View Full Version : Old Shows

05-17-2004, 02:36 PM
I have a question for the veterans out there:

I have noticed that old television shows and movies, particularly from the 70s and early 80s, have a distinct look to them when viewed on a modern TV. i.e., the colors are generally dark and de-saturated, at least compared to most of today's shows. It seems to me that you can look at a single frame from one of these shows and tell that it is an older show.

Is this because of aging of the video tape (or film), or were color processing and correction standards different then (being photo-chemical as opposed to digital), or perhaps it was a stylistic thing in that time period?

Most of these shows were on when I was a kid, so other than knowing what shows I watched, I'm not very familiar with production techniques around that time.

Examples of shows:

Emergency, Adam-12, the Mod Squad, Six Million Dollar Man, etc.

Also, from the 80s, Hill Street Blues (although I wonder if this was more stylistic videography) and St. Elsewhere.

I also have the original Shaft on DVD, and aside from being a bad moth-, hush yo mouth!, the film also exhibits the characteristics that I'm talking about. Of course, this was a lower budget film than a lot of contemporaries. But, Enter the Dragon, which was a relatively high budget film, also has that same look.

In contrast, I have a DVD of Jimi Hendrix from a European TV show, (circa 1968) shot in B&W, that is incredibly sharp. Does B&W tape just age better?

Does anybody know what I'm talking about, or have I corrupted my brain with too many cop shows and kung-fu?

BTW, Sci-Fi channel is currently playing original Incredible Hulk episodes.

05-17-2004, 03:02 PM
...the first thing I noticed about all the shows mentioned was the fact that they were PROBABLY (not sure about somethine like St. Elsewhere) shot and completely edited on film. I'm not sure how much of a difference that would make on the look, but it might be a factor. I would think most shows from the late 80's (not sure) onward, shot on film, were first transfered to video tape for editing. They may have gone through some tweaking before hitting the oxide.

I'm sure film stocks have also gotten much better through the years vs. those of the 70's and 80's.

just a thought....