Scrambling in a red alert situation, a new record time…

…two months and nine days. That’s roughly the time elapsed between the frame-rate problem on the Blurays first being noticed and today’s TOS update, which represents the first time that the controversy has been acknowledged by an official Red Dwarf source. Snark aside, there are a million reasons why things like this take a while to get addressed – they have to wait for the manufacturers to investigate and put solutions in place before they go steaming in – but even so, it’s been a long wait.

There’s not a great deal of new information since the BBC finally got their arses into gear about this just under a month ago, but it’s nice to see confirmation that such a dramatic change to the source material was never the intention of the boxset. An apology might have been an idea, mind. The word “sorry” does at least feature in the BBC’s response quoted in the article, which is a slightly more official-sounding version of the email that was previously sent to complaining customers. The crux of the message is this bit:

Details of how to obtain your replacement can be obtained by e-mailing BBC Studios customer support line at DVDSupport@bbc.com

If you have already purchased the set and wish to replace the two faulty discs, you can do so at the address above; while we understand that replacement pressings of copies still in shops will be issued as soon as possible.

Good and interesting news that rogue copies in the wild will indeed be replaced. Spare a thought for the poor bugger who has to organise that.

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70 Responses to Scrambling in a red alert situation, a new record time…

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  1. while we understand that replacement pressings of copies still in shops will be issued as soon as possible

    That’s good to know … at some point I might grab this set again then

  2. Whether or not that means that the initial run of discs may become a collector’s item, well, that’s another question…

    Here’s the answer: no.

  3. certainly not in line with the intent of the Blu-ray set to provide the highest-quality version of Red Dwarf possible while retaining true to the look and feel of the original broadcasts.

    Have we found out yet how cropping some of them and washing out John Pomphrey’s lighting is in line with the intent of the Blu-ray set to provide the highest-quality version of Red Dwarf possible while retaining true to the look and feel of the original broadcasts?

  4. Its a bit of a shame we didn’t complain about more of the problems with the boxset really. Not that I’d have expected everything to be changed, but just to highlight the flaws we see in it. The framerate issue definitely was top of the list of things that needed fixing, that was something that was fundamentally broken. But thing like the lighting, cropping, ‘thanks for the memories etc’ … would have been interesting to see a response to that had enough people said something.

  5. Its a bit of a shame we didn’t complain about more of the problems with the boxset really. Not that I’d have expected everything to be changed, but just to highlight the flaws we see in it. The framerate issue definitely was top of the list of things that needed fixing, that was something that was fundamentally broken. But thing like the lighting, cropping, ‘thanks for the memories etc’ … would have been interesting to see a response to that had enough people said something.

    There are typos/grammar issues on the back of the box that people noticed a month or so before it came out and they didn’t do anything about it. Same for the Red Dwarf being drawn by someone who only had a low quality jpg from the late 90s as reference. When it comes to things like that they wouldn’t have recalled it if the front of the box said Hyperdrive on it instead of Red Dwarf.

  6. I would have been encouraging people to complain about the pointless cropping as soon as possible had I known it was there. It’s something you probably wouldn’t immediately notice watching the Blu-ray by itself, but a side by side comparison makes it incredibly obvious. It’s kind of hilarious that this version remastered specifically for high definition televisions is technically working with less resolution than the DVD.

    Wait, did I say hilarious? What I meant was fucking pathetic.

    It’s not even that the cropping is as big a deal as the deinterlacing, but it’s just such a completely pointless thing to do. Yet, just about every time something SD is reformatted for HD there’s cropping going on.

    I had to buy the UK Blu-Ray of Nosferatu because the Kino edition was not only cropped on all four sides in a similar manner and missing the tinting on the version with English intertitles – which was a fucking entirely separate copy of the film requiring two discs when it could have been done on one disc with branching – but it deleted _every seventh frame_ in some amateurishly clumsy attempt to get the film to display correctly at 24 fps. None of these problems are present in the UK Blu-ray, and it pains me to no end that silent masterpieces are being so poorly transferred into high definition. I don’t have to say “imagine if Red Dwarf had its framerate lowered” because that’s basically exactly what happened.

