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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Prime Suspect -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Prime Suspect, a high quality UK TV series, which was in production from 1991 to 2006, saw changes in technical specifications.

    Originally, apparently shot in 35, and ending in S16 and stereo, the series rode the technological wave.

    Now finally being offered on Blu-ray in a seven disc set, I have certain suspicions, with nothing to back up my thoughts, about why we're seeing what we're seeing on this set.

    First, and most important, the overall quality of the set is quite good.  No problems with 1080i-tis.

    What's interesting, is that while all of the discs are HD 16:9, Series 4 (Part1) is 4:3, and lacking in overall resolution.

    We see the same situation on occasion with a sequence or two as the series progresses, but nothing like this.

    My presumption is that somehow the OCN went missing, and that the first part of this 1995 offering was taken from an extant UK video master.

    Absolutely not a deal-breaker.

    Simply food for thought.

    The cast is superb.  Beyond Helen Mirren, the supporting cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Tom Wilkinson, Zoe Wanamaker, David Thewlis, Ciaran Hinds, and the current "American" Sherlock Holmes, Jonny Lee Miller.

    Wonderful series, finally available in high definition, and without any of the niggling 1080i problems that occasionally surface.

    Image - 2.5 to 5

    Audio - 3.5 to 5

    Recommended.

    All 25 hours of it.

    RAH

     
  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Premium
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    Thanks, Robert! I have already arranged the gifting on the DVD set in anticipation of this.
    The Series 4 (Part1) issue is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker.
     
  3. JoshZ

    JoshZ Well-Known Member

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    Was the series actually composed for 16:9?
     
  4. Ignatius

    Ignatius Well-Known Member

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    Some cursory research says no. The first five were certainly broadcast in 4x3 (and I doubt that ITV were shooting anything widescreen back in 1996). The two that were made after 2000 were shot and broadcast 16x9, as was the norm at the time.

    The rather extensive, if muddled, review from Leonard Norvitz over at the Beav here seems to indicate that there's extra room at the sides of the image, with only the first series suffering from significant cropping on the top and bottom.

    So not OAR, if that bothers you, and the colour balance and contrast appear rather different from the old PAL video masters but there's no telling which is more accurate to intention.
     
  5. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    Norwitz is arguably one of the worst critics around, and DVDBeaver's caps have been coming under fire lately for being inaccurate (no doubt the result of using 6 year old software). Not sure what you can gleam from that.
     
  6. Ignatius

    Ignatius Well-Known Member

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    I would agree on both points, but I would say you can glean something about the way the aspect ratio has changed between releases.
     
  7. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    True, in fact its rather impressive in terms of the gains made on some of these transfers.
     
  8. KidBanana

    KidBanana New User

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    Prime Suspect 2 was shot on Super 16 in an aspect ratio wider than 4:3. When PS2 was broadcast on British TV in 1991, it had small black bars top and bottom and was around 14:9, though overscan makes it difficult to know if this was accurate. Granada, who made Prime Suspect 2 began to produce a lot of their flagship dramas on S16. Cracker was also shown in a letterbox format.
     
  9. Ignatius

    Ignatius Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the correction. I've only ever seen references to Cracker and Prime Suspect being broadcast in 4x3 (though I suppose it still may have been in international markets).
     
  10. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure Prime Suspect 2 and 3 were 4x3 when Mystery ran them in 1993 (before the series moved to Masterpiece Theater).
     
  11. KidBanana

    KidBanana New User

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    They probably were broadcast in many territories in 4:3, but they were definitely shot on Super16 in a wider aspect ratio. The move to widescreen for PS2 was documented in a UK video magazine of the time and the original UK broadcast was letterboxed.
     
  12. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Just watching the set, the picture for the most part is outstanding, especially compared with what was available previously on broadcast/ dvd.

    There is, however, serious issues with the sound on Series 1-3.

    S1 was broadcast in Stereo, S2-3 both were broadcast in Dolby Surround, as per Dolby logo's at start/ end credits and yet all 3 are in mono on this set, without any explanation.

    Acorn need to either re-press this set with the correct tracks, or at least state why they are unable to do so.

    M
     

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