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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Surprised to come across Discovery's airing of the BBC's 2001 "Last Night of the Prom" Friday night. [Edit: see below; was 2003 concert.] Lots of light classical music delivered in a Boston Pops outdoor concert style, but unfortunately just following the 9/11 attack. Very impressive indoor lighting, color, and 1080i fidelity. Anyone know how it was recorded/transferred originally? -- John
 

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I think it was the 2003 concert that was shown. Thanks to the HD, this was visually the best "Proms" I've seen. Musically, I still prefer the 1973 concert (Philips LP 6588 011) with Colin Davis, Jessye Norman, and especially Elizabeth Bainbridge singing four verses of "Rule, Britannia."
 

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This concert would be a keeper except no. 5.1DD.:(
 

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It was definitely not the 2001 concert: that took place just a few days after 9/11 and was a very different "Last Night" with a much more sombre selection of music and none of the usual shenanigans...


Given that this was clearly nothing more than the regular BBC production, I would imagine it was shot/recorded in the BBC's now standard mode of PAL widescreen and upconverted. It looked quite good but definitely lacked that HD 'wow" factor.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kjroddy
Given that this was clearly nothing more than the regular BBC production, I would imagine it was shot/recorded in the BBC's now standard mode of PAL widescreen and upconverted. It looked quite good but definitely lacked that HD 'wow" factor.
Err - the Last Night of the Proms has been shot in 1080i for quite a number of years now... It isn't considered a "regular BBC production" because of the large number of people who want it in HD (NHK take a lot of the Beeb's classical music stuff - The Carol Concert from King's College Cambridge is usually HD, as are quite a number of BBC opera and ballet productions)


This year the entire Proms season was shot using the BBC's recently commissioned re-furbished HDTV truck (1080/50i - previously a 576/50i SDTV truck - and before that 576/50i PAL analogue - they built the coachwork to last!)


Most of the Proms were covered using the HD truck and cameras running in SD mode - because the HD vision mixer hadn't been fitted (or more accurately the HD input cards hadn't arrived I believe). However the Last Night was both shot and mixed in HD and downconverted to 576/50i for domestic consumption. (In previous years the BBC have covered the Last Night using an Alfacam 1080/50i truck - but this year they finally have their own) The Last Night is a bit different to the other concerts in the Proms season - and televisually it has changed quite a lot in recent years - with a number of remote locations also taking part (the BBC put big screens in city centre locations most summers and use these for a number of shows)


The Royal Albert Hall concert will have been HD, but I suspect the remote OBs will have been 16:9 SD.


Unless something went wrong in delivery (and you were watching an HD upconversion of the 576/50i 16:9 master rather than a cross-conversion of the 1080/50i 16:9 master) you should have been seeing an HD production.


I didn't see the live 576/50i broadcast in the UK as I was not in the country - however on returning I was able to watch a lossless off-air MPEG2 recording (576/50i) and it did look pretty nice in SD. Sounded nice in stereo as well.


(Can't comment on the concert you saw - but ISTR that Leonard Slatkin was the main conductor for the concert that happened shortly after 9/11. There was much debate about cancelling the concert - as it is seen by many to be quite jingoistic and overly patriotic - but the revised programme and measured tone pretty much avoided this feeling IMHO)


The BBC is increasingly shooting stuff in HD - most high-end drama is either film or HD (or film edited HD!), as are the high-end documentaries. I think that they have announced an aim for all production to be HD - and also tape-less by 2010. (I suspect the BBC will launch an HD service the same year that Sky do in the UK - 2006?)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kjroddy
It was definitely not the 2001 concert: that took place just a few days after 9/11 and was a very different "Last Night" with a much more sombre selection of music and none of the usual shenanigans...


Given that this was clearly nothing more than the regular BBC production, I would imagine it was shot/recorded in the BBC's now standard mode of PAL widescreen and upconverted. It looked quite good but definitely lacked that HD 'wow" factor.
BTW - the Beeb seldom use "PAL" widescreen production - it is pretty much universally 576/50i digital component. No PAL subcarrier anywhere near the production process - or transmission. The exception to this is when a legacy analogue microwave link is used, or an old analogue location truck pressed into service.


Unlike NTSC - which defines a line-standard as well as a chroma-subcarrier system, PAL pretty much only defines a chroma-subcarrier - which isn't relevant to digital production or transmission in SD.


You won't win many friends in UK broadcast circles if you describe 16:9 SDTV as "PAL widescreen" - it is just technically the wrong terminology. Unfortunately "PAL" IS used as a description for 576/50i DVDs - completely inappropriately...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the details, sneals2000, especially about the HD production. Helped confirm what looked like superb 1080i origination on my screen. Found the artificial lighting most impressive because it duplicated what I usually see for realistic clothing and fleshtone coloring only when direct sunlight is involved.


