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rednova
01-22-2015, 07:17 AM
Dear Friends:

I was just watching a dvd episode of babylon 5 (season 4), and one time, while commander sheridan was speaking
in the back there were many television screens, it was very hard to understand the content, but one of the screens
it looked exactly like a screenshot of lightwave modeler with the babylon 5 station in wireframe mode.
I just thought that was really cool.
And it looked like the amiga version of modeler.

Shabazzy
01-22-2015, 09:05 AM
Could you post a screen grab of the shot?

I'd love to see it.

Mr_Q
01-22-2015, 10:11 AM
You are correct. Lots of easter-eggs in that show from the VFX crew.

As you may or may not know, B5's pilot was done completely on Amiga computers with Lightwave/Modeler. Later, as the show progressed, they switch to Windows and Dec Alpha computers, all while still using Lightwave/Modeler.

ianr
01-22-2015, 12:17 PM
Yep! Actually TWO 'mighty' (chuckle) Amiga 2000's

networked by drilled hole( for the cable) in the wall

between two apartments (chuckle)...According to Guru Thornton.


And i for one have no reason to disbelieve him.


( mine's in the loft with me 4000, loved 'em)

Dexter2999
01-22-2015, 01:17 PM
You are correct. Lots of easter-eggs in that show from the VFX crew.

As you may or may not know, B5's pilot was done completely on Amiga computers with Lightwave/Modeler. Later, as the show progressed, they switch to Windows and Dec Alpha computers, all while still using Lightwave/Modeler.

I thought I remembered reading they were the first using the Toaster Screamer boxes as render farms?

I remember going to a Toaster demo years ago in Cocoa Beach and the sales rep, a very nice lady, pretended she had never heard of some render farm technique that I was asking about (as it wasn't supported by Newtek), and went on to talk about the Screamer. It was amazing for its time.

Surrealist.
01-22-2015, 04:40 PM
lol yeah "Screamer" the sound of NT developers running from the room when the first Pentium was announced.

For me that was actually the first real leap in technology that had a profound effect on the plight of the individual artist. Going from having to invest over 10 grand on a box from NT to simply walking into a store and buying the latest PC to get the same or better render time at around 1/4 of the cost. The rest is history of course, but I still remember that as the first big game changer for rendering for "the rest of us" And I remember rendering a scene on my new PC that was taking over an hour per frame on my
Amiga in 10 minutes or less.

The first render farms for those old TV shows were something like 20 or so Amiga VT with 040 chips all networked.

shrox
01-22-2015, 06:08 PM
You are correct. Lots of easter-eggs in that show from the VFX crew.

As you may or may not know, B5's pilot was done completely on Amiga computers with Lightwave/Modeler. Later, as the show progressed, they switch to Windows and Dec Alpha computers, all while still using Lightwave/Modeler.

I had a DecAlpha on loan from Amblin, it was very wow then....still would probably work as a modeling machine.

rednova
01-22-2015, 06:15 PM
Hi:
Unfortunately I cannot get a screenshot.But I think it is on the 3rd disk of season 4.
Even though is very hard to see, it totally looks like amiga modeler with the station in wireframe mode.
Needless to say, I was very happy to see this.

Kaptive
01-22-2015, 07:25 PM
Babylon 5 was one of my biggest influences growing up. I remember an article in Amiga Power/Format/User (something like that) about the 3D in the show, mentioning Lightwave and Video Toaster. I never thought I'd end up using Lightwave a few years later at my first proper job.

Babylon 5 is still one of the best sci fi series ever made, and actually the effects stand up pretty well for the most part. Though I'd still love to see an updated version done in Lightwave. I think the whole series was recorded in wide screen (film?) format to make it future proof, but the effects are still bound by 4:3, as well as any shots that had the actors in an effects shot. Anyway, there you go.. brain dump of my knowledge about B5 :)

edit: Oh, I also remember reading that they had to record each frame onto tape as it rendered because we just didn't have the storage capacity back then. Is that what Video Toaster did? I never really looked into it. Sounds like a nightmare from a modern perspective.

SBowie
01-22-2015, 07:35 PM
edit: Oh, I also remember reading that they had to record each frame onto tape as it rendered because we just didn't have the storage capacity back then. Is that what Video Toaster did?No, that was what a single frame recorder did. A popular example from the period was the DPS PAR (Personal Animation Recorder). VT, then as now, was primarily a live production switcher (and a lot more).

Surrealist.
01-22-2015, 10:13 PM
Correction, back then it was primarily a large over-bloated and overpriced dongle for LightWave. :D

Imagine 20-40 Video Toasters stacked in a room in a Hollywood studio doing nothing but rendering for LW.. he he he.

