Problem with the new "Jack Benny Program" DVD set...

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Kevin Segura, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Joe!
     
  2. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Fat Chance.
     
  3. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    I forgot which one it is but there's actually one episode on the set that they didn't screw with and it looks like the original color videotape. The rest of the episodes look like color kinescopes.

    This isn't the only show it has happened with. Apparently there's a Danny Kaye release that came out a while ago with the same destructive process used, turning beautiful tape into a kinescope look.
     
  4. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    I didn't find any Amazon reviews mentioning this problem. That's why I brought it up.

    Kevin Segura, have you brought up LiveFeed to Shout Factory! I'm sure they'll take it into account the next time they deal with something like The Jack Benny Program.
     
  5. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    The Danny Kaye Christmas episode release? If they did that, then I won't be getting that ever. Anyone who purposefully turns a tape show into a "film" look ought to have his license permanently revoked to do any work in the business on the grounds of out and out stupidity.
     
  6. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    Exactly right. Go all Joe McCarthy on him.

    I may be young, but I do know the differences between videotape and film.
     
  7. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer

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    I'll get this set, but it is disappointing.
     
  8. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    Ditto.
     
  9. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Looks like denial will be the official response-- this was posted earlier today in the Shout! Factory website, by one of their representatives:

    "According to the folks involved, this same poster has gotten in touch with them on a handful of other sites, as well, and appears to be advertising his services, rather than pointing out any legitimate mistakes or problems. We've had multiple reviewers give the set a thumbs up for picture quality and I threw in a copy myself. The DVD plays just fine and any problems with the picture are clearly inherent to the source (e.g. dirt, scratches, etc.)."

    Since I'm not allowed a direct rebuttal on Shout! Factory's site (I seem to be unable to secure an account there), for the record, I would point out that I've not directly contacted anyone other than Laura Leff, of the International Jack Benny Fan Club regarding this DVD release-- and it was in fact to point out the shortcomings that this set contains, and to suggest that she advise the Benny estate to obtain a proper archival transfer of these films at some point in the future-- otherwise, this botched version will become the default source. I did also indicate that there are other restoration alternatives available after that is achieved, but a clean, professional transfer is the paramount concern at this point.

    And sadly, whether or not Shout! Factory is willing to admit it, a simple frame by frame examination of the material on the disc will display everything I've reported (as well as a few additional things that were done wrong during the alleged "restoration"). Obviously, they're hoping that no one with a properly functioning set of eyes will take the necessary few mintues to check.

    So if you order the set, please enjoy the shows-- just don't expect to be refunded for the quality of the video!

    - Kevin
     
  10. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    That denial reminds me of how Shout refused to acknowledge for a long-time the botched encoding job they did on "All In The Family" S7 and how they hid behind what other critics who were fundamental ignoramuses on the matter said when they praised the look of the set. I only noticed the problem in about 1 episode or so but it is still appalling they didn't take time out to get the best job done on material they were given control over (in contrast to just dealing with source copies furnished by others).

    I've enjoyed the set but it's a shame these people can't do the best job possible.
     
  11. DeWilson

    DeWilson Cinematographer

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    SHOUT! is a perfect name - people SHOUT! About the poor quality of many of the releases! *LOL* :rolling-smiley:
     
  12. John Karras

    John Karras Stunt Coordinator

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    Not only did they destroy the 2" color tape look with a color-kine film look, they also botched the file navigation structure. For whatever reason, they broke the second show into multiple files and got themselves all confused. Therefore, when the disc is played, it jumps from the middle of a sketch to the closing segment of the show. Initially, people thought the episode was cut, but an analysis of the disc shows that the missing material is actually on the disc, but is skipped over during playback.
     
  13. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer

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    Is there any way to watch it then? Can you only view it on a computer?
     
  14. John Karras

    John Karras Stunt Coordinator

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    Apparently, Inception Media has since produced a second pressing to correct the navigation problem ...too bad they didn't encode it properly while they were at it.
     
  15. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer

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    For what it's worth, the DVDTalk reviewer loved this set: http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/60859/jack-benny-program-the-lost-episodes-the/. Unless you know that the visual effect of this kinoscope issue will drive you batty, if one has an interest in Jack Benny, it makes sense to me to get this set. If it sells well enough, my understanding is that more sets are possible. By all means, one can send a note to Shout to tell them not to try to alter the kinoscopes. It might work or it might not, but if this set sells poorly, it won't matter anyway.
     
  16. Vahan_Nisanain

    Vahan_Nisanain Supporting Actor

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    DVDTalk praised the season 7 AITF set, ignoring the fact that the video quality had been raped.
     
  17. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess that means the reviewer enjoyed the set despite the less-than-perfect quality.
     
  18. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer

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    I would prefer that this set not have the problems that it does, but that will not keep me from getting it. It is more important to me to have and enjoy the shows. I was hoping they might fix it once it was brought to their attention. Since that probably won't happen, I'll be getting it soon.
     
  19. Essanay Paul

    Essanay Paul Stunt Coordinator

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    The shows on this set were NOT filmed, they were either done live or partially live.
    Does nobody here realize that live video runs at 30 frames per second?
    It is then transffered to 16mm Kinescope which runs at a slower frame rate of 24 frames per second. So about every 6th film frame contains two video frames, double exposed and darkened. Thus two images on one frame of film.
    Which is then transferred back to video for DVD at 30 frames per second. This requires holding every 6th film frame twice as long for two video frames.
    To add to the problem, the two frames that were combined on one 16mm frame may not be the same two frames that were held when transferring back to video.

    With all of this frame rate shifting you will get a blurr or trailing image and artifacting. The problem is in the original 16mm kinescope film.

    Now the episodes that you see in syndication were filmed directly on 35mm film with only one conversion to video, thus they look much better.
     
  20. Kevin Segura

    Kevin Segura Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, since you asked, I think I know a little about live video and kinescope films...

    It would be more accurate for the purposes of your discussion to note that NTSC runs at 60 **fields** per second, and that the kinescope process captures 48 of those on a 24fps strip of film. The equivalent of 6 frames per second is not separately captured but those 12 "missing" fields are evenly spaced, and usually at least partially represented in the final print. The film doesn't ever pause to double expose a frame.

    Now while having made the point about the fields overlapping (to some degree), generally speaking, there is very little in the way of inherent "trailing blur" or similar artifacting in a kinescoped program. This is largely due to the synchronization of the film shutter, and the phosphor decay settings & small size of the screen being filmed (which also effectively eliminates the horizontal scan line structure).

    The transfer of the kinescope film from 24 fps to 30 fps for NTSC video use does introduce **some** noticeable image judder, but no more than any product that originates on film. If the transfer is done properly, a kinescope can be a very acceptable way of viewing a program. Such would have been the case here, if the transfers had been done properly. However, they weren't-- and the problems that I described in my earlier posts are the result of utilizing an outdated, non-standard video transfer system. As well as some regrettable decisions that were made in the post-transfer processing, but that's another discussion entirely.

    (And not to be pedantic, but an industry-standard NTSC 2:3 pulldown transfer of a film element does NOT hold any entire frame twice as long to turn 4 frames in to 5-- which is effectively what is being done 6 times per second. It breaks the original 4 frame sequence back into 8 separate fields, then repeats & interweaves a couple of those fields to make a total of 5 "new" frames, in a standardized manner.)

    You'd be shocked at just how good those episodes would look, if they had been properly transferred. I hope that one day you'll be lucky enough to see what I mean.

    - Kevin
     

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