Remastering of old TV SD TV series and movies

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by nrnoble, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. Apr 5, 2021 #1 of 27
    nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    I have noticed in recent months (maybe longer) that rerun networks such as MeTV are showing 720p remasters of older TV series from the 60s and 70s, such as Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke show, The Fugutive, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, etc, etc. Its impressive to see these TV series at such a high quality. Even back when they were first broadcast, the quality was no better than 480i under perfect studio conditions, let alone much worse OTA ghosting reception that most people received in their homes. These new remastered versions is a bit like when TV series switched from B&W to color, and people simply watched a show to see color even if the show was crap (watch most any episode of Bonanza as an example of crap. Barf!)

    Then the visual quality got even worse in the 70s and beyond as TV episodes were passed around from station to station and they became very warn out. The quality of old reruns drop significantly to a point where a home VHS tape was superior to what was shown on TV.

    As a side story, one time while watching a rerun of Lost In Space around 1972, about half way through the station went to commercial break, when they came back, they had switched film reels, and was it an episode of Death Valley Days. For the remainder of that hour it was Death Valley Days, not Lost In Space. They either didn't catch their mistake, or simply didn't have the missing reel of Lost In Space. Or Maybe a TV tech at the station was fed up with Dr. Smith, and couldn't handle another half hour of Gilligan In Space.

    Anyway, Love watching some of these TV classics remastered at a much higher quality.
     
  2. Apr 5, 2021 #2 of 27
    lew

    lew Well-Known Member

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    Some shows were shot on film not tape. A few years ago HD versions of star trek were produced from film
    .


    , Hc
     
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  3. Apr 5, 2021 #3 of 27
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I do think a lot of this has to do with the fact that they can digitize these shows and then use post production methods of cleanup that are available now for digital and weren't back in the day. I have been watching old episodes of Hogans Heroes on MeTV and they really look great. Same with old MASH episodes and even B&W Dick Van Dyke. I know there are some that don't like this because shows should be seen as they were intended, and I would agree with something like colorizing a B&W show, but for restoring old TV shows, I think it's great. The other thing I've noticed is that, at least on MeTV, they are using uncut versions of the shows sometime (I've noticed a few scenes in old MASH episodes that I haven't seen in syndication before).

    OTH, some of these channels have done nothing. Was watching an old Night Court on Antenna TV and it looked horrible. Blurry, and obviously not restored.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2021 #4 of 27
    gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    In the early days of HD, HDNet was actively re-scanning the older TV shows shot on film to 720p HD. And you're right, it was really great. The ones shot on video were just put out there in SD, or upscaled with what was available at the time, almost 20 years ago now.

    Technology evolves and gets better, and now there are AI techniques that allow for amazing quality in 4k. The viral Never Gonna Give You Up video is a great example, so is the recent remaster of Babylon 5 on HBO (which while the film elements were re-scanned, the CGI elements were upsampled).

    This bodes well for sitcoms of the 80s, when film was abandoned for SD 3/4" tape. Unfortunately even if they have pristine versions, many of the stations are still broadcasting crap (as @Steveknj mentioned). Worse still, companies like Comcast/Xfinity are only carrying the crap, low-bitrate versions of the channels. I have a bazillion channels on Comcast, but many of them are unbearably bad to watch. Even HD content is low quality on these channels. But who cares, right, customers want MORE channels, not better quality.
     
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  5. Apr 5, 2021 #5 of 27
    dwells

    dwells Well-Known Member

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    Yep- there are some showings of Andy Griffith show that look so incredible that it looks like black and white 4K HDR- always blows my mind..
     
  6. Apr 5, 2021 #6 of 27
    Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

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    I've seen some Dick Van Dyke episodes and even Honeymooners that look great, in glorious B&W

    One of my early complaints about HD TVs was how bad it made SD and SD shows look. As TVs got bigger, it got even worse. I remember I bought a 65" TV a few years back and it just made SD and even some 720p content look like crap. I returned it and went back to 55". But my current 65" TV looks better now, and I think between improvements in upscaling and content providers doing what is described in this thread, it makes it worth it.
     
