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post #1 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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If there are any Friends fans around you may be interested to know that a free to air network (GEM) here in Australia has recently started showing episodes of Friends in 16x9 HD.

I'm guessing the studio must have given the series the same treatment they did for Seinfeld when they were converted to HD.

I have seen a couple of episodes from season 5 and they look great. I have not compared the screen shots to the 4x3 version but I have heard that others have done this and have been convinced that it is not cropped in any way.

I'm not sure if this is old news for the U.S. or not. Have they released the Bluray yet?
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post #2 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 07:33 AM
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um... are you sure?

There has been no news of any conversions/reedits being done... no news of any blu ray release...
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post #3 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I'm pretty sure. You'll have to excuse my crappy phone cam and reflection of the Christmas tree but here are a couple of screen shots from "The One With Joey's Big Break"

Obviously it is not blurry like that on the screen. It looks great in fact.



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post #4 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, even better. I found some images from somebody else here in Australia. They have compared the DVD to the new HD version:



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post #5 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 02:49 PM
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This looks like it had already been shot in 3 perf and was cropped to 4:3 for broadcast. I know a few shows did that briefly in the 90's before HDTV arrived (well, lots of shows still do that now for SD broadcasts).

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post #6 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 06:14 PM
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I'm surprised this wasn't done for Friends sooner, especially with Seinfeld and The King of Queens being syndicated in HD and Cheers being made available in HD on HDNet.
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post #7 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

This looks like it had already been shot in 3 perf and was cropped to 4:3 for broadcast. I know a few shows did that briefly in the 90's before HDTV arrived (well, lots of shows still do that now for SD broadcasts).

Tell us which, if you please.
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post #8 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Drewdawg View Post

Tell us which, if you please.

I'd have to look them up. I read about them 10-15 years ago. There weren't many. Producers didn't want to switch to 16mm to save money so they compromised and used one less perf of 35mm and cropped it.

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post #9 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 11:11 PM
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Anyone watch Friends on TBS and bother to check if TBS has switched? Seems odd that Australia would get new HD syndicated versions before TBS, given the Warner connection.
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post #10 of 111 Old 12-31-2010, 11:49 PM
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Jennifer Aniston in HD.
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post #11 of 111 Old 01-01-2011, 01:04 AM
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Well after seeing the comparison shots above I am really glad that they shot friends on film and not video tape I have set my tivo to record tbshd on monday to see if they are showing it in hd instead of stretched out. Already 2011 is an improvement over 2010.

You can never judge a show by its pilot episode or the half season following it.
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post #12 of 111 Old 01-01-2011, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

I'd have to look them up. I read about them 10-15 years ago. There weren't many. Producers didn't want to switch to 16mm to save money so they compromised and used one less perf of 35mm and cropped it.

Presumably they framed and edited for the 4:3 crop though? So the wider 16:9 shots will not have been the originally directed framing?
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post #13 of 111 Old 01-01-2011, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

Presumably they framed and edited for the 4:3 crop though? So the wider 16:9 shots will not have been the originally directed framing?

Yes, and little has changed. Nearly all so-called "16:9" programming on American HDTV these days is framed for 4:3.

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post #14 of 111 Old 01-01-2011, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathRay View Post

Oh, even better. I found some images from somebody else here in Australia. They have compared the DVD to the new HD version:




Nice quality, so far TBS is nowhere near that quality, hopefully they change it this year.

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post #15 of 111 Old 01-03-2011, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKAWalrus View Post

I'm surprised this wasn't done for Friends sooner, especially with Seinfeld and The King of Queens being syndicated in HD and Cheers being made available in HD on HDNet.

Only problem with "Cheers" is HDNET only showed the first 4 seasons.
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post #16 of 111 Old 01-03-2011, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chestnu1 View Post

Well after seeing the comparison shots above I am really glad that they shot friends of video tape I have set my tivo to record tbshd on monday to see if they are showing it in hd instead of stretched out. Already 2011 is an improvement over 2010.

Negative on the HD

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post #17 of 111 Old 01-03-2011, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by oktoberrust11 View Post

Negative on the HD

Hmmm, not sure I would claim no to HD yet. The episode today was from the first season and it did appear to be cropped, not stretched to me. Even the first season DVDs don't look that great picture quality wise so this could be the best they could do with what they have for source material. The above example is from a later season so I am not convince that when TBS shows the newer episodes it won't be more obvious that its the HD transfer.
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post #18 of 111 Old 01-04-2011, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtogMuncher View Post

Hmmm, not sure I would claim no to HD yet. The episode today was from the first season and it did appear to be cropped, not stretched to me. Even the first season DVDs don't look that great picture quality wise so this could be the best they could do with what they have for source material. The above example is from a later season so I am not convince that when TBS shows the newer episodes it won't be more obvious that its the HD transfer.

This is just sad. I've watched too much stretch-o-vision that I fool myself into thinking something is not stretch. Bizarre how yesterday it looked so much like a crop job, but today it was definitely stretched (assisted by actually seeing the transition from a commercial break). Also, even if they did start showing Friends in HD, I don't think I would watch it since I also forgot how much of the show is cut out compared to the extended episodes that are on the DVDs.
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post #19 of 111 Old 01-05-2011, 06:15 PM
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Found this:


As you can see, it's a bit cropped up and down, but you can see more at the sides.
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post #20 of 111 Old 02-10-2011, 02:21 AM
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DVD/HDTV











few random pics










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post #21 of 111 Old 02-21-2011, 09:01 AM
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Hi,

this is very interesting, can anybody tell me how this was produced? Where do those extra-contents at the left and right side come from? Was it already produced in 16:9, or did they just use things that were left out by overscan, etc. in the previous releases? Does anybody know in which resolution and quality the original material was produced, and how they manged to upscale it to that quality level?
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post #22 of 111 Old 02-21-2011, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackie78 View Post

Hi,

this is very interesting, can anybody tell me how this was produced? Where do those extra-contents at the left and right side come from? Was it already produced in 16:9, or did they just use things that were left out by overscan, etc. in the previous releases?

