Sci-Fi Storm

More news on widescreen, audio problems from JMS

by on Dec.15, 2000, under Television

JMS posted on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated about a meeting he had with Warner Bros. on what happened with the widescreen episodes and how they plan to handle it. Read below for the full article…

Today I went to a meeting at Warner Bros. technical support, where we went over
the problems detected in the SFC widescreen airings. I now have some answers
and some information on this. I have to say up front that the WB folks have
been nothing but helpful and determined to fix the problems.

In “Midnight on the Firing Line,” wherein a teapot is shown instead of a
starship when the audio indicates the latter…the editor explained that it
resulted from a pause/freeze frame during assembly, and when he restarted the
equipment, it jumped shots. This will be fixed.

In “Covictions,” wherein a comp shot of several monitors doesn’t show the
surveilance footage, but rather shows just the original babcom logo…they had
missed this on their list of comp shots, and will go back and insert the proper
footage now that they know the problem is there. (They QC everything, but
often with the audio down, so they had no way of knowing that they were talking
about camera footage, and figured that it was okay since there was something —
the babcom logo — in the monitors rather than totally blank screens.)

In “Inquisitor,” wherein the west end/east end audio correction wasn’t
made…they were going off the original PAL audio transfers, which in this case
didn’t work because we made that audio correction *after* broadcast and
replaced the audio for that shot afterward. They’re going to go back to the
revised 24 track audio and insert the proper audio.

Here’s what’s going to happen beyond this.

1) WB is going to go back to using *only* the original 24 track audio stems for
the dubs.

2) Seasons 4 and 5 as it turns out are already in proper wide versions, as is
season 1, so the only ones that need to be addressed are seasons 2 and 3.

3) WB is going to run cassettes of the whole series in the new version and I’m
going to personally go over every damn episode personally looking for any
potential problem areas (such as comps that may not have been recognized as
such by the WB editors). It’s possible that I may miss something here and
there, because 110 hours is a LOT of TV to watch…but it’ll certainly help.

They were *extremely* helpful and apologetic at WB, and are determined to do
everything they can to fix the situation as fast as possible.

As for the audio…the audio transfers are being done directly off the original
clones (either the original PAL, digibeta or 24 track stems), and QC’d. So
what they suspect *may* be the problem is if the SFC is running the digital
tracks through a dolby decoder. If you try to decode Dolby that isn’t there,
on a digital track (which doesn’t need Dolby because it’s digital) it can make
the audio crunchy or lead to drop-outs, pops and other problems. I’ve sent
word to SFC to have them check that at their end of things.

So the situation is well in hand.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)



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