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Kenneth Clark's Civilisation HD

It does seem that making suggestions to the BBC does work.

It does seem that making suggestions to the BBC does work.
published on UK Free TV

I was very pleased to see this article appear on Media Guardian:

BBC remasters Civilisation for HD - Media -

"Danielle Nagler, head of HD and 3D at the BBC, said: "Kenneth Clark's Civilisation defined a new gold standard for arts programming when it was first broadcast. Watching it now, the programme is clearly of its time but the production quality still shows through."

Civilisation, one of the first series ever filmed in colour for BBC2, was ripe to be remastered for HD because it was originally shot on 35mm film to ensure the highest possible quality."

Which is great, because on BBC - BBC Internet Blog: BBC HD Update: DOG Patrol on comment 13, at 13:01pm on 1st Mar 2009, I wrote:

I was watching two programmes the other day and an idea hit me.

First I watched one of the Classic Star Trek episodes that have been redone from the film originals in 1080-line HD.

Then I was watching "Civilization", now 40 years old. Programmes like that were made before "everything was done on videotape".

I am wondering, how about dusting done some classic BBC factual series that were shot on colour film like "Civilization", "Life on Earth" and "The Ascent of Man" and giving them the HD treatment?

And, two years later I get my wish. Now I hope people watch it..

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

2:00 PM

The "Civilization" HD/35mm post has I hope given me the chance of an answer to a q that has puzzled me for years, long before there was any thought of digital or HD TV.
On reading an article then about how there was a struggle to continue shooting "epics" on film rather than cheaper tape, because of the better quality images it produced, I wondered how it could make a difference when it had to be converted to electronic signals anyway. The post must indicate that somebody here could explain; is film inherently better, or has electronic media caught up - would a film projected side by side directly and via electronic means look the same?
A related q is: why, even in the cinema but now better because you can see end to end films from different eras, is it possible for at least older folks to tell immediately from the colour whether a film they've never seen is from the 40s, 50s, 60s to maybe mid 70s, since when nothing seems to have changed?

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Michael's 41 posts GB
Hugh Marley

8:32 PM

35mm film is inherently better quality than 1080i digital video, think of the size of the picture at a main stream cinema, so virtually any feature shot on 35mm since 1950 and a lot before can, if a good print is available, be scanned to HD with excellent results.
Electronic cinema is currently just over 2000 pixels in width (2K), not a lot more than HD TV but not compressed to the same extent as transmitted HD TV. There is now a move to using 4000 pixel width in the cinema (4K).
Yes electronic media has probably caught up but I don't think Kodak will agree and there are other considerations.

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Hugh Marley's 25 posts GB
Monday, 24 January 2011
6:55 PM

The BBC used 35mm and 16mm in the days of black and white. I don't think many colour series were ever made on 35mm due to the enormous cost?

Today it would be easy to shoot on film, transfer the negative to video, and edit on video. But until the 1990's video editing was difficult and involved costly equipment so programmes that were mainly shot on film, were edited on film, the negative was cut and a print was made.

By the mid-1980's the preferred format was Super 16mm - which was the same width strip of film but with smaller sprocket holes, which gave a larger image area and therefore better picture quality.

Although the Super 16mm format gave good quality, film grain was visible and this isn't particularly compatible with the compression used by digital technology (DVDs and digital TV) today, which works better with a smooth, grain free picture.

That is why DVDs of old series can sometimes be disappointing.

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RG's 3 posts GB
Wednesday, 26 January 2011

10:35 AM

You might be interested in Super Hi-Vision, 7680x4320 pixels. The BBC did a trail recently, as reported here BBC News - 'Historic' broadcast of super HD from UK to Japan .

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
5:44 PM

This is great news. If we ask nicely do you think they'll repeat Shock of the New in HD? I saw a digital repeat of one episode some time ago and it looked pretty good so it follows that an HD version would really be spectacular.

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Zeb's 2 posts GB

7:15 PM

Zeb: Shock of the New was broadcast in October 1982, it is unlikely to have been edited on film, the dates put it right at the start of the videotape editing era, so it probably doesn't exist in any higher definition.

Videotape editing was very popular as it reduced the costs and increased the convenience. Remember also there were no domestic video recorders at the time, and no satellite channels for repeats, no one could have envisioned that there would be desire for a "HD" version thirty years later.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Sunday, 30 January 2011
bernard hunt

2:19 PM

in all this discussion of excellent upgrading to hd no one has mentioned the size format , is it 4x3 14x9 16x9 or what ?
For best enjoyment on modern tv's , widescreen is essential or is some form of rescanning from a small width to be done ?

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bernard hunt's 25 posts GB
Les Nicol

4:26 PM

Bwenard - Picture format is set using you TV remote's menu.

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Les Nicol's 991 posts GB
Monday, 31 January 2011

5:32 PM

bernard hunt: The original is on 35mm film.

35mm film frames are 22x16 mm (1:1.375), but using various lens can be used for different aspect ratios for television and cinema.

The BBC will be producing a 16:9 HD broadcast as far as I understand it, and this could be done in two ways.

If the original film was used "full frame" (without an anamorphic transformation) then a 16:9 (ie, vertical) cut-out will be used.

If the original was in a "cinematic projection" (which is more conventionally) then the 16:9 will more-or-less match the original.

I'm going to guess that it is the latter, as I recall that Civilization was shown in the US in cinemas.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB

5:36 PM

Les Nicol: No, that's not correct. That is not setting the picture format, that is setting the viewing format.

The picture format (either 4:3 or 16:9, sometimes 14:9) is the anamorphic correction applied to the picture, which in effect is the correct description of the pixel shape.

HD pixels are generally 1:1, matching what you see on computer monitors, but on UK televison it has bee 1:1.13, 1:1.21, 1:1.89, 1:1.42, 1:1.06 - see A comparison of TV, HDTV and computer monitors | - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
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