Softly Softly: Taskforce

What's not currently on the box
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rondo veneziano
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by rondo veneziano »

It's too bad, I'll wait for some reviews before buying this. Incidentally, the new German release of BBC's The Doll (1975) appears to be taken from an NTSC source.

bbctim
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by bbctim »

Oh dear! This is so disappointing - was really looking forward to the release. Surely they could go back and get better transfers made? I know it would cost, but a lot more people would then buy it...from the standard reply I had from them this morning, they're simply offering a straight replacement...

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Simon36
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Simon36 »

bbctim wrote:Oh dear! This is so disappointing - was really looking forward to the release. Surely they could go back and get better transfers made? I know it would cost, but a lot more people would then buy it...from the standard reply I had from them this morning, they're simply offering a straight replacement...
A replacement with a different programme? Much as this sounds disappointing I hope it doesnt scupper any further episodes being released. Considering the poor quality that for years was part and parcel of watching archive tv, I'd rather a buggered up array of Softly Softly episodes than none at all!

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by ian b »

I may very well be used to watching poor quality, nth gen viewing copies of stuff, but in 2013 I expect professionally released dvd sets to be of a certain quality - Simply's release of ANGELS was perfectly alright, so a cock-up somewhere along the line for SOFTLY just isn't acceptable. It's not unwatchable, but I'm finding it an uncomfortable watch.

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by GarethR »

bbctim wrote:Oh dear! This is so disappointing - was really looking forward to the release. Surely they could go back and get better transfers made? I know it would cost, but a lot more people would then buy it...
The market for SS:TF is obviously going to be very niche. Cutting production costs to the bone is probably the only way they can hope to make any money on the release. Retransferring and repressing would likely be completely unviable.

Clearly that means that extra care needs to be taken during the production stage to ensure that everything's as right as it can be, but even the BBC can screw up royally at times (viz. the film effect on the Grange Hill DVDs).

lovecraft
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by lovecraft »

rondo veneziano wrote:It's too bad, I'll wait for some reviews before buying this. Incidentally, the new German release of BBC's The Doll (1975) appears to be taken from an NTSC source.
Never heard of this - worth checking out?

bbctim
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by bbctim »

A similar fault occurred somewhere along the line, with BBC's Growing Pains of P.C. Penrose dvd release...been watching SSTF this Afternoon. Yep, Softly Softly vt indeed!

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rondo veneziano
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by rondo veneziano »

lovecraft wrote:
rondo veneziano wrote:It's too bad, I'll wait for some reviews before buying this. Incidentally, the new German release of BBC's The Doll (1975) appears to be taken from an NTSC source.
Never heard of this - worth checking out?
It's less serious than I thought it'd be but I liked it, Hempel's always a nice view and the rest of the cast's interesting.

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Crystal Tipps
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Crystal Tipps »

This is a reply I got yesterday from Simply..

Thank you for your recent constructive feedback regarding the release of Softly Softly Task Force Series 1 and your reluctance to purchase given the comments on the Roobarb Forum. Obviously we are really disappointed as we put a lot of care, effort and monies in researching, acquiring and bringing these titles to market.

We have been looking into the comments and have spent a lot of time doing a split screen view comparing the original master with a DVD copy to see if any deterioration took place in the transfer. To date we have found nothing that suggests this is the case but obviously we will continue with that process to see whether a new transfer would make any difference.
We have been in contact with the BBC and they maintain the supplied master, which we checked, met all their requirements and they are fully aware of the process we use to digitise masters and the subsequent encoding.
To clarify the process we undertake:

During the digitising process from the supplied digibetas no fields were touched or changed in any way and during the process we use a professional CRT monitor to check for video lines( fields). If they are interlaced a filter would be applied to rectify( de-interlace)- with Softly Softly no filters were applied at all.

Currently nothing has come to light to make us believe that we have done anything other than a correct transfer from the 1969 early colour master but we will continue to run the comparison to ensure no glitches occurred and run further tests. To summarise we have followed the identical process we do with all BBC masters (Angels, Dr. Finlay and many others) and currently believe it is a faithful transfer. We will continue all our testing and if there is an update we will let you know.
Once again many thanks for your feedback and custom.

Regards
Commercial Director

Simply Media TV Ltd.
Highlight House, 57 Margaret Street, London W1W8SJ
http://www.simplymediarights.com

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by ian b »

Simply appear to continue to insist that nothing is wrong with this release - and it's SPYSHIP set is similarly effected, but with the added fault that around fifteen minutes of the opening episode is missing. Replacements are going to be available for that though, but I wonder if the remastering will include the image being corrected too?

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Mark »

"Spyship" as well, oh dear, it gets worse.

Interesting reply, Crystal, have to see what comes of it.
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by brigham »

So are they interlaced or not? That reply seems to suggest that interlacing is a 'fault' which needs to be 'corrected', and in this case the 'fault' isn't present. Herein may well lie the problem.

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

brigham wrote:So are they interlaced or not? That reply seems to suggest that interlacing is a 'fault' which needs to be 'corrected', and in this case the 'fault' isn't present. Herein may well lie the problem.
Trying to make sense out of a confusing statement by Simply, can it possibly be that the transfer was processed as if the whole thing had been shot on film (transfered to video), because they didn't think any of it was interlaced?! The insistance that nothing is wrong is simply (pun very much intended!) bollocks.
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Bernie
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Bernie »

Well, I've ordered a copy now. After all this chat, I just have to see for myself. I worked on this series, but I bet I can't remember a thing about it.

