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B5 seasonDVD specs, pops, scratches problems


everyone else have these pops, scratches, and specs appearing on the new season1DVD set? DVDs look great except for this issue. I was shocked that this problem was overlooked and allowed to be printed!! anyone else?
Same here. Across all episodes whenever there is a light background the scratches are almost unbearable and have ruined my enjoyment of the series.
How film stock that is *only* ten years old can look so bad is really beyond me. The picture also looks too soft (useless NTSC transfer??). If Warners can replace One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest that had similar scratches with a pristine print, then they can do the same for B5.
With impressive sales figures in the UK (probably beating the amount sold in the US), there really is no excuse for this shoddy DVD boxset and it shouldn't be repeated.
B5 deserves so much more.
The Dr Who DVDs have a smaller fanbase yet they have been digitally remastered with all film marks removed frame by frame. If the BBC can do it with low sales figures than what is stopping Warners?
It is just so frustratingly lazy on their part and a waste of this fantastic medium.
The B5 menus are also some of the worst I've ever seen. Since when was the B5 logo red?
not noticed any pops or scratches but soft backgrounds and slight loss of sharpness is often caused by low bitrates they may well have lowered the bitrate slightly and assigned more bits to action & movement, it quite common to get artifacts etc with reprocessed films most get put throught a fair few filters but must say don't like to see shoddy work 4 episodes and extras is a lot even on multi layer discs & larger dvds.
2-3 episodes per disks would have been better quality
i have noticed very little of either artifacting or degradation of the original film stock. there is some of the loss of quality on scenes that were not digitally composited, but it is barely noticeable. whenever i've paused the dvd, the image is very clean and sharp. personally, i've been very impressed with the transfer. it's much better than the buffy box sets, which were terrible. perhaps it's the dvd player you are using.

furthermore, i thought the actual prints of the show were digital, not kept on video tape or actual film stock. am i wrong in this?
I've only watched the first couple episodes so far, but definitely on episode 1 the scratches in the film were pretty apparent. I didn't really notice them as much in episode 2, whether that was due to getting used to it or better quality is hard to say, but I'd lean towards the latter.

TV shows in general seem to be a little iffy on picture quality. I remember the first season of Sex and the City was pretty grainy.

The disgrace with the whole packaging situation in my opinion is much more of a problem. I went through 4 sets at a place before I finally got one that was almost ok (I haven't tried the one disc that has slight scratches yet), plus the one I returned.
The DVD player in use can lead to worse picture quality. Certain cheaper or older DVD players use a cheaper, slower hardware MPEG decoder chip which can cause frames to drop, or not fully be decompressed which can cause artifects and specks. Its probably a combination of this as the aforementioned film and transfer problems. They look pretty damn good to me - not as good as Fellowship of the Ring, but better than S1 Bab has ever looked before.

This is also the only site where the LotR acronym does not mean Lord of the Rings. ;-)

Pretty sure that it has nothing to do with the DVD player used. The white scratches I am seeing are actually on the film print. I'm not sure how some people don't seem to notice these marks.
Perhaps UK PAL TVs are making the problem even worse because our system is higher definition than NTSC? Not likely though.
Since so many have pointed out that they are seeing these white scatches and blemishes together with soft picture, we have to put this down to poor quality film prints.
When B5 was first shown in the UK on CH4, the prints were sharp and vibrant.
Shame I never kept those old TV VHS recordings /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
There are a couple of different issue here. There are a few (repeat few) instances of dirt and scratches on the negative in most of the episodes. Nobody is saying that they don't see them. Some of us just don't wet our pants over them. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif There are more of them in the early than the late ones. ("Midnight" probably suffers most - though hardly to the point of all this "it looks worse than VHS" hysteria I keep hearing, and rapidly diminishes thereafter.) Those are physical issues with the original film. They have nothing whatever to do with how the DVDs were mastered. The blue streaks in "Soul Hunter" seem to be something similar. I've seen numerous reports of people seeing the same thing on VHS copies dating back to the PTEN days. Other people report never having seen them on VHS or on the DVDs. (I checked that episode four times and they are not evident on my player/TV combination.) I really think that what you see in this case is heavily dependent on your player and most of all on how your TV set is adjusted. Mine is calibrated as close to the NTSC spec is physically possible for a Toshiba RPTV (which tend to "push" the red gun.) One or two shots mentioned as being slightly out of focus (or having areas out of focus) also seem to go back to the original photography - they just weren't as apparent because the lower resolution VHS and broadcast stuff people have been used to weren't good enough to make everything else sharp enough so that these scenes stand out.

The next set of problems is "blockiness" and "excessive compression" This is heavily dependent on equipment. Many DVDs look "bad" in a cheap player with a low-end chipset. Also, as noted, players that switch between "film" and "video" modes tend to autoswitch and make the disc look worse than it should. Try setting the selector to "video"

Beyond that the only real problem with the discs is a bit of aliasing in some of the CGI and CGI/Composite shots, and a slightly soft look for some of the same FX shots. But, again, things seem to improve as the set goes along. Either the WHV guys were getting a better handle on mastering the things or the Foundation Imaging guys improved as S1 went along, and therefore the source material that WHV was working from was better in the later than in the early episodes.


My disk #4 appeared to have a scratched when I first pulled it out of the box, but it played without problem, in fact all of my disks played without any problems. I feel lucky to have gotten a good set on my first try from Amazon!

I haven't noticed any lines or pops or anything; I suppose I was so happy to finally have some B5 on DVD that I didn't see any bad stuff if it was there. I'll try to look for it next time I watch.
I didn't see any artifacts or lines while watching my copy of S1, might have missed them but if they were there then they weren't bad enough for me to actually have a problem with it. My disk 3 had a couple of scratches in it, it wasn't in there real good when it was packaged but it plays ok.

