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DVD problem - And The Sky Full Of Stars


You may have seen some other rumours/posts about this. I've just had a quick look at the ep and the rumours are true - it looks like the 4:3 aspect has just been stretched so the aspect ratio is completely wrong! /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

It's pretty bad - I can't beleive the've allowed this to happen. It's not like it's a small problem - it's quite a major mistake. Did nobody check before they released it? After all the waiting and excitment I feel extremely dissapointed by this. /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
According to what I've seen this problem either only affects some of the composite CGI shots, or some of the pure CGI shots. (Accounts vary.) Can you confirm or deny this? Not that it is any less of a problem if it only affects certain scenes, but I'm trying to understand exactly what this problem looks like, and how it could have happened. BTW, are you watching on a 4:3 or 16:9 set?


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According to what I've seen this problem either only affects some of the composite CGI shots, or some of the pure CGI shots. (Accounts vary.) Can you confirm or deny this?


I haven't watched it all the way through - I just checked certain to see how bad it is. From the bits I've seen, all the pure CGI & composite shots are wrong. Also some bits without CGI are wrong too (so it makes everyone look a little overweight!) but most of the non-CGI/composite shots seem okay.

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are you watching on a 4:3 or 16:9 set?


Not sure of the exact aspect ratio of the DVDs but they are not 16:9 (they are in letter box format). On my TV it is called 'cinema' mode so not sure of aspect ratio, but when in this mode it just kind of zooms in. So the stretched effect is noticable in both 4:3 & widescreen modes.

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It just figures that it would affect the first great episode of B5


That was the exact thought that went through my head too /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

BTW, I have the R2 version - it would be nice to hope that this problem does not exists on other regions but I wouldn't hold my breath!
On my PC the credits are shown in letterbox format. In "The Sky Full of Stars" there is a second letterbox within the main letterbox. Same width, about half the height.

The extent of the problem, I cannot remember - I decided to watch the movie rather than the blank space.
The way to find if there is a problem would be to watch In The Beginning on DVD. The Sinclair shots are the same from the episode.

Just watched And the Sky full of Stars tonight and have to say I was expecting the worst. I am in no way an expert in these matters (I didn't even know these kind of problems existed before I started coming to these forums) but it didn't seem that bad to me. There seemed to be what appeared to be a slight stretch on the Battle of the Line sequence (but it could just have been my imagination). The openning credits and the closing credits however was plagued by this problem, huge black boarders on the top and bottom. Kind of reminded me of sloppy PAL conversion back in the SNES and Megadrive days.

On the whole the picture quality has improved after the first couple of episodes. From disc two onwards the picture has been quite clean with only the odd scratch apparing here and there.

To the majority of fans you will be hard pressed to find any probs with Sky full of Stars.
Although there are a few problems with the occasional grainy shot on the early epsiodes such as "Soul Hunter" the only real problem with the Region 2 DVDs, so far (Next Episode: Signs and Portents), has been on "And The Sky Full Of Stars".

I've been viewing the DVDs on a 28 inch Widescreen TV and as soon as this episode started the confusion began.

There were large black bars at the top and bottom of the screen throughout the start and end titles.

Certain shots during the episode are sharp and in the correct widescreen aspect ratio.

Other shots are both grainy and stretched, horizontally. I assume they're 4:3 ratio shots stretched to fill the 16:9 screen.

The shoot out at the end, with the dazed and confused Sinclair, is particularly bad. All the shots from one camera angle (following either Sinclair or Mr. Blond) are stretched, whilst all the shots from the other camera angle are OK.

With plenty of quick cuts between the two camera angles you can't help but notice the difference.

In general though, despite the problems with that particular episode, the set is vary good and I'm looking forward to the commentaries.

All of the CGI (Starfury missions, etc) shots thorughout the episodes seem to be crystal clear on my TV. My tired old crackly videos can now be consigned to the bin.

Perhaps Warner will bring out a corrected disc 2, which can be swapped with the current 'defective' disc via FREEPOST, like Fox did with the Region 2 24 box set. Fingers crossed.
Just been watching the data files extras on DVD 6 and what do I find? The data files on Sinclair, Starfurys and the battle of the line all contain footage from "And the sky full of stars" in the correct aspect ratio! If they can get it right for the extras, why not the episode /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif
In case anyone who hasn't seen the R2 version is still wondering about this particular problem, here's a site with screencaps illustrating the issue.

While probably not something that would render the episode unwatchable, I can well believe how odd and jarring it must be to go between normal-looking scenes and scenes stretched like this. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
And The Sky was Full Of Stars aired in 16x9 on the sci-fi channel the other day. I watched and didn't see a problem. Anyone else watch?

Sorry to drag this one up again.

Have Warner corrected this problem now on the R2 DVD set? If so, I was just wondering if anyone who had this version has managed to get a replacement?

I bought mine over the net which is a real pain when you need to return it. I don't want to go through all that and end up with the same faulty DVDs /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

The only way to correct the Region 2 DVD is to remaster the episode. Estimating the time to performing a recall to replace the DVD, remastering, finding a production slot and allowing for holidays - we are talking about Easter.

There are far more important things to worry about in this life than big black lines at the top and bottom of the titles of a single episode. They occur on a couple of other shots as well. The picture gets stretched left to right to fill the screen but that is only a minor annoyance.
I have an update regarding the problem with the Sky full of stars.

A user on the dvd forum has been on the phone daily to WB in UK and finaly received an email from WB. Looks like they have no intention of a re-issue, you can read the full story here

Here is the email he received:

General Feedback

The PAL and NTSC masters were individually mastered, so there may be problems on one that do not appear on the other. However, video mastering stress that the NTSC and PAL are comparable in quality, and that "Babylon 5" is (especially in the 1st season) a low-budget sci-fi series. More importantly, the producer himself was involved in the mastering process.

Response to Problem on Disc 2:

Episode title "The Sky is Full of Stars" - The live-action part of the show was filmed so that it could later be formatted for 16x9. The FX shots were only done in 4x3 in the production for TV. When it was decided to release "Babylon 5: Season 1" in 16x9 for DVD, these FX shots had to be converted from NTSC to PAL and blown up from 4x3 to 16x9 (as the budget would be too great to re-do them completely). This "stretching" of the shots becomes most apparent on "The Sky is Full of Stars" episode, and the conversion process from NTSC to PAL may explain why this is apparent on the PAL disc but not the NTSC.

The only way to resolve this would be to remaster completely and which would be a prohibitively expensive process. This disc will not be re-issued.

Response to Problem on Disc 4:

Episode title 'Sins and Portents'. The spaceship shot is missing on the PAL master, and it does appear on the NTSC. But, the only way to tell it is missing is to compare it to a previous video release, which is why it was not caught on initial QC'

Video Operations have fixed this on the video master for any future releases.
The only way to correct the Region 2 DVD is to remaster the episode.

I thought I read somewhere that this problem only existed on the first batch and it had been corrected for subsequent releases. I guess I must have dreamt it /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I'm not too bothered by it, but if it was easy to replace it then I would do so. As you say, there are more important things in life to worry about /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
mark me if i'm wrong, but this only applies to the R2 sets?
mark me if i'm wrong, but this only applies to the R2 sets?

No it sounds like it applies to discs in all regions that come from the PAL master. That means pretty much everywhere except R1 (U.S./Canada) where the NTSC masters were used.



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