For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer on iTunes, but I’ve held off because it’s not in HD. Plenty of older content is being converted into HD, but I understood that Buffy was a particularly tricky one to convert, what with it being all special effects and kick-ass movement.
I hadn’t realised that the conversion had already been attempted a couple of years ago, with incredibly awful results.
This video is so interesting mostly because it shows just how hard a process it is. From the looks of it, the conversion was done automatically and no one went back and reviewed the new footage. There’s no excuse for putting a show on TV that reveals cameraman and lights from outside the shot. (Although this also happened quite famously with Friends!)
I suppose it is cost-prohibitive to have someone actually sit through and watch the programme and make sure it is up to scratch. I can understand if there are some compromises that have to be made, but given that it’s a show about vampires and the dark, seedy underworld that comes with that, the difference between light and shade is so crucial to the essence of the show that it needs to be retained. The clip in the video of the underwater scene so bright then emerging into the dark is just crazy.
I’m all for current widescreen dimensions, but I do agree with the above video that if the filmmakers chose it to be a certain way and are keen for that to remain, then you should stay loyal to that. I don’t care what shape or size the footage is really, just that it’s good quality in both visuals and content.
Having seen this attempt at upscaling Buffy into HD, I’m now thinking I’d be better off owning the SD version, rather than waiting to see if they ever can get it right. I hope they can, I think there’s a large battalion of loyal Buffy fans that would want to see quality footage, rendered correctly, loyal to the original. That’s not too much to ask, is it?