"The following program is brought to you in living color"-- once again!!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Kevin Segura, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought this bore mention here, since invariably, we'll all see the fruits of this research down the line.

    As some of you aware, I have at least a passing interest in old television. [​IMG]


    Well, over the past year or so, I've been a member of a working group that has been tackling a rather specialized area of research-- it seem that over in the UK, where (if they exist at all) the majority of 60s & 70s color programs were kinescoped on black-and-white film from their original broadcasts without the "color kill" switch having been thrown before the film recorders were started. This left a noticeable "patterning" on everything in the film image, which previously had mostly been seen as a minor inconvenience to those who restore the programs for re-broadcast and DVD releases.

    The idea finally arose: Rather than attempting to continually combat it, could some use actually be made of this patterning during the restoration process?

    Well, I would point interested folks to our wiki at:

    Colour Recovery Working Group ยป Full gamut colour recovery

    ...and submit that the answer is "Yes!"

    We are enormously proud of Andrew Steer & Richard Russell's spectacular efforts-- and I'm sure there's more to come...

    Isn't technology a wonderful thing?

    -Kevin
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I look forward to their process and hope that they can come up with something for NTSC as well.

    Perhaps we can finally see long-lost early color broadcasts in color, without the kinescope effect, again someday!
     
  3. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    That link didnt work for me Kevin.
     
  4. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry about that... I've fixed the URL-- give it a try now.

    -Kevin
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    cool. I wonder if this can be applied to Doctor Who...
     
  6. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Of course, it would only work on episodes where (as the OP said) the "kill colour" switch wasn't turned on. It all depends on how lazy (or not) that the BBC technicians were.

    Also, I'm assuming you're only talking about Jon Pertwee episodes anyway, as those would be the only ones that could even possibly benefit from this process (and, again, only if the technician forgot to "kill" the colour when they set up the telerecording equipment).

    The folks over at the restoration-team forum likely already know whether or not which (if any) Pertwee telerecordings would benefit.

    Edit: have already noticed on the R-T's forum that episodes 2-6 of the Pertwee serial Mind of Evil have these "colour dots" embedded in the picture, but not episode one.

    Also, according to one thread one the message board, it appears that the only other B/W Pertwee that might not be "colour recoverable" is the B/W Invasion (of the Dinosaurs) part one. Although the chroma dots are present, they get optically filtered out on the right edge of the picture, which could cause a problem getting a good "colour lock" using this recovery process. Still, though, all B/W Pertwees potentially being "colour-recoverable" bar two episodes is a pretty fantastic statistic, considering that if BBC engineers had been following protocol, none of them would be.

    By the way, a split-frame comparison of such a recovery (not Doctor Who) can be seen here: Doctor Who Technical Forum. The photo on the left is the colour recovery from the B/W film print. The photo on the right is from the original PAL videotape (apparently, the BBC held this material in both formats). The recovered colour, though not 100% perfect, looks quite good!
     
  7. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    There's a lot of US kinescopes from the 50s-70s that can be restored to color, from soap operas, game shows, sporting events, and variety shows!

    Some existing kinescoped shows I'd love to see in its original color:

    Hullabaloo- most of the original color tapes were erased

    Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella- the original 1957 bversion starring Julie Andrews: this originally aired in color

    What's My Line?- its final CBS season (1966-67) was in color, all the BW films from this year exist

    American Bandstand- some color tapes from the late 60's were lost, but not the kinies

    Various soaps from 1967-75, particularly As the World Turns, General Hospital, and All My Children

    NBC's coverage of the JFK Inaugural (1/20/61)- it was done in color, and the tapes are belived to be long lost. If there are kinescopes of the NBC telecast, a full color restoration may be possible. BTW, does anyone know if NBC also did the JFK funeral in color?

    Howdy Doody, The Shari Lewis Show- both NBC programs were videotaped in color, and only kinescopes remain (except for the final episode of HD, which is on DVD from the master color tape)

    The Tonight Show- was in color from September 1960 onwards- the late Paar and early Carson eras could be restored

    That's all I can think of right now, but I know there's a whole lot more shows that could use this new technology>
     
  8. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    This is interesting to me, since the Beatles were first shown in America (via film in England) on that show hosted by Jack Paar (a month or so before their Feb. 9, 1964 appearance on Ed Sullivan). Would that film still be in b&w?
     