And yes, they were rendering to tape back then. (single frame record deck as Steve mentioned) I am pretty sure for the show that is what they would have done at least in the beginning. Because when the PAR came out in 1993, it was a great solution but the level of compression needed to play back in real time on that system would have meant less that broadcast quality and it was not really accepted at the studio/professional level at that time. There were other solutions that were being used like Avid. I remember when I got a PAR and decided to use it, it was considered a bad idea if I wanted to preserve the broadcast quality. But I did the numbers and the other solutions were too expensive for me.

Someone could correct me on this point but I am fairly certain the PAR was not used in TV in the beginning. Not until later when it was able to play back uncompressed frames.

shrox
01-22-2015, 10:18 PM
Correction, back then it was primarily a large over-bloated and overpriced dongle for LightWave. :D

Imagine 20-40 Video Toasters stacked in a room in a Hollywood studio doing nothing but rendering for LW.. he he he.

And yes, they were rendering to tape back then. (single frame record deck as Steve mentioned) I am pretty sure for the show that is what they would have done at least in the beginning. Because when the PAR came out in 1993, it was a great solution but the level of compression needed to play back in real time on that system would have meant less that broadcast quality and it was not really accepted at the studio/professional level at that time. There were other solutions that were being used like Avid. I remember when I got a PAR and decided to use it, it was considered a bad idea if I wanted to preserve the broadcast quality. But I did the numbers and the other solutions were too expensive for me.

Someone could correct me on this point but I am fairly certain the PAR was not used in TV in the beginning. Not until later when it was able to play back uncompressed frames.

In 1993 at Rainbow Studios we were rendering to a big laser disk, I don't really remember why now.

Kaptive
01-22-2015, 11:05 PM
Thanks for the info. It really makes you appreciate how much it has all changed since then.

Surrealist.
01-23-2015, 12:36 AM
In 1993 at Rainbow Studios we were rendering to a big laser disk, I don't really remember why now.

Yeah I remember those discs, had some data on one for a while. I think there was a time when they had the largest capacity, that may have been why. When the consumer 1 Gig discs did come out some time later they were about 1,000 USD. So even a system that could hold the PAR - an Amiga 2000 at least, the PAR and HD, I think you were looking at about 10K, if memory serves.

Looking back, if you were planning to invest around 1993, this would have been the time not to. Little did any of us know it would all change in 2 years drastically. I think more so than in any time since then. By 1998 everything was entirely turned on it's ear with digital video and by about 2002, affordable NLE became common.

I remember the very first conversation about getting animation to tape in 1992 (much less see playback) when I was first looking at LightWave (and its VT dongle :D). Wow. What a huge issue to overcome back then. Now, this is something we take for granted. But it really turned 180 degrees with the PC, avi and mov format being the norm to get animation playback starting around 1995.

Of course today we have 4K 8K and so on. But I don't think there has been as large as a leap forward for us as there was in the mid nineties.

The only thing I can think of that comes close is in the last 5 years and that relates mostly to distribution of content as far as exhibition is concerned. Removing film from the chain is about as huge of a leap as far as affordability to get content into a theater. You don't have to be a Hollywood studio. Literally you can walk into any theater that has one, and plug into a port of a digital projector. I mean I am just talking technically, it can be done. The other formats and distribution concerns are related to security. Not to the raw technology of just playing content on one of those projectors. I don't know. I just think that is so cool.

But that is not something that affects most of us in the way that faster processors and digital video playback has.

Shabazzy
01-23-2015, 03:42 AM
But I don't think there has been as large as a leap forward for us as there was in the mid nineties.

The only thing I can think of that comes close is in the last 5 years and that relates mostly to distribution of content as far as exhibition is concerned.

I agree with you that the democracy of distribution via the internet has been a major leap forward for content creatives and I'd go as far as to say that this has turned the whole business model for film and TV on it's head.

The need to go through the studios/broadcasters and selling your soul is becoming less and less of a requirement. As an independent creative, you can create your project, market your project, distribute your project and monetize your project on your own and retain a much larger portion of the revenue than ever before (this is especially true if you've no previous track record and trying to get your project seen). This model I can only see as becoming more and more the norm (unless the studios manage successfully lobby governements to take control of and censor the internet) as tools and services develop to make the process more unified, simpler and potentially lucrative.

