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NBC's Frasier: HDTV farce?  

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
:mad:

I was just bouncing around the channels in primetime, and KNBC-DT was showing Frasier in "HD". The composition looked a little odd, so I checked out their SD feed. Shure enough, their so-called "HD" picture was a cropped version of the NTSC feed.

I bought into getting a better picture, but in the case of Frasier, I'm getting less of it. What's worse? Fox sticking to 480p widescreen, or NBC cropping one of their top-rated shows?
post #2 of 69
It's not really an issue of less or more -- the show is cropped for 16:9. They open the frame and show more vertical information on the 4:3 show. It doesn't add to the show, and it's not like 16:9 viewers are missing anything.
post #3 of 69
Xfactor, while I agreet that many shows are done that way, after watching Fraiser for many years and in HD recently, I tend to beleive it is shot in 4:3 and arbitrarily cropped for 16:9. Either that or they have some really bad directing and cinematography (is that what it is called on TV?) Sometimes the framing is crazy, with two peoples heads crammed in the fram and the tops of their heads are cut off. Sometimes I half expect them to start pushing the sides of the image like a mime the framing is so tight. I guess it could be that the first couple of episodes this year were really shot for 4:3 and NBC just ran them in HD and they are gradually used to doing 16:9. I suppose it would take a little getting used to after doing 4:3 all those years.
post #4 of 69
I watched Fraiser in HD for the first time last night and I also noticed that the top of the actor's heads were often cut off. It was really obvious in my opinion. I too thought it was poorly done, especially for a big show like Fraiser. At the very least they could have have cropped more of the bottom of the image in those scenes where the heads got cut off but I guess that would have required someone to do some work. Can't have that now. :)
post #5 of 69
Last night's episode was a re-run. TitanTV showed that it would not be in HD. Your network affilliate can't pass on something that doesn't exist. Sorry you felt cheated, but no one said that re-runs have to be in HD. Next week's episode will be a new one and in HD.

Joe
post #6 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by jsirbak
Last night's episode was a re-run. TitanTV showed that it would not be in HD. Your network affilliate can't pass on something that doesn't exist. Sorry you felt cheated, but no one said that re-runs have to be in HD. Next week's episode will be a new one and in HD.

Joe
TitanTV has no idea when something will be in HD. Sounds to me like it was in HD. This has been a problem since Frasier started simulcasting in HD and has been pointed out in this forum before.
post #7 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by jsirbak
Last night's episode was a re-run. TitanTV showed that it would not be in HD. Your network affilliate can't pass on something that doesn't exist. Sorry you felt cheated, but no one said that re-runs have to be in HD. Next week's episode will be a new one and in HD.

Joe
It was in HD. TitanTV was wrong.

People are complaining that 16:9 HD shots are simply cropped from the 4:3 shot used for the NTSC version, and that this is leading to problems with people's heads being cut off. There were not complaining that the episode wasn't in HD.
post #8 of 69
Gee folks. Anyone who thinks last night's 16:9 cropped version of Frasier was anything more than stretched SD apparently didn't flip over to see honest to goodness HDTV - Bonnie on ABC.

If that stunning picture was 720p video shot with true HD cams, ABC is getting it right. The picture quality of Frasier was so bad I am convinced it was standard defintion TV at it's worst - too few pixels blown up to fill a 16:9 screen.

Some of the best HD I have seen has come from ABC's 720p broadcasts. NYPD Blue, Bonnie and the last Super Bowl were all terrific eye candy. And don't get me started on those NBC faux things they call HD. Other than Leno and Boomtown, they are mostly faking it there too.

Doncha agree?
post #9 of 69
Things could be worse.

Our local NBC affiliate is only broadcasting a digital 480i signal @ ~4kw :(
post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Leftcoastdave
Gee folks. Anyone who thinks last night's 16:9 cropped version of Frasier was anything more than stretched SD apparently didn't flip over to see honest to goodness HDTV - Bonnie on ABC.

If that stunning picture was 720p video shot with true HD cams, ABC is getting it right. The picture quality of Frasier was so bad I am convinced it was standard defintion TV at it's worst - too few pixels blown up to fill a 16:9 screen.

