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Does Columbia Tri-Star quality seem poor?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Carlos Garcia, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    I've recently gotten sets of both BARNEY MILLER and THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, and while I love both shows, I feel the video quality on these DVD sets leave alot to be desired. Is it me, or has anyone else noticed this too? LARRY SANDERS looks good when the episode is in the FILM portion of the show, however, when it goes to VIDEO, the DVD looks very grainy, with alot of artifacts. BARNEY MILLER, while being an older show done on video, looks very washed in some episodes. Yes, I understand it's an older show, however, it's apparent to me that the syndication prints look much better than the prints used for the DVD sets. I wonder how the studios decide which prints will be used to master these shows? I'm also wondering what kind of quality control Tri-Star has when it comes to their DVD sets. Anyway, I hope they release future seasons of THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW...I've heard sales of season 1 were bad and this is why there is no season 2 coming out. If this is true, then I think Columbia Tri-Star should seriously look into how these shows were mastered, why the quality looks so poor, and their lack of extras, before wondering why sales didn't do well. Maybe future releases can be improved upon.

    Carlos.
     
  2. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Carlos,

    I couldn't agree more. Studios put out an inferior product and then want to blame the consumer that sales were poor. They really need to look at themselves. I have Season One of the Larry Sanders Show, and even on my 27" bedroom TV, the picture quality is atrocious, to say nothing of how it looks on my 55" Mitsubishi HDTV in the living room.

    I was really looking forward to Barney Miller, and was very disappointed to hear how poor the picture quality was when it finally came out. As a result, I passed on it.

    I also think studios are digging themselves another hole. I am stuck with Season One of Larry Sanders, Season One of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Seasons One and Two of NYPD Blue, all releases that, due to poor sales, will not be releasing any further seasons. If I had known that, I wouldn't have bought the first seasons, and their sales would have declined even further. Now, not wanting to get stuck with series that I cannot complete, I'm gonna wait when new series are released to see if subsequent seasons will definitely be coming out before I start spending my money. If there are lots of others like me, this will mean lesser sales for the first few seasons, possibly jeopardizing future releases. It's a Catch-22. I think the studios should commit to the series (an ENTIRE series), endeavor to put out a QUALITY product, and their series WILL sell.
     
  3. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Actually, these shows looked poor when they originally aired. You are just used to seeing modern shows with better quality. Trust me, Barney Miller always looked that way.
     
  4. Adam_ME

    Adam_ME Supporting Actor

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    Source material has something to do with the poor video quality, but it also doesn't help matters when Sony stuffs an entire season of Mad About You on 3 discs or Dawson's Crack on 4 discs. If you're gonna do that, at least make them DVD-18's like WB.
     
  5. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    ScottR,

    I wasn't referring to the look of the shows. I know what Barney Miller looked like on TV. But on TV -- originally -- it wasn't full of dirt and scratches and it certainly wasn't compressed all to hell. THAT is what I'm referring to, and the DVDs didn't have to be compressed all to hell either.

    Although it looks much better, The King of Queens really ticked me off when they put like 11 episodes on a single disc, and then only 4 on another -- with minimal extras added. What moron thinks of that stupid stuff?
     
  6. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    "Trust me, Barney Miller always looked that way."

    No way! I've watched the show since its first run (yeah I'm that old). Even in syndication it's alot sharper than what we get on the DVD. Some of the episodes are ok (still not quite as good as the syndication videos), however, other episodes look washed out, like they were mastered from 2nd or 3rd generation copies. I really think these companies should stop rushing the release of many of these sets until they can find the best master prints available. I mean, I think if I would've just taken my DVD recorder to TVLand, and hooked it up to their video machine that plays Barney Miller, the show would've looked far better than what Tri-Star gave us.

    Carlos.
     
  7. Sven Lorenz

    Sven Lorenz Supporting Actor

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    The same goes for King of Queens - the episodes look a lot better when they're aired on TV than on the DVDs.

    I bought the first season of KoQ but I won't buy the second - the least you should be able to expect is broadcast quality.
     
  8. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

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    While not pristine by any means, I think the episodes in the Starsky And Hutch set look far better than any prints I've seen on tv. Barring a full-out restoration and even then, I don't think shows from the 70s could ever look that sparkling. Although, in the case of newer shows like the above mentioned King Of Queens, I would think those would look much better.
     
