-

Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

Time compression


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 JasonLa

JasonLa

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 150 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2004
  • Real Name:Jason

Posted March 17 2012 - 05:45 AM

The idea occurred to me today, is it possible that TV shows on DVD are time compressed. I had heard about time compression years ago but never researched details about it. So I had thought it was only a very short reduction in time without removing content. But today I decided to do a little research using google search and found a link to an excerpt from journal of marketing research Vol. 17 No. 1 from Feb 1980. It describes that it is possible to time compress a 30 second commercial to 24 seconds. This is a 20% reduction in duration. I then Ran the math and the same time compression rate on a about 25 minute program would reduce the duration to about 20 minutes without loss of content. Seeing as I have been recently watching shows on DVD and IW from the 70s and 80s that appear to be edited based on each episodes run time it would appear they may have time compression. However from more research using google search I found mentions that there is no reason to use time compression in a DVD release. So it has me wondering why would they be time compressed?, assuming that is the reason for the shorter run time. Which I'm still inclined to think they may be edited (missing content) vs the original airing. If the episodes run times matched closely with their original airing run time then I would have little reason to suspect what I'm watching isn't what was originally aired. I figured I'd post my thoughts and see what everyone else thought.

#2 of 13 The Obsolete Man

The Obsolete Man

    Screenwriter

  • 1,119 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 04 2008
  • Real Name:Robert
  • LocationTruth or Consequences, New Mexico

Posted March 17 2012 - 10:11 AM

The idea occurred to me today, is it possible that TV shows on DVD are time compressed. I had heard about time compression years ago but never researched details about it. So I had thought it was only a very short reduction in time without removing content. But today I decided to do a little research using google search and found a link to an excerpt from journal of marketing research Vol. 17 No. 1 from Feb 1980. It describes that it is possible to time compress a 30 second commercial to 24 seconds. This is a 20% reduction in duration. I then Ran the math and the same time compression rate on a about 25 minute program would reduce the duration to about 20 minutes without loss of content. Seeing as I have been recently watching shows on DVD and IW from the 70s and 80s that appear to be edited based on each episodes run time it would appear they may have time compression. However from more research using google search I found mentions that there is no reason to use time compression in a DVD release. So it has me wondering why would they be time compressed?, assuming that is the reason for the shorter run time. Which I'm still inclined to think they may be edited (missing content) vs the original airing. If the episodes run times matched closely with their original airing run time then I would have little reason to suspect what I'm watching isn't what was originally aired. I figured I'd post my thoughts and see what everyone else thought.

Time compressed shows on DVD, or any type of editing, would happen for mostly the same reason... old syndicated prints are used for the DVD masters because the studios either don't want to put out the money to transfer the original uncut version for DVD, Or because the material is licensed out to a smaller company, and they have to use what they get (there's also the third reason of original elements being lost and Syndie versions being all they can use, but that's much rarer than the laziness excuse.) And time compression is very noticeable if you know what you're looking for. Just listen to the theme music of a show. Compression usually noticeably speeds the music up and maybe changes the pitch a little bit.

#3 of 13 Mark-P

Mark-P

    Screenwriter

  • 2,244 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 26 2005
  • Real Name:Mark Probst
  • LocationCamas, WA

Posted March 17 2012 - 11:07 AM

It's rare on DVD releases, but does happen occasionally for the reasons Shane just gave. Little House on the Prairie DVD sets were an example of time-compressed masters being used. I don't know if the later releases ever fixed it.

#4 of 13 JasonLa

JasonLa

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 150 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2004
  • Real Name:Jason

Posted March 18 2012 - 09:21 AM

As far as I understand, at least in the past for sure, there are/were two kinds of ways to air older shows in syndication. The first was the way USA network was notorious for doing in the 90s with older shows. That was to air them with segments of the show deleted. For example several lines of dialog would be missing in one or more spots depending on how old the show was due to the increasing difference in run time vs commercial time. And the other was to use time compression since you wouldn't lose any content of the episode just dropped frames so that playback at the correct FPS meant a complete episode ran in less time. A 20% compression would be 6 or less FPS dropped. Visually this probably is not noticed by most and even slight pitch variance the same. Their adjusting pitch for the compression probably is not perfect. But anyways that is a lead in to my next question then. Were there syndication prints of shows that used both methods, time compression and removed segments to shorten the run times? If not then being able to identify if time compression is present in the DVD prints would be of great benefit because one could conclude that content isn't missing. I'm not so anal as to be ticked off over time compression as long as none of the pages are missing, so to speak, using my reading a book example I like use when talking editing out segments of shows.