Some of the best HD I have seen has come from ABC's 720p broadcasts. NYPD Blue, Bonnie and the last Super Bowl were all terrific eye candy. And don't get me started on those NBC faux things they call HD. Other than Leno and Boomtown, they are mostly faking it there too.

Doncha agree?
I have to agree that it must have been a zoomed in SD show. Frasier last night was so blurry that I kept flipping back to a repeat episode of the Guardian for my eyes' sake. I hate to even admit that Fox WS is probably better (more clear) than Frasier last night.
post #11 of 69
this comes up every few weeks. Paramount ( I believe they produce Frasier) just does their transfers differently then other shows, but it is not just a 4:3 version cropped down to 16:9. it is more complex then that.

Some where there is a thread explaining but I can't find it now.
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by arxaw
Things could be worse.

Our local NBC affiliate is only broadcasting a digital 480i signal @ ~4kw :(

Yes, things could be even worse than that. Our O&O NBC affiliate has yet to begin broadcasting DT.

As for 'Frasier', after watching it regularly from the beginning of the series run, I stopped watching after not coming close to a laugh during the first five episodes of the current season.
post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by tonyb100
this comes up every few weeks. Paramount ( I believe they produce Frasier) just does their transfers differently then other shows, but it is not just a 4:3 version cropped down to 16:9. it is more complex then that.

Some where there is a thread explaining but I can't find it now.
Whatever they're doing differently, it is not a good thing. It's definitely a lower quality image than almost all other HD out there (and, dare I say, even Fox widescreen?)
post #14 of 69
It's been that way since the very first HD episode of "Frasier", I'm just surprised no one mentioned it until now (I didn't search old threads).

I didn't bother saying anything, only because CBS does the same with "Becker" and the whole method was discussed at that time.

It's definitely noticeable, though...
post #15 of 69
Frasier just needs to go the way of cheers, the show really is getting bad. I don't know what is worse the the hd feed? or the show it self!
post #16 of 69
Thread Starter 
I'm a newbie to actually having HD in my house (I've seen it at work several times). Maybe by not investing time/money in a true HD transfer from film (I think its a 35mm shoot), or converting the set to HD cams/16x9-friendly, this could be an indication of the start of the end of Frasier.

I did see "Bonnie" on ABC last night, too, and I agree that it was beautifully presented.
post #17 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by KenSpi
I'm a newbie to actually having HD in my house (I've seen it at work several times). Maybe by not investing time/money in a true HD transfer from film (I think its a 35mm shoot), or converting the set to HD cams/16x9-friendly, this could be an indication of the start of the end of Frasier.

Kelsey Grammer has already said he doesn't want to do the show much longer.

Although it doesn't look too good compared to other shows, it still looks better than some (i.e. Becker), and last night it was very funny and much more entertaining than Bonnie

Whine all you want about it's pq; it is still one of the funniest, most intelligent and witty shows on network TV.
(which is also why it's been nominated for more emmy's than any other show i believe)
post #18 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Whine all you want about it's pq; it is still one of the funniest, most intelligent and witty shows on network TV.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the major selling points of converting to DTV was its PQ. NTSC is absolutely horrible. Granted, the studios don't have to supply HD material to their network outlets, nor do the broadcasters have to broadcast anything more than SD, but consumers are investing in DTV and they expect the improved picture quality that's being touted.

I'm not knocking the content of the show, but rather the studio's or network's choice to reduce the picture quality. Why bother upconverting and cropping? The 480i/p picture from a digital source still looks much better than NTSC.

If people like me didn't "whine" about picture quality, we might not have HD pictures. Heck, we'd still have crisp, clear monchrome on our 200 pound console TVs.
post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by Leftcoastdave
Gee folks. Anyone who thinks last night's 16:9 cropped version of Frasier was anything more than stretched SD apparently didn't flip over to see honest to goodness HDTV - Bonnie on ABC.

Not stretched--zoomed if anything.
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by KenSpi
I'm not knocking the content of the show, but rather the studio's or network's choice to reduce the picture quality. Why bother upconverting and cropping? The 480i/p picture from a digital source still looks much better than NTSC.

If people like me didn't "whine" about picture quality, we might not have HD pictures. Heck, we'd still have crisp, clear monchrome on our 200 pound console TVs.
Thank you so much for all you've done, Ken.

