AbFab/Keeping Up Appearances remastered--no Blu?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Andrew Budgell, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. JMFabianoRPL

    JMFabianoRPL Stunt Coordinator

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    Good job, now if only someone out there is/was doing the same for all the series CBS defiled.
     
  2. Brian McMann

    Brian McMann Auditioning

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    I got the new "Keeping Up Appearances" set, and while it looks good on the whole, the remastering seems to have created some image problems, specifically in regards to how cars appear onscreen. Some severe aliasing seems to be taking place, with diagonal lines appearing very coarse and jagged (the edges of the car and the doors, for instance). I thought it was my television, but it appears the same on any screen.

    Viewing clips from what seem to be earlier sources do not reveal this aliasing to the extent that the new release has.
     
  3. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    My experience with BBC "remastering" is don't bother if you already have the titles. It is rarely significantly better, and perhaps even more often worse. The only advantage is when they package a bunch of "remasturd" series together and sell them for a lot cheaper than they previously were. Bottom line: if it looked bad before, it'll still be some flavor of bad.

    They seem to all still have artifacts that I haven't seen on DVDs since the late 90s, except from Comedy Central.

    I could swear based on some of their older TV series that the tape they were recorded on wasn't properly erased each of the half dozen times they re-used it...
     
  4. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Have they been trying to make them look like film?
     
  5. Brian McMann

    Brian McMann Auditioning

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    Interesting to know. I only purchased this set because I did not own any prior release, and it's the only one now in-print in North America. It's nice because of the more compact packaging and new bonus materials, but the remastering does seem to be a mixed bag. Perhaps the tapes were scanned at a higher rate for hi-def broadcast, and when downscaled for DVD output the image lost some data? The effect is not dissimilar to what I've seen before regarding scaling down hi-res images for standard DVD display.
     
  6. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Producer

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    Is it a compression issue? Have they included more episodes on fewer discs?
     
  7. Brian McMann

    Brian McMann Auditioning

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    I don't think so. "The Full Bouquet" had 8 discs, including bonus features. This set has 10, with features largely confined to the last two discs. Here's the breakdown:

    Disc 1: Season 1
    Disc 2: Season 2, episodes 1-5
    Disc 3: Season 2, episodes 6-10
    Disc 4: Season 3
    Disc 5: Season 4
    Disc 6: Season 5, episodes 1-5
    Disc 7: Season 5, episodes 6-10
    Disc 8: Christmas Specials
    Disc 9: Bonus Bucket
    Disc 10: Bonus Bucket

    I'll check out the bitrate, too, but I don't think that's the issue here.
     
  8. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    BBCWA used a bad PAL to NTSC decoder on some of their Doctor Who dvds a few years ago. They may have reused it here.
     
  9. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Supporting Actor

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    I'd love to see The Royal Dulton with the hand painted Periwinkles in 1080i.
     
  10. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    Really? Hadn't heard that one! I do know the earliest releases didn't get to take advantage of the PAL transform decoder, which allowed for significant increase in picture quality on titles like "Ark In Space", but hadn't realised they'd botched any of the transfers to NTSC.

    In the case of Keeping Up Appearances, it could also be simply that when they prepared the Region 1 release, they just pulled an early 1990s-vintage set of NTSC conversions (for PBS) off the shelf, rather than making new transfers from the PAL master tapes. Conversion technology has improved considerably since then. One has only to compare the really nice-looking transfer on the R1 set of Are You Being Served? with the overly soft, smeary tapes that normally get played on PBS.

    I've been thinking of buying Keeping Up, but I'll be going with the Region 2 one, since there's not been any reported cuts to that (unlike the R2 release of Are You Being Served?) and the R2 set is much, much cheaper than the R1 (US set, $82 or so, UK set £18.75, or roughly $32, even less still if ordering from a vendor who deducts VAT).
     
  11. darkrock17

    darkrock17 Supporting Actor

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    What PBS do you have? I don't remember AYBS? ever looking smeared/fuzzy same goes for the rest of the Britcoms they show. Maybe it's your TV, an older TV could do that with the picture.
     
  12. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    I probably should have said in my just-previous post that I was speaking of crummy R2 BBC remasters. Just in general, I didn't mention any specific titles.

    I think I actually have a case where the R1 originals (for BBC America IIRC) are better than the R2 BBC remasters. There's a bit of "IMO" there of course since neither are exactly glowing, but my small point was just "remaster" doesn't necessarily mean better, it just means "do-over", for better or worse, so caveat emptor. Often there is a re-packaging too, and sometimes just going from single-layer to dual-layer DVDs, which is technically a remaster.
     
  13. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I have new HDTVs. How the Britcoms look depends entirely on what sort of tapes the individual PBS stations are broadcasting from. AYBS? and Keeping Up Appearances have been in US syndication since the early 1990s, so it's very likely earlier vintage syndication tapes are still doing the rounds at some stations, while other stations may have more recent transfers.

    These shows will look different depending on which station is showing it (and from which tapes).

    This has always been the case. There are anecdotal reports of 1970s Time/Life syndication copies of Doctor Who being used into the late '80s (and maybe even into the 1990s), despite more recent transfers having been made for T/L's successor, Lionheart.

    When I say "smeary", I mean the short of smearing you'd get with fast motion in an older PAL to NTSC transfer. Anything moving fast on the screen can "smear" or "blur" a bit in older transfers.
     
  14. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Yeah on The Invasion and parts of Beneath the Surface. Smeary low resolusiton pictures, jerky framerate, and lots of line noise.

    ...had nothing to with the archival nature since these were multidisc sets and for whatever reason BBCWA would go back to using their regular converter for the rest of the story.
     
  15. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I know The Sea Devils is one of the titles that had some of the episodes as 1970s NTSC conversions, which were transferred back to PAL (through the questionable "Reverse Standards Conversion/RSC" process), and for R1, back to NTSC once again, so are you certain this might not be the case on that one (assuming that's the part of "Beaneath the Surface" you were speaking of).

    I know several UK fans grumbling a little about the fact that there hasn't been an SE released of The Sea Devils, given the improved picture quality on the SEs of The Claws of Axos and Inferno, for instance.
     

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