Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Gifts Martha Stewart American Made Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions  Amazon Echo Starting at $84.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals Outdoor Deals on HTL

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2008 3:09:44 PM PST
JayVe says:
Everything I'm seeing on this states it is NOT in HD, but is a re-encode of the standard-definition material with digital audio.

Was Firefly even filmed in HD?

If this is just a re-encode, I won't buy it again as I already have the series on DVD (which looks excellent).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 8:05:32 PM PST
Galley says:
Yes, it was filmed in HD, as are most TV shows these days.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2008 12:43:34 AM PST
James Morris says:
it's not an upscaled re-encode. i would assume they'd go back to the source material. most tv shows are filmed on, well, film. 35mm film is more than adequate for an hd transfer.
so, to answer your question, yes it's HD. most of the extras are not, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2008 7:09:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2008 7:16:49 AM PST
Fer says:

"'Firefly: The Complete Series' makes its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray with a somewhat mediocre 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that fails to rejuvenate the series' problematic source. Close-ups and practical shots look quite impressive (more on that in a bit), but special effects sequences are soft (downright blurry at times), long distance pans are muddled, and texture clarity is a tad inconsistent. Fans who own 'Serenity' in HD will be particularly disappointed since the film's detailed vistas and spacecraft sparkle in high definition compared to 'Firefly'. Some of the series' high-def issues can be traced back to the show's limited budget and rushed production schedule, but the most distracting shots are a direct result of source limitations. While Whedon shot the majority of the series using 35mm film stock, special effects sequences were minted in lowly standard definition. Honestly, I have a hard time faulting the production team for saving cash and making the series look as good as they could at a time when HDTV was a pipe dream, but it doesn't change the fact that the BD edition of 'Firefly' is uneven and, at times, painfully underwhelming.

Even so, fans shouldn't let that bit of disheartening news discourage their enthusiasm too much. Firefly's transfer is as technically polished as I expected it to be (the only way it could be drastically improved is if Fox went back to the drawing board and crafted new special effects sequences from scratch) and, for the most part, looks much better than it did on standard DVD. Colors are more vibrant, skintones more natural, contrast brighter and more stable, and blacks (while unresolved at times) deeper. Detail has received a moderate boost as well. Aside from the instances I already mentioned, skin textures are more realistic, fine detail is well defined, and hair and stubble show off some high-def sheen. While artifacting and low-light noise haven't disappeared altogether (and make appearances on a fairly regular basis), Firefly's image is much cleaner than it is on DVD. More importantly, the picture isn't assaulted by the endless blocking, banding, and crush as it was before.

Definitive? Not quite. As polished as anyone should expect for now? Without a doubt. In the end, 'Firefly' could have been a knockout had Fox given the show the same attention Paramount is bestowing on the original 'Star Trek' series, but, all things considered (we are talking about a cult fave that was canceled before it even had a full season under its belt), the end results look decidedly decent."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2008 1:31:47 AM PST
John Smith says:
Thanks for knowing what you're talking about and not posting false information like others.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2009 7:23:58 PM PST
Jamie White says:
"Highly problematic source" footage? If they're talking about what I think they're talking about (which I fully admit they may not be)... well then, I wonder if they're aware that it was deliberately filmed with 1970's-era lenses so that Joss Whedon could have all those lens flares he's so fond of? :)

We know from sources other than the episodes themselves (for instance, the companion books) that Firefly was deliberately filmed in a subtly pseudo-documentary you-are-there style (kind of like the newer BSG is, only a lot less obvious about it, partly due to the lighting), with old-school lenses and frequent slight camera movements and shifts out of focus (watch for it in Serenity, part 1 - much to my amusement, they do it right at the moment they have the "orgasm", for instance). This is was done so that it would have a very particular, more rugged and old-school sort of feel in the cinematography.

Therefore, I'm not really concerned at all at this point about all this waffling about "problematic film source" or "oh my gosh, it looks a little soft for a Blu-Ray release". Unless I'm completely misunderstanding what people are referring to, it probably looks pretty much exactly like Whedon wanted it to.

However, I'm still not double-dipping just yet, despite really liking this show - maybe someday when I've finally got a real BD player... but for only two new extras, I think I shall wait until it comes down in price, as well. :P

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 8:25:19 AM PDT
Cain says:
Actually Jamie, while that may be a part of what they're referring to, I think the main problem for them is the CG work in the series. All of the CG scenes or clips throughout the series were rendered in a lowish resolution and were not improved at all in the Blu-ray release. In fact, even watching the standard definition show it was pretty obvious to me that the CG scenes were lowish quality, so I can imagine they'd only stick out even more in the Blu-ray version.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 16, 2009 12:06:25 AM PDT
Jamie White says:
Hmm... exactly what do you mean by "lowish quality" though?

