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 Message
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/9/1998 5:48:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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Victories come in all sizes; in some ways, this is a small one,
in other ways this is a big one.

For four years, we bugged Warner Bros. Home Video about
releasing B5 on videocassette in retail outlets. But WB has never
released a series before on tape, it's not something they *do*, not
sufficiently prestige when compared with their big movies. Eventually
they were persuaded to let Columbia House try it for mail-order, for
the first season.

And CH was *swamped* with orders. Phones rang off the hook, and
tapes were back-ordered to try and fill the demand.

And Warner Bros...noticed.

And this month, they made a big announcement about the coming
release of Babylon 5 on video through retail outlets all over the
country. I've seen the cover designs for the first batch, and they're
extremely good looking montages, each specifically designed for that
tape. They're putting a lot of thought and effort and time into this,
and a big campaign. I believe the first batch hits the stands in July
or August, somewhere in there.

This is a big victory for us. On a grand scale, it may seem
minor, but it's the most direct statement of "you were right" we've
ever had from WB, and they were sufficiently mensches to say so, and
act on it.

If these go well, they're also talking laserdisks and DVDs down
the road, and should THAT happen, I'm going to push like hell to have
them release the widescreen versions.

But that's the next campaign. For now, this is a big victory
for us, and we're mighty pleased.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/15/1998 3:07:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

It's two episodes per tape, and I think it's about $14.95 per
tape. As for DVD, that's going to be a long ways down the road, so I'd
grab these while we can. (And if they do well, the odds of DVD
increase.)

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/15/1998 4:31:00 PM  

Message 3 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

Actually, you have better resolution on a good PC monitor than
the average TV, so it's bound to be sharper there than on the TV. (I
have a DVD player in my new system, and it's amazing....)

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/16/1998 5:57:00 PM  

Message 4 in thread 

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Paul Weddell <110213.1364@compuserve.com> asks:
> Have you considered putting those scenes back in for the video
> releases - a sort of director's cut - or were the shows that
> aired exactly as you wanted them?

No, we can't put the scenes in because it would mean a full
audio remix, which is very expensive. The director's cut (which is
often extremely changed when John and I go in to do our version, so
you're basically getting the producer's cut from which we then cut
lines and bits) only exists on computer disk, not on film. We'd have
to go back into the thing and that would take a massive amount of
money.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/16/1998 5:57:00 PM  

Message 5 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

I think a second audio/commentary thing might be do-able down
the road, but only for certain select episodes, not all of 'em.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/17/1998 12:36:00 PM  

Message 6 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

The funny thing is, the DVDs already cost less than laserdisks,
and will continue to come down, simply because they're smaller and
easier to produce.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/17/1998 12:36:00 PM  

Message 7 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

I love AC3...and we've arranged that when we do Crusade, we'll
be doing a THX quality mix with full 5.1 separation...it's gonna be
bitchin'....

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/17/1998 2:29:00 PM  

Message 8 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Actually, the WB tapes will also be available via online
ordering, through their site and thestation.com, so it'll be just about
as easy to do so, and cheaper.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/17/1998 7:47:00 PM  

Message 9 in thread 

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Michael Kalus <100265.3065@compuserve.com> asks:
> How are you going to transport the AC-3 signal over the Channel?
> Or is this for the DVD / LD release only?
> IF you find a way to send it over normal ways, will it also be
> available in countries outside the US?

It's my understanding that this is one of the things that will
be facilitated by the changeover to HDTV format. But either way, the
delivery is up to WB, we're just focusing on making it as good as we
can in this respect, so we're ready for whatever comes.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/17/1998 7:48:00 PM  

Message 10 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> Will Columbia House still offer the B5 tapes?

I don't know; I think they had a one-year trial on this thing
for the first season's worth of tapes, and with WB getting into it, I
don't know how this will break out down the road when that trial
expires.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/18/1998 7:17:00 AM  

Message 11 in thread 

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Philip Hornsey <74053.2101@compuserve.com> asks:
> Did you film B5 in theater dimentions so that it would represent
> an easily available series which could provide HDTV content for
> the new stations which will be scrambling for it?

Yes, B5 was filmed in widescreen and cropped for contemporary TV
format; same will be the case for Crusade.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/19/1998 7:00:00 AM  

Message 12 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

No, as far as I know, the only two shows that were shooting in
widescreen was us, and Lois and Clark. To my knowledge, though I'm
willing to be corrected, nobody else is doing it.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/19/1998 7:00:00 AM  

Message 13 in thread 

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Michael Kalus <100265.3065@compuserve.com> asks:
> How is the stage being build?
> How is this with B5 or was this toally bullshitting ?

What I think they're referring to is the level of detail put
into finishing a set; there are imperfections you'll never see on the
average 27" TV screen that will be huge and obvious on a 35' movie
screen. So that may be what they mean. It's common to go for the
former level of detail than the latter on most TV.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/19/1998 4:49:00 PM  

Message 14 in thread 

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Michael Kalus <100265.3065@compuserve.com> asks:
> Yes, and how is this handled with B5 and soon to come Crusade ?

"Yes, and how is this handled with B5 and soon to come Crusade ?"

It will be handled...well, of course.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/20/1998 6:19:00 PM  

Message 15 in thread 

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Gar Harris <76657.3333@compuserve.com> asks:
> Question Joe: When you shoot on wide screen do you block so that
> the primary action is centered for the 4:3 TV screen or does post
> have to do a pan and scan process to make it work on today's TV?

We protect for the center of frame, yes.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/21/1998 11:06:00 AM  

Message 16 in thread 

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Philip Hornsey <74053.2101@compuserve.com> asks:
> How much of a cost does that impart?

"That was smart. How much of a cost does that impart?"

It's negligible, it's mainly a little more time-consuming.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/21/1998 11:06:00 AM  

Message 17 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

On the other hand, as far as I know, Columbia only acquired the
rights to sell the first season, because they weren't sure how it would
all work out. So it might dovetail well into the WB tapes for the
episodes thereafter.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/22/1998 10:43:00 AM  

Message 18 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

I don't think misled is the word...I think they were intent upon
acquiring them down the road, but now that WB is doing all of them,
that may become more problematic.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/26/1998 3:56:00 PM  

Message 19 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

I'm with you, I want 'em on DVD myself (have also made the
transition, and have to say I love the format, it's massively cool).

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/26/1998 6:56:00 PM  

Message 20 in thread 

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{original post unavailable}

And btw, good to see you back around the old cyberhearth
again....

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/27/1998 3:00:00 PM  

Message 21 in thread 

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Brian Prothero <76711.663@compuserve.com> asks:
> Do you have any suggestions on how to convince WB to release B5
> on DVD?

If the tapes sell, they'll almost certainly do DVD.

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/9/1998 6:40:00 PM  

Message 22 in thread 

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Bruce Scandariato <72571.1722@compuserve.com> asks:
> just wondering.. what dvd format does WB uses?

Huh?

jms
    From: J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com>
 Subject: WB Home Video Does B5
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/14/1998 4:02:00 PM  

Message 23 in thread 

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{original post had no questions}

Haven't got a clue.

jms

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