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BestArchivist15

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5-Apr-2020
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14-Jun-2021
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Post
#1434446
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

JayArgonaut said:

BestArchivist15 said:

I am also wondering if anyone would happen to have a watermarkless version of the episode guest starring Chris Langham from Season 5.

Disney have pulled the episode because Langham is a convicted sex offender who was incarcerated for downloading and watching clips on multiple computers of little girls being raped. You want to preserve and share a pulled TV episode featuring a guest appearance of this man? Do you really not see that this is wrong?

I’m not sure what’s worse: the intent - or the justifications and mental gymnastics (probably whatabouttery citing Polanski) that are bound to ensue.

Mods: if you temp-ban me, fine - but this is messed up on so many levels.

Granted, I know Langham has done some bad things, but there are some moments in the Chris Langham episode of The Muppet Show that don’t have Langham. They are “Friendship”, “Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner”, and “The Gnu”, as well as some backstage scenes.

Post
#1423178
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

jongraeme said:

I’ve encountered someone who has explained a little more of the origins of the different edits. From what I understand:

They first produced a master ‘international’ edit, which runs to about 25m30s. These featured three fades for commercial breaks; one after the opening titles, one mid-show and one just before the end titles. The titles were centred. I am told these should be considered the definitive versions.

From these, a second set of masters were produced that cut a further 2m, reducing the running time to around 23m30s, this was to allow more advertising. These are the ‘short international’ edits, and PAL->NTSC standards converted copies of these were what were originally broadcast in the US.

The ‘UK domestic’ edits were similar in length to the full ‘international’ edits, but with the commercial break fades removed - replacing these with straight cuts, sometimes wipes, sometimes shortening sequences by a few seconds in the process, and occasionally adding brief linking shots to make the transition flow better. These had the left justified credits that included a credit for the guest star.

[There also appear to be a handful of master tapes out there of ‘short UK domestic’ edits, which are the ‘UK domestic’ versions shortened (as per the ‘short international’ edit) to allow an extra couple of minutes of adverts.]

The ‘German domestic’ edits are very close to the full ‘international edits’, but with the opening and closing credits replaced by German language ones. They retain the original ‘international’ cut advert break fades for the most part, and don’t contain the changes made for the ‘UK domestic’ versions. There are a few other changes, an entire extra guest in one episode, a different Waldorf and Statler balcony scene at the end of the Harry Belafonte episode, and possibly other differences.

[There are also other ‘… domestic’ edits in French, possibly Spanish and others, but these have rarely seen the light of day since original broadcast. As with the ‘German domestic’, they are largely based on the ‘international’ cut.]

…. Then Henson acquired the rights and the master tapes. And put together a syndication package. It’s the syndication package that forms the basis of everything that has been seen since.

There is speculation that many of the master tapes had been misplaced at this point, or who knows, it may just be a case of picking up the first tape off the shelf by someone who didn’t know any better. But, the syndication package ended up consisting of approximately 15 ‘uk domestic’ edits, and 105 ‘International’ edits.

[The German market is the only exception, where the episodes are still largely from the original ‘German domestic’ edits. While a bunch of re-mastering work was done for the syndication package, none was done for the German masters, which is why the quality of the German DVDs is not so good]

However, more master tapes than that clearly did survive, as the commercial releases over the years have occasionally thrown in an episode that is not one of the edits that was part of the syndication package.

So, for example, the ‘Season set’ DVDs feature the ‘UK domestic’ cut of the Elton John episode, but the ‘Best of’ DVD sets feature the ‘international’ cut. Most DVD releases of the Charles Aznavour episode feature the ‘International’ cut, but the French DVD used the ‘short UK domestic’ cut.

Another interesting example is the Chris Langham episode, which is one where the syndication package featured the ‘UK domestic’ edit with left-justified titles and edited ad-breaks, and the full ‘international’ edit has never been seen… however the ‘German domestic’ (which should be largely the same as the ‘international cut’) preserves the original ad-break fades… and an extra reaction shot in the ‘shuffling a pack of sausages’ sketch, that would likely be what was seen on the original US broadcast.

… Then, just to complicate things further, Disney acquired the rights and master tapes.

The Disney+ versions appear to be based on the syndication package, which had been extensively cleaned up and remastered for the DVD releases, therefore presenting an eclectic mix of ‘international’ and ‘UK domestic’ edits…

However, there seems to have been a decision to attempt to standardise on the ‘international’ end-credits, as only 4 of the 118 episodes on Disney+ have the ‘UK domestic’ left-justified credits. But rather than switch to the ‘international’ version for the whole episode though, they’ve taken the syndicated ‘UK domestic’ version, and patched on just the titles from the ‘international’ cut, to create a kind of hybrid. (I’m guessing because it avoided more substantial re-mastering of those 11 episodes).

