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  • iTunes (and Amazon?) new 4:3 version

    I thought I'd highlight this for anyone (like me) who has seller's remorse over getting rid of their VHS tapes fifteen years ago and (being ambivalent about the DVD transfer) has been hoping for a 4:3 digital version of the show...

    Against all odds it seems to be here! I can only personally verify from the UK, but the purchasable episodes on iTunes Store (which were previously all in 16:9 aspect ratio, same as the DVDs) seem to be being replaced with a new version which:
    • has "Remastered" on the branding
    • is in 4:3 aspect ratio throughout (i.e. as originally broadcast)
    • has had the picture colour touched-up (that's as technical as I get...)
    • has replaced the old 90s WB logo at the end with a new modern one (Harlan Ellison's voice-over is gone)
    • has the correct "special" opening credits (e.g. pre-chrysalis Delenn for the first 2 eps of Season Two, no Claudia Christian on S4E22)

    Weirdly they don't seem to have been released all at once, but the episodes are being replaced gradually: as of this writing 84 out of 110 episodes on UK iTunes on my PC are the new version - including the whole of Season Three - however more weirdly on my iPad iTunes app only 74 of them are the new version, so it seems to be trickling out at different rates on different platforms.
    [ UPDATE: less than 24 hours later, 102 episodes are now 4:3 on PC iTunes, iPad is now at 84 ]

    I got overexcited and bought the whole series on iTunes so my wallet won't let me check Amazon Prime Video fully - it now has the same "Remastered" branding, but when I checked "Interludes and Examinations" today it was still 16:9, but that's only a sample of one...


    This is not the all-perfect super-duper ST:TNG-style remaster that some are hoping for - it seems to me (by no means an expert) to be roughly the same picture quality as the DVDs - and in some ways it's a shame to lose the extra picture from the widescreen frame...

    Having said that, to my eyes the CGI looks immensely better now it's not blown up to fit 16:9. Same for the previously blurry and mis-framed composite shots - I've spent a few hours this evening re-watching some iconic scenes and now they finally look how I remember them


    I know there'll be many for whom the DVDs are fine and this is non-news, and there'll be others who want a full film-transfer/CGI re-render and will find this a disappointment - but for anyone in-between I would recommend checking out this new version.
    Last edited by gs4291; 11-18-2020, 02:53 AM.

  • #2
    I checked the comparison video that JMS posted and the colors are *vastly* more vivid and clear. I'll wait a while before deciding what to do about re-buying it but it's a real improvement.
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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    • #3
      does it at least give us some hope that, depending on how well it sells, wb might consider a proper hi def version?
      "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "

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      • #4
        This is great news, but sadly I don't think a full remaster will ever be financially viable. Paramount put a stop to their remasters of Star Trek because the TNG remaster didn't even turn a profit. It's extremely costly, and very unlikely for a show with a small (but passionate) following like B5.

        I also like that this helps put to bed some of the often repeated fan theories that WB somehow hates B5.
        Last edited by Ubik; 11-21-2020, 04:52 AM.
        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

        Kosh: Good!

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        • #5
          Any news about them being released on DVD? Or do i just get to make my own?
          Milkman
          www.mhoc.net

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          • #6
            No word on them being released on DVD so far. But remember, this has all been a 'stealth promotion' (read: NO promotion) happening. Nobody seemed to know anything about it until it started appearing with 'remastered' banners. And it's been...shall we say, haphazard. In addition to there not being any rhyme or reason to episodes showing up in the 4:3 format, a number of fans have reported that the listings for episodes have been scrambled at first. At any rate, as I hear anything of substance, you know I'll post here and I hope anybody else does, as well.
            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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            • #7
              Yup. Patience. I have waited this long for good DVD copies to replace my VCR tapes... i can wait a little longer.
              Milkman
              www.mhoc.net

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                I also like that this helps put to bed some of the often repeated fan theories that WB somehow hates B5.
                I wouldn't bet the farm on that.