  9. Bob Hug

    Bob Hug Screenwriter

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    Scott, that segment does appear on "The Jack Paar Collection" that was issued by Shout! Factory a few years ago. While I have no idea about the original broadcast, the segment shown on the DVD set is in b&w. Incidentally, that was shown on "The Jack Paar Program," and not "The Tonight Show."

    Shout! Factory Store
     
  10. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    I sssume you could punch the color back up with this process as well. I know seveal shows on tape that seem to have the color fading. Course other than the BBC, and Dr. Who, i cant think of another show that is even getting tape restoration. Not in the US anyway.
     
  11. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Why bother? It's not as if this technique is somehow more accurate than a "faded" color process. There's way more information in that faded color that there could ever be in a color pattern.
     
  12. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Not necessarily. If the color could be "recovered" from a Troughton episode, the results might still be interesting, if not faithful to the intent of the producers. Obviously, this would depend on what sort of equipment was in use at the BBC at the time.

    IIRC, the original Tardis console was painted a rather ghastly shade of green, because the cameras tended to pick that up as a shiny, metallic white.
     
  13. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Except Dr. Who was black and white until Pertwee. Their would be no color to recover. It was black and white tape, or rather taped in black and white and broadcast in black and white.
    Unless i missed something in my understanding of the article.
     
  14. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Bob,

    Thanks. I've seen the clip many times over the years, and as you probably know, it's in b&w. I was just curious if it might eventually turn up in color.

    BTW, I may be the only member of the HTF who actually prefers kinescoped episodes to non-kinescoped episodes. For my own part, I wouldn't convert (for want of a better word) Dark Shadows kinescopes one iota. The kinescopes are IMO part of the charm of the series.
     
  15. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Hmm. Well, Troughton' Doctor Who was in color at one time--just photographed with black and white cameras. [​IMG]

    But let me see if I've go this straight.

    1. Program is produced in color, and captured with PAL video cameras. The work is shown on a color television monitor, and filmed with black and white film.
    2. Someone throws away the videotape, and all we're left with is black and white film of a color monitor.
    3. In some cases, someone forgets to turn the monitor to black and white mode, so the camera records odd looking blotches.
    4. Instead of digitally filtering out those blotches, engineers can reconstruct the appropriate colors that must have been on the tape.

    Is that more or less correct?
     
  16. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    By Jove, I think he's got it! [​IMG]
     
  17. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    But Do NTSC based - Kinsecopes have the same "chroma-dot" issues?
     
  18. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    That would depend on whether the color was on or off when the kinescope was made.
     
  19. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Well, I do know that from time to time the BBC did do color test runs of certain shows before going to color on a regular basis, and I have read that among those shows was Doctor Who in the Patrick Troughton era. The same happened with US shows in the 50s and 60s: Burns & Allen, as well as Perry Mason each filmed a single color show. The 1950s Dragnet had as its sole color episode the Christmas program that was remade in the 1960s version. Apparently only a B/W version of that episode has made it onto DVD as a public domain print.

    Then there's the crazy story of what happened in the 1950s when CBS decided to test The Guiding Light for color. They sent word out to Procter & Gamble Prods. about the upcoming telecast, and word soon reached creator/headwriter Irna Phillips (who was known to be difficult). So, for its first live color episode, you'd think she'd write something spectacular, like a costume party or a wedding, but instead, she set the entire episode in the show's hospital set, with most of the characters dressed in white as doctors and nurses!! Perhaps this is one reason why the show didn't get to be broadcast daily in color until 1967!
     
  20. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Reminds me of when the major newspapers (i.e. not USA Today) started to dabble in color-- approximately late 1990 to early 1991. Thus, most of the front page color photographs were of khaki clad men against a sandy backdrop. Perhaps with some black smoke thrown in for color.
     

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