With the advent of Amazon, Netflix et al, commissioning their own content as well as providing platforms for you distribute your own and/or commission them, the need to jump to the ridiculously outrageous tunes of the "studio system" has lessened greatly and there may come a time when content creators just simply turn their back on the "old ways" of doing things as it simply just won't be an attractive option.

The only real difference in what they (the studios) can do and what you can do, is show their content on the "Big Screen". But with most modern cinemas having a connection to the internet, they will no doubt start screening independent titles in their theatres via the internet in order to replace any potential lost revenue from a lack of titles coming from "The Studios".

So in the future independents will be saying to studio execs courting them, "What else ya got?".

This I think qualifies as a major leap in the last 2 - 5 years.

We live in exciting times.

Surrealist.
01-23-2015, 04:52 AM
I mean mostly technically I think. Distribution in theaters will likely not change too much. The dynamics of the relationship between exhibitors and large studios will likely not see too much of a shake up that I can foretell as a result of the internet. They seemed to have survived this as well as other home media and entertainment booms. The main issue here I think is just the fact that it is real hard to come up with content that gets a lot of people to go to a theater. This is rarely cracked by independent sources. It usually happens with the help of the studio system in some way. Maybe I am missing something or don't have my finger on the pulse, but that is just how it seems to me now.

But what has definitely changed on the technical side is that if you want to go actually see content on the larger screen, this is a huge leap. The last time I was involved in this it required renting projectors or relying on what systems were available in theaters. So running a small indie film festival - which I have done - or getting your indie film a decent screening - which I have also had to deal with - is such a better situation these days. The paying field has leveled. It is possible technically to be using the same exact system the studios are using, without the cost of expensive post production and film prints. Many technologies have now come together. DAW, NLE and now digital projection.

I do agree with you though all of the avenues we have today are very exiting.

roboman
01-23-2015, 05:24 AM
In the late 70's early 80's I had an S100 system with a resolution of 756 X 482 and an Atari800 with a resolution of 160 x 96. They both only had 64K of memory and 10 or 20 meg drives were as large as you could go. Had to shoot shots of the screen with film one frame at a time or do short bad stuff out to vhs. Worse, there was not any good software. The Amiga was a huge step and really the first step to getting something on tape that was at all worth watching. Then the real software started getting written. The toaster was magic, a computer years ahead of it's time and an add on that let you get quality work out of the computer. Render time was like a slow death and storage was a huge problem. The PC with 3DS just made it to hard to stick with Lightwave and Amiga. They were faster, cheaper and had larger drives. Then came windows, larger drives, faster computers, reasonable networks and several options for software, including Lightwave again. PCs keep getting faster, hd space isn't a problem, you can write direct to dvd, blue-ray ,usb memory or send video over the net. It all just seems like little steps that felt monumental at the time. I guess Babylon 5 was a turning point in that it screamed out to the world what could actually be done with available hardware and software at the time.

Streaming movies to the theaters :) just went to see a movie this morning. There were more employes there then people watching movies. The one I was in only had 4 people, including me. It's really to bad. I like going out to watch a movie, but I'm old. Seems people aren't as interested in seeing movies 'on the big screen' now that they have one at home. All the better for the indie.

SBowie
01-23-2015, 07:07 AM
When the consumer 1 Gig discs did come out some time later they were about 1,000 USD.This in contrast to hard drives of the period ... I remember the first one I ever saw; it was about the size of a toaster (no pun intended), weighed enough to make a decent boat anchor, had a capacity of 40MB and cost $1k.


But that is not something that affects most of us in the way that faster processors and digital video playback has.As you'll recall, affordable systems were unable to play full motion video back then, hence the use of single-frame capture systems. The first time I saw 'full motion' video lasting more than a few seconds played from a consumer-priced 'computer' it was running on the ill-fated Commodore CDTV at a World of Amiga show in Toronto in 1990.

Kestral
01-24-2015, 09:31 AM
Man, I think I remember seeing that shot in Babylon 5 and thinking it looked an awful lot like Lightwave. I was maybe 15 when I watched through the whole series, and was learning Lightwave at the same time.

Does anyone remember the Betterspace 3D tutorials? There were some geared towards Babylon 5...I saved most of them before the site went down, but I wasn't able to get the one on spline modeling a B5 Whitestar.

ianr
01-24-2015, 10:11 AM
KES,
May turn your attention to of the period were MOjO'S tutorials
in the printed Lightwaving Magazine of the day, where he got to fully
explain a large ,controlled & scale 'gagged' control of an B5 Ambassor's
Space- liner blowing up in Hypervoxels bit by bit., .God that was a stand out
moment & set the benchmark for ALL sci-fi believability afterward.
T'was a sweet moment, as we were always being scoffed at by the ALIAS users:lwicon:

stiff paper
01-24-2015, 10:45 AM
...Atari800 with a resolution of 160 x 96.

