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May 26 2004

Review: Musical gives Buffy set its bite. "Even if you're not hip-deep in Buffy lore, season six is a great place to jump in and see what you missed." There's also a chance to win the DVD at Zap2it.

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Was anyone else expecting Once More, With Feeling to be anamorphic? I just got my Season 6 set from Amazon, and that episode is definitely letterboxed. Oh well.
Anamorphic requires a retransfer so it doesn't surprise me that the studio wasn't willing to spend the extra cash. 5.1 would have been nice too, but there would have been alot of work and sweetening needed.

Watched it last night, and the ep looks and sounds fantastic as is. Going to check out the commentary tonight.

[ edited by herb on 2004-05-26 20:46 ]
I stayed up last night to watch a bunch of the extra features. I was so giddy to finally have season six. The behind the scenes video of OMWF was phenomenal. I smiled through the whole thing. I guess I don't have anything exciting to add, just my joy over seeing it :)

[ edited by dawnyl on 2004-05-26 20:50 ]
Was anyone else expecting Once More, With Feeling to be anamorphic? I just got my Season 6 set from Amazon, and that episode is definitely letterboxed. Oh well.
I know I was and was more than a little pissed that it wasn't. The R2 version was anamorphic so a 16x9 transfer already exists. The show does look fine on a standard 4x3 TV but not as great on a widescreen display. Pity because "Once More With Feeling" begs for all the resolution possible. Yup, me pissed.
R2 still would require a drop down conversion from the PAL, so it's still trouble/time and money. Would have been nice, but oh well. I'm quite happy with what it turned out to be.
herb writes:
Would have been nice, but oh well. I'm quite happy with what it turned out to be.
So because it's Buffy & "Once More With Feeling", we are just supposed to be happy with whatever Fox throws us, even though it is clearly not the best they had access to?
Can we all say double dip of just the episode with dollars to donuts saying that version will be anamorphic?
in regards to the R2, the single disc version of OMWF was not 16x9 enhanced, only the season set was - and they were made anamorphic only because the whole season is in widescreen and it was worth the trouble/money

one episode is most probably not
From this vantage point, it's not possible to know what the exact circumstances were that lead to it being letterboxed, but it does look like they cheaped out, or maybe there were time constraints in getting the conversion done. Whatever. It's not anamorphic. Deal.

If the anamorphic version is _that_ important for some people, then it might be time to consider purchasing a region free machine and a R2 box set, or wait for a future R1 release that will please everybody.
Frankly, I myself am just happy that the Buffy/Angel/Firefly DVD sets are so much more reasonably priced than other scifi dvd sets that can range much higher in price. I was interested in picking up Farscape because I hadn't seen it and I was stunned at how much more it cost than Whedon's shows. Farscape on Amazon cost $130 and Buffy cost $39 so no complaints from me that it is just in "widescreen" and not "anamorphic". I'm just happy it has so many extras and the musical episode was at least in Widescreen and not just shown regular screen sized and that I can afford them.
blwessels - I couldn't agree more, in all regards there.
I've always been pleased with the prices of our Buffyverse sets, especially when compared to just about any other boxset out there. And as long as the episode is still widescreen, and the sides weren't chopped off, then I'm a happy camper.

It could certainly be worse.
I'm with you blwessels. There are some insanely priced DVD sets out there. I'd really like to pick up season 1 of Six Feet Under, but I'm having trouble convincing myself that 13 episodes and scant extra features are worth 100 bucks. The X-Files are also in the 90-100 dollar range and don't have nearly the amount of extras that the Buffy sets do.

I watched commentary on the musical last night on my nice 4x3 TV and thought it looked and sounded beautiful. Was it broadcast in anamorphic widescreen? Cause if it was and it was changed for the DVD, that seems odd.
Herb writes:Whatever. It's not anamorphic. Deal.
Thanks for being condescending. I'd like to see your reaction when you view a letterboxed image versus an anamorphic one on a 16x9 TV. The results are a world apart.
I appreciate Fox's price point on the Buffy sets, as someone who has bought the Farscape sets, there is a difference when it comes to the wallet. I appreciate the extras Fox puts into the Mutant Enemy sets, especially when you look at the bang-for-the-buck difference in extras between those sets and what Paramount does with Star Trek, not to mention what Paramount charges for those Star Trek sets. When it comes to TV on DVD, Fox is the clear leader. Still, long story short and no matter how you cut it, Fox cheaped out on something they should not have cheaped out on. Anamorphic transfers are not that expensive and giving that to "Once More With Feeling" should not have impacted the price point one bit.
I'm sorry you & others are offended that I expected better and am willing to be vocal about it. Doesn't affect my love for all things Mutant Enemy, just let down by Fox Home Video.
I'm also in the blwessels agreement camp. And yes, MindPieces, OMWF was originally broadcast in widescreen (though not animorphic; I don't think you can do that with broadcasts).
here's an idea:

for those that would like to see the episode in 16x9... go buy a widescreen tv!

