Did Syndication Prints really look this bad?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by goodiesguy, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Being in Australia where HDTV is by far in the minority (long, bull **** story, don't ask, just hit up Wikipedia) but ever since I got the "House MD" blu-ray box and saw what a proper HD TV show could look like, I'm now what you'd call a complete convert! So I'm always looking at which shows were shot on film in the hopes of a bluray release anywhere in the world. "Cheers" is one I think could use another do-over just because it always looks so dark, although that could have just been the channel playing it. But because I like UK comedy shows the most, they'll forever be SD as they are a mixture of video for indoors and film for outdoors.

    As for Vidiot's claim of some film not having 4K of information in it, I thought at first surely not, at least not with anything made in the 1950's onwards, until I've remembered some Australian TV shows that were shot on Kodak film (late 1980's to mid 1990's) that look so grainy, I start to wonder if they would even have enough resolution to be made into HD? The shows I'm thinking of in particular are "Police Rescue", "Round The Twist" and "Heartbreak High", plus the shows "Water Rats" and "Stingers" are a bit on the grainy side too. Most of these are cop shows, with a couple of teenage shows thrown in. But I wouldn't be surprised if these shows couldn't be rescued (due to the film being gone for whatever reason) and we'll be stuck with old SD videotape transfers.
     
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  2. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    I wonder if those shows could've been shot on 16mm? Didn't a lot of British shows shoot on 16mm back in the day?

    dan c
     
  3. Steve Carras

    Steve Carras Forum Resident

    Location:
    Whittier,CA USA
    A handful of Columbia, Warner Bros. and Paramount 1945-1949 cartoons were done in Cinecolor to save money and time. (TV certainly showed all of the Cinecolor and Tech.WB, if not the Col.and Par.ones). And Screen Gems/Hanna=Barbera and some others studios had color that was real PATHEtic. :) (hint; rooster). Heavily maligned lab given A_I used it for their classic Annette/Frankie and Pit/Pendulum films.
     
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  4. mavisgold

    mavisgold Forum Resident

    Location:
    bellingham wa
  5. torcan

    torcan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Actually, when ABC started airing daytime reruns of "Bewitched" in Jan 1968, they started changing around opening sequences from the beginning. They aired everything in black and white (even the color shows) right up until Dec 1969, using the season 1 opening on all of it. In Jan 1970, they started airing the show in color and never went back to the black and white episodes. They still used season 1 opening music as I guess that was the only one that was prepared for the daytime reruns. For the Dick Sargent shows starting in season 6, they used the version of the opening with no announcer.

    The rarest opening is the one from season 2 - I've only ever seen that one aired in a couple of Canadian stations - and that was back in the '70s. At least the season 5 opening was used for a while.

    When the show aired in primetime, the seasons 3 and 4 openings were actually the exact same - except for the alternating sponsors of Quaker Oats and Chevy. When new sponsors came in for season 5, they re-did it slightly by eliminating the "twitch" sound effects but it was still the same musical piece.

    There were actually six different openings only if you count the slight differences between seasons 3/4 and 5 (eliminating sound effects) and 6 (no announcer) and 7/8 (announcer). Together, four different musical pieces, but only two made it to the DVDs.

    We keep track of it because there are some major fans of the show, and luckily there's quite a number of "original commercial" prints which have been traded around.
     
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  6. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    At least with M*A*S*H on DVD, the openings and closings are basically what aired on the network. There were many iterations of that show's opening theme, recorded and re-recorded many times. There were instances where the closing theme was used in the opening in a few later-year episodes in order to shave off a little time, and there's the infamous "sitcom" theme that CBS imposed in late season-one episodes.

    But all of this is visible on the DVDs.
     
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  7. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    I wonder why they were showing color episodes in Black and White? It reminds me of when Ch. 7 Boston's tape delays of Saturday morning cartoons in the late 60s(shown on Sunday)were always B/W! That was really exasperating!
     
