I Love Lucy DVDs: Quality?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MatthewA, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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  2. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Matthew-
    This was discussed here too last week and previously. From what we know Paramount has scraped plans to restore and release any I Love Lucy episodes, so this looks as if CH is the only way to go.
    I just received the first disc about 2 weeks ago. My first impression was one of disappointment. It is obvious they transferred these from video masters, not the original film elements as Lucy was originally filmed. Plenty of shimmering etc., it appears that not much was done to improve the video quality, sound. Example- Vitametavegamin episode, Lucy's dress is checked, shimmering is to the point of distraction. I had the Criterion laserdisc a few years ago and this same episode looked MUCH better. Also would have been nice for them to insert the original openings etc., although they do have one of the original openings in the bonus features.
    That being said, some will say the quality is not that bad for a 50's television show and I have to agree, this first disc at times looks pretty good. After all, this is a television show filmed for television in the 50's, not Citizen Kane. Also, having them all released in airdate order is worth it to me too.
     
  3. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    I received the first installment of "I Love Lucy" and these transfers appear to be the same old video transfers that we've seen in syndication for so many years...very bad opticals, extremely contrasty picture and sound that ranges from muffled to tinny depending on which episode you're viewing. A major disappointment. I'm cancelling any further shipments from Columbia House. $19.95 per disc (plus shipping and handling) is too much to pay for this kind of quality. This classic show needs a restoration but it's probably a matter of economics---cheaper to use the existing masters and be done with it. Big mistake!
    Jeff
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  4. StevenA

    StevenA Second Unit

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    This is very disappointing. Paramount - restored complete season sets - please?
     
  5. Michael Gage

    Michael Gage Auditioning

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    I have posted comments several times in the past concerning the Columbia House I Love Lucy DVD. I have just received my fourth DVD. I agree the quality of the first DVD did not live up to my expectations...however in my opinion the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dvd's were noticeable improved. When I was corresponding with Gregg Oppenheimer (his father was the creator and original writer of I Love Lucy) he only mentioned that CBS was "digitally remastering" the series.
    The quality for sure appears better than the entire I Love Lucy Video series I collected from Columbia House and on DVD will certainly last longer than the C.H. videos.
     
  6. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received my second installment and the quality IS noticeably better than the first disc I received. Looks like they started getting their act together after pressing the first disc?
    It's strange because the discs are issued in broadcast order EXCEPT the first disc they send you is 4 episodes from the second season (in broadcast order) and includes the Vitameetavegimin episode (which looks horrible). The second disc they send you has the pilot episode and the first 3 episodes, older yet MUCH better transfers. Actually, I can't imagine them looking better than this. Michael said he received the first 4 and the quality improves.
    I'm staying with CH after seeing the second disc, this is more what I expected. Looks like some work has been done on these transfers from best available sources. Excellent!
     
  7. John Torrez

    John Torrez Second Unit

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    Yeah, I'm staying with them too. By the way, here's a breakdown of how many dvd's of ILL CH will have to release and how long it will take. At 4 episodes (179 episodes total) a disc it will take 45 discs, at one disc a month it will take 3 years and nine months (from the time you recieved your first disc) to release them all. I'd prefer season sets but the outlook for those looks bleak right now.
     
  8. Morgan Holly

    Morgan Holly Agent

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  9. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    John-
    3 years is a long time to get to the Connecticut episodes!
    I wish there was a way to expedite getting more episodes/discs at one time. I'm going to get really impatient waiting for some of my favorites, the California episodes etc. Oh well! My goal is to have the whole series at the end of this in airdate order. My only concern (now that the quality seems up to par)is that CH doesn't lose license or control in the middle of transferring and releasing these monthly.
    Regarding the shimmering, Lucy's checked dress and Lucy not knowing how to dress for video...the series was filmed 16mm. When originally televised the shimmering must have been apparent. She should have known not to wear checks and stripes. However, television was a much smaller scale and probably not noticeable.
    However, the improved transfer quality of the second disc exhibits almost no shimmering and there are fine detailed patterns that show no shimmering, artifacting as the first disc. Also, I've seen the Criterion laserdisc with the Vitameetavegimen episode, checked dress looks fine.
    For what it's worth the difference between the first CH disc and second are like night and day.
     
  10. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    I just received word from reliable sources that the first volume of "I Love Lucy" on dvd (Cuban Pals, The Freezer, etc.) has been remastered with improved picture quality and sound and will be available after November 1. I contacted Columbia House and they confirmed. They are sending me a return postage paid label and I'm exchanging Volume One. I'm looking forward to the improvements. I may reactivate my enrollment after all. Pending......
    Jeff
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  11. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff-
    Do you have a number/contact person I can call to exchange mine as well? This is great news! I knew something was up and was hoping the first disc would be reissued.
    Thanks for letting us know!
     
