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January 31 2010

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Blu-ray gets a release date on Amazon. It'll be out on May 25th. Will it have the good Doctor's Emmy appearance as an extra?

Hat-tip to @UnofficialME for the heads up.

Woo. Will buy again!
Wow, and almost as cheap as the original dvd. Will gladly double dip.
Wow, I was just talking about this the other day. So stoked! :D
I know what I'm getting for my birthday.
Might make me buy a Blu-Ray disk without owning a Blu-Ray player yet.
Great! Now where's Buffy?
Awesome, definitely gonna order this.

As nice as it would be, I doubt we'll see "Buffy" on blu-ray anytime being meant to be seen in 4:3 and the first two seasons being shot on 16mm (i think?) might not be one of the more appealing choices to convert.

I hope I'm wrong though.
I'm so glad you have a blue ray option over there, in the UK we still do not have the ordinary DVD released yet! No fair.
1.33:1 isn't an issue. The problem with Buffy (and Angel) is the same that Firefly faced -- all of the visual effects were rendered in standard definition, so all you can do is upscale them to 1080p.

And might we get a 5.1 HD audio track with the BD release? I can dream.
Can't wait. I very recently got into actively buying Blu-ray, so this should be nice.

As for Firefly, the improvement was definitely noticeable in the normal scenes though. People often forget that Blu-ray is better not just because of resolution, but also because there're less compression artefacts (and even better if it's progressive scan). Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the later seasons (i.e. the "widescreen" seasons) look quite nice on Blu-ray?
They'd all certainly look better than right now, but any time a special effect pops up, it'd be like watching an upscaled DVD.
This is great, can't wait to hear the songs in lossless audio.

And the stuff about Buffy and Angel's effects shots is correct. Sadly, the only way to correct the issue with the effects would be to quite simply go back to the original film and re-do all of the SFX sequences in HD. Awesome? Yes. Expensive? Way, way, WAY too expensive. That said, Buffy and Agnel still could be made for Blu-ray in the same way that Firefly was (even the early seasons would be fine since 16mm film has plenty enough detail for 1080p). Either that, or make Blu-ray sets containing the SD editions and have an entire season on one disc, but that hasn't been done with any show yet and I doubt it will be.
To be clear, in my earlier post I wasn't saying it would be a problem from a technical standpoint to convert buffy to blu-ray, I was just saying that it might not be one of the more appealing choices for the studio to release... (Although I know I would buy one)

[ edited by cole on 2010-02-01 03:18 ]
Just give me "Once More With Feeling" on true widescreen hi-def DTS MA Blu, please.
Yes! Yes! Want the good Doctor's Emmy appearance as an extra! And the making of good Doctor's Emmy appearance as an extra.

Just any new content would be great! Whoo-hoo!
I know what I want for Mother's Day!!! Yay for more releases!
Really just re-iterating what Break_Atmo said: 16mm can be scanned up to 2k before you don't get anymore detail from it, which is to say it looks just as much "better" (quoted for subjectivity) in "high definition" (quoted for ridiculousness of term) as anything shot on 35, or in digital high definition.

However, visual effects aside, I would certainly argue that there is nothing to be gained visually for Buffy season 1 and maybe season 2 as the cinematography didn't really get nailed until season 3, though season 2 showed marked improvement.

Warning: too much tech talk ahead... Dr. Horrible was shot 1920x1080 with 3:1:1 color space on a 2/3" camera , and limited lighting and time at the disposal of someone who is used to plenty of lights and shooting 35mm. I don't know that a blu-ray will be that much of an improvement visually, but for budget reasons they almost went with a 1/3" camera shooting most likely 1280x720 with 4:2:2 color space (more color range, more important than resolution IMO) but that's sorta fudging numbers... Point being, I almost wish they'd gone the other route in hopes of a better overall image, but I understand why they went the way they did.
I think the problem with Buffy -> Blu-ray is that although it was filmed with film (16mm earlier seasons, 32mm later on)... it was later edited on video.

Which means we may never see Buffy in a greater resolution than 480p. Unless it is all re-edited again! Yikes.

Buffy was edited on video? I've never heard that.
... it was later edited on video.

