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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old May 20th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #1
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NTSC color - 60's era

Dept. of completely irrelevant endeavors:

I recently took a long stare at my old Lasedisc collection which hadn't been touched in years back when my old player died....

Off to eBay to pick up a player for a song...cool...hey - let's try a dub to DVD just for sh*ts and grins!

I picked one of the Startrek original series laserdiscs to play with. Heck, I saw these shows first run as a tot at Grandma's house - in color! It was a treat since all we had at home was a ten year old whop-it-on-the-side-to-get-it-to-work B&W tv at home.

Uh oh. Boy did I open a can worms.

Over saturated! Then I noticed it - this botchy random color splotching. Not your garden variety dot crawl intermodulation (easily fixed with a comb), but big *hairy* splotching.

So I'm wondering what some old-timers out there might think.

I did some googling and did catch that NTSC color was a bit of a problem in the 60's, and color primaries changed at some point toward briteness... but it couldn't have been that bad, eh?


If you go in and do a little color correction on the old star trek episode, say fix up the contrast a bit to compensate for the overbriteness - *bam* - it just get WORSE!

Anyway - it's a laserdic and so it's composite video and probably mastered right off the original 2" VTR tapes.

I took a look at the laserdisc jacket - wow - it's even noticeable in the images on the jacket.


So I found that CBS is putting out a re-mastered set on blu-ray. It's intercut with with new material, hmmm, but yep, splotchiness still there.

The problem in the original NTSC signal seems to be, in my *unscientific* guess, is sort of cliping in b and g channels - rather than luminance as a separate entity. Like maybe they over drove those channels in to ciipping and then brought up the red channles to balance it. The result is that pinkish-look pastel skin tone and reds looking to go neon that you see.

40 years ago nobody cared (bet it looked better on CRT's made then) - but today it just stands out.

Anyway - wondered if anyone ever really dealt with this. Obivously - the star trek original-series-re-master folks *had* to. If they were working with newly re-telecined film (using today's equipment), I doubt they'd have these problems. (I suppose there is no film master?) Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree?

Anyway the re-master seems to have fixed most splotching in dark starry scenes by thresholding blacks - but neutral scenes pretty much are at mercy as contrast fixing make it stand out. At lot of times they went for it - and to hell with the increase in color splotching - even after rebalancing reds. Tough decison - damned if you do and damned if you don't. You can see their image comparisons at statrek.com.

Anyway - a good look at the fade in of the old Gulf+Western/Paramount logo at the very end is a good way to manipulate and examine the splotch phenom. The logo is/should be yellow. As it fades in - the reds come up (like a *week* early) so that at the lowest noticeably illumated frame the logo looks *red*. Even better - look at the logo all faded in at a later frame and select a range of yellow in the color corrector (I'm using Vegas here, i.e.) and turn it into a mask. Tweak the color ranges and hues to see the effect even more dramatically.

Gene Gajewski is offline   Reply

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