  9. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Sven,

    What kind of TV are you watching "King of Queens" on? Are you watching on a widescreen HDTV or on a standard 4x3? I noticed that my 55" widescreen TV is far less forgiving on "King of Queens," but when I watch it on my 27" Sony TV in the bedroom, the picture is extremely sharp, bright and colorful, with almost no noticeable compression artifacts, unlike with my widescreen display.

    While it still irritates me that they tried to cram so many episodes onto a single disc, the picture is noticeably better on a standard TV. Try that and see what you get.
     
  10. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I don't know about Barney Miller DVDs because I haven't seen them, but I always thought Larry Sanders looked grainy even on HBO when it came to the "non show" (tape) segments so the DVD appearance didn't shock me. I was much more disturbed about the weak picture of Curb Your Enthusiasm which is a new show.

    I used to watch Barney Miller on TV and always thought the show looked quite good. Unless the elements underwent rapid decay, I would expect the DVDs to look good also. Perhaps I'll need to check them out.

    Steve
     
  11. Matt_H

    Matt_H Stunt Coordinator

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    the critic dvd quality was only marginally better than the episodes shown on comedy central
     
  12. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    "I was much more disturbed about the weak picture of Curb Your Enthusiasm which is a new show."

    The reason for this is because Curb is shot in high definition video. This is why the show looks like Film but isn't. Also, since the show is shot in HD video, the original format is double the horizontal lines as regular video, this is why when the show is converted to regular video, you can see the jagged edges on the picture. I too am disappointed in how the show looks and wish Larry David would decide to shoot it on real 35mm film.

    Carlos.
     
  13. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Columbia baffles me sometimes, Married with Children season 1 had a disc with 9 episodes and a disc with 4. Mad About You season 1 had 2 discs of 11 episodes each. King of Queens was a 3 disc set with something like 10 eps on the first 2 discs and 4 eps on the third.

    But then also What's Happening was 3 discs of 8, so I really don't know about this studio. Good Times season 2 was like this also.
     
  14. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

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    I predict Columbia will finally get it right when the following show is finally released to DVD later this year:

    *DRUM ROLL*

    Seinfeld!

    If this isn't the perfect set, they'll blow the biggest opportunity to make a fortune off TV DVD's since the release of The Simpsons.
     
  15. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    Dane, that's a great point, they're probably really going to make sure that they get this one right, if not I'll seriously wonder what's going on over there.
     
  16. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Carlos,

    If Curb Your Enthusiasm is shot on high defintion video, why isn't it broadcast in high definition. Just because a show airs on HBO-HD doesn't mean it's in high definition, and Curb Your Enthusiasm is not aired in high def. It is only upconverted. If it was truly shot in high definition video then it would be aired in high definition, and the picture quality on TV would be as good as HDNet, Discovery HD or The Tonight Show in HD, which always looks remarkable. Curb Your Enthusiasm IS shot in video all right, but not high def.
     
  17. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    You're right Mike, I did some investigating, Curb is not shot on HD, but rather Digibeta video, which is why the show looks like film. The drawback to this is that while we do get a film look, we also lose alot of detail, this is why the show, as well as the dvds show alot of edginess in the picture. I would've rather they used actual 35mm film.

    Carlos.
     
  18. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    Curb doesn't look good even on broadcast HBO.
     
  19. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    OT, but the reason Curb Your Enthusiasm is shot on video is that they shoot every scene many times over (because the scenes are improvised, so they go through it several times and then pick the best bits in the editing), and it would be too expensive to shoot all that footage on film.
     
  20. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Carlos,

    Not to argue the point, but I work everyday with both Beta SP and DigiBeta. Neither one looks even remotely like film. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is shot on video, intended to look like video, in order to give it a "reality series" look, since it seems like we're just witnessing the everyday events of Larry David's life. Digital Video simply does not, nor is in the slightest bit intended to look like film at all.

    Before "The Tonight Show" switched to HD cameras (which don't look like film), they used Beta SP and then probably DigiBeta cameras. I don't think you could argue that "The Tonight Show" looks like film could you?

    Again, not to argue the point, just pointing it out.
     

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