#5 of 13 Harry-N

Harry-N

    Screenwriter

  • 2,127 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 09 2003
  • Real Name:Harry N.
  • LocationSunny Central Florida

Posted March 18 2012 - 09:37 AM

It's an unfortunate reality, but it IS a reality - sometimes.  DVDs are generally immune to such practices, particularly if they are remastered for release.  The ones that have either compression problems or editing done to them are generally the unremastered variety, where the studio or releasing company uses syndication masters for their DVD release.  As stated, it DOES happen, and is unfortunate.


I can think of a few examples of both in my collection.  In the edited segments camp, there's THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT.  These shows are just flat-out chopped up for syndication, occasionally making the stories nearly incomprehensible.  There's an episode or two of LOST IN SPACE where some dialog lines are missing.


In the time-compression category, I noticed that the first episode of THE INVADERS runs too fast.  That one's not an egregious situation, since the longer version of the pilot episode is also present - and uncompressed.  I'm recording episodes off-air of the MeTV showing of 12 O'CLOCK HIGH and these are all time-compressed to fit a 51-minute show into 46 minutes - but they're all there, not chopped up.  The scripts for 12 O'CLOCK HIGH were often chock-full of dialog, so occasionally things whip by at an unnatural pace.  I remember the episodes of THE FUGITIVE that I taped from TV in the '90s were all time-sped, giving a warbling effect on the backscore, and a jerkiness to the movement.


I certainly prefer everything to run at the correct speed and that everything be there.  I suppose if I had to choose among the two evils, I'd pick time-compression as the least offensive of the two.


Harry


My DVD Collection

A fugitive moves on, through anguished tunnels of time, down dim streets, into dark corners. And each new day offers fear and frustration, tastes of honey and hemlock. But if there is a hazard, there is also hope. - Closing narration to THE FUGITIVE, "Death Is The Door Prize".

#6 of 13 Neil Brock

Neil Brock

    Screenwriter

  • 2,082 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 29 2009

Posted March 18 2012 - 10:06 AM

The worst example of a compressed DVD release was the first four seasons of Combat. They used the old Worldvision 1-inch masters from the early 80s. The times were all over the map with some coming in at 46:00 and others at around 49 minutes with everything in between. Finally, for the vastly inferior fifth season, Image went back to the 35mm prints. So we got the last season, the worst of the bunch at the right speed and the other 4 timesped. As to the question of speeding and cutting, yes, that has been done with shows in the past, although I don't know if any were put out on DVD in that form.

#7 of 13 JasonLa

JasonLa

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 150 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2004
  • Real Name:Jason

Posted March 19 2012 - 08:43 AM

I seen a show on DVD too that was all over the place with run time per episode though I can't remember which show it was since that was years ago now and was a set from a friend of mine. At the time I was clueless as to why and suspected the shorter than expected ones were edited. That was also before I knew about time compression. So my guess is it may have been a combination of both. I only wish I had original airings of everything I wanted to see again when released on DVD so that I could have compared. For those sets I've already bought it would do no good though since asking for your money back because the set isn't really "compete" would get me nowhere. I'm not sure if I'll continue to buy any sets in the future because the shows I wanted were releasing so fast that they would go out of print almost as fast and I began to end up not being able to get sets because it was crazy to even think of buying that many sets a week. Since I have netflix can pretty much watch them all which is the next best thing I guess. Though the idea of owning 100% as originally aired seasons of all the shows I enjoyed quite a bit over my life is quite appealing. Unfortunately though at least several if not many of them are of the greater of two evils and have segments removed because they didn't care to take the time and money needed to do the fans right and get uncut prints. Unfortunately it is hard to find info about what shows haven't been altered. TVshowsonDVD had a list a long time ago but the ability to add etc was turned off due to some people reporting erroneous info. I haven't been able to find a centralized source since that maintains a list of alterations. After all there has to be some people out there for every show that has original airings or other recordings or old commercial releases on VHS to compare the DVD sets to. I have syndication recordings (and some episodes original airings) of a number of older shows that I have used to compare to DVD sets to wind up disappointed to find that the set or a number of episodes in a set had segments missing from some or all episodes. And then the companies wonder why the sales are poor on the sets and then don't continue putting the rest of the show on DVD because they mistakenly think there is no demand for the show instead of that real reason it isn't selling well.

