Babylon 5. Something new about something old.

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Old 05 May 2012   #1
Babylon 5. Something new about something old.

No easy way to introduce this subtly, so.

After contacting Ron Thornton, to find out who designed one of the ships on Babylon 5, one thing led to another, and a quick exercise in learning how to code up a web page turned into a unique reference site. (5 years, 15 FX artists and one producer later). Among those contacted included Steve Burg, Everett Burrell, Eric Chauvin and Kevin Kutchaver.

The site isn’t going to stay up forever, It was just a hobby, a one off, so I made it downloadable for anyone to keep – no strings, popups, adverts or anything else attached. Just a lot frank, revealing and occasionally funny interviews from a bunch of artists with enough Emmys between them to field a couple of football teams (that answer a lot of questions and bust a few myths) and a fair bit of previously unreleased concept art, like this.





It’s not so much about the show, but the artists, the art and the technology. Steve Burg (who recently designed the Prometheus for the Ridley Scott movie) described what we talked about as the most in-depth examination of his methodology and approach to design ever carried out. Which, considering Steve’s career, came as a bit of a surprise.

This is a link to a facebook page highlighting the site.
http://www.facebook.com/B5Scrolls


If you read the top post you’ll see why I joined FB and set it up, and why I’m pointing there. It’s far from ideal (a lot of folks aren’t on facebook), but it was the best idea I could think of to let as many folk know as possible, before the site disappears.

If anyone is interested, ain’t on facebook and can’t see the two links to the site (you don’t need to log into FB to see or use them). Then here’s a link to the site itself. Though if you can ‘like’ that thing, that would be helpful.
http://www.themadgoner.com/B5/B5Scrolls/B5Scrolls.htm


Hope you enjoy the site. It really is a one off. ; )
 
Old 05 May 2012   #2
This is awesome!

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05 May 2012   #3
Oh that's a relief. I thought I might get shot down in flames.

But given the content, I imagine a few on here will find, bits of it at least, interesting. ; )
(Seemed such a waste to let the info just dissapear when the site did)
 
Old 05 May 2012   #4
Sweet! thank you very much for putting all this together and sharing it with the rest of us.
I was a fan of Babylon 5 when i were younger and it aired on TV here.

/ Magnus
 
Old 05 May 2012   #5
You are being very modest but this is a really cool offer mate.
B5 was when I was getting my feet wet in CG and I followed most of these guys articles, tutorials and work in general.

This is going to be a good read.
Thank you very much.
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Old 05 May 2012   #6
Nice work, man ! Good comments and elaborations throughout. Would be a shame if the site gets lost. thanks.
 
Old 05 May 2012   #7
Thanks for this Mate!!
those concept sketches are Awesome
B5 was a well written sci-fi story arch and one of the few where the time travel aspect was not a catch all/fix it/cop out
Its still available on HULU.com.


Cheers
 
Old 05 May 2012   #8
Triple F, somewhere at home, on the other side of the country, I have a copy of the B5 show bible that was given to new writers for the show. It has some preproduction drawings of the characters done before the pilot was even shot. I'll try to dig it up and send you a copy when I get a chance.
Mash
 
Old 05 May 2012   #9
Cheers. Not being into FX, model building or even that familiar with the back story to the show I made a bit of a horlicks of some of the “interviews” – not asking some obvious questions or touching on more interesting subjects. I hit my head off the table more than once for not asking certain things. ; )


I was really surprised at the lack of (on-line) info that was available on this aspect of the show, especially within the “fan community”.


@ Michael

Something like that would be really interesting to see. Steve has most of his work from the time buried in a mountain of boxes in his garage, and the earlier character stuff (before he got involved), as I understand it, is very different from what appeared on screen. So yeah. If you ever get the chance to scan some of that in it would definitely be a cool addition to any update. The list of things that could be added is getting larger. ; )
 
Old 05 May 2012   #10
Tom, thx for that site. Very interesting, not only for us old AMIGA geeks.

You should transfer it to a blog to immortalize it! Would be a shame to loose that stuff.

Again, thx. This will be nice reading for the next days.
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Last edited by CB_3D : 05 May 2012 at 09:17 AM.
 
Old 05 May 2012   #11
Awesome stuff.

Babylon 5 was a groundbreaking show in two aspects. Firstly, the show had a big long-running story arc. That was unheard of at the time. It was gripping to follow an epic, sprawling sci-fi storyline for years.

Second, the CGI. Watching B5 was the first time it occurred to me that, hey, I could possibly do that. Before it, visual effects were a thing that were done by professionals in professional studios and required big crews to build big models that were shot using big, expensive cameras. But Babylon 5 was done using computers and software - hey, I have a computer and magazines came with software, I can do this! Of course, there was a world of difference between work done by a professional company and me doodling away with Bryce, but for the first time, cool looking computer art felt like a thing that was within my reach if I just learned this stuff.

Of course, the visual effects of the show look very dated now, but I still love the designs. Starfuries, the Shadow ships, the station itself. It'd be cool to see those designs realized using modern techniques and software. Maybe a Babylon 5 modeling challenge some day?

Last edited by Wizdoc : 05 May 2012 at 10:17 AM.
 
Old 05 May 2012   #12
TripleF, your rant was the first I read, it's some good investigative reporting and it reminds me of how much information is actually just recycled and unfactual. You also have a nice writing style. Thanks for sharing!
 
Old 05 May 2012   #13
Originally Posted by paintbox: TripleF, your rant was the first I read, it's some good investigative reporting and it reminds me of how much information is actually just recycled and unfactual. You also have a nice writing style. Thanks for sharing!


Oh that! That’s the one thing not included in the download – for obvious reasons. ; )

Was feeling a bit pissed off when I started writing that due to spending way too much time with hardcore B5 fans that had a, singular, view of things.
 
Old 05 May 2012   #14
Many thanks for this. B5 is the reason why I've been making starships and sci-fi related stuff for the past 12 years
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Old 05 May 2012   #15
I wonder if WB would consider releasing a limited edition Art of Book based on this material.

Originally Posted by Wizdoc: Awesome stuff.


Of course, the visual effects of the show look very dated now, but I still love the designs. Starfuries, the Shadow ships, the station itself. It'd be cool to see those designs realized using modern techniques and software. Maybe a Babylon 5 modeling challenge some day?

that is not a bad idea...
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