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HD Neophyte Question Regarding TV Shows

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Travis Brashear, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me if this seems a foolish question, but I've always been more of an expert on software, rather than hardware, when it comes to DVD. In regards to television shows that were filmed prior to HD, and assuming that any HD release of same hasn't undergone some "digital remastering" trickery to clean up an image from a subpar master, is there any reason to think that a HD-DVD release will look measurably/markedly better than the standard DVD version? This thought came to me as I was perusing my THREE'S COMPANY: Season Six discs. The image is pretty sketchy and murky in that '70s "videotaped before a live studio audience" kind of way--this is no reflection of poorly mastered DVDs, it's just as good as the original recording can be made to look...on standard definition DVD, that is. But is there any reason to believe that HD-DVD can render a better image out of something recorded in such a low-res manner in the first place?
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Well-Known Member

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    If the vintage television program had been shot on film instead of videotape, it would benefit from a high-def disc during presentation.
     
  3. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    But for those that didn't (THREE'S COMPANY, ALL IN THE FAMILY, THE HONEYMOONERS, et al), what we have on standard DVD is as good as it'll ever get, right? And what about shows like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, that were recorded on film, then converted to video for post-production editing?
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Well-Known Member

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    Star Trek: TNG did its special effects in the video realm; the live action was shot on film, and so the series itself would look much better in high-def.
     
  5. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the live action was shot on film but ALL footage, live action and fx, was transferred to video for post-production, so I'm still curious what degree of improvement HD would bring.

    In regards to my other question, just to clarify, those older shows look as good as they're ever going to look right now on standard DVD, and there really isn't any need or warrant to make HD-DVDs of them, yes or no?
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Most of the run of The Honeymooners, like I Love Lucy, was shot on film, as I recall. So it would benefit from an HD transfer. (Assuming the negatives haven't been left to rot somewhere or been chewed on by rats. [​IMG]) Even more recent shows like Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and Murphy Brown were all shot on film rather than videotape.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Roger_R

    Roger_R Well-Known Member

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    Videotaped shows tend to have various degrees of noise which requires a higher bitrate so that it doesn't turn into blocks. This could be reduced or even eliminated with the storage space Blu-ray is offering. And then you have the possibility of fitting an entire season on one or two discs which would save a lot of shelf space.

    If I understand correctly, TNG, DS9 and Voyager were all shot on film, but the post-production was done on tape. So they would have to get out all the film material, scan it, recut it and probably redo the special effects that were done directly on tape before it is presentable. I doubt Paramount would spend all that money...
     
  8. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    So Roger, in terms of videotaped shows, or even if shows like ST:TNG remain untampered, HD-DVD could still represent an image improvement over standard DVD if the bit rate is cranked above what standard DVD can allow for? I'm surprised if that's truly what you're saying because I always assumed even standard DVD offers higher resolution than the videotape on which these shows were originally recorded and you can't make wine out of water.

    Joseph, yes, true, sorry to generalize...I'm talking about the most poor-quality (in terms of video resolution) HONEYMOONERS episodes, wherein the original film master doesn't exist and what is broadcast now is really no more than a decades-old videotaping of a monitor's playback. I'm not sure how to describe the visual look of the episodes so affected except to say that they look very "videotapey", with bizarre dark halos around people and objects, as well as a generally over-contrasted picture.
     
  9. Roger_R

    Roger_R Well-Known Member

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    Picture improvement in terms of less compression artifacts, yes. But this depends on how well the DVD was authored too. I use Doctor Who: City of Death as an example there. For some reason, it was made as a 2-disc set even though you could have fit it all on one disc. This allowed the episodes to be compressed with a higher bitrate than usual (about 1.5-1.55GB per episode), and the image does look better than on the earlier releases where they used the more common range of bitrates for half hour shows(about 1GB per episode).

    And then you have the sound. There shouldn't be any problems with saving the original stereo/mono soundtrack in a lossless format instead of the 192Kbps AC3 stream they use today. I read reviews where X-files on DVD and LD were compared and the LD came out better in the sound department because it didn't have compressed sound. Again, it depends on the bitrate, but a lot of studios tend to use 192Kbps.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Actually you're talking about something that pre-dates videotape (which wasn't invented until 1957* and didn't come into general use in the industry until the 1960s.) Pre-tape material that was aired live was preserved on kinescopes - produced on 16mm (usually) film by pointing a film camera at a studio monitor - hence the scanlines and the halos, etc, owing to the difference between the film and video frame-rates. Many shows that aired live on the east coast were only made available on the west coast via kinescope - and that, in many cases, is the only reason that they survive in any form.

    * For a discussion of kinescope, the logistics of live broadcasting and the introduction of videotape, see this link about The Edsel Show, the first TV series to use videotape. (Which luckily lasted longer than either the show or its autombile namesake. [​IMG])

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Shawn Perron

    Shawn Perron Well-Known Member

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    Regardless of whether it's TV from a tape or film, the original tapes/film should have more visual information then can easily be compressed into an MPEG-2 DVD stream. With DVD the color resolution is only a quater as much as the black and white resolution. While the picture is 720x480, the color resolution is only 360x240. Obviously if this can be improved, then there is the capability for a large picture improvement.