That might explain why there are some very bad quality shots in season 2. They're very dark and pixelated, as though something went wrong in the editing process.
I'm trying to think what the standard was with TV in 1996 (when season 1 Buffy was produced). I wouldn't be surprised if it was edited digitally at all, certainly the later seasons must have been. However, theoretically, if the files exist, it'd simply be a matter of re-digitizing (not re-scanning, unless the original scan was SD) using the original timeline (which can be converted to current systems). It's a very simple process so long as everything was organized first time around.

Worst case scenario, an Edit Decision List can be used to re-scan just the pieces of film needed for the edit, and then re-digitize those. Aside from complete disorganization, there's no reason to re-edit. It's just time and money, and they have to know they'd make plenty of money!

ETA: I had to delve deep to remember what I did there, if any editors want to correct me, please do!

[ edited by bobw1o on 2010-02-01 06:55 ]
I'm in Australia and I've been burned buying Blu-ray discs on Amazon before so I always check the region coding, the link says and I quote Amazon, its a 'Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)' Blu-Ray disc... does that mean the rest of the world will be denied the pleasure of this fine musical in HD or will it get a proper release in stores? if it doesn't can we start a partition to get it in stores worldwide?

[ edited by Tubbs_McGee on 2010-02-01 12:00 ]
Well 'region 1' is wrong anyway as blu-rays use A, B or C code letters but I guess we won't know if this is region free until it is released.
That might explain why there are some very bad quality shots in season 2.

Buffy being edited on video also explains why some DVD players (and TVs) will have severe problems with interlacing artifacts in season 1 and 2 - because there are a lot of cases of the field order being messed up between cuts (i.e., AB AB AB | BA BA BA).
Kaneda, Yeah, the interlacing drives me insane when I'm trying to encode them, because not every scene is interlaced, and so I think the season I'm ripping doesn't require deinterlacing (always forget which are which) and then I go to watch an ep...

Tubbs_McGee, I don't know what local DMCA-like laws are, but you can always rip an imported Blu-ray if you have a big enough computer screen to make it worthwhile, plus it has the added bonus of making it easier to watch if your OS of choice doesn't have Blu-ray support yet (*coughmacscough*). Personally, I've imported a few from America (Gattaca, Firefly, Mirrormask) and haven't had any issues watching them... I think there are online databases where you can check the region beforehand. If Dr. Horrible's Blu-ray release is anything like the DVD, I imagine it'll be region free.

bobw1o's comment on colour space sounds interesting. Does anyone have a link for the layman on what those numbers mean, and how significant the difference is?
The artifacts in the early seasons are what makes me not often visit them high school years. They do indeed play pretty disgusting on my PlayStation 3 - some scenes are crazily blurred and not appealing to watch at all. It wouldn't be wrong to say that it makes it 'that bit' harder to get someone into Buffy. I have the R2 release, and I imagine there were some NTSC to PAL conversion problems as well. Sucks.

Anyway, what up with Star Trek TOS getting BD releases and remasters? How well did they sell? They look amazing, IMO. Surely Buffy will get some within this decade when it all becomes cheaper (and 3D telly pops along).

Oh, as for Dr. Horrible - Excited I am. I imagine it'll be Region Free, Firefly and Serenity were. Heck, a lot of BD's are. This site has the LD on all the region-free releases... just in case.
all of the visual effects were rendered in standard definition, so all you can do is upscale them to 1080p.

Ah, interesting. It's really too bad that the source files used to generate the effects weren't archived alongside the original footage as a matter of course. Then you could go back, hope the old software still works, and render everything at the appropriate resolution.

Same problem with Babylon 5. Even on DVD, they had to reuse the TV-quality stuff for effects shots, which made it look pretty crummy.
Tubbs_McGee, I wouldn't trust the region information on Amazon. I think they always say it is a US/Canada-only disc just to be on the safe side. If your player hasn't been modified to accept Region A discs just wait until the disc is available and check here.
MattK - Every scene on every Buffy DVD is interlaced, it's field order you are talking about. If they're out of order you'll get that "interlaced look." It's just as possible that it happened after editing as during. I've never noticed the issue myself, so I don't imagine it happened during.

x:x:x is way of identifying color sampling in RGB color space. Humans are more sensitive to luminance than color, so the first number (luminance) is always highest. 4:4:4 being all color, 4:2:2 being indistinguishable to the human eye at normal magnification (but still thought of as "less"). Think in percentages. 2 is 50% less color sampling than 4.

