Twilight Zone videotaped episodes

cafink

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The first season of the Twilight Zone was recently announced for release on Blu-ray, and I'm pretty excited about it. But it made me wonder about the eventual Blu-ray release of the second season, six episodes of which were shot on videotape as a cost-cutting measure. All the other episodes were shot on film, so I presume they'll look just fine in HD. But what about the videotaped episodes? What is the resolution of the format in which they were shot? Do they stand to gain anything from an HD release?


Thanks!
 

TravisR

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According to Wikipedia (so it could be totally wrong), the video taped episodes were transfered to 16mm for their eventual syndication.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lateness_of_the_Hour#Episode_notes


Presumably, they'll be using those 16mm 'negatives' as the source for the Blu-rays. My guess is that there isn't going to be a big leap in quality on those 6 episodes. How good could a 16mm transfer of an early 1960's videotape with 525 lines of resolution be?
 

Charles Ellis

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Actually, the videotapes were used for the DVD releases, so I don't see why things have to change.
 

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It's impossible to say what the resolution is as analog videotape has no direct correlation to digital pixel counts, but an NTSC TV signal archived on 1960s videotape is severely lacking in resolution by today's standards. It will only look as good as a 50 year old videotape can, no better. The question is, will the blu-ray present it in 480i (p?) or upscale it to 1080p?
 

LeoA

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I would think the videotape transfers would be upscaled and presented at 1080p which is going to be an advantage to consumers since it's likely going to be superior to having your television's cheap scaling chip do the work (Or the Blu-Ray player's scaling chip if they're able to upscale SD/ED content on Blu-Ray disc, never noticed if my player was upscaling bonus content that is often presented at 480p on Blu-Ray disc like it does for DVD content).


HDTV's are at their best when they're being fed their native resolution so let's hope the transfers on the disc are HD for the videotaped episodes even if the original resolution of the source material is never going to be HD quality.
 

cafink

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I don't know if I agree about upscaling. I think I'd prefer Blu-ray discs to include content at its original resolution. Admittedly, it might not be so clear-cut in a case like The Twilight Zone where the analog video doesn't have an exact pixel count the way digital video does, but as a general rule, I'd like the video that's actually recorded on the disc to be processed as little as possible. Yes, upscaling the video before putting it on Blu-ray will almost certainly look at least as good as having my TV or Blu-ray player do the upscaling. But no matter how much better upscaling techniques get, it will never be able to look any better (since it's already been upscaled using the older technique). By having the video on Blu-ray in its original resolution, I'll never be "stuck" with one particular upscaling technique that might be inferior to future techniques.
 

AndyMcKinney

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There's some debate as to whether pre-upscaled content looks any better than having your TV (or player) doing the upscaling for you. Case in point is the original R2 release of the UK Life on Mars. When Contender released this, they put out both DVD and BluRay versions, even though the material wasn't shot/mastered in HD. UK consumers have since said that they have noticed little or even no difference in the "professionally upscaled" BluRay set versus upscaling the regular DVDs in the player/on the TV.
 

Worth

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I don't think blu-ray would offer any noticeable improvement in resolution, but it probably would offer an improvement in terms of compression.


I have the upscaled UK blu of Escape From New York and it looks better than the DVD - a little bit sharper and considerably cleaner with no compression artifacts.
 

AndyMcKinney

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yes, the one improvement the BluRay TZ set could offer is in less (or no) compression, especially if they leave those six episodes in SD (assuming up-rezzed files would take more disc space).
 

dana martin

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Star Trek set the bar really high for classic TV on blu, really really high, having looked around on this a little deeper, image needs to get this right, no fubar like Universal did with Spartacus, back to the 6 episodes, Lowery Digital, does do work in tape as well as film. so the possibility does exist to have better than just an uprez, the down side would probably be the cost for each of the episodes, but the up would be that they would be closer to what they were during there original broadcast. by the way love the simplicity of the cover art, for season one.
 
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I hope they do a correct upscaling and present the episodes in 1080i60 and not as some de-interlaced progressive encode. Where the upscalers in players and TVs mostly fail is when they're presented with interlaced material so having that done professionally could improve the picture quality versus having the player or TV do it themselves.
 

Douglas Monce

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Originally Posted by LeoAmes

I would think the videotape transfers would be upscaled and presented at 1080p which is going to be an advantage to consumers since it's likely going to be superior to having your television's cheap scaling chip do the work (Or the Blu-Ray player's scaling chip if they're able to upscale SD/ED content on Blu-Ray disc, never noticed if my player was upscaling bonus content that is often presented at 480p on Blu-Ray disc like it does for DVD content).


HDTV's are at their best when they're being fed their native resolution so let's hope the transfers on the disc are HD for the videotaped episodes even if the original resolution of the source material is never going to be HD quality.

The upscaled episode of Trials and Tribulations on the season two blu-ray of Star Trek TOS, doesn't look as good as the original resolution episode on the DS9 DVD set in my opinion. I wouldn't count on an upscale looking as good as if they just mastered it in its original resolution.


Doug
 

Roger_R

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The episodes of DS9 are a mixture of interlaced and progressive material. I wouldn't count that as representative for how an upscaled TZ episode would look like on BD.
 

LeoA

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I'd much rather have industry grade professional equipment do the upscaling then letting a 25 cent scaling chip in my HDTV or Blu-Ray player do the work. They're typically poor, especially scaling chips in HDTV's.


