Time Compression

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil Florian, Dec 2, 2001.

  1. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    Howdy,

    A friend of mine (who also posts on here, so he may jump in) told me a bit about compressing shows from times when commercials were fewer so that they fit in the less-content hour or half hour that they originally aired for. How is this done? He noted Star Trek: Next Gen on TNN and parts of it DID seem weird, but I think I was "looking for it" and others in the room didn't see it. Any other good examples to look for? Does FX do it with MASH? He mentioned TV Land, but I don't watch it that much. It just is a haunting premise, if you ask me.

    Thanks!

    Phil
     
  2. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    I believe this is something they used to call "micro-editing" Where the networks would pluck out individual frames throught a film or TV show to shorten the length and allow for more commercials.

    I know there was a bit of an uproar over this when CBS was showing The Wizard Of Oz they would time-compress 5 minutes of the film. I think it was the FCC or MPAA that required that changes to the film such as pan and scan and time-compression be noted before the film. It must have been the MPAA and that's why it isn't noted when TV shows are butchered.
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Yeah, usually they'll elliminate frames and speed up the soundtrack accordingly. Also, they can usually cut out a second or two at each side of a commerical break.
     
  4. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    This is usually done by a computer system. Dropping frames is an inevitable result. Audio is often pitch corrected.

    I have seen some tapes of Eight Is Enough episodes that were time compressed. Occasionally, lipsync did not match the audio. But the most telltale sign of the process is seen during longer pans. If you look carefully, you will see jumps in the usually smooth motion due to the dropped frames.

    I once saw an extreme use of this technology when WTBS aired Back to the Future unedited in a 2 hour time slot. This means the movie was reduced by over 20 minutes by time compression alone. In this case, the audio was noticibly sped up despite some pitch correction and there were jumps in the motion of almost everything.
     
  5. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    Time compression blows. I refuse to watch any show or film that has been butchered in this manner.
     
  6. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    I agree that it's not the preferred way to watch something, but if time compression will save an old TV show from having scenes removed completely, I favor it. Especially shows that we don't have much chance of buying on home video in the near future...
     
  7. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I think it was the CBS station in Pittsburgh that recently got busted for using a "time machine" computer system to compress an NFL game so they could squeeze in an extra 30-second commercial. They got caught by someone who was watching the game on TV with the volume down and listening to it on the radio.
     

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