Buffy the Vampire Slayer HD / Blu-ray
We want Buffy the Vampire Slayer properly remastered for Blu-ray. The HD masters shown on Amazon and Netflix US are full of severe issues and should be re-edited for every episode.
OUR OBJECTIVE: We want Buffy the Vampire Slayer properly remastered in HD for the Blu-ray format, ideally with the involvement of its original creators. The HD masters that can be seen on Netflix US (and other tv channels) are full of severe issues and should be re-edited for every episode.
ASPECT RATIO: Joss Whedon intended the show to be seen in 4:3 (fullscreen TV ratio). Not only would a 4:3 display be the "purest" way to present the show, it would also allow for higher-quality video encoding.
If you must give in to consumer demand and release the show in 16:9, correct all of the widescreen goofs (such as the film crew being visible), keep the season 1 episodes in 4:3 without any cropping or stretching if the original negatives don't exist in 16:9. And include a software-based pillarbox option so the rest of the show can still be seen in the original 4:3 framing.
The widescreen "goofs" should be painted out digitally when possible to avoid any cropping of the original 4:3 frame, like HBO did for their remaster of "The Wire".
If having both aspect ratios on the same disc is too complicated (or expensive), another option would be to release two different Blu-Ray sets, one in the 4:3 format, one in 16:9, like Universal did for "Battlestar Galactica (Original Series)".
The remastering team should constantly be looking at the original framing of each scene, as they work on altering the show for widescreen. But the 4:3 masters should be given the priority, as it is the definitive version, 16:9 being an alternate version. And again, look at "The Wire" Blu-ray to see how to properly convert a 4:3 show to 16:9.
SPECIAL EFFECTS: If possible, all computer-generated special effects should be re-rendered in HD resolution and in the aspect ratio chosen, ideally with the involvement of visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere and his fellow computer graphics artists from back then. If the original effects cannot be closely matched, they should be upscaled from the highest-quality source rather than re-rendered. The new vampire dusting effect looks far too different in HD, it doesn't have to look identical but should at least match the original style, turning to dust, and not smoke.
POST-PROCESSING: The HD version available on Netflix US is exhibiting heavy use of digital noise reduction that obscures image detail to a considerable amount. It also lacks the SD version's post-processing for color-grading, brightness and contrast that used to be applied to many of the scenes (such as a warm tint for daylight and exterior scenes as well as a bluish tint and darkening for nighttime and eerie scenes). This lack of post-processing changes the look of the show to the point of destroying its atmosphere and giving everything a flat, same-ish, stage-lighty and occasionally plasticky and pinkish pop music video look. We hope that a Blu-ray release would make minimal use of digital noise reduction (if any) and keep more to the original look of the show. The show's cinematographers, Michael E. Gershman and Raymond Stella should ideally be consulted.
EPISODE RECAPS: Restore the "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer" segments at the start of each episode for all seasons. These recaps often lead directly into the episodes and are therefore a part of the show. Removing them from the US DVDs resulted in several problems, such as the musical score of the recaps offhandedly "popping" into the beginning of episodes, and inadvertently cutting the beginning scenes of episodes such as "End of Days".
Episodes "Bargaining" (part 1 & 2) and "Once More with Feeling" should be presented in their full version, and not the syndicated version that can be seen on Netflix.
AUDIO: Avoiding pitch problems and doing any improvements that can be done in the transfer should be a given. Other than that, some of the missing "demonic death cry" sound effects for vampire dustings in season 1 should be corrected, and the episodes "Anne" and "Dead Man's Party" should use the new recording of the show's opening theme by Nerf Herder rather than the old one of seasons 1 and 2.
BONUS FEATURES: Include all the bonus features that were originally released on the DVD sets, if need be in SD. It goes without saying that an HD remaster of the old features and any new features (e.g. deleted scenes, bloopers, interviews, commentaries, making-of documentaries, music-only audio tracks, production notes, comments on planning out the writing as well as any unused ideas, etc.) would be greatly appreciated.
CENSORSHIP: For a European release, restore the cut/censored scenes in the episodes "Dead Man's Party" and "Bargaining".