1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How are older SD TV series being up converted to HD

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by nrnoble, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. alansh

    alansh New Member

    1,177
    0
    Jan 3, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Oh yeah, a lot of little details pop out now. For example, in "Gamesters of Triskellion", you can now see the wires behind the actors that powered the light-up collars. The seam around Spock's ears shows up a lot more now too.
     
  2. alansh

    alansh New Member

    1,177
    0
    Jan 3, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I agree 100%. That's what annoys me about not having the original aspect available -- framing actually does matter. It's not just a matter of the director just fitting all the actors in the frame. The choice of shots affects the flow of the story. There's a great example in one of the "Buffy" links I gave above. Whedon deliberately crowded Buffy into a corner of the frame to create a claustrophobic feeling. In 16:9, no more claustrophobia.

    You're also right about directors still trying to film 4:3 safe, but with any luck that will diminish. Nobody makes 4:3 sets any more; I'm not sure what percentage are still in use. Once it gets small enough, they can just stick the 4:3 users with letterboxing.
     
  3. philhu

    philhu User Since Day ONE!

    831
    0
    Apr 11, 2001
    Funcity, MA
    Even older ones were filmed like that. Flipper, from the 60's, was filmed as it was actually a tourist show to get people to visit Florida back then (It was mostly swamp then).

    Some you wouldn't expect: Hogan's Heroes, Thunderbirds

    They show or used to show, these on HDNET before that became AXS.NET

    The old VOOM used to have 21 HD channels before alot of HD came about and used to show these too.
     
  4. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    38,352
    154
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    Babylon 5 had the opposite problem (notwithstanding the FX issue mentioned above for ST:TNG)...JMS saw HD coming, and ordered his directors to frame both for 4:3 and 16:9. But some of them wouldn't or couldn't, so while some episodes look great in HD, others look cropped because the directors just framed exclusively for 4:3, so you get chins cut off in close-ups, etc. He tried to be forward-looking, but his crew didn't always get it.
     
  5. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Active Member

    1,123
    5
    Mar 14, 2010
    Oh, YES! The mantra back then about any defects on a set was a big look of "don't worry" and "how pathetic our TV system is" and the words, "but the resolution is so low (or bad), they'll never see it at home." Yes, things were done just enough to meet the tech specs of the era and NO MORE than that.

    On the plus side, I never knew a single individual who thought our NTSC decades ago was anything but a sad compromise and utterly a joke when it came to what we thought TV ought to be technically. We always felt we were working with a crap system and couldn't do some really high quality things as far as aesthetics with a shot, but sometimes that crap system worked to our advantage. :). As a kid growing up, I was mesmerized at how BAD our TV system was and dreamed of something so much better. We are a lot closer to that today, thankfully.
     
  6. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    12,049
    36
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    I've been enjoying this thread. Thank you for starting it. I had wondered the same thing.

    Just to add a bit to the conversation about sets . . .

    When HD first started one of the biggest reasons more shows didn't start recording for HD was the additional expense of the sets required. Having sets that would look good in HD was often a lot larger than the actual additional cost of recording the show in HD.

    Does anybody else get a kick out of looking at how chessy some of the really old TV show sets look? The Honeymooners comes to mind. Especially the real early episodes.
     
  7. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    38,352
    154
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    One reason Doctor Who didn't go high-def earlier is because they weren't budgeted to rebuild the sets, and the old sets weren't good enough for HD.
     
  8. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    12,049
    36
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    Not sure they were good enough for SD either. :D Talk about some cheesy sets!
     
  9. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    38,352
    154
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    I thought they looked fine (we're talking Eccleston and Tennant here, not the old series).
     
  10. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    12,049
    36
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    Yeah, I was talking the old series.
     
  11. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    38,352
    154
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    I don't believe there was ever any discussion at the BBC about filming the old series in HD... :D
     
  12. philhu

    philhu User Since Day ONE!

    831
    0
    Apr 11, 2001
    Funcity, MA
    Original Star Trek bridge railings were just raw 2x4 pieces painted red. If you look closely to some of the alert stations not shown much (Like Scotty's Bridge Station to the RIGHT of the elevator door), you'll see some painters tape and something like duct tape painted black there.

    I used to work on Star Trek Phase II fan shows some summers. We actually, for continuity, sometimes mimic these things for our episodes so they looked the same.
     
