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Average Bitrates for TV on DVD Releases? (2 Viewers)

ClassicTVMan1981X

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According to this link, the higher the bitrate used, the better the picture quality. But this also means less episodes per DVD.

Since it is common practice that most TV on DVD releases have up to four hours or eight half-hours per DVD9, would it be logical to assume that the average bitrate used for mastering such discs would be about at least 3000 Kbps to establish the greatest picture quality per episode?

I believe VEI's releases of older Paramount shows (cf. The Immortal, The Magician, Angie and The Bad News Bears), all of which exceed the usual four full hours or eight half-hours per DVD9, were mastered with a bitrate of somewhere above 1500 Kbps but less than about 3000 Kbps.

The link above also suggests that using bitrates below 1500 Kbps are not recommended.

Many TV on DVD releases were also mastered using the old standby MPEG-2 codec, but some now use the H264 codec.

~Ben
 
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Museum Pieces

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Bitrate is only one factor. Remember: 4K, BD, DVD, VHS, have nothing to do with how good the picture quality is. They are only window sizes. 4K is a bigger window than BD, which is a bigger window than DVD, which is a bigger window than VHS. Bigger windows have more lines of resolution. Even so, how good each line of resolution is generally results in how good the picture quality is. VHS can be just as good as 4K in terms of the clarity of its lines (it isn't, but it CAN be). VHS simply doesn't have as many lines and so will look terrible on a 60-inch while 4K not so much. Think of taking a picture of a postage stamp and looking at it on a screen the same size as the postage stamp. Now imagine throwing that image of the postage stamp on a 60-inch. It will not look as good. So window size is an issue, but it has little to do with quality of lines. And clarity is only one factor. Dynamic range is another big factor. How much detail is captured from the original source? More lines generally mean more dynamic range. Bitrate and file size are factors, but so is quality and rate of compression. Compression is getting better all the time. So if the companies use better compression, they theoretically can get more on each disc without noticeable loss in quality.
 
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ClassicTVMan1981X

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Bitrate is only one factor. Remember: 4K, BD, DVD, VHS, have nothing to do with how good the picture quality is. They are only window sizes. 4K is a bigger window than BD, which is a bigger window than DVD, which is a bigger window than VHS. Bigger windows have more lines of resolution. Even so, how good each line of resolution is generally results in how good the picture quality is. VHS can be just as good as 4K in terms of the clarity of its lines (it isn't, but it CAN be). VHS simply doesn't have as many lines and so will look terrible on a 60-inch while 4K not so much. Think of taking a picture of a postage stamp and looking at it on a screen the same size as the postage stamp. Now imagine throwing that image of the postage stamp on a 60-inch. It will not look as good. So window size is an issue, but it has little to do with quality of lines. And clarity is only one factor. Dynamic range is another big factor. How much detail is captured from the original source? More lines generally mean more dynamic range. Bitrate and file size are factors, but so is quality and rate of compression. Compression is getting better all the time. So if the companies use better compression, they theoretically can get more on each disc without noticeable loss in quality.
Since many classic TV shows and Saturday morning cartoons were only filmed in SD (1.33:1 AR), typically from 35mm film, then I am perfectly content with them being available on at least the DVD9 or BD. Because, sometimes upsizing for BD and 4K may not be a good thing and, depending on the show being remastered for BD and 4K, may also cost studios the money they could instead use for releasing DVDs of lost shows, especially if such reissues do not sell all that well.

~Ben
 
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Museum Pieces

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Since many classic TV shows and Saturday morning cartoons were only filmed in SD (1.33:1 AR), typically from 35mm film,
I think we agree but are using different terms. If a show was shot in 35mm, it can be mastered in several different windows (preferably no bigger than 4K). What frustrated me, for example, was Lost In Space. LIS was originally shot and edited on 35mm negative film. Fox printed fine grain 35mm master positives for each black and white episode and color reversal intermediates for each color episode. That way they never had to touch their masters and risk damaging them. The 35mm positives were used to make the 16mm internegatives from which copies for the syndication episodes were originally struck. One-inch tapes for syndication were made from those. These tapes served as the basis for virtually all LIS released episodes until the recent BD release. My point is, even though the show was shot on 35mm, that source was repeatedly cheapened. The aspect ratio has nothing to do with the picture quality, unless they crop 4x3 to make it appear 16x9, and you lose negative detail, which IMO is the greatest sin of all.
 

ClassicTVMan1981X

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I think we agree but are using different terms. If a show was shot in 35mm, it can be mastered in several different windows (preferably no bigger than 4K). What frustrated me, for example, was Lost In Space. LIS was originally shot and edited on 35mm negative film. Fox printed fine grain 35mm master positives for each black and white episode and color reversal intermediates for each color episode. That way they never had to touch their masters and risk damaging them. The 35mm positives were used to make the 16mm internegatives from which copies for the syndication episodes were originally struck. One-inch tapes for syndication were made from those. These tapes served as the basis for virtually all LIS released episodes until the recent BD release. My point is, even though the show was shot on 35mm, that source was repeatedly cheapened. The aspect ratio has nothing to do with the picture quality, unless they crop 4x3 to make it appear 16x9, and you lose negative detail, which IMO is the greatest sin of all.
The change of aspect ratio from 1:33:1 for SD (4x3) to 1.78:1 for HD (16x9) is what annoys me for sure. Old films and short cartoons actually used a special "academy" ratio of 1.375:1.

It also does not help when, for some of these programs, the original 35mm masters were edited here and there instead of just a straight-on transfer to 16mm or whatever. This occurred when Warner Bros., starting in 1943, reissued some of their short cartoons each year into the "Blue Ribbon" program, since the replacement of the opening and closing titles in that regard involved actually cutting/pasting into the original 35mm negatives instead of using new transfers to preserve the originals.

What you mention by the original 35mm sources being cheapened over time also occurs when a certain series is made part of a larger (or shorter) block: for example, Hanna-Barbera's Dynomutt, Dog Wonder. This first aired in the 1976-77 season as part of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour and later into the expanded The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show (90 min.) and, for the 1977-78 season, Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (2 hrs.). After the 1977-78 season run, all 11-minute segments of two-part stories, concluded (8 weeks' time), the 16 previous half-hours were then broken in two to fill up the remainder of the schedule. Then in the summer of 1978, the segment was given its own half-hour series, 20 episodes in all. And finally, we come to when NBC re-ran the segment in 1979 in an hour-long block with The Super Globetrotters (in limited areas) and in 1980 with Godzilla, so, to round this up...
a. The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour/Show (original source of the negatives)
b. Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (original 1976 opening and closing credits removed)
c. Dynomutt, Dog Wonder (solo run, ABC, 1978; original 30-second intertitle removed)
d. The Super Globetrotters/Dynomutt Hour (NBC, 1979)
e. The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour (NBC, 1980)
That is turning to the original source material four times.

If they were to make new transfers and then do the editing from there for syndication or other things, the original 35mm sources would be nicely preserved for future generations.

~Ben
 
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