So, from the known high quality sources, approximately 17 episodes are available (or can be reconstructed) of the ‘UK domestic’ versions. 117 (I think) either exist (or can be reconstructed) of the ‘international’ versions.

There are vanishingly few off-airs of any other ‘UK domestic’ cuts beyond that 17 that I’ve been able to find. If they do exist, they’ve largely been pushed out by more recent recordings of the syndication package (likely considered preferable as they would be higher quality).

For anyone interested in more detail… (you’d have to be crazy!), I’m putting together a spreadsheet of episodes, versions, releases, and differences. At least for the stuff I know about.

This sounds interesting.

By the way, I’d like to see the spreadsheet when it’s done.

Post
#1422934
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

thatguamguy said:

“I love The Muppets and TMS, however I’m actually not super familiar with all the changes done to later broadcasts and DVDs.”

The big problem is that there is no single definitive version to start with. From the very beginning, there were two different cuts for every episode. The primary difference is the inclusion of the “UK spot”, but there are other little changes for transitions, generally small adjustments for timing. At least one entire song was reshot. Usually, the shorter US cut has short extensions (from a few frames to a second or two), where the longer UK cut will have extra shots. (Note that the masters for both are still PAL; NTSC conversions were always done to the PAL footage, nothing was shot in NTSC for the show.) At some point, a primary cut was created, and they made the strange choice of combining the two cuts rather than staying pure to either one. They took the US edits and cut the UK spots back into them, creating what would technically be a third official edit, and the one which has become the most commonly circulating.

The end credits are theoretically worth a whole separate discussion; the "UK edit"s have credits which are right-justified where the "US edit"s have credits which are centered. The centered ones block a lot more picture, but (as noted above) have become the standard. Foreign language versions generally have a single end credits which is used for all episodes, even episodes which had “unique” end credits. And the final note played by Zoot (the “Zoot tag”) has been replaced numerous times over the years; there are two original versions (the first two seasons and the other three), both of which have US and UK variants. And then there are five or six episodes which have episode-specific unique “Zoot tags”, none of which have broadcast since sometime around 1981, most of which are not currently circulating. [There are about a half dozen more with unique audio, but the unique audio was retained, only the video was replaced, because of repeatedly replacing the superimposed company credit.)

As far as the DVDs goes, Season 1 has issues no matter where you buy it, but the German release is 98% complete and has the longer “UK edits” (mostly with German language credits). Unfortunately, it also has much worse picture quality than any of the other releases. But it has songs from five or six episodes which were cut from other releases. Season 2 is intact (although the Elton John episode has an extra song), and Season 3 is intact except for a few missing unique Zoot tags.

Actually, the UK edit’s credits were left-justified.

Post
#1422404
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

MrColeslaw said:

BestArchivist15 said:
That looks great! Are you able to provide a link to all the logoless versions of Seasons 4 and 5 episodes available, or at least the logoless version of the Chris Langham episode?

Yep, can definitely do that! Can’t share links publicly bc the site doesn’t allow it but when they’re up I’ll shoot DMs to everyone involved in the thread right now. Fair warning, it may take a few days, the files are pretty large and my internet isn’t stellar haha. They seem to be sitting in prepacked PAL ISOs with menus and chapters so I may just leave them as-is and offer the ISOs if that’s alright? Would probably save me some time in uploading instead of extracting them all from the ISOs (I only have a few extracted as MPEG it seems, but those few are also on the discs). I’d wager there’s a good bunch of episodes in here worth value to a preservation project and it may be easiest to just send everything I have 😃

Yeah, that’d be great. And thanks!

Post
#1422401
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

MrColeslaw said:

I’m not sure if this project is still being worked on at all by anyone, but I have the Chris Langham episode logoless. MPEG format, interlaced, from PAL broadcast so original framerate is intact! Quality isn’t too bad to my eye, but maybe someone else would feel differently. No clue where I picked this file up, had it for a year or two (I also have the rest of season 5 and 4 in the same format, I think all logoless, if needed for said project. All from the Best of DVD sets, the rest from broadcast).

https://imgur.com/a/LUYzoCn

That looks great! Are you able to provide a link to all the logoless versions of Seasons 4 and 5 episodes available, or at least the logoless version of the Chris Langham episode?

Post
#1419848
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

jongraeme said:

I have the unwatermarked LCJ box-set DVD release of the Ann Murray episode with “Dancing on the Ceiling”, audio is in French but the video is the original interlaced PAL.

As noted in a post above, the show was shot on PAL videotape, so the ‘highest quality’ would be that native PAL.

