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  • O.T. Question for Walter on “Good Eats”

    Posted by Tom Matthies on December 5, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Walter.
    Can you explain a little about how the show “Good Eats” is shot and edited. I recently caught an episode on the Food Network and was a bit surprised at how “soft” it looked. I’m wondering if it’s a victim of DirecTV’s compression or what? It would appear from your discription that it’s shot and edited in HD. I would expect it to look a bit crisper when it airs.
    I’m viewing it thru a Samsung DirecTV receiver, upconverted to 1080i and going to an HD monitor via DVI connections. What’s happening to your fine work as it’s transmitted?
    Tom

    Walter Biscardi replied 18 years, 2 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • David Roth weiss

    December 5, 2005 at 5:32 pm

    Tom,

    Good Eats certainly looks good in SD on a SD TV…

    Its amazing, but the differences you encounter when watching SD on an HD TV are vast. Some channels look great, some look horrrible. Some shows on a particular channel look great while others on the same channel look terrible. Then there are the ones that look almost as good as HD when in close-up, only to turn to complete crap when cutting or zooming to a wide shot. It like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get…

    DRW

  • Mark Suszko

    December 5, 2005 at 9:34 pm

    I have to say, the current season doesn’t look as good to me as earlier ones. I see them on a crummy SD set on an analog basic cable setup. The “crispness” is missing from this season’s “look”. The excellent lighting and innovative camera angles, crisp and witty dialog, and staging of the action are all still great, but everything has this down-converted pseudo-film-plugin look to it that disagrees with me.

    If they are using 24 p and/or filmlook effects on the footage, I think they are subconsciously sending the wrong message to viewers. Bare old nasty SD at traditional frame rate has a feeling of intimacy and immediacy that, to my mind, really puts me right in there in the kitchen with Alton. The filmic look adds a psychological “distance” to what I view; like movies, it’s cuing me on a subconcious level that this is fictional programming. This has the effect of making me sit back from the TV and disengage somewhat: the whole ting feels more abstract and less immediate now.

    Look at Iron Chef on the same network: there you have a mix of the styles: the immediacy of the handheld SD-looking cameras with traditional frame rates, and then look over the background/biographical/documentary segments, those have the filmic, distant quality, a temporal artifact.

    Me: I wish Alton would take the show back to at least a 30 fps frame rate, I liked it better then.

  • Walter Biscardi

    December 5, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Tom!

    The shows are still being broadcast in SD. I don’t have any information on the rollout of the HD service, but we’re cutting and delivering HD Masters of the show beginning with this season. What you’re seeing at home are the SD versions of the show. Some of the softness is intentional with the film style shooting.

    They were experimenting with some looks on the show as Season 9 got started and have really hit on a nice formula. As with everything else about HD, it’s been a lot of testing and trials with the Varicam to come up with the best look for the show while maintaining a very tight production schedule.

    Walter Biscardi, Jr.
    https://www.biscardicreative.com

    “The Rough Cut,” an original short film premiering December 7th in full High Definition in Atlanta.
    rsvp@biscardicreative.com to reserve seats.
    https://www.theroughcutmovie.com

    Now editing “Good Eats” in HD for the Food Network

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” – Adam Savage, Mythbusters

  • Tom Matthies

    December 6, 2005 at 2:39 pm

    Lots of variables in the industry right now. I was watching the SD version, of course, off of DirecTV and upconverting it thru my receiver. It seems that some shows hold up well in this process and some do not. My local news, viewed by way of their digital channels and upconverted, looks good for the most part however it seems that much of the commercial content played out of their servers looks pretty bad. Anything with a lot or detail or fine titles just falls apart. I don’t know if this is due to higher compression used in their servers, the upconversion that my receiver is doing or some other reason. One of the stations here used to run their spots off of an Avid Air Play system. They had the compression cranked up so high (AVR70) that anything with any detail just fell apart. I remember a spot for a local greenhouse that had some nice shots of plants with a lot of very fine detail in the leaves. when aired on the Air Play, it just turned to mush. I shot the spot so I know what it should have looked like. When I inquired about the loss of quality, their engineering guy told me that they ran the compression up pretty high to get more content onto the drives and to not take up a lot of space. They really didn’t seem to care much that I and the client weren’t at all pleased with what the spot looked like when running on the air. That client doesn’t run their spots on that channel anymore.

    Anyhow, I was just wondering about the show. It seems a bit “mushy” by the time it gets through the process of transmission and comversion and finally onto my screen. It seems that part if it is intentional and part possibly not. Ah, the digital Tower of Babel. Ain’t it wonderful?
    Tom
    PS: It is a fun show to watch!

  • Walter Biscardi

    December 6, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    [Tom Matthies] “Lots of variables in the industry right now. I was watching the SD version, of course, off of DirecTV and upconverting it thru my receiver. It seems that some shows hold up well in this process and some do not.”

    Same here with HDTV service through Cable. Switch between the SD and HD feeds of any Sunday football game and it’s amazing how quickly the field and players fall apart in SD version. Just an overall sense of soft, blurriness on SD except for the closeups.

    Walter Biscardi, Jr.
    https://www.biscardicreative.com

    “The Rough Cut,” an original short film premiering December 7th in full High Definition in Atlanta.
    rsvp@biscardicreative.com to reserve seats.
    https://www.theroughcutmovie.com

    Now editing “Good Eats” in HD for the Food Network

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” – Adam Savage, Mythbusters

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