Hmm. Are you sure about those numbers? It has been a long time. A very, very long time. But...

I'm kind of certain that the Atari 800 had a normal screen res of 256 pixels wide (32 chars). Or it could have higher, if you wanted to do things to Antic. I think it also had 40 chars (320 pixels) and... nng... can't remember, so I'm going to guess the wide mode was 48 chars (384 pixels).

I don't remember there being a 20 character wide mode. Antic had lots of different modes, so maybe it did have a 20 char mode. I definitely remember writing game type things on a 32 character wide display.

I could be wrong...

Edit:
Regarding everything else... I was so very glad to stop using DEC Alphas and start using normal PCs.

Edit #2:
This looks like it might have reprints of some of those LightWavePro articles, but I'm not buying it to find out. I bet most of the tips no longer work:
http://www.amazon.com/LightWave-Book-Techniques-Ready---Use/dp/0879304553/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422121744

bazsa73
01-24-2015, 11:16 AM
Hmm. Are you sure about those numbers?
I have an age old book on creating computer games, published in the early 80s and the guy
writes about "hi-rez" graphics which means 128 x 48! But he didn't want to use it due to time constraints.
The computer's name was TRS80.

Kestral
01-24-2015, 11:56 AM
The computer's name was TRS80.

We have one of those in the garage! I grew up playing Space Invaders and Zork on it.

ianr--I wish I could have seen that tutorial! I didn't have any of the magazines or anything back then...I still have a lot of the older books though.

robertoortiz
01-24-2015, 12:24 PM
KES,
May turn your attention to of the period were MOjO'S tutorials
in the printed Lightwaving Magazine of the day, where he got to fully
explain a large ,controlled & scale 'gagged' control of an B5 Ambassor's
Space- liner blowing up in Hypervoxels bit by bit., .God that was a stand out
moment & set the benchmark for ALL sci-fi believability afterward.
T'was a sweet moment, as we were always being scoffed at by the ALIAS users:lwicon:

Any current links?

SBowie
01-24-2015, 02:01 PM
May turn your attention to of the period were MOjO'S tutorials
in the printed Lightwaving Magazine of the day ... Was it, perhaps, LightWavin' magazine? I might still have some of those around somewhere ... think I either contributed a piece or two, or got some sort of editorial credit, I forget.

kopperdrake
01-28-2015, 04:41 AM
Ah - '94, I was close to leaving uni with a friend, and we were going to set up our own product design & visualisation studio in the July. He was an Amiga nut, and we ordered the Babylon 5 pilot episode through Blockbusters - it was amazing! We saw what LightWave could do, and ended up buying LW3.5 for the Amiga 4000, and Ashlar Vellum for the Mac IIci (or it may have been a IIcx).

Needless to say, LightWave proved the more popular :D Fond memories of Babylon 5!

Shabazzy
01-28-2015, 10:51 AM
http://youtu.be/pzfuNSpP0RA

We've come a long way baby.

Thank goodness.

ianr
02-02-2015, 11:02 AM
Well I survived not stepping thro' the ceiling in the Loft
to return this, gentleman 4 you.:lwicon:

126823

ianr
02-03-2015, 11:47 AM
For Robertoortiz,
The LWMods gave me mild clearance to up this Bab5 tutorial

Thanks due to S.bowie, Jim Plant & Jon Goss

(material is the copyright of Lightwave PRO magazine.)

126870)126871:lwicon:

shrox
02-03-2015, 12:14 PM
3DO! I worked on some stuff for that, it wasn't quite vaporware, more like DOA-ware.

SBowie
02-03-2015, 07:43 PM
For Robertoortiz,
The LWMods gave me mild clearance to up this Bab5 tutorial

Thanks due to S.bowie, Jim Plant & Jon Goss

(material is the copyright of Lightwave PRO magazine.)

126870)126871:lwicon:Did you, perhaps, mean John Gross? (Pretty sure I still have some old LW tutes of his on VHS.)

prometheus
02-04-2015, 06:10 AM
http://youtu.be/pzfuNSpP0RA

We've come a long way baby.

Thank goodness.

Wow...got to see that one, havenīt seen it before, great suites, and at least one great actor (christopher plummer) looking almost as good as in star trek.

Michael

shrox
02-04-2015, 06:22 AM
I remember Star Crap, err I mean Star Crash.

Oh, and Laserblast...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRaXI8O1IKM