    These are essentially the master copies of these films now. There is no excuse for the use of destructive editing. Your mission is to create the best possible presentation of this film as it exists. Any destructive alteration of the presentation is frankly an insult to the people who poured their heart and soul into making visually beautiful movies. Limited additive alterations like cleaning particles and tears on the film in an attempt to restore rather than change can be very positive.

    I’m not gonna off on a tangent on excessive DNR, but it’s worth mentioning here as a destructive remastering process that’s constantly used to excess. I love me a nice warm grain that’s not aggressive, but I’ll live with a grainy picture if the alternative looks like somebody slapped the Photoshop “oil painting” filter over it.

    And of course, if you have cable or whatever, it’s near impossible to watch a show made in fullscreen without it being cropped into 16:9 for absolutely no fucking reason other than because executives think people are idiots who can’t handle pillarboxing. The vector-traced cropped and stretched classic Simpsons episodes on FXX are hideously ugly, far inferior the weak early 2000s DVD encoding they were released.

    But I can at least _understand_ the idea of cropping a show to fit the TV screen. What I don’t understand is why you would crop a fullscreen video on all four sides to display it in the same format it was already in. What the fuck does that accomplish? Why does my fucking amateur abridged series of a Sonic the Hedgehog anime do a better job of nondestructive upscaling than these official remastering projects run by professionals?

    It’s not even a matter of that missing area around the edge being a major interference with watching the episodes, although it does by nature lower the quality it could have achieved, but it’s the idea that what is meant to be the master copy of these episodes, the best possible way to view them, is missing a non-negligible amount of the picture. Once it clicked in how head how cropped these were, I could not help but feel the sense that what I am watching is framed too tightly. It’s a feeling I always get watching stuff that’s cropped more than negligibly where everything seems just a bit too tight, too close, and it feels off. It’s not unwatchable, but it feels “wrong” to me. It’s much the same feeling I get from watching the deinterlaced episodes (I downloaded some of them for a sneak peak, and every episode came pre-deinterlaced anyway. Anyone familiar with video online will know that framerates above 25p basically do not exist on the internet – outside 60 on certain platforms like YouTube).

    That Only the Good fanedit “Every Dog” is a good edit, but at the same time the 16:9 cropping is just…stupid. I have no other word for it. When Rimmer’s entire head ends up out of frame when standing next to Hollister’s bed, you’ve cropped too much. And double points for not just reframing the shot, which it could have been easily.

    It’s not 2000, and you’re not watching a widescreen movie on a 10 inch CRT where it’s way too small and you’d prefer pan and scan so you can make everything our. Our TVs have evolved beyond the point where we need to crop anything to see it better. Cropping of any kind of a finished product out of its intended format is a destructive practice that accomplishes nothing but pacifying whiny fucks who shit their pants when there are black bars on the screen. And I don’t think those people exist nearly to the degree they used to when viewing theatrical aspect ratios (i.e. 2.25/1) on a 4:3 TV, which could be uncomfortably small on anything less than a big TV. 4:3 on a 16:9 TV also has far less blank space than theatrical aspect ratios on 4:3, and TVs are on average way bigger than they used to be too.

    And, again, Red Dwarf got cropped despite being presented in the same aspect ratio it was already in. There’s zero functional value to doing that. If you want to just lose the little bit of weirdness that goes on the left and right edges of older SD productions, that only requires an extremely negligible crop. This is hardly that.

    I feel like I need to apologize for the length of this post, but as a videophile I am incredibly passionate about wanting media to be presented in the best possible quality. The age we live in is absolutely full of destructive editing practices that can make it impossible to view something in high definition without some sort of destructive tampering going on. With Star Wars, the current best legal copies of the unaltered OT are LaserDiscs, which are probably around DVD quality or at least at the same resolution. I’m positive there’s some sort of contract forbidding the unaltered OT from being released because I can’t believe Disney wouldn’t jump at such a license to print money. That’s really the best possible example of what I’m talking about here. Imagine in the Remastered series I-III of Red Dwarf got the DVD release and the originals were relegated to VHS – but even then that’s easier to find and watch than a Laserdisc.

