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'Deep Space Nine' - Season 7 set question


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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   MarkBourne

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Posted November 21 2003 - 03:09 PM

Because the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 7 boxed set doesn't street until Dec. 2, this question is a bit premature for most HTFers who just clicked the link. However, yesterday I received the review set for DVD Journal (where I've been doing all the TNG and DS9 reviews), and I noticed something that perhaps some other previewers from other DVD sites can either confirm or deny for me.

The set arrived this week ahead of schedule, so because the Journal aims to get a DVD's review up the week it's released, this is one of the few times when I've received a DS9 set early enough to luxuriate in it, relax, and give it a feet-up-on-the-coffee-table viewing without the looming cloud of deadline pressure. So perhaps I've just missed this little bug before.

I'm noticing on several episodes a peculiar video noise that faintly covers the screen, something like light "snow" from the pre-cable days. It pulses at a rate of about two "beats" per second, up, down, up, down. It's of course particularly noticeable in dark scenes, a case in point being the ep "Siege of AR-558," a grim battlefield drama composed in dark hues from start to finish. When it's present the noise tracks with any slow-mo or step-framing I do, so it's not an effect of my player.

The phenomenon isn't on every ep (perhaps three of the eight I've enjoyed so far), nor does it exist throughout any full hour. So the problem is by no means a show-stopper and won't change the fact that I've come to utterly adore the series throughout these seven boxed sets. But it is an oddity and a distraction.

Now, it's one thing to see it appear in an episode where we might imagine and (in my case, anyway) forgive some sort of unavoidable source master problem, but it's another to see it happen again in one of Disc 7's new "featurettes" about the series' finale. It's there just as plain as in one of the regular episodes.

I haven't noticed the effect in a previous set, so I'm wondering if any other reviewer or purchaser sees it -- or could it be (against the odds, but hey) a singular weirdness exclusive to my reviewer's copy?

If others see it, I'll mention it in the capsule review for Dec. 2.

Anybody?

Thanks much.

--mb

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 22 2003 - 01:14 AM

I've only had the chance to screen a couple of episodes so far. Haven't seen anything yet, but I'll keep an eye out. I plan on watching much of it over the next three or four days.

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#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 24 2003 - 12:55 AM

Haven't made it to disc 7 yet (mid way through disc 6 right now), but I haven't seen any "pulsing" noise. There is moderate grain in many dark scenes, and occasional drifting in dark action scenes, but nothing of a pulsing sort. I've seen nothing out of line from previous seasons.

Have you tried viewing in more than one player? Perhaps the decoder is having trouble with the grain.

I hope to have my review up before the holiday.
Having gone through a marathon of DS9 this weekend, I'm seriously going to miss this show when I'm finished.

-Scott

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   MarkBourne

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Posted November 24 2003 - 04:04 AM

Thanks, Scott. Much appreciated.

Have you tried viewing in more than one player? Perhaps the decoder is having trouble with the grain.

I wondered about that too. Regrettably, my other player is out of the house at the moment, so side-by-side checking is problematic. I'll do a check with another player ASAP; in the meantime, your eyes (and those of others) are a real help. I'd prefer the problem to be in my player instead of throughout the entire run of Season 7 boxed sets.

Having gone through a marathon of DS9 this weekend, I'm seriously going to miss this show when I'm finished.

Man, so will I. Throughout my DVD Journal write-ups on these sets, I've been trumpeting that DS9 is the best Trek series, hands down, in all categories -- writing, character development, acting, the Oz-ish virtues of brains/heart/courage, and so on. I didn't think that another series could push Bab 5 off the top of my "fave TV SF" totem pole, but having watched the entire series -- ending with this weekend's marathon of the 10-part story arc that concludes it -- DS9 has pushed into the lead. The Trek fan base has heaped numerous sins upon the heads of Berman, Piller, and Moore, but seven outstanding seasons of DS9 absolves them of every one.

[/geek mode]

Thanks for checking and for the report back. I'll look forward to your review.



#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted November 24 2003 - 08:10 AM

No signs of any of these problems so far - made it through discs one and two...
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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Antony James

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Posted November 24 2003 - 09:42 AM

I believe you'll find that it's the dreaded "DS9 grain curse" you're seeing. DS9, being post-produced on video, seems to have a massive amount of problems with dimly-lit scenes. I hate it...but it's there to stay.

