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Problem with the new "Jack Benny Program" DVD set...

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Kevin Segura, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm very disappointed to have to report this, but I've received my copy of the new "Jack Benny Program" DVD set direct from Shout! Factory, and while the material is tremendously enjoyable, after vewing the episodes, it is apparent that there is a problem with the set.

    Unfortunately, all of the discs (including the "Omnibus" bonus disc) display noticeable motion artifacts... I'm curious to see if anyone else picks up on this.- Kevin

    [EDIT: After a more detailed look at the video, I've discovered the cause of the noticeable motion artifacts in the video portion of the programs. Please see below. - KTS]
     
  2. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Are we talking about a scenario where what should have been videotape source material was rendered in a kinescopey look (like the Password DVD set or the botched Season 7 of AITF)? I was under the assumption they were using kinescopes for source material on this so that's why I didn't question the appearance.
     
  3. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I Love Lucy was the first show to bypass Kinescope entirely. But, most "live shows" used Kinescope till 1963. And in many cases Kinescope was used till the late 70s.

    It is quite possible Jack Benny was always Kinescope.
     
  4. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    The motion artifacts are paticularly noticeable on the first show, but is also able to be spotted throughout the rest of the discs.

    The sad part is, it's mistakes like this that lead people to be turned off of classic TV, because of the way the presentation comes across.

    - Kevin
     
  5. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Are you sure the source is (true)film?

    I always thought JB was live, kinescoped for west coast broadcast.
     
  6. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I may have to take that back a bit. I read some of the JB blurbs...

    It appears a lot of his programs were a combination of live and kinescope. His monologues where taped prior beginning and end. The "skits" were either performed live or kinescope.

    That back and forth would undoubtedly work "back when on crappy TV". Today on HD TV...not so much. Maybe they did dumb it all down to look Kinescopy...
     
  7. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I've just gotten to the Mike Wallace episode on Disc 2 and this is the first one I've noticed where the movements of the people seem slow and jerky. Is this the problem we're talking about? I didn't notice this on the earlier episodes.

    In general, these episodes have been like discovering a whole different TV show after decades of exposure to just the filmed shows from the syndication package. These shows have more of the feel of the old radio show.
     
  8. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, what the references were trying to convey was that from week to week, the program would (somewhat) alternate between being a pre-filmed program vs. a program which was performed live. Those live performances were subsequently kinescoped for CBS stations that chose to time-shift the program, and those film kinescopes are what comprise most of this DVD set.

    For the record, the Truman Library show was the only Benny show that I'm aware of which was intended to mix film and tape.

    - Kevin
     
  9. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    I just had a chance to check the video portion more closely-- it doesn't appear to be the result of a field swap after all, as I had initially suspected...

    Now having said that, these are **not** proper archival transfers of the kinescope films. They were done on an old-fashioned telecine machine that blends frames as it does the transfer (rather than rendering each frame separately & distinctly), and then also repeats one frame out of every five. This causes some of the the jerky, stuttery motion artifacts that are particularly noticeable with side-to-side movements.

    All in all, the video portion of this set is simply not acceptable in 2013. If this were the 80's, I might expect video of this caliber-- and believe me, I've seen my share of it! To have this be the modern-day representation of these programs (with specific notes in the accompanying booklet crowing about a "restoration" of the material) is pretty inexcusable.

    If anyone at Shout! Factory or UCLA actually cares about the presentation of this material, I would welcome them to contact me either through this forum, the International Jack Benny Fan Club site, or the Steve Hoffman Music forum I'll be happy to assist with an actual restoration of these shows.

    - Kevin
     
  10. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Screenwriter

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    Hearing what you are saying, its obvious that they don't care. But that's been Shout Factory's modus operandi all along. That they didn't bother to use your Live Feed process is deplorable. Also deplorable is this modern notion that taking gorgeous black and white or color videotape and then encoding it to try to make it look like film is a good idea. There is nothing better than to see a show from the 50s, 60s or 70s in beautiful videotape but I guess because they have to try to appease the 100 inch screen high definition crowd they feel the need to bleep with the material. What winds up as the result, like on That Show with Joan Rivers, is that it looks like a bad kinescope.

    They could have taken the Jack Bennys and used Live Feed but then that would make it look like tape and they probably think that keeping the kinescope look is better because it looks closer to film.
     
  11. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    You mean to say that TSWJR was also a victim of this encoding B.S.? I haven't seen any review here mention that.
     
  12. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know a lot about film restoration (and I don't know what TSWJR stands for).
    But I do know that I love Jack Benny's television show--even the cheapo DVDs of Benny programs. So whether or not Shout! did the right thing with the way they handled these shows, I'm still excited about their availability.
     
  13. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    That Show with Joan Rivers.

    Neil seemed to imply that the recent DVD release of such program was also the victim of bad encoding that it now looks like film.
     
  14. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    So far, I've seen two episodes that have the jerky quality. Overall these have looked better than the kinescopes of public domain releases which have been episodes from earlier in the 50s but I do agree with Kevin that these episodes could have used the LiveFeed process which indeed would have restored the true broadcast quality of the image. But there is indeed some kind of mentality among some people that seems to think that a "film" look is better than tape and that has led to among other things the botched encode jobs of the first release of "All In The Family" S7 which incredibly had people praising it as the best transfer of AITF ever until Shout finally was forced to admit that the encode job was botched. The similar treatment of the Password DVD set by the defunct company (the name suddenly went out of my head; I will know it when I see it) ruined that release as well.
     
  15. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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  16. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    I accidentally posted my comment inside the quote box. (I really wish there was an edit function!) Here's my reply:

    Thanks for your insights about the process. But, again, I was able to watch the entire Password set and enjoyed it fully. I went nuts when they changed the music on The Fugitive, because that's messing with the content, and I appreciate it when shows like Peter Gunn get re-released using the best elements that exist, but I guess I can overlook visual imperfections in non-dramatic programs.
     
  17. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The thing with the Password set is that I already had all the epsiodes from Game Show Network reruns and they look a million times better than the DVD releases because they properly show the episodes as they should look. The DVD set was supposed to be the occasion for me to see a core group of episodes in perfect pristine archival quality and what I got instead was a substandard set that was worthless from a viewing standpoint for me. I'm sticking only to my GSN recordings transferred to DVD.
     
  18. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, to be honest, I would have settled for a decent archival transfer of the material-- what they've done in the video transfer of the material on this set is a travesty, as far as I'm concerned. In 2013, there's no excuse for it.

    - Kevin
     
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  19. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Screenwriter

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    Actually, there is an edit function, but for some strange reason it doesn't show up when you first post a message. You have to reload the page, or return to it later, and there it is as an option alongside "Report," "MultiQuote" and "Quote."

    ***Added*** In fact, I just used it to say it's specifically between "Report" and "MultiQuote".
     
  20. rmw650

    rmw650 Screenwriter

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    They still have time to rectify the issue, since it's not scheduled for release for another month, so hoping Shout and the management get your e-mails and posts Kevin and they'll repair the issues with the set as soon as possible.
     

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