If you were planning to order this DVD set, hold off; there’s a problem with it.
Instead of the promised widescreen remastering, the discs contain stretched and distorted ‘fullscreen’ images of very poor quality.
Even at 4:3 the transfer is pretty awful. My set’s going back, pronto.
I’ve emailed the distributor and I’ll pass on whatever I find out.
It’s not looking good. The distributor seems to think that the quality’s acceptable and calls it a ‘multi-aspect ratio transfer’ – which means that it’s a 4:3 that’ll distort itself to fit whatever TV screen you show it on.
Disappointing, perplexing… I have to say, don’t touch it. It looks awful.
2 responses to “Murder Rooms: The Ultimate Collection”
Thanks for the warning. As it happens I was looking at it today. Now I will definitely wait…
I like the way the distributor confirms that the set is 16:9 and then you buy it to find it's 4:3. It's not unknown for DVD producers to use the wrong tapes though – the 'Steptoe and Son' Christmas '73 and '74 shows in the DVD boxset are severely curtailed versions due to this reason. The sad thing is, I used to have the full versions on VHS!
It's such a shame that the BBC doesn't consider 16mm as material suitable for HD. If you have Sky HD, take a look at some of the transfers of the Brett 'Sherlock Holmes' or 'Poirot' on ITV3 HD – the results are superb. Recent improvements in grain reduction means you can still attain the film look without the grain burning your eyes out in HD. Add to this the fact that 'Murder Rooms' was shot quite a bit later than these shows (only 'Memoirs' was shot Super16) and probably on finer stock, and you'd get a great result from an HD transfer.
I think if the Beeb wants to exploit it's back catalogue in HD (Edge Of darkness, Miss Marple etc), it'll need to review it's policy.