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  #16  
Old 06-05-2018, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by benman94 View Post
That's because for most of the series, they filmed it with actual film a la "I Love Lucy". They did a brief experiment with taping the show using B/W IO cameras, editing on tape, then creating a "higher quality" kinescope from the final tape and using that. Those episodes generally look terrible.
What's the generally accepted cutoff for most TV shows moving to video? So far as I understand, most dramatic TV shows were filmed on either 35mm (big budget) or 16mm (smaller budget) up until quite recently. I know for news, live shows, etc it's been video for ages, but I think for something with a big production budget film still ruled until not so long ago.
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:16 PM
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I think the use of 35mm film for dramatic shows tailed off at the same rate as for theater productions, meaning in fairly recent years.

Back in the early 90s, as the first HDTV tests were being done, CBS wrote into their production acceptance rules that scripted shows had to change from higher speed, grainy negative stock to lower-speed, finer grain stock. The standards committee had a test clip from "Murder She Wrote," made on the fast stock, and not only the grain was visible, but also Angela Lansbury's wrinkles.
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  #18  
Old 06-05-2018, 01:21 PM
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As far as 16mm, I think it was used for low budget westerns and such, but replaced by video fairly early, except for news footage. Video then replaced 16mm news when compact camcorders became available.

16mm copies were used for syndication for a long time, until distribution via tape became viable. Most stations could not handle 35mm film, which required fireproof facilities the same as theaters due to the use of nitrate film for 35mm. 16 mm was normally printed on acetate "safety" film.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by old_tv_nut View Post
As far as 16mm, I think it was used for low budget westerns and such, but replaced by video fairly early, except for news footage. Video then replaced 16mm news when compact camcorders became available.

16mm copies were used for syndication for a long time, until distribution via tape became viable. Most stations could not handle 35mm film, which required fireproof facilities the same as theaters due to the use of nitrate film for 35mm. 16 mm was normally printed on acetate "safety" film.
16mm stock survived in television production for quite some time. Kodak made a big deal about their new Primetime 640T 'teleproduction' film in the late 1990s. Everything I've heard about it was less than complementary however, and it didn't survive too long...

I also know for a fact that Sex and the City, Malcom in the Middle, Monk, and a handful of episodes of Will and Grace were shot on 16mm. That would all be early to mid 2000s.
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  #20  
Old 06-05-2018, 11:44 PM
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The use of 16mm in the 2000s must have been a happy combination of cheapness and a preference for the grainy image look. (Or, of course, it could have simply been cheapness in some cases.)
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  #21  
Old 06-06-2018, 11:42 AM
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The use of 16mm in the 2000s must have been a happy combination of cheapness and a preference for the grainy image look. (Or, of course, it could have simply been cheapness in some cases.)
16mm film can look really good, lots of movies have been filmed in 16mm and look very good on the big screen... it's of course not 35mm, but it is darn good. I don't think anyone could tell the difference between 35mm and 16mm on a conventional NTSC TV screen (especially the old ones we collect), unless it's a really fast film which is overly grainy. In the hands of a pro though, that condition would only happen intentionally, or due to an extreme low budget which didn't permit proper lighting. For projection I've heard 10-12 feet as the approximate screen size where it's a good idea to move to 35mm from 16mm.

I have a collection of 16mm movies, and when it's a good one, and not a crappy reduction or contact print, it looks just as sharp on my 120" screen as my video projector does. Of course the lens quality plays quite a role too, one of my lenses tends to have poor focus around the edges of the screen, but the one I usually use (a Graflex) is nice and sharp. With most films, I don't really see visible grain, such as you would with 8mm home movies. Of course, there's plenty of other defects with used films, like scratches, specs of dirt, or poor registration due to worn sprockets - but I expect that's because I'm using a restored 70 year old projector and heavily used films, in a production environment those problems wouldn't really exist.

All things considered, it's pretty amazing that the first home movie format, from the 1920s, lasted so long as a viable product! Not so long from now, 16mm will be 100 years old!

The optical sound on the other hand, is not so good, but that's never used in film production.
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  #22  
Old 06-06-2018, 06:45 PM
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Agree that 16mm can look really good. The average image, though, would introduce some degradation to analog TV pictures compared to live pickup, especially with the early vidicon film pickup gear, which had poor dynamic range compared to today.

With the usual (not best) film quality, analog TV and 16mm film contributed about equally to overall image quality loss. 35mm source (or carefully transferred high quality 16mm), with a modern flying spot or CCD telecine, could be essentially transparent to the analog TV system, until the image moved and 3:2 pull-down effects became visible.

Part of this was explained in a classic series of papers by Otto Schade at RCA, who noted that film has a frequncy response limit that is higher than video, but rolls off continuously over the whole range; while video has a more constant frequency response up to its bandwidth limit, and then cuts off more sharply. When you cascade these two systems, you get a response that rolls off gradually at first and then abruptly. The eye can see the difference between these three cases, and the cascade is generally judged to be worse than either individual system. Schade invented the concept of a numerical calculation of "just noticeable differences" (JNDs) to come up with a single number for each case to compare the individual and combined degradations.
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  #23  
Old 06-07-2018, 09:16 AM
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The very same Otto Schade from RCA who published the paper introducing the 6L6 to the world, in 1938? If that paper is anything to go on, I'm sure his later work on TV is great too.

I think it may be interesting to read his papers, I am going to check American radio history, they have a huge archive of almost everything. Were they in RCA Review?
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  #24  
Old 06-07-2018, 01:07 PM
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I can't get to my desktop to verify but I think Rca or maybe also SMPTE. A 1975 reprint is available on Amazon. Image Quality: A Comparison...
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  #25  
Old 06-07-2018, 03:01 PM
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found it, got my bed time reading figured out tonight!

https://www.americanradiohistory.com...w-1948-Dec.pdf
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  #26  
Old 06-07-2018, 05:43 PM
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Good. Do you have access to parts I - III also?
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  #27  
Old 06-07-2018, 06:00 PM
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Schade received the first SMPTE David Sarnoff gold medal (sponsored by RCA, now by SRI).


1951
Otto H. Schade
For his outstanding accomplishments in the fields of television and motion picture science and engineering, in outlining the potentialities of television and film systems as to fidelity of photography and reproduction of images.

www.smpte.org/about/awards-programs/sarnoff
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  #28  
Old 06-07-2018, 06:59 PM
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I went back to the papers online, and the reprint on Amazon is a separate later paper with references to later pickup tubes and numerous example images as well. The 4 original papers plus the publication on Amazon and some others along the way could give you bedtime reading for months.
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  #29  
Old 06-07-2018, 07:02 PM
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The related topic in film technology is MTF - modulation transfer function.
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  #30  
Old 06-07-2018, 09:13 PM
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Good. Do you have access to parts I - III also?
I think so, RCA Review is all online and searchable at American radio history. This is a pretty interesting topic, I can see why Schade won the gold medal. I'm sure he probably had plenty of uncredited people working for him too, as is usually the case.
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