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30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?

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Nick Griffin
30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 1, 2010 at 6:59:42 pm

OK, broadcast pros, maybe somebody can tell me WHAT is going on the last two week's with NBC's "30 Rock." The video looks like mud, like there are no highlights over 80-85 IRE. The whole show has been dingey even though promos and spots run inside it look perfectly fine. To my non-broadcast eye the mud looks like the stuff we saw early on when many shows switched from shooting on film to HD video and didn't quite have it right, especially on low light and low key scenes. But how can this happen to a major show on a major network in 2010? Is there someplace in the post production workflow that could be to blame? Doesn't anybody in Master Control monitor these things? Doesn't Engineering management at NBC watch their own air?


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Mark Suszko
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 1, 2010 at 9:24:42 pm

I love that show and though I don't keep a vectorscope and waveform next to my home TV, my subjective opinion is that I have not seen the effect you are seeing on my ATT Uverse feed to the DVR.

If I might take a guess, it could be something is happening somewhere along your signal chain that's different from mine. The fact gthat commercials seem good but programs levels don't, tends to fit the theory I'm going to fly now:

In my market, I watch TV on an old standard def CRT set. While I could get HD if I paid extra, My 30 Rock comes to me thru the local NBC affiliate station, in SD, which is carried in my basic U-verse package. I notice that this station, which is now HD for their network feeds, is doing a downconvert somewhere as it comes to me, because for a split-second coming out of commercial breaks, I get a flash of a few frames of the resuming show in wide-screen on my non-side TV, then it drops back to SD 4x3 ratio. I *think* that a similar downconvert is happening to your program signal Nick, and something in the box that does that downconvert may have gone off-spec. Since the mystery box doesn't touch the commercials, just the actual program feed, I have to guess that it is something at your cable company's MC room, or the local affiliate that is feeding you the show.

Of course now you'll blow my carefully constructed theory to hell by saying you get a direct HD feed, right?




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Nick Griffin
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 2, 2010 at 3:26:51 pm

First of all Mark, doesn't everyone have scopes on the living room TV? OK, seriously. (I'm just guessing at the actual IRE level, but that's what it LOOKS like without measuring.)

I don't believe that this is a downconvert issue for a number of reasons. 1) I'm watching in HD. 2) The network's promos which run in the show as well as national spots (not the ones rolled in locally) booth look fine. 3)The shows before (The Office) and after (Marriage Ref) don't have the problem. 4) To summarize points 2 and 3 - the only video which looks bad is that of the episode itself, and 5) While I have little doubt that Comcast, our cable provider, is capable of screwing up many, many things and I've seen what you are describing, I don't think that's the case here.

Not having worked in and around broadcast in years, I am unfamiliar with how material is moved from LA to New York these days, or if it even still is. But in the olden days believe most shows I were sent via analog satellite to the networks in New York where they were played out to the affiliates at the scheduled times.

Taking that forward is it possible that at least two 30 Rock episodes were transferred West to East to an improperly set-up receiving server? Is it possible for one of the big 4 to have such a stupid error get through without being caught?


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Mark Suszko
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 2, 2010 at 4:20:46 pm

If that was the case, more people than you would have been complaining, I think. Let's see what happens next Thursday, that gives you time to hook up the scopes:-)


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Nick Griffin
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 2, 2010 at 4:25:41 pm

[Mark Suszko] "more people than you would have been complaining, I think."

Or, as is the case with oh so many other things, most people are oblivious to crap when kept to moderate levels. (Especially certain clients. Doh!! Did I say that online?)


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Chuck Pullen
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 3, 2010 at 1:39:41 pm

I'd like to add my own two cents/hearsay to your question. If you are living in a major market in which the affiliate is an O&O, they are all run out of Atlanta by...(Crawford Communications?) Anyway from what I hear I wouldn't trust them to pump gas let alone monitor network affiliates in multiple major markets. Welcome to the new world folks, trust me when I say it will get much worse when Comcast takes over. Every break on every NBC station will get hacked up like they do with local add insertion on cable :(


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Mark Suszko
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 3, 2010 at 2:18:45 pm

Broadcast deregulation was a huge mistake.


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Robert Nichol
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on Jun 10, 2011 at 3:28:32 am

For many episodes we have noticed the same thing. I DO have a waveform monitor in my house (Tektronix 528A), but haven't been interested enough to check out 30 Rock with it. However, the show definately has low density, weak contrast and a muddy image - as if it is produced at a less than typical IRE level. I have always assumed that it is an artistic choice of someone in the director of photography office, but I cannot imagine why they would make such a strange choice for the "look" of the show. From what I have observed, it is about the same matter in both HD and SD. We are on Comcast cable and usually watch the show in HD.


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grinner hester
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 3:21:29 am

at the risk of sounding old, back in my day, networks demanded masters on etched in stone formats that ran through QC and got rejected if they missed one spec. Now folks are FTPin' freakin QTs galore and interns are on the receiving end, "QC"ing as they talk on their dang iphones and update their freakin' facebook status. Next stop is indeed air. Hence all the hooha we see now from washed out 30rock to the interlaced national spots that pay for it.

fooey, I say!




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Nick Griffin
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 10:41:04 am

Yea! And you kids get of my lawn!

C'mon. No answers guys?


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Alan Lloyd
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 12:21:47 pm

Problem is, Nick, there are too many thumbprints on this one to give you a better answer.


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Chuck Pullen
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 1:43:30 pm

Agreed, I often see misspellings and incorrect grammar on network level programming at home and I think about how many eyes "should" have seen that mistake from production, to ingest, QC, air control etc... and yet it made it all the way into my home.

I remember being in air control a couple of years ago and the banner for the movie "Superman III" read, something like "stupermand III" I called the network at the beginning of each segment when I saw it, and they didn't pull it until the end of the movie!

One of my other favorites is a "Solo flex Tread-climber" long form program that has aired on many stations all over the country for several years now. About half way through there is a 3 to 4 second "Media Missing" slate from Final Cut. I caught this one day and brought it to my network's attention, yet you will still occasionally see the same program airing to this day with that slate!


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grinner hester
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 10:35:22 pm

It's funny.
Free emal services have spell check but not high end NLEs.
wtf?
lol



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Mark Suszko
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 11:30:34 pm

Grinner, dude; of all the people to bring that up... you??? Really??? :-)


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grinner hester
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on May 4, 2010 at 10:34:13 pm

no really... that's my answer. Modern technology and lack of QC is what you're seeing at home.



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Kenneth Bernard
Re: 30 Rock/ NBC - what's going on?
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:05:01 pm

Nick

I don't know if these other people are blind or what. There is definitely a problem with the video on 30 Rock. It definitely looks washed out and muddy. Maybe it has something to do with HD,--I do not have a HDTV but on a regular box it looks horrible. Almost unwatchable.

Ken


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