  7. Apr 5, 2021 #7 of 27
    MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    I can't imagine any network sitcom that was mastered on 3/4" tape.. that was about the worst format short of VHS and Betamax. It was barely suitable for news gathering, and was used as such, simply because nothing else was as portable in that timeframe.

    Network video recording at it's highest quality went from 2" Quad, to 1" Helical (Sony and Ampex), with some highend production on a 2" Helical (IVC 9000), but that was limited to high end post production houses. Then along cam analog Betacam (a much higher professional standard using tape similar to Betamax). And then we entered the digital world with D1, D2, DigiBeta, and a whole host of digital formats, first SD then HD. Now everything is pretty much file based.
     
  8. Apr 5, 2021 #8 of 27
    gchance

    gchance 4 8 15 16 23 42

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    That was only a guess, I only ever dealt with 3/4" at school.
     
  9. Apr 5, 2021 #9 of 27
    osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

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    I think Hogans Heroes was one of the first old shows that they cleaned up and made new HD Masters for on HDNET.
     
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  10. trainman

    trainman Nice to see you

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    The technical difficulties aside, it's hard to believe this was ever considered broadcast quality. The show would have looked okay when NBC broadcast a pristine version, but a decade later when a local independent TV station was running and rerunning the film prints they'd gotten from the syndicator...

     
  11. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    It's also interesting to see who has the better quality masters/remasters, a great example is Perry Mason
    MeTV has a really nice presentation of Perry Mason that while not HD, is clear, well lit, and pretty nice in SD.
    fetv has copies of Perry Mason that look like they're 16mm film copies.
     
  12. nrnoble

    nrnoble Active Member

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    As far as quality, I have noticed that some new HDTVs don't process SD TV (480i) very well and make it look worse on an HDTV than it would on SD TV (ie Sony Trinitron). In my living room I have 60inch Plasma HDTV from 2010 and it handles 480i well, but my 2019 Samsung HDTV in the bedroom anything that is 480i looks like a bad VHS tape. Full HDTV (720, 1080p) looks great, it is only SD TV that is pretty bad quality. I am guessing that my Samsung TV is converting 480i to 720p and does it extremely poorly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  13. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    It has to convert 480i to the native display or it couldn’t display it. What your tv shows you is its display resolution. How it gets there depends on if you have a box that does the converting or your tv does.
     
  14. pdhenry

    pdhenry Ruthless

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    I'm working through the entire series run of Andy Griffith, recorded from Sundance and TVLand. I've just begun the color shows (season 6 of 8). Andy doesn't look as young in color as he did in B&W.
     
  15. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    Well it could... unfortunately it would look like a postage stamp on your TV.

    Which actually in many cases would still be bigger than the TV your parents owned in the 50s or early 60s.
     
  16. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    The shows themselves were usually filmed back in the days before videotape so there really wasn't anything they needed to remaster to get a better picture quality. Even though the NTSC standard called for 720x480 broadcast quality, the home viewer never saw that on their old CRT TVs. The broadcast and home receiver equipment just couldn't reproduce the signal to the highest level possible. Current HDTVs can take a standard NTSC image and upscale it to look far better than the original signal even though the source material is exactly the same. DVDs are essentially the same quality as the old NTSC system, but without the limitations and artifacts present in the OTA signals.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  17. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    Is MeTV still pushing material originally 4:3 to cropped 16:9?
     
  18. LarryAtHome

    LarryAtHome Active Member

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    When RTN was around, they had Hogans Heroes in their lineup. Once, they showed the mouse pointer moving and clicking on the DVD for the episode they played. Their web site had pictures of the servers and encoders used, was interesting. Not all their shows were up to this quality picture.
    Svengoolie, saturday nights on MeTV always tries to get the best quality prints for his shows. The old 40's and 50's movies look great.
    I still think that today, a great encoding on a 480 picture looks better than some of the channels that are hi-def, but a good hi-def channel looks amazing.
     
  19. Steve

    Steve TiVowner since 1999

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    I may just be misremembering, but Hogan's Heroes on Sundance right now looks even better to me than the HDNet remasters.
     
  20. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

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    If you mean halfway between 4x3 and 16x9, yes. Kind of zoomed in a bit.
     

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