The 2001 concert or another tape? No big deal here, but thought that's what I saw in the end credits, and that link I provided may have mentioned the performers that appeared. Also, I made a note while watching that Slatkin was the conductor. (Not sure why, but Discovery's airing, even though it was scheduled for a solid 2.5 hours in my guides, had a segment midway about a Las Vegas magic act. I tuned elsewhere thinking it was over, tuning back late and missing some of the second half.) -- John
 

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OK, I stand corrected on pretty much all fronts except the 2003 bit - it was definitely (c) MMIII - so I guess I'll have to blame D*s overcompression for the lack of wow factor.


The HD Tivo schedule had it listed in two parts, one 90 minutes, the other 120 minutes, although in customary DiscoveryHD fashion the show ended about 15 minutes before its slot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Reread my linked BBC page , kjroddy, and think you're right about the dates. I visted several BBC Prom-Night annual press-relase pages and mistakenly mixed the performances given between 2001 and 2003 pages. -- John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveFi
Why do you need 5.1 for a concert? The music is the main thing isn't it? And that's from the front.
What can I say? :rolleyes:
 

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If it was the 2003 LNotP then I am pretty certain it was recorded in 1080/50i using an Alfacam HD truck. I will check tomorrow.


The lighting, "racking", directing and camerawork, and of course the sound, for the Proms are normally amongst the best you get in the UK. Talking to BBC vision engineers they think this year's LNotP will probably be the best video seen on BBC SD outlets in picture quality terms this year.


(And now we have the BBC Four TV channel we get to see a lot of Proms on TV, as well as hearing them all on BBC Radio Three. Previously we only saw a few of them on BBC Two.)
 

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Should add that the 2003 Last Night will have been shot on Alfacam's Philips (now Thomson) LDK 6000 (mkII?) World Cams, whilst this year it will have been Sony HDTV cameras - as BBC OBs in London is entirely SD and HD Sony.
 

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Quote:
Unlike NTSC - which defines a line-standard as well as a chroma-subcarrier system, PAL pretty much only defines a chroma-subcarrier - which isn't relevant to digital production or transmission in SD.


You lost me here. In digital there is no subcarier in NTSC. It should not even be called NTSC, only 525/60iHz. The same as you said goes for PAL.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CKNA
You lost me here. In digital there is no subcarier in NTSC. It should not even be called NTSC, only 525/60iHz. The same as you said goes for PAL.
AIUI the National Television Standards Committee defined the 525/60 (pre 525/59.94) line and field scanning parameters, as well as the later chroma subcarrier systems, and line/field rate tweak. PAL only defines the chroma subcarrier techniques - not the line/field system.


Therefore "NTSC" could be accepted to also define the 525/59.94 analogue line standard (as well as the chroma subcarrier system). Since the ITU 601/656 sampling standards are pretty much based on the analogue system then there is an argument that the term "NTSC" can be said to partially define the digital sampling scheme (in that it helps define the number of samples per line etc.)


The PAL system has no link to line/field rates and is purely a description of the chroma encoding, as is SECAM. In component digital systems there is no chroma subcarrier - so PAL or SECAM are irrelevant. (Annoyingly "PAL" is used on consumer formats to define 576/50i component digital kit such as DV Camcorders and DVD players - presumably because the legacy composite analogue outputs are PAL analogue. To use it when defining a recorded DVD is pretty annoying though)


Some could argue that as NTSC also refers to a line/field rate it COULD be used to describe a digital TV scheme using the same parameters...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Stumbled across some additional discussion in another forum with further details about taping the 2003 "Last...Prom" concert. Believe the initial poster was suggesting that 625 line tape (PAL) was adequate for HD, even though 1080/50i was being used. BTW, the 50i field conversion to 60i for Discovery's delivery seemed to work out very nicely on my screen. It's often claimed here that format conversions--this was field rate conversion--requires progressive capture to avoid all the problems of interlaced-image conversions. -- John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveFi
Why do you need 5.1 for a concert? The music is the main thing isn't it? And that's from the front.
Were you watching? The sound comes from the audience, too.


BTW, the sound sucked in 2 channel, anyway.


Kal
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mason
Stumbled across some additional discussion in another forum with further details about taping the 2003 "Last...Prom" concert. Believe the initial poster was suggesting that 625 line tape (PAL) was adequate for HD, even though 1080/50i was being used. BTW, the 50i field conversion to 60i for Discovery's delivery seemed to work out very nicely on my screen. It's often claimed here that format conversions--this was field rate conversion--requires progressive capture to avoid all the problems of interlaced-image conversions. -- John
The poster may have suggested that 625 line tape (aka 576/50i) was OK - but they'd have been to suggest using PAL rather than digital component production.


The PAL (and NTSC for that matter) chroma compromises (soft chroma detail and potential for luma/chroma interference) are too great and noticable even on SDTV - though the use of a very advanced decoder (with 18 frames of delay) can improve things a little for legacy archive stuff.


For the record - PAL is a composite/s-video chroma encoding standard - it is sloppy terminology to use PAL to refer to a 576/40i (or 625) analogue or digital component source.


(Sadly - DVD releases seem to perpetuate the PAL=576/50i assumption - with component digital DVD material being labelled "PAL" even though it has no PAL anywhere near it...)
 
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