  8. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen https://soundcloud.com/porkchops-productions

    Yeah, some of the syndication versions of M*A*S*H look pretty bad, especially the earlier seasons. There is a noticeable difference in the picture quality starting at about season 5. The DVD versions look excellent though- you wouldn't think it was a 45 year old show.
    Correct, the DVDs use all of the correct themes for the episodes- the TV syndication versions don't. A quick example being season 3: on the DVD seasons 3 and 4 use the same theme music. In syndication, season 3 uses the same theme as seasons 1 and 2 did.

    As I believe I mentioned, I plan on starting up a "M*A*S*H season by season" discussion one o' these days (probably when I'm done my Extra Texture thread)
     
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  9. Benjamin Edge

    Benjamin Edge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukie, OR, US
    But I don't think the original respective 20th Century-Fox TV closing logos stayed... again, here's a list of the different versions seen (when originally on CBS):
    Seasons 1-4: 1966 version, short 1965 theme
    Seasons 5-9 (and season 10 before November 16, 1981): 1976 version (like 1966 version but with ® symbol and tower moved further left), same 1965 jingle
    Seasons 10-11 (since November 16, 1981): 1981 version (better-looking tower graphics/animation), same 1965 jingle

    ~Ben
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  10. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Fountain Inn, SC
    So do those of Hart to Hart, especially the Shout! releases of the third through fifth seasons (1981-84)-- you would not think that that ABC detective/adventure series w/Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers is pushing 40 years old.
     
  11. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen https://soundcloud.com/porkchops-productions

    I've never really noticed if they're different on the DVDs, to be honest:laugh:
     
  12. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    Regarding BEWITCHED daytime reruns in black & white, that may have been a function of the local ABC affiliate, and whether or not they were airing the show live from a network feed.

    When color was just starting up in full, it was a prime time thing. Many local stations had no color capabilities other than passing through a color network feed. All of their local stuff was still black & white.

    With daytime reruns, a local station may have chosen to air a film version sent by the network, complete with the network commercials inserted, for airing at any time on the station's schedule. And the local station might not have had color capability from film.

    I witnessed this phenomenon with THE FUGITIVE daytime reruns. Our ABC affiliate chose not to run the daytime reruns of THE FUGITIVE at all and passed it on to our local UHF channel 17. As that channel was also airing NBC's daytime JEOPARDY live from the network, they had to get the film versions of THE FUGITIVE and air them a day later.

    When Season 4 of THE FUGITIVE began in daytime, those color episodes were in black & white on the delayed film on the UHF station, but if I tuned into the live showing on distant WABC New York, I could see that they were showing them in color.
     
  13. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Forum Resident

    Wait....what?
     
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  14. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    The last three episodes of Season One featured a "jazzier" version of the theme song. Can't find an example to post, but I'm sure someone else here can/will.
     
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  15. W.B.

    W.B. Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Benny Hill was one of those who made his own comments about that whole "pan and scan" business with regard to credits and what was cut off, in a few of his sketches (one of the most famous being his Burton/Taylor parody "Who's Afraid of Virgin Wool").

    But besides using "crummy" 16mm prints, there was also the factor, as noted elsewhere, of the telecine equipment being used. Most stations - and two of the three major networks - used RCA TK-27 film chains (upgraded, by the late '70's or so, to TK-28), but a handful, namely CBS, used General Electric PE-240 film chains (while some, like the former WNAC-TV in Boston [later WNEV-TV, now WHDH], had the older PE-24). By the early '80's, CBS's film chains, once the envy of the industry and justifying their "anybody but RCA" purchasing policies, began to suck big-time. That factor had as much to do with how such prints looked besides the prints and their quality (or lack thereof) themselves. Then there was the matter of the projectors used - whether RCA or Simplex or whatever. All those things came into play when it came to how what you saw looked on the teevee.