...actually, I do have a story - David Proudfoot directed some Softlys and he had a thing about lots of shots. Most weeks there'd be about 300 in the show, but I remember one of his where there were around 600. I still have the shot cards somewhere with BCU Barlow for page after page. Vision Mixer Rachel Blaney, who'd been around for ever, always previewed every shot before cutting to it, just as she had in the 1950s. In this case she just couldn't keep up.

B

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Bernie wrote:Well, I've ordered a copy now. After all this chat, I just have to see for myself. I worked on this series, but I bet I can't remember a thing about it.
It'll be good to hear the judgement of someone who will actually know what they're talking about!
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by ian b »

Just had an email from Simply, acknowledging that there is a problem with set - and they'll be correcting stock, and offering replacement discs to any purchasers.

So, well done to both the folk who raised this matter and Simply for taking it seriously.

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by GarethR »

I'm impressed that they're going to the expense of a remaster and repress, given how small the market is going to be for a release like this. BBC Worldwide refused to acknowledge that there was any problem at all with the Grange Hill discs.

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John Williams
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by John Williams »

GarethR wrote:I'm impressed that they're going to the expense of a remaster and repress, given how small the market is going to be for a release like this. BBC Worldwide refused to acknowledge that there was any problem at all with the Grange Hill discs.
Likewise. Good for them - glad to see Simply have acknowledged the problem and I'm very pleased that they are going to repress. As soon as the corrected version is available I'll buy it.

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Chris Orton
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Chris Orton »

They've said that they are fixing Spyship too.

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Simon36
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Simon36 »

Are the Z Cars and Dixon discs ok does anyone know?

PeteH
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by PeteH »

Not seen the Z Cars set as yet, but the Dixon Vol. 1 set I have seems okay - but this is an Acorn Media release and not Simply.

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Simon36 wrote:Are the Z Cars and Dixon discs ok does anyone know?
Unrestored, but otherwise fine.
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Billy Smart
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Billy Smart »

I must say that I've been very impressed by this series, and agreeably surprised by its often shabby Kentish mise-en-scene and willingness to attempt pretty bleak narratives; baby-battering, child neglect, child murder, people trafficking, old folks robbed by teams of fake gas board officials. It tends to avoid palliative conclusions, too - although the criminals get caught, the abiding impression is often the cost of the crime. The task force format works well, giving us a neat spectrum of character types (Barlow rather intimidating, Watt's rectitude, Snow's solidity, etc) to respond to events in very different ways, and with the possibility of events reaching a head in a (relatively) spectacular co-ordinated team movement utilizing cars, dogs, etc.

The first two episodes are rather dull and laborious, setting up the Police Station politics for half an hour before they get around to the more engaging business of this week's crime, but its well worth persevering with. I didn't have any problems with the picture on my discs, although I was watching them on a Mac. I hope that Simply Media's releases this year (Finlay, Angels and this) have done well enough for the release of second volumes.

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Bernie
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Bernie »

My DVDs finally arrived today. It's probably irrelevant now, as the company is going to re-master, but the 16mm pictures are normal but the electronic pictures are just soft, as if someone has decided to apply a touch of Gaussian blur for whatever reason. The blacks are a bit lifted also. It's not a left over from multi-gen 2" tape, it's a modern "fix".

Apart from that, I fell arbitrarily into "Like any other Friday" and it was - I don't know - like putting on a pair of old and comfy slippers. This episode is a Robert Barr one, and I look forward to watching an Elywn Jones. We used to read his scripts and they often didn't really make much sense when just read, but always were excellent when passed through Stratford Johns etc.

B

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Roll ACR
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Roll ACR »

A colleague lent me a bootleg DVD of "Like Any Other Friday" and "Escort" on Sunday. Watched it that night. Must say it was very enjoyable, rather good. I will probably buy or beg as an Xmas present this DVD release.

Stratford Johns is excellent. For some reason I just can't (and never could) warm to Frank Windsor. He is charmless to me. But it's good stuff and I feel the urge to see more.

If only they'd release some 60s "Z Cars". I'm sick of the first few eps and bloody "Happy Families" being trotted out hither and yon. More "proper" live 60s eps would be most welcome.

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Richard A
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Richard A »

Bernie wrote:My DVDs finally arrived today. It's probably irrelevant now, as the company is going to re-master, but the 16mm pictures are normal but the electronic pictures are just soft, as if someone has decided to apply a touch of Gaussian blur for whatever reason. The blacks are a bit lifted also. It's not a left over from multi-gen 2" tape, it's a modern "fix".
Interesting to get a professional's view, despite how things have (thankfully) turned out. Thanks!

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Mark »

Great news about the re-pressing of "Softly Softly", good on simply for doing this.

I'll be picking up a copy, now...I do hope there will be more.
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by ian b »

Replacement sets have started to be received - and while its a vast improvement on the first issue, two episodes (OPEN AND SHUT and TRUST A WOMAN), are still affected by the filmising problem.

A shame, but as I wasn't expecting a recall and replacement discs anyway, something I can live with, (unlike a stretch of cocked-up episodes, which I found a genuinely uncomfortable watch).

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Bernie
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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by Bernie »

Can you post some stills?

B

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Re: Softly Softly: Taskforce

Post by ian b »

Beyond me, I'm afraid.

But it's really only when the image is on motion that it's screamingly obvious.

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