  13. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    3,960
    0
    Oct 14, 2004
    Philadelphia...
    Doctor Who (the new stuff since 2005) is all coming out on Blu-Ray in HD this year.

    Apparently, the stuff released between 2005-2008 that was originally 576i PAL 16x9 anamorphic video will be upconverted to 1080p HD. It might look okay, depending on how they do the conversion. In any case, 576 lines is better source material than the 480-line DVD's we have in the US now.
     
  14. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    1,988
    4
    Sep 15, 2000
    We're actually running into problems today because things that we designed for the old TV systems don't look so good on our HDTVs. For example, computers. The old home PCs that used TVs as displays were designed for low-res. Unfortunately, what looks good on a TV set looks awful on today's high-res HDTVs and monitors, even when scaled up internally because the art was designed to take advantage of various NTSC artifacts.

    Of course, now people are using old school SDTV equipment for "artsy" films because the low res nastiness can be exploited in ways digital effects in post can't (or are too expensive to).

    And heck, NTSC was a nasty hack, based on what we had with 1940's technology that carried itself forward through some rather significant technological changes. It's probably one of the few things that lasted that long, and was so thoroughly understood by many people such that they could make it do things it never was supposed to, like video games and the like. And the way a lot of older TVs were accepting of a wide variety of almost-NTSC signals such that you didn't need a NTSC video generator to generate a signal - just a few cheap parts that could generate something that could put a spot on the screen under electronic control. (And yes, early PCs and consoles used these cheap hacks to generate their TV signals).
     
  15. alansh

    alansh New Member

    1,177
    0
    Jan 3, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Oh yeah, take a look at how the Apple ][ did color graphics. Woz took all kinds of liberties with what NTSC could do.

    It was actually quite remarkable that so much was able to be retrofitted (color, stereo, closed-captioning) and still remain backwards compatible. You could still take one of the first TVs and watch it right up to the analog switch-off (albeit with crhoma dots; later B&W TVs filtered the chroma signal out).
     
  16. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,731
    4
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    I'm going to sort of be Devil's Advocate, but I think NTSC is the best technological example we have of backward compatibility.

    From Wikipedia's dates, it was 12 years from NTSC to NTSC with color.. Then 56 years until analog broadcasts were shut down in the U.S. I think that's pretty darn good. Then again, I think backwards compatibility is an important thing.
     
  17. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,731
    4
    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    Though to be nitpicky even with my raving about backwards compatibility, I wish they had added SOME parity bits or something into the closed captioning. It's WAY too easy to get garbled text in the closed captions.

    and even more nitpicky, by "the first TVs", I presume you mean AFTER NTSC was adopted, since according to wikipedia (and other books I've read), you could buy TVs in the late 1920s, and NTSC was adopted in 1941 (according to wikip).
     
  18. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    1,988
    4
    Sep 15, 2000
    You could make a TV before that - early TVs used a spinning disc with holes to scan lines with a light modulated by a radio. You had a crude picture on a tiny 1" "screen".

    But yeah, basically with NTSC it worked backwards and forwards - the first NTSC TV will work until the signal was turned off. And you can shove in the first NTSC signals into a modern set and have it still work.
     
  19. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    3,960
    0
    Oct 14, 2004
    Philadelphia...
    They should have added in something to indicate widescreen content, like they did in Europe when they went to color. Even when we got ATSC, we still didn't get anything to tell the TV if the program was widescreen. So here I sit in my hotel room, watching a stretched letterbox mess because of it.
     
  20. christheman

    christheman New Member

    166
    0
    Feb 20, 2013
    Cool thread!! :D

    I don't know where else to post this so I thought I'd put it here where people are already thinking about SD.

    The biggest thing I am considering now is a large flat-screen TV which will play nice with old classic 720x480 SD movies which I already have. I also have some HD content, but the vast majority is SD.

    When comparing 720p vs. 1080p flat screens, it would seem that the SD numbers would round off more gracefully on a 1080p screen than on a 720p screen. It would appear that the 1080p would come closer to a clean 2x upconversion than it could on a 720p.

    I must say that I have been impressed by one-piece DVD player/flat screen units with what looked like 720p screens, although they may be something else. They are too small though and generally more suited in size for the bedroom than the larger rec room.

    Are there any obvious choices for brands, product lines, or models which I should look at to display the best upconversion? Ones to avoid? I am thinking about larger sized flat screens in general.
     

Share This Page