4:3 and Inthe Beginning was shot in 1.85:1. They're both in their OAR just as JMS intended. [​IMG]
    If JMS had 1.85:1 cameras at the time when The Gathering was getting ready to be shot then I'm sure he would have used them, but he didn't so he used the 4:3 cameras.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Rob:
    Some small corrections. (Well, I am a know-it-all, after all.)
    B5 was not shot at 1.85:1. It was shot on Super35, just like Titanic, T2, and Apollo 13, so that they could simultaneously frame for widescreen and 4:3.
    The intended widescreen ratio is 1.77:1 - the ratio used for HDTV, which is what they had in mind when they elected to shoot for widescreen as well as "TV" ratio.
    It wasn't a matter of not having widescreen cameras available. I don't think that Super35 requires special cameras, just different film stock and maybe lenses. The cost is a little higher. Either they simply hadn't thought about simultaneously shooting 4:3 and widescreen when they made the pilot, or they decided it was more important to keep costs down. (One of the things the pilot had to prove was that Netter and Straczynski could deliver the kind of show they promised on the budget they proposed - something no other SF TV show had managed to do. All of the Trek series quickly exceeded their original budgets.)
    During the several-month layoff between the completion of the pilot and the approval for the series, they certainly did discuss the pending advent of HDTV with the studio, and pointed out that for most of the life of the show (assuming it lasted five years and made it to syndication) people would be watching it on HDTVs. So they figured that having a widescreen version would give the show a competative, as well as aesthetic, edge over other shows being produced in the early-to-mid '90s. So whether they were already thinking along these lines while shooting the pilot, or came up with the idea in the interim, it was decided to do B5 on Super35 for eventual widescreen broadcast. (And laserdisc release. This was nearly five years before the arrival of DVD, and JMS assumed that the ultimate home video version of the show would be a laserdisc release. He always intended that to be widescreen)
    Starting with the first regular episode, they shot on Super35 and started designed the CGI with "padding" top and bottom so that it could be trimmed to 1.77:1 if WB wouldn't come up with the money to rerender it in widescreen. (Which they didn't)
    AFAIK, B5 was the first show to shoot Super35 with an eye towards the HDTV future (which at the time seemed a lot closer than it turned out to be) and it started a trend.
    Having said all that, let me add my thanks and congratulations to Warner Bros. You've done as we asked, and put in the effort where it counted (in the picture and sound quality, especially in making ItB anamorphic.) I trust that the sales figures have demonstrated that we were right as well, and that there is a big enough audience for the show to make season-by-season sets profitable for you.
    Now let's move on to phase two. The season sets must be in the proper order. (The original and later broadcast orders all have slight flaws in them - not enough to hassle a network about, but it would be nice to get the JMS approved order on DVD.) The series creator must be involved in their production, much as Chris Carter has been with the X-Files discs. There must be some extras included with each season set. (There are several "behind the scenes" documentaries that should be available, as well as lots of raw footage from the never-aired Sci-Fi Channel "Sciography" about the show.) Text items should be licensed from the fan-created Lurker's Guide to B5 website. Commentary tracks above all for key episodes should be included - with a variety of writers, actors and directors over the five seasons, and most importantly JMS on the half-dozen most important episodes.
    Five snapper cases jammed into a cardboard sleeve does not a proper boxed set make. Please, for this one release, unbend a little and use a case that actually fits the application. Find out who makes the "accordian" case for The X-Files and buy some. The slipcase, the wrap-around cover and the clear plastic holders give plenty of room for great artwork - and B5 is one of the most visually interesting titles you will ever release. The finished packaging should be breath-taking - enough that it alone will tempt some who already own most of the series on VHS or LD to buy it all over again. (Which should certainly be one of your goals - and which is another reason for including extras along with doing the show in anamorphic widescreen.) Ideally the five boxes when lined up side by side will form a complete mural, with an image of the station running the length of the full set, with portraits of the characters from each year around it.
    While it is probably too expensive to remix 110 episodes in DD 5.1, this might not be a bad idea for the remaining surround sound TV movies. (A Call to Arms and the upcoming Legend of the Rangers were originally mixed in 5.1 and downconverted for broadcast.) If the series does well enough, you should also consider rereleasing the first two movies as individual special editions - with DD 5.1 and appropriate extras, of course. Trust me, most of us will be happy to buy improved versions of them in six months or a year.
    Well, fellas, have I missed anything?
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  10. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    I would like to see the original episode trails included. Some of them are absolutely hilarious. [​IMG]
    A 5.1 remix would rock, but, OTOH, if they can match the quality of their V release in Pro Logic, I will be more than happy.
    Thank you, Warner, for releasing the first of (I hope) many B5 DVDs. Frankly I don't care about the packaging; just season sets.
    P.S. Joe, do you ever write any short posts?! [​IMG] (rhetorical)
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  12. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Dammit, I said it was a rhetorical question. [​IMG]
     
  13. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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