    But a few (I seem to remember this being brought up by @Vidiot), like KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, actually held on to their RCA TK-26's well into the early '80's.
     
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  16. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    Ah, yes, who could forget the Benny Hill presentation of the cinema classic "Deep In My Ear."

    I remember Cinemascope Tom & Jerry cartoons being "squished" like that -- Tom in particular was extremely tall and thin.

    The cropping of titles wasn't limited to widescreen films. I remember seeing "Our Marx Brothers" in "Duck Soup."
     
  17. torcan

    torcan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Actually, it was the network. ABC was in a distant third place overall at the time and I read that they thought broadcasting in color was too costly. They switched all of their primetime shows to color in fall 1966, like the other two networks, but kept many of their daytime shows in black & white as long as possible. They were the last network to switch to all color in daytime.

    Old TVGuide listings confirm that "Bewitched" was in black & white in daytime until late Dec 1969. I've got issues from several different areas, including New York. They also aired the fourth season of "The Fugitive" in black & white at least the first time thru ... since you remember seeing it in color from WABC, I guess by the last time thru the run they had switched it to color.
     
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  18. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Forum Resident

    A complete episode of THE MONKEES in a 1980-dated syndication showing from Chicago--film splices included!

    What's odd is that I search eBay all the time through the film catagories, and while you see PLENTY of 60's 16mm syndication prints for sale (including those from Screen Gems), Monkees prints seem to be scarce. I wonder what the reason is.

     
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  19. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    The BBC shot some of their shows in 16mm, so it's possible they're judged too ugly to rescan to HD. You can technically get a vestige of HD from them, but it's grainy and ugly.

    1980s original 35mm 4-perf negative can resolve 2K resolution to a point (particularly Kodak 5247 or better), but bear in mind they'd probably blow it up to 16x9, losing the bottom 25% of the frame. My guess is they just don't want to spend the money. There's a lotta stuff out there that is very nostalgic and important for a small group of people, but not for a wide modern-day mass audience.
     
  20. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    ????? :)
     
  21. Benjamin Edge

    Benjamin Edge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukie, OR, US
    Me-TV is currently running the sixth season of Perry Mason.

    This was the first season of the series to move from Saturday nights to Thursday. The episodes which aired this season, as well as those from season 7, had the split closing credits:

    (this comes from an FETV - Family Entertainment TV - rerun, which still airs the 1980s remasters with the Viacom logo)

    Me-TV's prints, though, are sourced from the DVDs. But unfortunately they ruined them by editing them into one continuous closing theme (thus the jarring music edits you hear). One 1963 episode has the entire original presentation of these end credits intact and unedited, but another episode keeps only the first half.

    Interestingly, season 5's closing theme was also divided: but with the script writer and director credits on the shorter first half, and the rest of the production crew on the longer second half, a la The Dick Van Dyke Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

    ~Ben
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  22. Benjamin Edge

    Benjamin Edge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukie, OR, US
    This one really has me baffled...


    Yes - we know that Paramount Home Video released three volumes of this instructional sports series, produced by WGBH Boston, in 1983. However, Paramount's TV division had seemingly no involvement whatsoever in this series. The only way their TV logo could have been at the end of this series is if, before these three videotapes were released, they had actually put the series into syndication starting in the fall of 1982, after the original PBS run was over.

    ~Ben
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  23. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    I wonder what kind of film chain the Kaiser/Field Communications stations used. As I've posted before, everything from 16mm on Boston's Ch. 56 looked and sounded like c**p!
     
  24. antoniod

    antoniod Forum Resident

    Back in the 70s, somebody told me that there would never be widescreen TV to accommodate Cinemascope or Panavision films, because "Stations aren't interested in showing movies, they're interested in showing commercials.".
     
  25. W.B.

    W.B. Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    RCA TK-27's. And another forum explained this was why anything film on WKBD/WLVI, in terms of pic and sound quality, left a lot to be desired, compared with WSBK/38.
     

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