The Sony HDW-F900 (the "Star Wars Camera") is the camera used to shoot Dr. Horrible. It is capable of SHOOTING 4:2:2 (maybe even 4:4:4, I'd have to look it up) but the tape can only RECORD 3:1:1, it's compressed. To record higher, you have to cable out to a hard drive. The Panasonic AG-HVX200 is the camera they almost shot with (with a 35mm lens adapter, to get a shallower depth of field) and uses some sort of number fudging and trickery to get 4:2:2, but the result is pretty good. )The over-hyped Red camera uses LOTS of number fudging to get what they claim it can do. Again, the results are pretty good, but they come with compromise.)

ETA: Wiki Link that is perhaps a bit thick...

[ edited by bobw1o on 2010-02-01 17:22 ]
All this technical talk makes me wish I understood what y'all were saying. I'm getting the conclusions (Buffy-->Blu Ray = unlikely) but I'm missing the finer points. It's like being stuck in a foreign land and relying on body language and tone to tell you the person snapping at you is pissed and figuring they just called you a curse word.
As far as I'm concerned there's no reason Buffy couldn't be put to Blu-Ray, but that's assuming they have everything they need. If they don't have what they need, it's accidental.

However, effects shots would surely still be SD like Firefly.

On both counts, it would be possible to re-render the shots in HD if they have all the original files, which is less likely than the sequence files for the edits. It's a storage thing. You could fit all the seasons of Buffy on a Data CD with room to spare if you only saved the EDLs (text file that says where you made your cuts) but you would need all the information for an FX shot to save it.
I think Angel season 2 would look lovely on Blu-ray. I always considered it to be the most visual and striking season out of all of Joss' shows.
"it would be possible to re-render the shots in HD if they have all the original files"

...And if they have the original software, and the ancient operating systems that the software of the time must have run on. Chances are none of that is available.

It would probably be "easier" to make new scans of the celluloid rushes, re-edit every single episode sans effects, and then, when effects shots occur, have a computer overlay the 480 image onto the new high-definition scan, and erase portions of the 480 layer that are identical to the high-def layer, while keeping whatever portions of the 480 image are unique to the 480 layer.

For example, the background of the scene (probably a graveyard or an alleyway) would always be in high-def since both the 480 layer and the high-def layer would be identical (so the computer would let the high-def portion through while erasing the 480 portion), but the part of the frame containing effects (a vampire dusting or some glowing energy) would remain in low-res.
Thanks for the explanation and the link, bobw1o. I consider myself suitably enlightened. :)
will.bueche, I hadn't heard of that sort of process, quite interesting. Out of curiosity, how much do you think it would cost to not only re-scan and re-edit every single episode of Buffy and Angel in HD from the original film, but also completely re-do all the SFX (and I don't mean get the old files and render them in 1080p, I mean make completely new HD SFX visuals as though they were working on a new show)?
I imagine new SFX doesn't even bear thinking about. Even though it'd be an order of magnitude cheaper now than it was back then, it'd still be far too much.
Also, how many of the effects shots in Buffy/Angel were purely non-practical ? I'm sure there were some but even if you remade all of them from scratch, the odd ropey person-in-monster-suit scene would still be there.

...And if they have the original software, and the ancient operating systems that the software of the time must have run on. Chances are none of that is available.

Wouldn't they just need software that understands the format of the original files ? Or some way of translating the files to a newer format ? Most of what you guys are saying is going way over my head (which is cool, I always enjoy glimpses into other people's worlds ;) but a file format rarely becomes completely unreadable in the space of 10-15 years and even if it has, if the format spec is available then a competent programmer should be able to do something with it. Trivially, if I want to view/edit a 15-20 year old .bmp I don't need Windows 3.1 and Paint to do it (i'm sure in practice it'd be more complicated but not necessarily in principle).

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