Low by what standard? Because they were actually innovative and cutting edge... for television-level effects, back when the show was first produced, in 2002, on a standard (read: WAY below feature-level) TV budget. In fact, the show won an Emmy for the very same CGI that you claim is "lowish quality". ;) (The biggest innovation at the time being the integration of static CGI within a constantly-moving shot - the view screens, the moving "digital paper", the electronic tabletop, etc.)

It's important to note here, for the sake of perspective, that a.) the show was produced for the fall 2002 season, and it's now mid-2009; that's a whopping 6.5+ years - practically an eon in terms of computing technology these days - even if you don't count the fact that it had to be produced well in advance of its airing and b.) TV-level effects in science fiction and fantasy are almost always below blockbuster-level effects, sometimes even downright crappy, because the budget is so low that they can't afford "better" effects like you see in mainstream, high-budget feature films (doubly so because the shows are often seen as "niche"; Firefly had a decent budget for a show of its kind, but a lot of that budget went to the large main cast, elaborate costumes, even more elaborate sets, props, renting and handling of animals such as the cows and horses featured in some episodes, the on-set Chinese-English translator, etc. All things considered, it's shocking they even had CGI in moving shots at all, period, without going desperately over - budget! :P).

CGI makes rapid progress from one year to the next... but this progress doesn't always come cheap, or rather, a good majority of the "progress" is really just making what was once much more expensive (such as the then-innovative "static CGI object in a moving shot" effects), less so. The special effects that seem average or even mediocre today were (I'll say it again) "cutting-edge" only a handful of years ago. Emmy-winning even, in this case. What would eventually become commonplace and somewhat improved on the BSG reboot, was largely pioneered (on the television rather than feature level of course) by Zoic, for Firefly.

Now, does this mean that people looking for a "true hi-def experience" like you'd get from a meticulously-crafted special effects bonanza blockbuster that cost $100mil to make... will be satisfied from the special effects in Firefly? Oh of course not. Not even in standard def; you're right, that would be mediocre by current high standards.

But my point is that if you're just looking for pretty scifi special effects, firstly, I'm not sure why you'd be looking to television, let alone television from more than five years ago, but secondly, Firefly, though "innovative for its time", was hardly a series designed solely to showcase its special effects. Anyone who goes into the series for that reason is going to be sorely disappointed, because they will be going into it for exactly the wrong reasons. If you want pretty special effects and super-sharp clarity, go with feature films made recently, in the industry and market that now includes and even expects BluRay home video releases that require considerable attention to just that; if you just want to see a quirky, character-driven Space Western with some odd bits of Asian culture tossed in and a large cast of complexly-interacting characters with the typical Whedonish neuroses and slangy dialect, and a bit of action and adventure thrown in as well... then I'd say try Firefly. ;)

But, like I said... even as fan of the series as a whole, I have to say, no way am I double-dipping at this point, because when the series was designed for "widescreen but low-def" viewing, why pay extra for something I can't get from it? ;) Especially since I don't even have a proper BluRay player yet anyway; I probably won't officially convert until we can get decent BluRay players for $100 or preferably less (...legally, that is), which will probably be a while in my estimate. Basically not until it's the true industry default (...and before you ask, yes, I'm still trying to unload my old VHS tapes :P).

*just to clarify though, I by no means intend to suggest that the series' having won an Emmy for *some* special effects means all the special effects were the same "2002 Emmy" quality. For one, Emmys are always awarded based on "sample" episodes to the best of my knowledge, not the series as a whole; but also because the episode "The Train Job" has notoriously bad special effects for instance thanks to having been made ridiculously quickly because of having been demanded as a "replacement pilot" at the last possible minute. I'm just pointing out that, for what it was - a TV series produced in the pre-HD craze era of the early 2000's, which had what in context would have been a fairly tight budget - it wasn't really all that bad, even though it's not impressive by current film/TV or then-current feature-film level standards.

I really appreciate you taking the time to really stop and think about my comments and respond thoughtfully and reasonably. :)

Posted on Mar 12, 2010 1:11:51 PM PST
Bill says:
Well said. If there's one thing I hate, it's double dipping especially when it's like with the LOTR DVD and now BD where the better extended editions get released mere months after a compromised, theatrical edition.

I did double dip for Firefly though because it's one of the very few productions that deserves it. Besides my DVD set won't be going to waste.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2010 1:12:34 PM PST
FeloniousMax says:
Actually they aren't complaining about the level of artistry in the CGI at all, they are referring to the resolution of the renders so your rant above, though well stated has nothing to do with the criticism. Take a 480p source image and blow it up to 1080p and you will definitely have flaws that you didn't have at the native resolution. Couple that with the fact that the transfer from 35mm for live shots to 1080p looks brilliant and the CGI will look out of place and for lack of a better term "cheap".
‹ Previous 1 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in


This discussion

Participants:  9
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Nov 10, 2008
Latest post:  Mar 12, 2010

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 3 customers

Search Customer Discussions
This discussion is about
Firefly: The Complete Series
Firefly: The Complete Series by Nathan Fillion (DVD - 2003)
4.8 out of 5 stars (9,894)