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legacy transfers

I'd never seen _Spinal Tap_ so surrendered to the temptation to buy it
when the DVD was released recently.  For so long I'd heard so many
jokes from the film that I'd become familiar, vicariously, with many
of the scenes..  Festival at Isle of Lucy, indeed.  

One comes to DVD with an expectation of high quality, and in this I
was very disappointed.  The artifacts of a decade-old film transfer
were extremely obvious: video noise, phosphor patterning, tube dirt,
horizontal weave, ringing (afterglow problem?), lack of resolution,
lack of color separation.  At times I wished I didn't have DVD's
advantages over VHS: tape would have masked some of these problems.
Yet this was a letterbox transfer; probably this DVD was struck from
the transfer done originally for laserdisc?

I enjoyed the film very much but certainly not the transfer, and
wondered if it is common practice to use the original (shall I call it
legacy, as is used in computer apps) film transfer when mastering a
DVD of an older film?  Whose decision would that be, and whose
influence could be brought to effect a retransfer?

For years I've been thinking that the emergence of new video formats
would bring a new economics to telecine transfer, as so many older
films would need to be rerecorded.  But if they're not to be
retransferred for DVD, will they indeed be recorrected for HD?  

The sound on this DVD was remastered for Dolby Surround by Ted Hall at
POP Sound, not sure when that was done but the audio is excellent
(though I heard it only in plain stereo).

The _Spinal Tap_ DVD has a paragraph in the liner notes "About the
Transfer" (perhaps this was a source of pride, back in 1985 or so).
It was done at Modern Videofilm by Gregg Garvin, supervised by Maria
Palazzola.  I'm sure Gregg would be happy to approach this film again
with more modern equipment.

--Rob Lingelbach
FWC Dallas

Rob Lingelbach     | "I would give nothing for that man's religion
rob at alegria.com    |  whose very dog and cat are not the better for it."
www.alegria.com      --Rowland Hill, "Village Dialogues", via A. Lincoln

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