ATTN JMS: B5 on DVD & latest news from Warner Bros.

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Tue Apr 25 04:33:12 EDT 2000

Unavailable article: Message-ID <03aL4.23030$fV.1218654 at>

From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Date: 20 Apr 2000 14:51:33 -0600
Lines: 59

>1)  Around September you were quoted as saying that Warner Bros. had told
>you that a DVD release was scheduled, first in the U.K. (early 2000) and a
>few months later in the U.S.  Is this quote accurate?

I actually can't recall now where I heard it, I've been kind of scattered of
late, but what I do recall hearing was that they were going to release some in
the UK and if they did well, they would consider releasing them in the US.  But
that was the full extent of what I'd heard, and it certainly isn't binding on
>2)  I remember seeing an interview with Doug Netter in which he seemed to
>imply that hi-def widescreen masters for all the episodes and movies *had
>already been produced* by Warner Technical Operations in anticipation of
>eventual syndication or cable deals involving HDTV transmission.
>Is this
>information correct?   If so, could you sketch out a map of the Warner Bros.
>studios showing how to get from the WHV building to WTO?  I'd like to send
>it along with a compass, a canteen and a few granola bars to Mike Finnegan.

This I *can* speak to with authority, because I've SEEN the widescreen
versions.  We worked hand in hand with the guys at WB's technology office to
help handle the transfer to widescreen.  Not only that, but at one point we sat
down at Laser Pacific here in LA with a bunch of guys from WB, LP, and our team
(Flinn, me, Copeland, others) to view an ep in widescreen to examine ways in
which we could take greater advantage of the wide frame while still protecting
for current aspect ratios (i.e., don't shoot everything dead center, have it
off-center a little more or bleed off the side, because it'll all come back
again once you retelecine back to the original widescreen, that sort of thing).

What WB says, repeatedly, is that there is no such critter.  Which is true and
not true.  There is no such critter in NTSC format.  The widescreen versions
were made for foreign release, in PAL format only.

So there is no NTSC format widescreen.  But you can HAVE an NTSC format
widescreen by just transferring the PAL digibeta tapes to NTSC.  

It costs about $1,500 per episode to do this, because it has to be carefully
tweaked to avoid digital artifacting and line trading and the like.  (See how
much tech stuff you learn being an exec producer?)  WB has been unwilling to
pony up the dough for that transfer.  ($1500 x 110 episodes + the 5 movies is a
good chunk of change.)

So widescreen versions DO exist.  I've seen them, others in the B5 team have
seen them, and some of the movies have been released in wide in the UK.

One can only hope that, in time, they can be persuaded to expend the effort.


(jmsatb5 at
B5 Official Fan Club at:
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
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SFX Magazine)

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