    I’m going to stop now because I could easily keep going.

  7. I feel like I need to apologize for the length of this post

    You should have cropped it.

  8. They killed any enthusiasm I had for buying this the first time round. If these end up being definitive and become the go-to version for streaming platforms, I will not be amused. I don’t feel like anything was learned from Remastered and that was over 20 years ago.

  9. I’m not a fan of the faux naif way that “de-interlacing” and “motion blur” are mentioned there through distancing quote marks as though they’re Rowan Atkinson’s Aleebee judge questioning “a digital… watch?” Shades of ‘don’t worry guys, us normal people won’t notice’. You can’t cock a snook at people who notice the details when the whole set is a giant exercise in “this is a 14B…” anyway. It’s a surreal battle between a placebo-effect maximisation of essentially negligible picture improvements and a damage limitation exercise against serious and major picture faults. The whole enterprise continues to smell faintly of gaslight.

    (Also, it’s not motion blur anyway. The frame and motion integrity is unaffected for the fields that made it to the HD master, but the temporal resolution has been halved.)

  10. No mention of the guys going out for a curry? I would generally just HOPE that such a thing would mean that we’re getting closer to a XIII announcement but the fact that TOS reported on such a non-event makes me feel, for the first time in a while, that more Dwarf is definitely on its way.

  11. they wouldn’t have recalled it if the front of the box said Hyperdrive on it instead of Red Dwarf.

    The Hyperdrive boxset is okay, actually.

    Mind you, I got mine for free.

  12. Yeah, it is really tacky the way they phrase it to minimize the issue, with those quotations marks around “de-interlacing” treating it as some obscure videophile term and not them accidentally chopping the temporal resolution in half and not noticing. It’s all got an air of “this a minor issue that only obsessives are capable of noticing in the first place.” Anyone who couldn’t side by side tell the difference between 25p and 50i shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

  13. G&T Admin

    I think you’re reading too much into the choice to use quotation marks around technical terms. I know I’m biased, but I’ll always give the writer of those TOS pieces the benefit of the doubt, more so than the company that employs him in truth.

    No mention of the guys going out for a curry?

    I considered doing an article on it, but the leap from “five men who’ve known each other for over thirty years meet up for a meal” to “a new series is imminent” was a bit much. They meet up at least once or twice a year, we should be on Series LVI by now.

  14. I know, I know… But it really does read wrong. It parses quite passive aggressively.

  15. Well.. let’s thank our fucky stars that we didn’t get the same treatment Buffy has had in HD. THAT is an abomination of biblical proportions.

  16. I considered doing an article on it, but the leap from “five men who’ve known each other for over thirty years meet up for a meal” to “a new series is imminent” was a bit much. They meet up at least once or twice a year, we should be on Series LVI by now.

    Agreed that the event in and of itself is nothing too notable. A TOS article inviting us to speculate about what it could mean though seems a bit more promising. Then again maybe Seb just had nothing else to write about.

  17. I mean.

    “We’re none the wiser about what it all means, but it’s always nice to see the Red Dwarf gang together… maybe they’ll have something to tell us about it all soon?”

    They’re telegraphing pretty hard that _something_ is coming. Also I want Indian food. I know I already had it 20 days ago for my birthday, but I’m addicted to naan.

  18. Blu-Ray – So do we know if they are going to physically replace the faulty discs for the currently issued sets or is it just a guessing game know and you hope it’s the revised edition, or would it pay to wait a few months til the reissues should (theoretically) be out in the main stream shops?

    5 Men and a Lotta Curry – my incling now would be a there was a tiny hint of possible news, that we may hear it near or just after Easter, on the 10th Anniversary of Back To Earth, as it marks 10 years of the Dave era Red Dwarf.

  19. You can buy the Blu-Ray set as it is now and they’ll send you the replacement discs when they’re ready, for free, so long as you register your details with the BBC’s email address for DVD issues. That’s probably the best way to ensure you get the corrected version.