By the way, I just loooove to read that a DVD reviewer got his copy yesterday when I got mine last week. Too bloody funny. Posted Image

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted November 24 2003 - 11:05 AM

Quote:
I believe you'll find that it's the dreaded "DS9 grain curse" you're seeing. DS9, being post-produced on video, seems to have a massive amount of problems with dimly-lit scenes.

Weren't later seasons done digitally?
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#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted November 24 2003 - 12:10 PM

Quote:
By the way, I just loooove to read that a DVD reviewer got his copy yesterday when I got mine last week. Too bloody funny.


We all got our copies last week - mine came on Tuesday. And I think we paid less for them! So Posted Image back at you!
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#9 of 12 OFFLINE   MarkBourne

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Posted November 24 2003 - 05:49 PM

I believe you'll find that it's the dreaded "DS9 grain curse" you're seeing. DS9, being post-produced on video, seems to have a massive amount of problems with dimly-lit scenes. I hate it...but it's there to stay.
That's my working theory too, although I've never noticed it being this pronounced before, nor as finicky -- within a single ep it can be obvious and heavy in one dark scene, then completely absent in a later one. My player (a Toshiba SD 2200) isn't showing the problem on other discs, so I'm mystified.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Keep it comin'.

By the way, I just loooove to read that a DVD reviewer got his copy yesterday when I got mine last week. Too bloody funny.

Color me dim, but I'm missing the joke entirely. Posted Image Although -- nodding to Colin -- yes, if I'd paid the $100 for my set I'd be puckering my brow pretty tightly about the noise/grain issue that I'm seeing. Hence my asking here to see if it's really a problem in the Season 7 set or just a gremlin in my machinery. Thorough reporting and all that.



#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted November 25 2003 - 12:26 AM

Certainly, the dark scenes have moderate grain... but I'm not sure it's any worse than previous seasons. It's just that this season is literally darker than most, so it appears more often.

This happens on shoots that try to outperform their budget. It's one thing to build big, grand sets... and another thing entirely to light them enough so that you can get a dark exposure without grain. To compound matters, grain makes compression more difficult and less efficient.

While the softness in the Trek sets (which has improved, to a degree) is largely due to the transfer (compression, high frequency filtration), I think the grain is inherent in the source material.

But the WRITING of this show has sucked me in almost completely, so that I can forgive some of these problems.

Stargate SG-1 has this grain problem as well.

Look for my full review tomorrow.

-Scott

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   paul_austin

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Posted November 25 2003 - 02:30 AM

Quote:
I didn't think that another series could push Bab 5 off the top of my "fave TV SF" totem pole, but having watched the entire series -- ending with this weekend's marathon of the 10-part story arc that concludes it -- DS9 has pushed into the lead.


lol how ironic that these 2 vie for top spot...given the allegations Bab5 made about ds9 stealling concepts and ideas. I tried but never could get into Bab5.....DS9 however is a fine example of how good series tv can be.
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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   MarkBourne

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Posted November 25 2003 - 04:09 AM

Certainly, the dark scenes have moderate grain... but I'm not sure it's any worse than previous seasons. It's just that this season is literally darker than most, so it appears more often.
Plus some maladjustment in my player, I'm willing to assert at this point. I still see the peculiar pulsing effect. Although I'm not seeing that effect on any other disc, I'm not going to assume that I got the one Season 7 boxed set fluke with that problem. Oh well. I'm just pleased it's not endemic through the shipment.

Sounds like an excuse for a player upgrade, oh darn. Posted Image

lol how ironic that these 2 vie for top spot...given the allegations Bab5 made about ds9 stealling concepts and ideas. I tried but never could get into Bab5
Yeah, I remember all that. Sheesh. Although I'm willing to bet that the staff at DS9 watched Bab5 and took notes on what worked so well there, chiefly the long and well-developed story arcs, strong characterization, a darker tone, and a willingness to not reset the entire universe back to zero at the end of each hour -- all strange new concepts in Trek. Still, it took until Bab 5's third season during its original airing for the show to sink its hooks into me. But once hooked, I stayed really hooked. I didn't pay DS9 enough attention when it originally aired, after seven tepid seasons of TNG putting me off Trek generally. But over the years I've caught up with DS9 in reruns, and now through all these DVD sets my already high regard for it has reached heights well byond my leftover teenage Trek geekdom.

Besides, before DS9 debuted I wrote and produced the only nationally touring Star Trek planetarium show, Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous, which opened at a space station and used a stable wormhole as its centerpiece. So I can claim that both shows ripped me off. Posted Image

DS9 however is a fine example of how good series tv can be.
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