Frasier is not an upconvert, so I don't know what you're talking about. It also isn't necessarily cropped -- it is framed for 16:9, then the frame is opened up for 4:3. There is no stretch or zoom in Frasier when it is being broadcast properly by the local affiliate.
post #21 of 69
You mean we're not supposed to see the tops of anyone's heads?

I understand the concept of framing for 16:9 and open matte in 4:3, but every HD episode of "Frasier" that I have seen this season has appeared obviously zoomed
post #22 of 69
""Whatever they're doing differently, it is not a good thing. It's definitely a lower quality image than almost all other HD out there (and, dare I say, even Fox widescreen?)""

Yes I agree it is at the lower end, but looks better then FWS at least to me
post #23 of 69
Thread Starter 
I have to question this particular episode being framed for 16x9. If the 2 feeds (SD/HD) were shown side by side, you should have seen certain things on the HD feed that were missing; the top and bottom of the 4x3 should have been irrelevant. As an example, Frasier's dad was flipping through a notebook in the SD feed. The notebook couldn't be seen in the 16x9 feed. From this I have to assume they framed it for 4x3. Though I work in "Hollywood", I don't work for the studio, production company, post house, or the network. I'm coming purely from a viewer's perspective.

As for upcoverting, I suspect this episode originated as 4x3 SD. The 16x9 "HD" feed appeared softer than most true HD recordings, even those transfered straight from film. This is a common artifact even in the best of upconverters. Most consumers won't notice this, much less know what an upconverter is. Additionally, I'm not aware of eny equipment capable of recording in "HD" at 4x3, nor can I understand why anyone would want to.

As an engineer for nearly 15 years, I've become able to pick out certain anomalies and it bugs me when studios/networks choose the cheap way out. As a consumer I feel robbed of my investment. I know studios, networks, and the like sometimes take the "whatever we can get away with" approach. I've experienced it first hand. Personally, I don't subscribe to it, nor do those who work with me.
post #24 of 69
Fraiser has always been among the worst HD programs quality-wise available. The framing issues aside, the picture is always very soft and grainy. Its sad- other NBC programs, like Ed, are truly stunning.


Andrew B.
post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by tfg32
ie

Whine all you want about it's pq; it is still one of the funniest, most intelligent and witty shows on network TV.
(which is also why it's been nominated for more emmy's than any other show i believe)
My goodness. I couldn't disagree more. Haven't you noticed how every episode is the same?
post #26 of 69
Quote:
Haven't you noticed how every episode is the same?
Yeah - It's almost as if it were a sitcom or something.
post #27 of 69
I've never watched a full episode...can't stand sitcoms. But the first time I watched in HD I noticed that it appeared arbitrarily cropped...lots of heads trimmed off.
post #28 of 69
Some sitcoms are clever.
post #29 of 69
Quote:
Originally posted by KenSpi
Correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the major selling points of converting to DTV was its PQ. NTSC is absolutely horrible. Granted, the studios don't have to supply HD material to their network outlets, nor do the broadcasters have to broadcast anything more than SD, but consumers are investing in DTV and they expect the improved picture quality that's being touted.

I'm not knocking the content of the show, but rather the studio's or network's choice to reduce the picture quality. Why bother upconverting and cropping? The 480i/p picture from a digital source still looks much better than NTSC.

If people like me didn't "whine" about picture quality, we might not have HD pictures. Heck, we'd still have crisp, clear monchrome on our 200 pound console TVs.
Consumers, in the first place, invest in televisions to be entertained. Who gives a flying **** if the show sucks and it looks great? Life with Bonnie is one of the worst shows I have ever seen. I would rather see intelligent and quality content such as Frasier on a 200pound, monochrome console TV than a horrible show on a $20,000 HDTV projector.
post #30 of 69
I completely agree that the frame composition (cutting off heads, too-tight close-ups, etc) is BAD on Frasier. I am very disappointed with it. It has been one of my favorite programs for years; I was really looking forward to it.

I haven't watched Becker very frequently since it moved to Sundays, but I never noticed any composition problems with that show. Among the shows I watch, the poor composition on Frasier really stands out.
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