And I'm not even certain Blu-Ray players will upscale non HD content on a Blu-Ray disc (They certainly do with DVD though) since they're probably designed with the expectation that Blu-Ray content will already be HD. And if that's the case, it's going to be left up to your HDTV's scaler which most manufacturers will put little effort and money into.


They want the set looking nice displaying HD content on the showroom floor and that's where their focus goes with little effort going into low definition resolutions. At least with a Blu-Ray player, part of the selling point of it is it's ability to upscale DVD's so they will typically do a decent job if they're able to upscale Blu-Ray content.


Letting them be as untouched as possible on the disc is a noble idea. But the facts are that 99% of the buyers of the disc are going to be playing it on a HDTV. And because of that, there's going to have to be processing done to the image to display it. It's my understanding even CRT HDTV's can only display in their native resolution and have to do processing of the image for anything except it's native HD resolution. And something like a LCD, Plasma, or DLP like most of us use certainly can only display in it's native resolution.


It's going to have to have processing done to it somewhere down the line. If they're able up upscale the transfers to HD using high quality equipment that should make the image superior to what our home equipment could do at upscaling it (And deinterlacing it if industry video cassettes in the 60s weren't progressive, I don't know), I'd much rather have that.
 

Douglas Monce

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Originally Posted by Roger_R

The episodes of DS9 are a mixture of interlaced and progressive material. I wouldn't count that as representative for how an upscaled TZ episode would look like on BD.

Sort of. In spite of the fact that the show was shot on film, it was transferred, and edited as a completely interlaced project, so as far as the final video master goes, its 100% interlaced.


Doug
 

Douglas Monce

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Originally Posted by LeoAmes



Letting them be as untouched as possible on the disc is a noble idea. But the facts are that 99% of the buyers of the disc are going to be playing it on a HDTV. And because of that, there's going to have to be processing done to the image to display it. It's my understanding even CRT HDTV's can only display in their native resolution and have to do processing of the image for anything except it's native HD resolution. And something like a LCD, Plasma, or DLP like most of us use certainly can only display in it's native resolution.


It's going to have to have processing done to it somewhere down the line. If they're able up upscale the transfers to HD using high quality equipment that should make the image superior to what our home equipment could do at upscaling it (And deinterlacing it if industry video cassettes in the 60s weren't progressive, I don't know), I'd much rather have that.

Yes it SHOULD be. But again Trials and Tribulations is a perfect example of something that should, but isn't. It looks horrible upscaled to HD on the season 2 TOS set, and looks quite acceptable on the DS9 set in its original resolution.


And yes all NTSC broadcast video is interlaced. In fact even today all broadcasts, except for those that are 720P, are interlaced.

Doug
 

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Sort of. In spite of the fact that the show was shot on film, it was transferred, and edited as a completely interlaced project, so as far as the final video master goes, its 100% interlaced.

True, but all the untouched film material is in 23.976p if the deinterlacer performs a pulldown on it. And most of them will detect it as such and do just that.


However, the film-based effects seem to be mostly sped up or slowed down on video and the CGI added on top of everything is all field based. Hence the mixture I was talking about. What format did they go for on the TOS season 2 set? 1080i59.94 or 1080p24?
 

Douglas Monce

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Originally Posted by Roger_R




Sort of. In spite of the fact that the show was shot on film, it was transferred, and edited as a completely interlaced project, so as far as the final video master goes, its 100% interlaced.

True, but all the untouched film material is in 23.976p if the deinterlacer performs a pulldown on it. And most of them will detect it as such and do just that.


However, the film-based effects seem to be mostly sped up or slowed down on video and the CGI added on top of everything is all field based. Hence the mixture I was talking about. What format did they go for on the TOS season 2 set? 1080i59.94 or 1080p24?


That was only true of the first 2 seasons of Next Generation. By the time they go to DS9, all effects generation and compositing were being done at 24fps to match the look of the filmed live action. The final masters were interlaced however because they had to be for broadcast. And yes a good job of dinterlacing should have been possible, but what ever they did on that particular episode didn't work out so well. Its muddy and the colors behind the detail seem to drift independently.


Now this was an experiment with the process they were thinking about using to convert TNG, DS9 and Voyager to HD with out having to redo everything from scratch, so I don't know what all they were doing, but it was a failure in my opinion. It doesn't mean that an upconvert of the Twilight Zone video episodes will look the same, however it is the same company, CBS home video.


The TOS season 2 blueray is 1080p 24 because TOS is all film based. However I have no idea what format the upconvert of the DS9 episode is. By the way 1080i would be 29.94. In spite of being 60 cycles, each field is not considered a separate frame.


Doug
 

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I'm actually more interested in whether or not they'll include Serling's final "Merry Christmas" line at the end of Night of the Meek. It wasn't on the dvd. I kinda like the degraded look on a couple of the videotaped episodes, particularly Twenty-Two. Just be grateful only 6 episodes were done this way.
 

Douglas Monce

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Originally Posted by Eric Scott Richard

I'm actually more interested in whether or not they'll include Serling's final "Merry Christmas" line at the end of Night of the Meek. It wasn't on the dvd. I kinda like the degraded look on a couple of the videotaped episodes, particularly Twenty-Two. Just be grateful only 6 episodes were done this way.

I tend to agree. Those six episodes are what they are, and I kind of like them looking like early 60's video. They are hard to watch however.


Doug
 

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