The only other problem i have is a personal problem with one ep. Granted, i love commentary and i like jms, but i didn't like the way they did Signs and Portents. It would have been ok if the commentary wasn't a "mandatory" part of watching the ep, i think it's rather neat to have JMS commenting on the ep while it's playing) but i'd like to have the option of actually being able to watch the ep without it too.

Um.. granted, I haven't watched it yet on the standalone player, but is there really no way to select the episode without the commentary? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

I just did a quick check on the computer and had no problems choosing just the episode without the commentary track... besides, I noticed an option in the Episodes menu for "JMS commentary on/off" which should do the trick if you've accidentally chosen to have it on (selected it in Special Features or something).
It would have been ok if the commentary wasn't a "mandatory" part of watching the ep, i think it's rather neat to have JMS commenting on the ep while it's playing) but i'd like to have the option of actually being able to watch the ep without it too.

??? The default setting is "no commentary". Nobody ever, in the entire history of laserdisc and DVD, has made a commentary "mandatory". The only way to get the commentary is to go to the special features menu and select it, or use your remote's "audio" button to toggle through the soundtracks until you hit it. If you're getting the commentary every time you play the episode, you have a defective disc. You might want to check the surface of disc 4 for scratches or dirt. If you see any, try cleaning the disc with a soft, dry cloth moving radially out from the hub - never clean a DVD or CD by using a circular motion, that can damage the "tracks"

Did you really think they did this on purpose?. If so, why on "Signs and Portents" but not on "Chrysalis"?


Having just watched Babylon Squared, I have noticed a few problems with the CGI effects. Some movements of ships is not as smooth as it should be.
One scene where Ivonava walks into the canteen during this episode looks as though it was lifted from an entirely different print such is its grainy quality. I doubt whether talented camera men are to blame for some of the blur on certain scenes /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Again, I think those watching the region 2's on PAL TVs will notice these problems as NTSC is inferior with lower definition.
The problem we are having in the UK is that poor NTSC film stock has been converted to PAL causing all sorts of problems.
It is a cop out to blame it on DVD players when I can play a Dr Who DVD of a story made 20 years ago that looks better (because it has been digitally remastered).
I can understand why some in the UK are saying that these DVDs are not that much of an improvement over the old VHS copies. There seems to be too much MPG compression on these discs and it is obvious to anyone with an interest in how DVDs are mastered.
With many similar genre DVDs in my collection that look fab, I'm afraid to say that Warners have produced some really piss poor region 2 DVDs for B5 and it is a crying shame.
The problem we are having in the UK is that poor NTSC film stock...

I'd take your technical comments a whole lot more seriously if it weren't for howlers like this. The is no such thing as "NTSC film stock". Film is film. Period. NTSC is a standard for transmitting video. The one has nothing to do with the other. And the PAL DVDs were sourced from digital video masters, which in turn came from the original Super35 film prints, so they never passed through an NTSC stage.


A friend brought over his DVD player last night. After watching the long version of Lord Of The Rings, we only had time for two B5 eps, Midnight On The Firing LIne, and Chrysalis. MOTFL looked and sounded great, good stereo imaging on my prologic system, and sharper than I had ever seen the picture. Chrysalis, on the other hand, was a disaster. The entire ep was filled with digital video glitches, and to a lesser degree, audio glitches, including out of sync sound. The disc had absolutely no dirt , smudges, or scratches. My friend had watched the special fearures that followed, and they were fine. So we checked out Quality of Mercy, which preceded, and it had no problems. I can only assume that this is a strange defect. Has anyone else noticed this kind of thing?

Another quibble... much as I enjoyed JMS's commentary on Chrysalis, his voiceovers often covered the very dialogue/points he was discussing, i.e. the ducks/cats thing, and others. I think it would have been more effective if we were allowed to hear the ep dialogue in these spots, and his VO came just before, or after.
It becomes distracting to have the regular soundtrack and the commentary running at the same time. Some discs mute the audio track entirely, others turn it way down and bring it up only when the person (or people) talking falls silent. If you want to follow the dialogue along with the commentary, turn on the subtitles - that's what I usually do. Don't know what to say about "Chrysalis", it looks fine on my copy.

BTW, if you think the Pro Logic sounds good, you should hear the DD 5.1 Do yourself a huge favor the next time you have some extra money to spend on yourself and get a Dolby Digital and DTS receiver. The DTS track on the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring is spectacular, definitely better than the DD.


Good idea about the subtitles, we'll do that next time. My system , once state of the art, is 10-12 years old now, and I'd love to upgrade it, but on library wages, it seems hopeless. Maybe I'll get a second job in the spring, after I'm done screening for and working on the Film Festival.
Maybe I'll get a second job in the spring,

Try to get one at electronics place like Best Buy, Circuit City or a local specialty shop. If you're anything like me the employee discount will effectively double your salary. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


The local specialty shop is a good idea. I'm too spoiled by good equipment to use Best Buy or Circut City gear. Don't think I'll be able to afford Linn, though.
Jman: I just finished watching "Born to the Purple" and yes, there were definitely pops in the soundtrack. Very noticeable in spots.

My disk looks perfect. And I have played several movies and one other series on my brand new DVD player. I'm afraid it must be a factory mistake. Not worth returning for that alone, but I wonder now how much more of this we'll see.

I'd rather wait a bit longer for the DVD's to come out, and have them come out in quality, personally. I hope they are not rushing things too much. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif

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