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                • #9
                  Keeping in mind that I've only watched one of the new episodes, but hearing about it various places online, the only way I can describe this 'remaster' is "chaotic". First and foremost, NO publicity at all. Second, at least on Prime a bunch of the episodes were mis-titled so that you'd think you were choosing an episode (example, not sure this is accurate) in the second season and actually get an episode in the third. And now at least a few folks are complaining that parts of episodes have been cut short or are missing the tag. I don't know who's doing this remaster (as I recall, Warner Archive said it's not through them, didn't they?) but before I buy it again I'm going to wait until it's done right. That said, I'm very pleasantly impressed with the color comparison I've seen.
                  "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jan View Post
                    Keeping in mind that I've only watched one of the new episodes, but hearing about it various places online, the only way I can describe this 'remaster' is "chaotic". First and foremost, NO publicity at all. Second, at least on Prime a bunch of the episodes were mis-titled so that you'd think you were choosing an episode (example, not sure this is accurate) in the second season and actually get an episode in the third. And now at least a few folks are complaining that parts of episodes have been cut short or are missing the tag. I don't know who's doing this remaster (as I recall, Warner Archive said it's not through them, didn't they?) but before I buy it again I'm going to wait until it's done right. That said, I'm very pleasantly impressed with the color comparison I've seen.
                    This just makes me sick. I can't believe they messed it up AGAIN!!!!!
                    Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                    • #11
                      Now: who hates whom?


                      --
                      "When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
                      [Winnie the Pooh]

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jan View Post
                        Keeping in mind that I've only watched one of the new episodes, but hearing about it various places online, the only way I can describe this 'remaster' is "chaotic". First and foremost, NO publicity at all. Second, at least on Prime a bunch of the episodes were mis-titled so that you'd think you were choosing an episode (example, not sure this is accurate) in the second season and actually get an episode in the third. And now at least a few folks are complaining that parts of episodes have been cut short or are missing the tag. I don't know who's doing this remaster (as I recall, Warner Archive said it's not through them, didn't they?) but before I buy it again I'm going to wait until it's done right. That said, I'm very pleasantly impressed with the color comparison I've seen.
                        The episode ordering issues on Amazon were there long before the 'remaster'. I haven't heard of any such issues via iTunes. You are right though, it's weirdly under promoted.

                        From Reddit:

                        Warner Brothers has a remastering/archival podcast in which they said something was in the works a few months ago. I suspect this is what they were referring to.
                        It's probably a case of getting a better digital copy for future use, and perhaps just part of a process they are undertaking for all their older shows. It's still super positive and I'm surprised we even got this! We should be supporting it for sure.

                        From what I have read the B5 episodes are gradually being replaced on streaming services with remastered ones, so whilst some folks have complained that some are remastered and some are not, it differs across Amazon / iTunes, so I think they are still being drip few into those systems. Weird... but there you go.
                        Last edited by Ubik; 11-21-2020, 05:08 AM.
                        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                        Kosh: Good!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Things seem more stable on iTunes than Amazon - there are now only 4 episodes left to be replaced with a 4:3 version (Soul Hunter, Mind War, By Any Means Necessary and Babylon Squared)

                          There don't seem to any of Amazon's mis-labelling issues but unfortunately I've just found there's at least one problem with missing scenes: The Hour of the Wolf is missing G'Kar's monologue after the "previously on", just before the opening credits.

                          All the other episodes look the right length, but reportedly on Amazon Babylon Squared is missing the last two scenes and that has yet to appear in 4:3 on iTunes, so I'll wait and see how that looks...

                          I can't remember if it was just the Region 2 releases, but I seem to remember there were issues with the DVD sets of Season One (distorted picture in And the Sky Full of Stars iirc?) and Season Five (missing teaser for The Fall of Centauri Prime) but once they were raised through the right channels they were fixed and replaced pretty quickly - hopefully once these last "remastered" episodes show up on iTunes there'll only be these one or two problems to clear up, but in readiness of that - does anyone have experience of the best lines of communication to get these sorts of problems fixed?

                          N.B. it looks like the complete series is available for $30 in US iTunes at the moment if anyone was waiting for a sale price...

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                          • #14
                            I am putting this here because it is the most active thread on the current news. I just finished watching PARLIMENT OF DREAMS 1.5 with JMS Reaction/Commentary on Patreon. WOW! Stuff like this is a huge reason I joined his Patreon.
                            Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Looney View Post
                              I am putting this here because it is the most active thread on the current news. I just finished watching PARLIMENT OF DREAMS 1.5 with JMS Reaction/Commentary on Patreon. WOW! Stuff like this is a huge reason I joined his Patreon.
                              It really was good! Somehow JMS managed to seem to be right there watching with us. I'm not sure if eventually JMS might make these public but it would be nice.
                              (And Looney....there's a Patreon thread pinned in General Discussions)
                              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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