  12. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Brian,
    I called Columbia House at 1-800-262-2001, punched in my account number and waited for a CSR to come online. I relayed this latest information about the replacement disc to her and she said she would have to put me on hold while she contacted her technical people. She came back online after a couple of minutes and confirmed Volume One had been remastered and that she was sending me a shipping label so that I could exchange the disc. I'm currently waiting to receive it and I'll let you know about the improvments. As I recall, the CSR name was Sharon, had a slight southern accent and was extremely helpful. I called during regular business hours so that might be the best time to call. Hope this helps.
    Jeff
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  13. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Well, I'm glad I did a search before starting a new thread! (This is the other Brian W., by the way, from the other coast.)
    I received the second volume today and agree with everyone else: the quality improvement is TREMENDOUS. I'm glad to hear they've remastered Volume One -- I'll be calling for a replacement also.
    I was disappointed to find they really are $24.95 a piece, and not the "approximately" $19.95 their web site advertised, but I'm thrilled that they've improved the quality of these. Lovely, lovely prints and transfers of episodes 1-3. (How good can one expect a kinescope of the unaired pilot look?)
    One great extra on this disc is the restored soundtrack to the ending of the first broadcast episode. It says: "When The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub was edited for syndication, the closing music and applause were inexplicably replaced by canned laughter. For this DVD, the original soudntrack has been restored for the first time." Also, there's a supplement with a "flashback opening sequence" that was added to "The Diet" episode after it was syndicated.
    I, like everyone else, wish they would restore the original opening to each episode (it inaccurately claims "Original Openings" on the back of the second disc), but they continue to include it isolated as bonus material. But, hey, with much improved quality, great extras, and the episodes in chronological order, I plan to stick with my "Lucy" subscription.
    [Edited last by Brian W. on November 14, 2001 at 04:49 AM]
     
  14. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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    Brian W., so the original unaired pilot that wasn't discovered until about a decade ago is included on disc 2? Thanks.
     
  15. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    (This is NY Brian W., not Hollywood Brian W.), but we are both on top of this...
    The unaired (before 1990) kinescope pilot episode is included in disc 1 (second disc shipped by CH) followed by the first, second and third aired episodes which, again, look fabulous.
    I called yesterday to have the first disc CH ships, Cuban Pals, Freezer etc. replaced with the new remastered disc. The person I spoke with could not confirm that it was, in fact, replaced with a remastered disc as of Nov. 1, but she was willing to send me a shipping label and a replacement. I'll watch for Jeff's posting and I too will keep you posted.
    [Edited last by Brian W on November 14, 2001 at 08:32 AM]
     
  16. Michael Gage

    Michael Gage Auditioning

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    I just got a notice from Columbia House with my 5th disk - It says "this is currently the last disk in the series...if other disks are made available they will send them at that time..."
    I hope they do the whole series as they did on VHS...
     
  17. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Uh-oh...this is what I was worried about. What is the point of having Lucy on DVD in airdate order, from begining to...when they decide to stop?
     
  18. Michael Gage

    Michael Gage Auditioning

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    I just checked with Gregg Oppenheimer (spelling?) who is working with Columbia House on the DVD's. He assured me that they are just starting production on the next 5 DVD's. Columbia House also stated that I Love Lucy is one of their most popular series - so popular that they did the whole series on VHS (same as Twilight Zone, etc...) They are expecting the same for the DVD series.
    I did not see the I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary special on TV. How was it?
     
  19. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

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  20. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    whew...
    Michael, I'm so happy that you were able to confirm that, that you know how to contact Mr. Oppenheimer. It's been ridiculous trying to get any certainty from CH, no catalog, listing or description of (first) how these would be released and that the releases will continue through the whole series. From the start any information I've obtained has been from forum members HERE, I think initially from Michael!
    This is how not to market a DVD series, with giving the consumer nothing but uncertainty, phone consultants that say they don't have a clue. But if the quality does remain consistent, the "Cuban Pals" disc with my favorite episode Vitameatavegimen has in fact been replaced with a remastered disc to match the quality of the others, and the series continues to the last episode, then this will all be well worth it. To think I almost passed on joining, then almost discontinued after receiving the first disc. I hope we will have no regrets in the long run.
    I only caught the last hour of the special Sunday night. Was pretty good! I understand it ranked #10 on the Nielsen ratings. Also CH had a commercial at the end promoting a free video of the special with a CH membership (to join I think the Lucy video library?), didn't mention it being available on DVD or the DVD library. Was almost going to call CH and ask about it, but I think you can sense my frustration. I don't think I will bother!
    Thanks again, Michael and Jeff for all your help...
    [Edited last by Brian W on November 14, 2001 at 01:41 PM]
     

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