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WHV Announce: Fawlty Towers and Black Adder Remastered

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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    I don't want to work here anymore.
     
  3. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Well-Known Member

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    So remastered. . . . how?
     
  4. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Well-Known Member

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  5. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    These two releases have been discussed for quite some time now on Zeta Minor's Roobarb's Forum.

    The short version: BBC Resources appear to be the ones who worked on Fawlty, so that one should look wonderful (one sterling example of their work is the R2 version of the first season of Space: 1999, and some of their staff are part of the team responsible for the really nice-looking classic Doctor Who releases).

    Blackadder was remastered by an outside company, so they don't appear to have taken the great amounts of care that BBC Resources do on their work. Most likely, they just applied some DVNR (video noise reduction). To be fair, those who've seen the R2 version say it is an improvement on the previous releases, it's just not up to "Doctor Who" standards. Also, the edited "Pimpernel" poem from "Nob and Nobility" has been restored (and hasn't been seen since the original broadcasts) and there's an extensive documentary on board, too that was shown on BBCtv earlier this year.

    I've been holding out on buying both shows on DVD after concerns about picture quality. I'm confident enough in both of these releases to finally retire my old VHS tapes of these shows.
     
  6. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Well-Known Member

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    I have the FT set and the picture quality is just OK. But it IS FT, so I had to buy it! I hope the extras on this new set make it worth a probable double-dip for me.
     
  7. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    I suspect it should be worth a double-dip to you. The set you have (if it's the US one) was rushed into production because the US office wanted Fawlty discs before the UK got around to doing DVDs, so those are simply straight dubs from 'off-the-shelf' master tapes with no clean up/restoration. The basic masters to Fawlty that have been doing the rounds have looked (IMO) pretty grubby.

    This new release is not just remastered, but will have a proper restoration job done to the pictures. As I understand it, they most likely went back to the original 2" masters (or the digital tapes that were made from those masters) rather than using old syndication/broadcast copies as has been done before, and that the video will have been cleaned-up, graded, etc.

    I've seen BBC Resources work before and if you were underwhelmed with the original release, I'm sure the new one will look lots better.

    Also, I don't know about the R1, but the old R2 release (not this new remastered one) has an edited episode on there: The Kipper and the Corpse. There was a cut where Basil was saying "is it your legs?" to Mr. Leman due to tape damage and at the time, they just cut it rather than trying to restore it from another copy. The new release will have the full, unedited episode.

    Unfortunately for Blackadder, though, the line about 'nailing up the dog' from Christmas Carol is still edited out (no idea if the R1 DVDs were unedited, but at least the American VHS release was uncut, so I'll be hanging onto that videotape).
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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    I didn't thing FT looked that bad, especially compared to the LD transfer, which was horrid. I'd be interested in some side-by-side comparisons.
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    Awesome news re FT
     
  10. Jonathan Kaye

    Jonathan Kaye Well-Known Member

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    The R1 DVD boxed set of the Blackadders does indeed have the unedited Christmas Carol. I bought it for that very reason!
     
  11. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    Okay, didn't know that. Maybe I'll find a secondhand used one of that disc, since the upcoming set is going to contain the edited version.

    Just checked and noticed it's on "Blackadder the Third" (would've assumed it to have been on the "Back and Forth" disc). If the used ones ever fall to about five bucks, I'll pick one up just for the uncut "Christmas Carol" (or may just hold onto my VHS).
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    I can't access the Roobarb forum without registering. What "restoration" work was done on Fawlty Towers?

    I wish studios had taken more time to actually restore material in the first place rather than rush shows out when TV shows started coming on DVD.
     
  13. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Well-Known Member

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    I read once in a print interview with Cleese that he supervised a slight trimming down of the episodes in order to improve the comedy timing, and these new versions are what we've seen since. If that is true, I would assume they used the original broadcast masters as the source and the revisions are a generation down from those. (Again, if the story is true), would you know which masters are being used for this new release? If the originals, will the DVD be conformed to match Cleese's revisions? I couldn't argue against either approach.
     
  14. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Well-Known Member

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    This is coming out on Tuesday. Has anyone seen any reviews that will help me decide if I will be double-dipping?
     
  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, they went back to the original 2" masters (or the 1990s digital tapes made from such), not to any later masters. They also went to the trouble to re-instate a sequence that was edited out of the previous discs (R2 anyway) that was cut due to a tape glitch on the original master.

    Also, some (but not all) of the original film sequences were located, cleaned-up and re-inserted back into the episodes. These sequences are said to look a lot better (the film from "Gourmet Night" was amongst what was found). Those familiar with some of the Doctor Who releases (like "Earthshock") will be familiar with how much re-inserting the film improves the looks of those sequences.


    Well, I know some people on Roobarb's forum have reviewed it (I think one person reviewed the R1 and another the R2). I don't know if the R1 reviewer offered a comparison, but it was said the new discs are a definite improvement over the previous R2 in picture quality, particularly in the case of the film sequences that they were able to re-insert from the originals.

    Also of note are the new commentary tracks with Cleese. Some R2 fans who found the "director's commentary" too boring found Cleese's commentaries a lot more entertaining (and the old R2 commentaries were also retained, BTW).

    BBc Resources were in charge of the resoration for this, so they did do actual restoration work to the video. They didn't just blast it with a DVNR filter.
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    Sounds like they really went all out. I wonder if there's any chance of something similar for Monty Python.
     
  17. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Andy. Sounds like a stellar job!
     
  18. chas speed

    chas speed Well-Known Member

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    I guess they didn't stick on the unaired pilot to Black Adder.
     
  19. Chris Brunner

    Chris Brunner Well-Known Member

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    I can't wait to hear some reviews about the new PQ of Fawlty Towers. Anyone have any input or links to such reviews?

    Thanks!


    C
     
  20. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    Here's one:

    http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/reviews/Fawlty-Towers-Complete-Series/9273
     

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