  20. Oh, for the days of The Twilight Zone Blu-Rays. They were exactly how to present a classic TV series on Blu-Ray. I’m still amazed at how stunning and packed full they are.

  21. No, not yet.

  22. So what form of proof of purchase are people submitting then? Photo of bank statement? Screenshot of Amazon email? Short video of themselves spinning a faulty disc on one finger like a Harlem Globetrotter, while holding up a sign that says “You cocked this one up” in the other hand?

  23. Forwarding an email receipt that included my address seemed to be enough for me.

  24. I emailed them screenshots of my Amazon order and haven’t heard back so I assume all is good and just have to wait and see what happens

  25. It was the end of February when people started getting the emails. They estimated six weeks and that is this week. Hopefully people start to receive the discs in the next week or two. Would rather they take longer to ensure they do it right than rush out the replacements.

    If anybody still hasn’t got this set, it is currently £20 for the rest of today on chili.com (the 50% discount coupon automatically applies when you go to purchase). The website does look dodgy because of the fucked up layout to emphasise streaming but it is legit. Got 6 cheap Blu-Rays from there over the past week. Dead Poets Society for £2.74 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for £3.19 were lovely bargains.

  26. It’ll be another 3-4 weeks till the discs are ready to ship according to a reply somebody on the Blu-Ray.com forum received.

  27. Just in time for the 32nd anniversary!

  28. To the memory of the memory of Thanks for the Memories.

  29. When the dust has settled on this I’d love it if someone could tell me where I can get a fixed set ready to play on a US Blu Ray player (I heard on Twitter it’s region free but knowing my luck the fixed discs won’t be).

  30. After not getting any answer to my original email to DVD Support, I sent another (slightly stroppy) one over the weekend and got a reply today – which states 3-4 weeks for the replacement discs to SHOW UP and then even longer for them to actually get sent out. I sent them a copy of my Amazon invoice which was good enough for proof of purchase and they now say I’m “logged” to receive the replacements.

    Otherwise, TL;DR – the replacements are still 3-4 weeks away and you’ll get them when you get them.

    *sigh*

  31. Anybody got the new discs yet or know when they are going to start distributing?

  32. I just asked them on Friday if they had any update on this. If they come back with an answer I’ll share it here.

  33. The latest:

    Thank you for your email.

    We have your details logged for when the replacement discs become available.

    These are still being worked on.

    We are enquiring into an updated timeframe for the replacement discs and will advise as soon as we have the information.

    We apologise for the delay and thank you for your continued patience.

    Regards

    BBC DVD Support

    So no indication even of a timeframe now.

  34. We have your details logged

    “Shit, it’s that pain in the arse again…”

  35. G&T Admin

    Guuuh. Thanks Dave.

  36. “Shit, it’s that pain in the arse again…”

    Ha!

    I haven’t actually asked them about it again since I first submitted my details, so hopefully I’m not becoming too much of a pest yet.

  37. G&T Admin

    I know it’s not *quite* the same kind of thing, but from someone who works in a broadcast environment where fixes to TV shows have to be made quickly, my eyes have rather rolled right back into my skull and refuse to come down.

  38. G&T Admin

    Red Dwarf III was shot, edited and broadcast in far less time than it’s taken to sort this out.

    In fact, considering that we know Rob and Doug didn’t attend one of the audience recordings for III because they had to finish writing The Last Day, we can say that The Last Day was written, shot, edited and broadcast in far less time than it’s taken to sort this out.

  39. Oh, well that’s something.

  40. That last paragraph makes it sound like there aren’t any plans to reissue the set to retailers with corrected discs – you’ll have to apply direct for replacements either way.

    If you haven’t yet purchased the set but are planning to do so, ensure you retain your proof of purchase – so that if you do wish to get a set of replacement discs, you can still do so…

  41. Just the 6 months then.

    Speedy.

  42. That last paragraph makes it sound like there aren’t any plans to reissue the set to retailers with corrected discs – you’ll have to apply direct for replacements either way.

    As I understand it it should still be the case that new sets are issued, although I don’t have 100% confirmation of that; but either way the point of that paragraph was that if you were to buy one right now, before the reissue, you would want to keep your receipt so that you can get the discs swapped.

