Babylon 5 S2 WS framing problems? (image heavy)

 
Old 05-12-03, 11:32 AM
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Babylon 5 S2 WS framing problems? (image heavy)

While watching Babylon 5 Season 2 Episode 15 "And Now For A Word", I noticed this. Haven't heard anybody else mention this.

This is taken from within the same scene. As the scene cuts back and forth from Sheridan to the ISN reporter, I noticed that the edits switched from a clear nicely framed widescreen shot to a very obviously zoomed, poorly framed shot. Examples are below.

Zoomed poorly framed shot of ISN reporter


Clean nicely framed WS shot of same actress, 5 seconds later in scene


Zoomed poorly framed shot of Capt John Sheridan


Clean nicely framed WS shot of same actor, also, about 5 seconds later in scene


In certain scenes earlier in the episode, during the ISN interview with Londo, Londo's hair and the very top of his head were completely cropped out of the shot.

I haven't really noticed this much in previous episodes. Probably, the framing of the interview scenes really made this apparent. The framing doesn't bother me as much, you see bad framing like that all the time on TV news programs. But the blurriness from the zoom looks bad, especially when it's edited next to a non-zoomed clear shot. It looks bad on my little computer monitor, I can imagine what it must look like on a large HD widescreen TV.

Anybody else noticed this? Any chance we can get Warner Bros to reframe and replace these discs, like how Universal handled the BTTF discs? Probably not.

I'll still buy these, I love the show that much. But, for $80 retail, errors like this really grate on my nerves.

Additional Info
"And Now For A Word" is done as if it's a TV news program, ala 48 Hours. This includes info graphics that flash on the bottom of the screen (ala CNN, Fox News, etc). In the shots where there is a graphic, the shot is zoomed. In shots where there is no graphics, the shot is the clean WS shot.

Looks like instead of re-compositing the shot to place the info graphic correctly for a 1.85.1 image, they just cropped the shot that was composited for 4:3 full screen broadcast, correctly placing the info graphic at the bottom of the shot, but cutting their heads off at the same time. Crappy explanation and laziness on the part of WB, but sounds correct.

Has anybody noticed this on other episodes, or is it just this one with the issues??

Last edited by darkflounder; 05-12-03 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 05-12-03, 12:20 PM
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I've heard about the scenes in 'And Now For a Word." I think it has something to do with graphics that were on the 4:3 image, and they had do some weird up/down panning and zooming in order to force the graphics into or out of the 16:9 frame.

I hate to say it, but Babylon 5 should have been released in 4:3 instead of widescreen.
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Old 05-12-03, 12:31 PM
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Oh, the problem with Babylon 5 is that all live-action shots were done in 16:9. Not a problem as such, but...

...they were unable to render the CGI and other effects shots in widescreen, so they were done in standard 4:3. The idea was that, in the future, when Babylon 5 would be released in widescreen then all of the effects shots would be re-rendered in 16:9.

In the contracts, it stated that the special effects company could not keep any of the data that would have been used to re-render the effects shots. So, what happens after Babylon 5 stops production? Warners loses or destroys all of the data. So, if they wanted to go back and redo the CGI in widescreen, it would mean starting over from scratch. Blank slate.

What has happened on the widescreen transfers is:

- Any live-action shots are "open-matte" so to speak. They include extra information on the sides. This was the idea all-along, and it was shot with both ratios in mind.

- All CGI-shots, such as shots of the station and the massive space battles are cropped. In order to fit the scenes into the 16:9 image, the tops and/or bottoms of the CGI shots had to be cut out. There was also a loss in resolution of the shots as well, since they had to be zoomed in.

- All shots mixing CGI and live-action had to be cropped in a similar fashion. So not only are you not getting the information on the sides of the screen, but you're losing information at the top and bottom as well. Not to mention a loss of resolution. (I've heard people mention some shots live-action shots were grainier than others. Could this zooming be why?)

I, so far, have unable to shell out the cash to buy Babylon 5 on DVD because, in my view, it is a compromised work.
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Old 05-12-03, 12:49 PM
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Originally posted by Josh-da-man
I, so far, have unable to shell out the cash to buy Babylon 5 on DVD because, in my view, it is a compromised work.
Compromised? Possibly. Probably the only chance we'll have to get Babylon 5 on DVD. Most definitely.

It's imperfect, but it's still B5 on DVD. And with the good sales that B5 on DVD is having, maybe this will result in Crusade being released on DVD and possibly a Babylon 5 theatrical movie (oooh, to dream the impossible dream).

If only they had the foresight to do all the CGI in 16:9. These DVDs would look absolutely breathtaking.
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Old 05-12-03, 03:18 PM
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*sigh*

How many times does stuff like this have to be asked?

The show was shot with the intent of widescreen.

The software that was used could not handle doing Super35/widrescreen, so they had to render to a standard 4x3. Foresight isn't the issue. They had the foresight to SHOOT for widescreen... but just couldn't composite for it.

The stuff that you are asking about, darkflounder, was indeed done to allow for the subtitles to be placed properly without recompositing the shots.

I, so far, have unable to shell out the cash to buy Babylon 5 on DVD because, in my view, it is a compromised work.
Your loss Josh. I can't see it EVER getting recomposited fx. And the quality really is quite good.

For any doubters of the above info... here... direct from the keyboard of jms.

http://worldsofjms.com/usenet/post/021205d.htm

Considering that Warner (for a while) didn't think there was a market for B5 out there, I'm delighted to have it. And it looks & sounds great.
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