Dallas S5 -- is it just me, or does the picture quality vary from episode to episode?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Scott+W, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Scott+W

    Scott+W Agent

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    I was anxious to start watching the new Season 5 release of "Dallas," but the picture quality doesn't seem consistent. Season 4 was far superior to the previous releases, and there are some really good-looking episodes in Season 5 (the colors seem crisp and clear in "The Search"), but then there are others that just look washed-out.

    Do you think WB cleaned up certain episodes and left others alone? I'm confused.
     
  2. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    It's NOT just you, lol! And it's not just season 5. All the Dallas releases so far have had weird quality issues. I think it has more to do with the general condition of the original films--some were probably cared for better than others, that's all. The prints we are seeing on dvd are generally comparable to the episodes that air on SoapNet. As for restoration or clean-up, I don't think ANY attempt has been made; more's the pity, cause some of the eps don't look too good. Compare to the dvd of Dynasty, in which every episode looked sparklin' brand new!
     
  3. Haden

    Haden Supporting Actor

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    The picture quality isn't the only thing that disappoints me with these sets. It's the severe lack of extras. It was cool to get commentaries on the first sets but lately its harder to pick up these seasons when its not much different than watching the episodes daily on SoapNet. It would be nice to have some kind of featurette retrospective on the season as a whole if they aren't going to do episode-specific commentaries, just to get some insight into the specific story arcs from that season or other random memories. I probably wouldn't mind so much about the lack of extras if we were getting an increased release schedule for these, but a lack of extras on an almost barebone release doesn't justify getting only 1 or 2 seasons per year. Hopefully they get seasons out more quickly throughout later this year into early next year to tie-in with the new movie coming.
     
  4. JeffWld

    JeffWld Stunt Coordinator

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    There is a long story about "Dallas" and quality issues which was due to the early seasons being produced completely on film (all post-production) and the switch Lorimar made to doing post-production of their filmed series on 1" videotape to reduce costs.

    All that being said, so far, all the "Dallas" releases are not the product of any remastering. What you are getting on DVD is simply transfers from the 1" Worldvision distribution tapes which were assembled about 15 years ago.
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I thought the switch to tape post-production (while still shooting on film) wasn't made until 1986. The show looks to me like it was done on entirely on film up until the season after the dream season.

    The Waltons, also from Lorimar, doesn't look too hot either. Some episodes even have tape splices and color is inconsistent.

    I have all the releases so far, but I'll gladly rebuy them remastered in HD, providing they are not cropped to 16x9.

    When HD is the norm, studios are going to wish they hadn't switched to tape post production in the 1980s.
     
  6. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Well also, the inconsistency baffles me though; if they pretty much transferred and stored each episode the same way, then why do they all look so different? Notice that in some episodes the contrast is so bad you can't even see Bobby's hair; it's just a big black glob LOL. And sometimes the sky looks white or gray when I know damn well it was originally blue. White dresses on the women sometimes flush out completely. But on other episodes, it looks fine. Why is every episode so different??
     
  7. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Film negatives fade differently. All color negative film from 1951 to 1982 is at risk.

    If you were presenting a cost model on the remastering (and, if necessary, restoration) of 357 hour-long shows + 3 movies, even the Ewings would blush when they saw the bottom line. Still, if restoration work needs to be done, there should be no ifs ands or buts.

    These telecine transfers were made with the technical standards of 15 years ago. They may be good enough for TV broadcast, but they leave something to be desired for DVD which didn't exist then. And they're certainly unacceptable for HD.

    The Knots Landing DVDs, BTW, look to me to be exactly the same masters that SoapNet had. Unfortunately, starting with the 4th season SN was given PAL masters converted to NTSC, with the 4% speedup and a half-tone higher pitch on the autio on some episodes.

    The miniseries Sybil, another Lorimar production, looks pretty damned good on DVD. That has definitely been remastered.
     
  8. Scott+W

    Scott+W Agent

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    By the way, the administrator of the Ultimate Dallas forum page says WB has just completed filming of interviews to be included as an extra (or extras) on Season 6. Hopefully, the next season will be out soon.
     
  9. Craig Byrne

    Craig Byrne Agent

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    What I want to know is, maybe I'm imagining things, but I could swear that one episode was 39 minutes ("Barbecue II") and the next one ("The Search") was more like 52. Was I just seeing things on my machine, or is there really an inconsistency?

    And speaking of being inconsistent... I really wish they'd pick a size and format for these DVD's and stick to it. Every set thus far has been different.
     

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