#8 of 13 vnisanian2001

vnisanian2001

    Supporting Actor

  • 683 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 10 2008

Posted March 19 2012 - 04:42 PM

Um, syndicated episodes or no have nothing to do with whether or not the show does well on DVD, as the majority of DVD consumers are morons who wouldn't know the difference between cut and uncut, if it came up and slapped them across the head so hard until their head swelled up. The masses are asses!
 To all fans of Mr. Belvedere who haven't purchased season 4 yet, please watch this video.

#9 of 13 Neil Brock

Neil Brock

    Screenwriter

  • 2,082 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 29 2009

Posted March 19 2012 - 05:17 PM

Um, syndicated episodes or no have nothing to do with whether or not the show does well on DVD, as the majority of DVD consumers are morons who wouldn't know the difference between cut and uncut, if it came up and slapped them across the head so hard until their head swelled up. The masses are asses!

:tu:

#10 of 13 JoeDoakes

JoeDoakes

    Screenwriter

  • 1,888 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 01 2009
  • Real Name:Ray

Posted March 20 2012 - 02:20 AM

Um, syndicated episodes or no have nothing to do with whether or not the show does well on DVD, as the majority of DVD consumers are morons who wouldn't know the difference between cut and uncut, if it came up and slapped them across the head so hard until their head swelled up. The masses are asses!

There are a number of shows that have been signicantly hurt in sales by cuts or changes: WKRP (original music removed); Father Knows Best Season 1 (cut syndicated prints used); The Fugitive Season 2 (music replaced)

#11 of 13 JasonLa

JasonLa

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 150 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2004
  • Real Name:Jason

Posted March 20 2012 - 10:57 AM

There are a number of shows that have been signicantly hurt in sales by cuts or changes: WKRP (original music removed); Father Knows Best Season 1 (cut syndicated prints used); The Fugitive Season 2 (music replaced)

I'm pretty sure this is true of Quantum Leap too. In fact the company got so much negative response because of the music alternations from season 2 and 3 they didn't alter any music in season 4 and 5. So I'm inclined to believe that alterations that significantly alter the original airing are not wanted by enough people to have an impact on sales. I believe there was a couple 80s or 90s disney series' effected by some alteration that reduced the demand enough that disney didn't finish putting them out on DVD. I remember hearing about one of them a few years ago if I recall the time frame correctly. But I don't remember which show. Considering those shows are extremely popular in syndication over the last 10 years or so there obviously was enough demand for the shows on DVD which left me to come to the same conclusion others had as to why the DVDs didn't. The only way to know for sure is to survey a large enough portion of the population to reasonable conclude that X% of the population doesn't want shows missing segments or altered music or other similar significant alterations. But then I wonder if results of a quality survey would make a difference with the companies in caring to put the shows out as originally aired. My impression has been that far too many have been altered in the negative ways we have mentioned so far.

#12 of 13 vnisanian2001

vnisanian2001

    Supporting Actor

  • 683 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 10 2008

Posted March 21 2012 - 04:45 PM

JasonLa and JoeDoakes But the thing is, sometimes you could have a perfectly done DVD set (no syndication cuts, or any other cuts in particular whatsoever), and it still wouldn't be a big seller. I'm not saying that TV shows on DVD have to have syndication edits, or any other edits, in order to be big sellers, I'm just saying that most of the time, the average consumer isn't aware of the difference between syndication and non-syndication.
 To all fans of Mr. Belvedere who haven't purchased season 4 yet, please watch this video.

#13 of 13 JasonLa

JasonLa

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 150 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2004
  • Real Name:Jason

Posted March 22 2012 - 04:34 AM

That is true there are probably some shows that weren't really popular on TV and so their DVD sets don't sell well for that reason for example. But I was talking about shows that are edited by removing segments and/or replacing music typically that is the main if not sole reason those DVD sets didn't sell well. Which is why I sited the example of disney cartoons. I wish I could remember which ones. I know one way to compensate for low sales is to start out the DVD set prices high and then lower them. How fast the price is lowered would depend on trend in reduction in demand. If there is a huge spike in sales the first month but dwindles to a small percent the next would be a good sign to reduce the price by 25%. Reduce it too much and you tick off all the people who bought it the first month. I was always willing to spend $40-60 a season for 100% intact original airings (restoring video and audio to clean up artifacts and static etc is fine). The problem though is that they discontinue them too quickly to be able to do so when you want to buy too many shows. So between that and finding far too many have butchered I've all but given up on buying shows. Now I'm looking for ways to determine before hand that the episodes aren't butchered before buying. I wish I had a keen sense to notice the time compression and be able to determine how much time was compressed. I'm assuming it would be the 20% from that one thing I read but I don't know if they are capable of more now since that source is rather old.