BBC America Quality

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Grant B, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    The color always looks washed out, is it the PAL to NTSC transfer or ??????
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    A lot of the content on BBC America is filmed rather than tape, so I doubt if PAL to NTSC has much to do with it.

    I think the Brits just don't go in for the oversaturated neon colors of most American tv and prefer a more lifelike realistic look.
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    could be but I never noticed it when I lived there. They had a lot of American programing and I never notice a color "gap"
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Just asking out of curiousity Grant, but did American shows broadcast over there seem lacking in color saturation compared to the same shows when broadast over here, or did British shows over there have higher saturation than the same shows seen on BBC America?

    One thing I think I've noticed is that the older the show being broadcast on BBC America the less saturated the colors are, and that the exception to the overall tendency to desaturation seems to be that talk show with Graham Norton (I think that's the name).

    I have noticed on the few dvds I have of British produced tv shows the color is noticeably less saturated than on the average dvd of an American show (i.e. I Claudius and Ultraviolet). Brit movies on dvd also seem less saturated than most of the Hollywood stuff.

    I watched the Technicolor documentary on the Errol Flynn Robin Hood dvd, and they pointed out that the British technicolor films had a distinctly different appearance vs their American counterparts, maybe it carries over into their tv production.
     
  5. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I had a sony "all systems" TV and color always looked correct; this was before DVD and avia but it never jumped out at me. I had sky TV (Murdoch ala Directv and they showed alot of Fox -Simpsons, Married with children) but the US looked they same as the UK shows
    The show that was bothering me was "The Office" which is fairly recent. It seemed almost black & white but I wonder now if they did that on purpose (i.e.make the office workers look more drab)

    I have the I Claudius series on LD and was wondering if the color was better on DVD. It seems by your statement -No.
    I also have the prisoner megaset which was around 68 and the color looks great.I also have the action man (secret agent man ) which was B&W and looks terrific.
    MPFC megaset looks not as good; seems like the production quality got better after the 1st year or so.
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    A few years ago, Brit shows intended for export started to be lit more brightly because there had been complaints from American distributors that everything seemed 'too dark'. This is purely a matter of aesthetics rather than technical differences. [I wonder if it's down the prevailing weather conditions? American TV is (or was) predominantely a product of California, where generally it's sunny. Britain is, ahem, a little less sunny generally].

    So I guess the answer is that more recent Brit shows will *in general* not appear much different, whereas with older shows there may *in general* be some differences.

    The difference in lighting levels was nicely illustrated a few years ago on Brit TV when for a charity telethon, a popular soap opera over here (Eastenders) was done in the style of Dallas/Dynasty. As part of the parody, the show was lit at the levels of an American show, and it appeared freakishly bright and garish.

    I think the examples cited in earlier posts are the exceptions that prove the rule. 'The Prisoner' was always intended as an export, so was presumably lit at a brighter level. 'The Office' is, I suspect, intentionally drab to reflect the ghastliness of the situation the characters are in.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    A thread about BBC America that mentions Eastenders?

    Must resist temptation to rant . . . [​IMG]

    M.
     
  8. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Thanks everyone

    That one hit me after I started this thread but thanks for the reinforcement.


    I think part of the problem is watching something in High Definition and then trying to watch a normal cable channel; everything looks off[​IMG]
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Grant,

    I never had I Claudius on LD, did have it on VHS and now on DVD. I'm almost 100% certain this was shot on videotape rather than film, back in the 70s before videotape looked very good. The dvd looks as good as it can, given the source. Color intensity is still relatively low but detail is a bit better. On a larger HD-capable display I'd probably recommend the dvd over LD based on my experience with LD vs dvd on my set. With a set 40" or smaller the difference would not be as obvious.

    I get BBC America off DirecTV, and from that source it's not only a bit lower in color intensity but also shows signs of being one of the more digitally compressed channels--not as good as A&E or The History Channel, and downright ugly compared to anything in HD. From a pq standpoint it's pretty bad but the content is irresistible.
     
  10. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Steve
    Thanks!
    I doubt if I will upgrade, like you said about the videotape back then, not much you can do with it. I have an Elite 79 and some discs still give my DVDs a run for their money. I only have a 32 inch XBR but for a small victorian parlor it's plenty big. I can enerally pick up Lds at amoeba records for under $8 (somethimes $2 or $3)with the DVDs priced much higher.
    I also have Directv and was wondering about the compression of certain channels. Do you just know this by observation?
    Oops Mythbusters is on and I haven't seen this one.
    Thanks again and let me know if you get up this way and want to DVD shop, I can save you some time
    Grant
     
  11. Jean-Michel

    Jean-Michel Supporting Actor

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    A lot of filmed content for British TV (and European television in general) is filmed at 25fps instead of 24. At least that's the way it used to be, I'm not sure if that's still the case.
     
  12. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I have noticed the crappy quality and complained to Discovery Networks about it before, I have even observed large areas of the screen with slight color shading (like a green tinted swath down the middle or one half of the screen) and they always write back that while "viewing quality is a top concern, they can see no issues using their equipment."

    An even worse concern for me is the "Americanization" of BBC America. I'm watching it precisely becuase it is not American. I have 200 channels of American shows yet Discovery is not only editing shows like "Faking It" especially for the BBC America version (which could be understandable with the difference in running time between here and there) but also adding a new American english speaking narrator who in a word - sucks. On top of that they still have her using UK English pronounciations and words that are different in the US. Lets have it one way or the other, either let us hear Michael Kitchen or an actual American english narration.
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Not exactly. Even many shows shot on film have their final post production work done in the video domain. It's entirely likely that BBC America is using video masters that are PAL to NTSC conversions.

    Regards,
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    Yes, it was on videotape, with the exception of the opening titles, which were film.
     
  15. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    The one thing I never got use to was the times over there. Shows would start any time not just on the hour or half past. I would always miss the beginging
     
  16. andrew markworthy

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    That could have been your problem. Over here we use the word 'beginning' to mean the start of something. [​IMG]
     
  17. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    I get the sense that this joke just went straight over my head. Could you explain this please Andrew?
     
  18. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Let me guess, everyone is drunk by 3pm?
     
  19. andrew markworthy

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    How did you know the festival starts at 2.30 p.m.?
     

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