It's possible that it was shot on 3 perf 35mm which would expose a widescreen image. Normally the sides would be cropped off when transferred to videotape for editing but they still existed on the original negative.

This has still been used occasionally. The Wire was shot on 3 perf widescreen but was cropped to 4:3 because that's what the producer wanted.

Quote:


Does anybody know in which resolution and quality the original material was produced, and how they manged to upscale it to that quality level?

The show was shot on 35mm film.

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post #23 of 111 Old 02-21-2011, 06:35 PM
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My guess is that they scanned the 35 mm film with some special equipment (usually a telecine machine) and then they converted those images into digital content. Then, they transfered those images to a hard drive or some kind of digital storage media and saved it in HD format.
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post #24 of 111 Old 02-21-2011, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Lekter View Post

My guess is that they scanned the 35 mm film with some special equipment (usually a telecine machine) and then they converted those images into digital content. Then, they transfered those images to a hard drive or some kind of digital storage media and saved it in HD format.

That sounds like a bunch of crazy mumbo-jumbo to me.

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post #25 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 10:19 AM
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Just to chip in with a double thumbs up to the TNT HD masters. I've only seen a small amount of the Australian GEM prints, but the TNT ones have a far superior re-cut from the negative. To me the show still looks 90s, but the quality is really good and aesthetically I think it looks better than something like 'Big Bang Theory' which really cranks up the saturation. All down to how stuff was lit I guess, but very impressed. You can see the colour timing on the first example shown here is superior to the DVDs too. The 'Seinfeld' crops were painful in order to get into a 16x9 image, but I can't complain about a 3perf recut to 16x9 for a comedy. Only problem is the 25fps PAL pitch speedup but we can't have everything! Fingers crossed this master exists at 23.97fps and in 1080p ready for home formats.

scowl - where have you seen a correct 1.85:1 HD print of 'The Wire' ? I compared a version on one of the HD On Demand services with my 4x3 DVDs and while the picture was fantastic, it was a visible crop unfortunately. If a real 16x9 3perf version exists in HD, despite the OAR element being more important in such a good drama, I would love to see it.
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post #26 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 01:23 PM
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scowl - where have you seen a correct 1.85:1 HD print of 'The Wire' ? I compared a version on one of the HD On Demand services with my 4x3 DVDs and while the picture was fantastic, it was a visible crop unfortunately. If a real 16x9 3perf version exists in HD, despite the OAR element being more important in such a good drama, I would love to see it.
No one has seen 1.85:1 prints of the Wire because they don't exist. They shot 3 perf widescreen because that's how American television productions shoot 35mm these days. The creator of the series didn't like widescreen and wanted a 4:3 AR so they cropped it, just like some television productions did with 3 perf before HDTV.

There is some talk about shooting HDTV productions in 2 perf 35mm and cropping to 16:9 to save even more money on film stock.

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post #27 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 02:58 PM
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There is some talk about shooting HDTV productions in 2 perf 35mm and cropping to 16:9 to save even more money on film stock.
Very real talk this side of the pond.

UK drama production budgets haven't stretched to 35mm since we went colour (apart from a few ITV series) - so 16mm and Super 16 (for 16:9 production) have been the norm for SD.

The BBC won't accept HD production on Super 16, and require either electronic acquisition or 35mm film for HD content. However they will discuss the use of 3-perf and 2-perf (as long as it isn't too noisy/grainy) 35mm - and some drama has used this cheaper 35mm route rather than shoot electronically.
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post #28 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 03:12 PM
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No one has seen 1.85:1 prints of the Wire because they don't exist.
I see, that's a great shame. I've read David Simon talking about why he shot for 4x3 and I can see his point, and if it's absolutely his call. It's therefore a shame that when the decision was made to take it HD and fill the 16x9 frame that they chose to crop rather than open out. Seeing stuff the director didn't intend isn't ideal, but no where near the crime of cropping even further. Maybe one day we'll see a Blu-Ray or another HD master either in OAR or wider.

sneals: I'm UK too, interesting stuff. Can't say our native output really interests me much these days, and as we move into better and better display technology it becomes increasingly frustrating that all our vintage television (well, to me mostly the 80s into the 90s) had such limited budgets with regards to how they were shot. Co-productions often seem to go well, and by working with other countries we've at least got some great looking shows to be proud of now.
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post #29 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 04:09 PM
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Seeing stuff the director didn't intend isn't ideal, but no where near the crime of cropping even further. Maybe one day we'll see a Blu-Ray or another HD master either in OAR or wider.

I doubt that will happen. If they wanted the show to be 4:3 (for whatever reason) and went through some trouble to make sure it was presented that way, why go back on what they wanted?

But then you never know. The Shield was another cop show with a weird history of being shot 16:9 (but safe for 4:3) yet some season DVDs were released 4:3 while apparently the UK releases were 16:9.

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post #30 of 111 Old 02-24-2011, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

UK drama production budgets haven't stretched to 35mm since we went colour (apart from a few ITV series) - so 16mm and Super 16 (for 16:9 production) have been the norm for SD.

I was shocked that the Prisoner (an ITV series) was shot on 35mm so it actually looks good on Blu-ray!

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