    Basically the less compression needed to store the video, the more it should resemble the original tape or film.
     
  12. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Well-Known Member

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    Roger, Shawn, thanks...it looks like every single DVD I own has the potential for being landfill material shortly...bummer.

    Joseph, YES, that's exactly the technology to which I was referring, though I misunderstood the path. I thought it was filmed on celluloid, then broadcast, then videotaped off a monitor, rather than filmed on celluloid off the playback. Still, at least in the isolated instances of this type of production, since what was being filmed was well below the resolution of celluloid, and the audio was extremely tinny mono, perhaps HD-DVD won't have much to offer as an enhancement for these shows, yes?

    (*shudders at the thought of THE MONEYMOONERS: 39 Classic Episodes being the only DVD of his 800+ collection that survives the advent of HD-DVD*)
     
  13. Antonio S

    Antonio S Well-Known Member

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    This was also my thinking for a while, but now I'm not so sure.
    It may be many years before the HD/Blue Ray conversion process blesses our particular collections to any great extant.
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    I have hundreds of DVDs, including many pricey TV sets, and two large-capcity DVD/CD changers that I don't plan to scrap anytime soon. I have a 720p LCoS 56" microdisplay that I watch from about 7" away. Most of my existing DVDs - including non-anamorphic titles - look far better upconverted on my TV than they ever did before. I have no burning desire to look into any hi-def DVD format until the war is over and players are well below the $200 mark - by which time I'll probably be ready for a 1080p flat-panel in the living room anyway. Then I'm sure I'll buy hi-def DVDs going forward, and replace a few must-haves that will benefit the most from an HD presentation, but I suspect the bulk of my collection will remain SD-DVD and continue to be played on my current players. None of it will be headed for a landfill anytime soon. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  15. FrancisP

    FrancisP Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that HD is much less forgiving than non-HD. Soap operas had to upgrade their sets because what looked fine on non-HD tv looked cheesy on HD. That's what I wonder. Will shows that look okay on non-HD look cheesy on HD tv?
    I've seen some examples of where remastering titles have created issues with some special effects. I heard something where a digital remastering of the original Star Trek episode 'Trouble with Tribbles' created all sorts of problems for Deep Space 9. Such things as paint brush strokes on sets and stains on Spock's shirt showed up. A lot of these shows are going to look as good as they did on their network showings. I just don't see me spending hundreds or thousands of dollars re-buying everything.
     
  16. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    I agree, with Francis P!

    While I could not wait to buy everything & anything on DVD (making for lots of stuff, maybe as many as more than two hundred discs, that have been given away, sold, or traded).

    HD on disc will be much more of a per title purchase. Stunning transfer with upgraded sound & features, OK, not a problem at all.

    However, on titles like "The Serpents Garden" which I brought for $5.50US, who knows if it will be on HD discs or how long, at what price, and what will be the picture & sound quality. All of that and more, will play a huge role on just how many of my DVD's are replaced by HD versions.

    Where as, two years ago I might have said; Yeah, I want them ALL on HD!

    There are hundreds of titles in my collection I will not be upgrading at $25US, or more, for HD. Maybe, $15US.

    Then of coarse there are titles that we all can't wait to upgrade to HD on disc and would pay more than $25US to do so!

    Bring it on!
     
  17. Roger_R

    Roger_R Well-Known Member

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    I wonder about this too when it comes to CGI. If I remember correctly, Toy Story was rendered in 1536x922 so that one's not even in 1080p. How many other early movies that used CGI rendered it in resolutions lower than 1920x1080? If there are any it'll look pretty crappy when the resolution doesn't match up in the picture.
     
  18. Juan C

    Juan C Well-Known Member

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    What about whole seasons in 480p on a single disc?
     
  19. JackKay

    JackKay Well-Known Member

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    Joseph DeMartino, thanx for your info. Much appreciated. Not unlike early film, early television was recorded (if at all)and simply thrown away because of storage limitations.

    P.S. About your last post, there are many people feeling the same way.

    jack
     
  20. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    "About 23 hours of standard-definition (SD) video on a 50GB disc."
    http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#bluray_capacity_video
    "Over 9 hours of high-definition (HD) video on a 50GB disc."
    "To ensure that the Blu-ray Disc format is easily extendable (future-proof) it also includes support for multi-layer discs, which should allow the storage capacity to be increased to 100GB-200GB (25GB per layer) in the future simply by adding more layers to the discs."

    My reference;
    While a single layer SD-DVD can give 133m of audio/video, a SD-DVD dual layer disc can hold 263m. Therefore, holding four half hour shows a layer in SD. Or, four one hour shows per dual layer disc.
    Thanks for always having an answer for 'us', Juan.
     

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