The US Disney+ episodes are interesting; they’ve taken the PAL masters, de-interlaced these, then upscaled to HD, so higher quality than any previous NTSC conversions. They’re also at 23.976fps, rather than the original 25fps. Previous NTSC conversions have done fuzzy field interpolations that significantly reduce the quality of the motion to get to 29.98fps, but preserve the speed. The Disney+ conversions use a technique that is the reverse of the “PAL speedup” usually used to convert 24fps film to 25fps video by speeding the playback up by 4%; they actually slow the speed down by 4%. This avoids motion interpolation artifacts, but means that the episodes play at the wrong speed. To avoid the audio playing at the wrong pitch, they’ve pitch adjusted so that although the speed is wrong, you don’t get pitch lowering.

For my own amusement I’ve had a go replicating the Disney+ workflow, using a motion interpolated de-interlacer, a superres up-scaler, and a pitch-corrected 4% slowdown of the audio and video. Using a combination of the German series 1 box set, the UK series 2 and 3 box sets, the French LCJ box set, and the UK Best of set, I’ve created patches for the Disney+ trimmed material for seasons 1-4, and the complete Brooke Shields episode. Oh, and both versions of the Harvey Korman episode. Not got to S5 yet.

But, again as noted in a post above, the ideal restoration would be in PAL. That’s harder.

I did have a go reversing the Disney+ workflow; slowing the speed by 4%, rescaling to 576p, then using a motion interpolator to re-create the interlacing. It slots nicely back into the PAL material for the one sequence present on the Disney+ episodes that is unavailable on any season 1 DVD, and for the LCJ DVDs of Seasons 4 and 5 episodes that were missing the UK spot. Not tried this for full episodes, but plan to have a go at some point.

I’m curious if you’ve managed to get hold of the PAL DVD releases of the James Coburn, Tony Randall and Marty Feldman, as I know these are not so easy to come by. The NTSC DVD versions of these episodes are a big step down in terms of quality (though do have the soundtracks you’d want). You’d definitely want the PAL ones for the best restoration.

I have reasonably high quality off-airs from Disney Channel PAL broadcasts of the four S5 episodes you mention, a German set with the logo at the top of the screen, and a UK set with the logo at the bottom; for the short musical skits I’m having a go combining these to produce a logo free version that’s 640x480 at 25p. Not the best quality, but the best I’ve been able to find. (And by ‘not the best’, these aren’t as good as PAL DVD quality, but are definitely still better than the NSTC DVD quality of available Muppet Show episodes).

Of course for a true restoration, you’d need the extra Waldorf and Statler scene from the Joel Grey episode, the only copy of that I have is terrible quality, and the final sax note at the end of each episode that are routinely cut from every DVD and broadcast. Those I don’t have many of, and only one of the specially shot ones where the final shot was an episode-related gag. I’d love to see all those properly restored.

Interested to know what your plan is, happy to help where I can.

This sounds great to hear!

By the way, the plan is so I can try and get a preserved and restored edition of all 120 uncut episodes of The Muppet Show.

Also, I don’t own PAL DVD releases of James Coburn, Tony Randall, and/or Marty Feldman. Another thing, the “UK set” with the Disney Channel logo at the bottom is actually from the Australian Disney Channel, meaning it’s an “Australian set”.

Post
#1417580
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

James76 said:

BestArchivist15 said:

James76 said:

Um… the Fox DVD versions upscaled to 1080p with AI software, maybe?

That doesn’t seem right… When did Fox distribute The Muppet Show on DVD?

I don’t remember exactly who released The Muppet Show on DVD. It may have been Jim Henson Video or Disney. IDK.

It was Time-Life Video and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment for the “Best of The Muppet Show” series, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment for the season sets. Disney/Buena Vista never released the last two seasons on DVD.

Post
#1416882
Topic
Help: looking for... The Muppet Show: Watermarkless content
Time

Hey, I have something to discuss, The Muppet Show is now on Disney+, but some songs are cut from some of the episodes due to music rights issues, and two episodes from the fifth season (Brooke Shields, Chris Langham) are missing. I was wondering if anyone would happen to have watermarkless versions of these:
Season 4:
Anne Murray: “Dancing on the Ceiling”
Season 5:
Hal Linden: “If I Ruled the World”
Wally Boag: “The Ying Tong Song”
Buddy Rich: UK Spot “A Transport of Delight”

I am also wondering if anyone would happen to have a watermarkless version of the episode guest starring Chris Langham from Season 5.

The reason I made this thread is so I can try and preserve the entirety of The Muppet Show in high quality. If anyone has what I’m looking for listed above, please let me know.