  43. Ah ok, thanks Seb.

  44. Worth observing that I have never actually seen this set on the shelf of any HMV, and have been in quite a few since February. Which is weird as shelf real estate in the pokey, shithole airing cupboard HMVs that are still left is surely one of the only reasons you’d make this at all?

  45. The HMV near me is still pretty huge.

    Anyway, they seem to be as much based around merchandise as physical media now, though, which maybe accounts for it.

  46. There were copies in my local Sainsburys for a few weeks. I had a laugh every time I walked past them.

  47. I was upset about the downsizing of the big Manchester one in 2014, probably my favourite ever shop, but the closure of the beautiful Liverpool one and re-opening it inside a dingy, barely lit shop unit that even Warwick Davis would have trouble navigating is a downright crime. They’ve shut the upper floor of the Blackpool one too, which just seems pointless and petty given that they’re still paying for a two floor building. Prize goes to the new Wigan one though, which is literally a corridor with a till at the end. Seems pointless going in an HMV at all if it’s an unpleasant shopping experience with a pointlessly diminished back catalogue stock.

    I liked their online shop a lot, but that went titwards as well. Amazon are a joke and I resent being forced towards them.

  48. There were copies in my local Sainsburys for a few weeks. I had a laugh every time I walked past them.

    Ah, I’ve never had a local Sainsbury’s. They do seem to have good buyers for DVD.

  49. It’s true that they are gradually going down in size. Leeds still has a pretty big one over two very large floors, but that’s the only decent sized one I’ve been in for ages. Nottingham, Birmingham and Leicester are all medium-sized, which seems to be about the best you get mostly.

  50. I saw that Neil Hannon was doing an in-store at the Arndale one a few weekends ago and thought ‘where are they going to put him exactly? Behind the till?’

  51. Just had a reply from the BBC DVD, they are going to start shipping the new discs out within 2 weeks! Happy days!

  52. And just this second got the discs through the post! Finally! I can carry on with my red dwarf binge

  53. That’s good news. I haven’t even had a notification that they’re sending them out yet.

  54. After sending them an email this morning, ‘just to check’, just received this:

    “Dear Simon

    Thank you for your email.

    You are on our list for shipments.

    Discs are only starting to ship this week.

    Please bear with us as not every customer will receive the discs at exactly the same time

    Regards
    BBC DVD Support”

    So that’s nice.

  55. Confirmed mine arrived too, at long last…

    Deinterlacing issue is resolved. Apart from that, discs are basically as they were. Not perfect, but I’m satisfied.

    Thanks everyone who contributed to getting this sorted.

  56. Bah, I was hoping the new versions would accidentally be in black and white, and with Yakety Sax as the closing theme.

  57. Mine have arrived, hooray.

    I would now like to invite creative suggestions as to what we should do with the old discs.

  58. Mine have arrived, hooray.

    I would now like to invite creative suggestions as to what we should do with the old discs.

    Send them to BBC Worldwide and they can stack them up outside as a monument to their incompetence.

  59. Mine have arrived too. Oddly, they have sent me two copies of each. Anyone want them, let me know and I’ll be happy to post along.

  60. Got home from work to discover mine have arrived as well. And I, too, have received two copies of each. Mind you, when I got the Doctor Who replacement discs the other month, they sent them about four times.

  61. I must say, I think Series III looks absolutely excellent. And the latter half of Series V looks much better (couldn’t look much worse) but nothing to write home about. All in all, I can say that I’m *finally* happy with this set.

  62. Watched Back To Reality tonight. Looking splendid.

    I need to check out Series III.

  63. I do feel like Series III has had some additional work to it. Seems to me like a good amount of DNR (the good kind, not the Terminator 2 kind). I might be misremembering but it definitely looks better.

  64. I’ve watched Marooned tonight, the model shots look great.
    (Of course, I might just be blindly thinking that it’s being on newly re-done-up shiny BR makes it look marvellous.)

    *Can* you ‘blindly think’?

  65. *Can* you ‘blindly think’?

    The original discs for Series III and V suggest yes.

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