My set arrives tomorrow from Amazon, and I can't wait. Since all I can afford are regular old-fashioned TVs, the format doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference to me. I'm also one of those for whom the price would be an issue -- I wouldn't have the sets I have if the prices had been any higher. I can sympathize with those who have more sophisticated electronics than I can afford, and the desire for better quality. But I confess I am just delighted I will have something new to play with this weekend. I cannot wait to hear the commentaries. And, since I never saw OMWF in its original broadcast, I am really looking forward to seeing the entire episode for the first time!
aapac - that's kinda the opposite of the point. Since OMWF is not in an animorphic format, people with widescreen TVs will see the ep with black or gray bars on the top, bottom, and sides (and if they zoom in so it fills the screen, the quality won't be as good); wheareas people with standard TVs will see the ep with black bars only on the top and bottom.

That's for the Region 1 DVD's at least.

(Animorphic means that the picture will adjust to fit the screen.)
The main difference with watching a film on a 16x9 TV, or a widescreen TV, is one of resolution. In the simplest terms that I understand and can explain, with letterbox format, which is what OMWF is, the picture is spread out everywhere where as with an anamorphic transfer all the resolution stays with the image and not spread out to the bars. Believe me, it makes a world of difference. I don't buy a lot of letterboxed discs because I know they are going to look like crap on my widescreen TV.
All I'm saying, and it really is a simple point, is that Fox screwed up by not making OMWF anamorphic. They should have done it, they already had an anamorphic transfer done and the cost is minimal. Why they didn't do it, I don't know. At the very least I'd like some kind of acknowledgement from Fox on the matter and a recall on the disc. It doesn't affect you? Fine you would not have to send the disc in but for those of us where anaimorphic is a quality issue, it would be nice to have the option.
Please bear in mind, I'm not attacking anyone here, I watched OMWF on my second set, a standard TV and it did indeed look fine. Still, I invested quite a bit of money in a home theater and I expect companies to put out the best possible product....and leterboxing a widescreen image isn't the best product. In the next several years, as widescreen TVs become more affortable and enter more homes, you guys are going to break out your copies of Buffy S6 and you are going to see what I see and hopefully, understand what I'm complaining about.
By the way, aspect ratios for 16x9 sets are 1.78:1 and since most films today are shot either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 there will still be some black bars present. Buffy, like most things shot for television these days, is also shot 1.78:1, so yes, the image will fill the screen but again, it is about the resolution of the image. I hope this helps people understand where I'm coming from and again, I'm not going after anyone here except for Fox Home Video.
Nola64 - I'm sorry if my comments about being happy the dvd sets were affordable seemed like I was being unsympathetic to your views. I can understand where you would be upset if you have all the latest equipment and you can't enjoy them to their fullest even when you buy new dvds. If it really wouldn't be that much of a hardship and it wouldn't effect the price of the dvd set, they really should do them in the best quality they can.

My beef is more with why are some dvd sets so much more expensive and don't have many features. I've been pleased with the Whedon sets because they do usually try to give us more and it's stuff the fans will love. And they are very affordable compared to just about everything else out there (I also feel the Stargate dvd sets are well priced).

And I doubt Fox(or any studio for that matter) will offer a mail in replacement if they do upgrade, it's more likely it'll be yet another gimmick to get people to fork out more bucks to get the better dvds. I hope, if it ever does come to that and they offer new sets that will look great on the latest batch of televisions that they at least give way more extras to make it worth the rebuying of them. And if it already has been done in anamorphic for some regions that had the whole season on widescreen why not just give it to us on a separate disc if it would be such a hassle to put it with the rest of the regular sized episodes. The discs must be pretty cheap (I've done a lot of home movie dvds on my pc and the price per disk isn't bad at all). That could've been a solution to do it that way with all the stuff for the musical being on the same disc, music videos and behind the scenes extras.

Thanks to you and Invisible Green for the more detailed description of how a regular widescreen looks on your widescreen tv as compared to an anamorphic widescreen. That will definitely make me rethink how I buy movies in the future. I've always just made sure they were widescreen because I'm hoping to have a widescreen tv in the future. I wasn't aware of what a difference anamorphic would make, just thought the picture quality was a little better.
What would you prefer.. your proper letterbox 4x3 versions of Buffy or the 16x9 widescreen version we R4ers get? They don't even set them up to do a centre crop! I dunno why. [sigh]

Nearly finished watching my R4 version of S6. It really is a good season, just far far more soap opera than any other season. Very few individual episodes.

Hell, I can even handle the magic addiction thing.

For good detail on anamorphic DVD, the Digital Bits have written an excellent guide:

(BTW, 1.85 images on a 1.77 set will NOT appear letterboxed on CRT displays because of overscan. CRT tvs don't show the whole image and often distort at the corners. They have nice contrast though)

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