[B5JMS] Plea to JMS & Fans: The B5 Widescreen Madness Must Stop!!!

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Mon Dec 9 04:25:08 EST 2002

From: "Joseph DeMartino" <jdemarti at bellsouth.net>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 10:25:45 -0500
Lines: 58

>    Would this really cause a delay? How far along on the authoring
> do we think we are for season 2, let alone 3-5? I thought they were
> on seeing sales for each season before giving the go-ahead for
> on the next?

Indications are that Warner Home Video is happy enough with the sales of
S1 that beginning with S2 they won't be waiting for sales reports on
each set before starting work on the next.  Indeed, JMS mentioned
several months ago that they were starting some preliminary (and
relatively cheap) work on S2 and S3 even before S1 went on sale -
presumably based on the strong pre-orders for the S1 set.

Stephen Furst and Claudia Christian have both recently mentioned having
interviews scheduled for DVD documentaries about all the remaining
seasons that they appear in.  Bruce Boxleitner told a convention
audience that he has agreed to do a commentary track for S2.  And a U.K.
release list for 2003 Warner Home Video titles shows S3 being released
in September, rather than November.  The list does not cover the month
of December, but if they are really cutting the interval between
releases from 6 months to 4 (as would be the case if the list's dates of
May 2003 and September 2003 are correct) then S4 could well be in stores
by the end of next year.

RE:  The expense of a dual release.  I probably did overestimate some of
the costs, but certainly not all of them.  They can't, for instance,
simply slap the LD masters onto a DVD.  LD is an *analog* video medium.
While LD soundtracks are commonly digital, the pictures never are.  So
all 110 episodes would have to be processed and compressed for DVD.
This is one of the most expensive parts of the authoring process.  If it
wouldn't double WHV's cost, it would certainly raise it substantially.
Say 50% to 75% more for a dual release than for a single aspect ratio.
They'd have to sell an awful lot of those 4:3 discs to make this
worthwhile.  One of the main reasons they're doing a widescreen DVD
release at all (and one of the main reasons they *didn't* proceed with
their original "ST:TOS" inspired 4:3, individual disc, 2-episode per
disc, no extras release plan in 1999 or 2000) is that the overwhelming
majority of fans who wrote them about a DVD release specifically
requested widescreen.   So I think it very unlikely that the majority of
DVD buyers would now opt for a 4:3 release.  WHV would also be obliged
to go back and re-issue S1, and they'd have to change the packaging to
distinguish between the widescreen and 4:3 sets.

The whole idea is a non-starter on a variety of levels.  The moreso
since many fans, like myself, have no problem at all with the CGI and
composite presentation.



From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 09 Dec 2002 05:34:20 GMT
Lines: 37

>Indications are that Warner Home Video is happy enough with the sales of
>S1 that beginning with S2 they won't be waiting for sales reports on
>each set before starting work on the next.  
I don't know that they've committed to that extent, but they are very happy
with the sales, and are accellerating things.

Interviews for year 2's DVD have been set, or already conducted, with Stephen
Furst, Andrea Thompson, John Iacovelli, Anne Bruice-Ailing, Jerry, Claudia,
Bruce, me, John Copeland, Doug Netter and others.

In addition, I'll be doing commentaries on "The Coming of Shadows" and "The
Fall of Night," and there will be a bonus group commentary by Bruce, Claudia
and Jerry on "The Long, Twilight Struggle."

There's talk about a special musical sequence for the season 3 DVD, with Chris
re-scoring 2-3 episodes end to end with non-stop music, future segments on "The
Future According to Babylon 5" with NASA and JPL guys (btw, James over at a
certain House subcommittee, if you're reading this and could drop me a note,
that'd be great).  I'd like to see the final bonus section on year 5 be about
the fans of the show.

Point being...they're putting a LOT of energy and work into this to make each
set better than the one before.

(And yes, still writing my brains out here this weekend, except for a brief
Bejeweled break where I finally broke 400,000 points.)


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
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