Improving Beatles 1 videos
|Penny Lane – colour improvement|
Whenever Apple/The Beatles are releasing new products for the home video market, Beatles video collectors are going to complain about some of the production decisions. This holds true for all the Beatles movies, including the recent blu-ray releases which are the current versions, and also for the recent Beatles 1 and 1+ video compilations.
One example is the Penny Lane video. The two main sources of the film is a two inch video tape made for The Hollywood Palace screening of the film in 1967 in USA, and a badly faded Ektachrome dub which the two inch tape was made from. Both these copies of the film were saved by one, now deceased, member of the production team of The Hollywood Palace television show. The two inch tape was the version used for the Anthology TV/Video/DVD series, and also distributed to television companies for screening on music video programmes. It had vivid colours, but was not up to scratch in the resolution department when the video was slated for inclusion on the Beatles 1 blu-ray. So they went to the other source, the 35mm colour positive film. Unfortunately, time had taken it’s toll on that film, and the colours were badly faded. The production team took some measures to restore the colours, but they were still quite more dull than the previous, video-sourced version.
In steps the afore mentioned Beatles video collectors. Some of these are professionals when it comes to video restoration, and a new version is circulating which is a clear improvement on the version shown on the Beatles 1 blu-ray. What the restorers have been able to do, is take the colour information from the video source and apply it to the Beatles 1 version.
Unfortunately, the video source was cropped smaller than the Beatles 1 version, so the edges of the film still has the duller colours of that version. As you’ll recall from our earlier review of the new version Penny Lane, some short scenes from an outtake reel had been spliced into the film. These scenes have been kept, because they did not have any colour fading issues.
Another problem with the official Beatles 1 and 1+ release was that certain videos had been transferred at the wrong frame rate. On the first disc, all are 29.970fps except the following are 23.976:
Eight Days a Week
I Feel Fine
Let It Be
The Long and Winding Road
Ticket To Ride
I Feel Fine
We Can Work It Out
On the second disc, all are 29.970fps except the following, which are 23.976:
A Day In The Life
Day Tripper 3 (Ringo sawing)
Hello Goodbye 3 (the fun one)
I Feel Fine 2 (eating fish & chips)
Strawberry Fields Forever
We Can Work It Out 2 (Paul laughing hysterically at the end)
So it looks as though they had deinterlaced all the 65 Intertel videos and slowed them down to 24fps. This did of course cause problems with these videos, with jittering and other unwanted effects. Then along came the iTunes Beatles 1+ version, where all frame rates were 25fps. So half the clips look better than the blu-ray, whereas the other half look worse. This lead to high end Beatles video collectors having to create their own Beatles 1 and 1+, by substituting the offending tracks from the physical release with their iTunes counterparts. Once again, Apple had released a product with flaws, making the diehard video collectors having to take matters into their own hands, to improve upon the commercial release.