Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

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Paul Hayes
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Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Paul Hayes »

Interesting find - and at the BBC all the time, too:
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-04- ... bc-archive

No mention of whether or not any of the accompanying soundtrack exists... But presumably that could be lifted from the transmitted portions of existing episodes and put over the corresponding colour material...?

I have to admit to not having seen any of the existing episodes, so I don't know whether it uses any location sound anyway or just voiceover, etc.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

Thanks,Paul.

Lostshows has:

Missing or incomplete episodes for programme ZOO QUEST.

Series 1
21.12.54 Episode 1 (missing)
28.12.54 Episode 2 (missing)
04.01.55 Episode 3 (missing)
11.01.55 Episode 4 (missing)
18.01.55 Episode 5 (missing)
25.01.55 Episode 6 (missing)

Out of an original total of 36 episodes, 6 episodes are missing.

So maybe we should start looking for some audios!

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by stearn »

It's a pity Johnny Morris isn't with us any more as he could have improvised a decent sound track. Perhaps Ferdinand De Bargos can step in instead.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Alice80 »

The screenshot that the Guardian used to illustrate the news is startlingly clear...like it was taken yesterday...

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/a ... -zoo-quest

And they are saying examples will be shown the week of Attenborough's 90th on BBC4, so I guess soundtracks were found with them...I'm looking forward to that (even though I will have a final assessment coming up and should probably be eschewing all telly at that point).

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Paul Hayes »

Alice80 wrote:The screenshot that the Guardian used to illustrate the news is startlingly clear...like it was taken yesterday...

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/a ... -zoo-quest

And they are saying examples will be shown the week of Attenborough's 90th on BBC4, so I guess soundtracks were found with them...I'm looking forward to that (even though I will have a final assessment coming up and should probably be eschewing all telly at that point).
They could use the footage without sound, with modern commentary from Attenborough, or use the soundtrack from sections of existing episodes with the same footage and overlay it over the colour rushes. There'd certainly be ways to exploit the find even if there weren't a soundtrack - but at the moment, it's not clear.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Spiny Norman »

At the very least they could take the existing programs and replace the b/w footage with the same footage in colour.
JWG wrote:So maybe we should start looking for some audios!
Chances are small, I'd say.
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Westcountry »

Some clips were shown tonight on BBC regional news Points West 20/04/16
LINK: http://bbc.in/1Sl4DNN [EXPIRED]
Attenborough at 90 Piece starts from 15:38 minutes in.
(only available to view until 6:55pm 21/04/16)

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by spflog1 »

Westcountry wrote:Some clips were shown tonight on BBC regional news Points West 20/04/16
LINK: http://bbc.in/1Sl4DNN
Attenborough at 90 Piece starts from 15:38 minutes in.
(only available to view until 6:55pm 21/04/16)
Wow! It's not just the additional colour but the vast improvement in the quality as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing more. Thanks for posting this link.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

spflog1 wrote:
Westcountry wrote:Some clips were shown tonight on BBC regional news Points West 20/04/16
LINK: http://bbc.in/1Sl4DNN
Attenborough at 90 Piece starts from 15:38 minutes in.
(only available to view until 6:55pm 21/04/16)
Wow! It's not just the additional colour but the vast improvement in the quality as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing more. Thanks for posting this link.
Yeah,it was nice to see the tramlines disappear.What an upgrade!

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by groovy69 »

I had the pleasure of transferring some of the film reels of this and at one point I went to the bbc.co.uk archive page where the original programmes can be viewed. I managed to find the episode that related to the rushes I was transferring at that moment so I was able to compare the pushed-in and murky black & white image online with the startling clear 16mm Kodachrome (if I recall correctly) shots in high definition colour. At times it was difficult to believe it was the same footage.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Spiny Norman »

That's true, a dozen episodes are on iplayer.

Are you able to say anything about the presence of sound?

I suppose it's theoretically possible to create the episodes exactly as they were only in colour; but then again, they were never shown that way, so I'm not sure what the point would be.
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by groovy69 »

No soundtrack. I think this was pretty much of the era where if they could get away with shooting mute and later lay sound effects, possibly location recorded, then add narration to finish off then it made things a lot easier.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

Spiny Norman wrote:That's true, a dozen episodes are on iplayer.

Are you able to say anything about the presence of sound?

I suppose it's theoretically possible to create the episodes exactly as they were only in colour; but then again, they were never shown that way, so I'm not sure what the point would be.

But it looks so much nicer! Even if we prefer the 1954 mode,remember the first series is missing.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Spiny Norman »

JWG wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:That's true, a dozen episodes are on iplayer.

Are you able to say anything about the presence of sound?

I suppose it's theoretically possible to create the episodes exactly as they were only in colour; but then again, they were never shown that way, so I'm not sure what the point would be.

But it looks so much nicer! Even if we prefer the 1954 mode,remember the first series is missing.
It'd be enjoyable, but a bit like restoring a monument and making it better than it ever was.

The fate of the first series would depend on whether there is any audio with the film? The chances of finding off-air audio are slim and even if we had any then we couldn't be absolutely certain what part of the video belonged with it. Not unless there'd be very detailed paperwork.
They could do an educated guess though.

Meanwhile it looks like the first thing we'll get is a new program made with the old footage?
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

Spiny Norman wrote:
JWG wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:That's true, a dozen episodes are on iplayer.

Are you able to say anything about the presence of sound?

I suppose it's theoretically possible to create the episodes exactly as they were only in colour; but then again, they were never shown that way, so I'm not sure what the point would be.[/quote

Meanwhile it looks like the first thing we'll get is a new program made with the old footage?
Yep.The BBC will finally get a payback from the original investment in 16mm film.(Apart from,apparently,the enhanced viewing experience of watching colour film in b&w.Not that I can see much evidence of that on Youtube?).

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

groovy69 wrote:I had the pleasure of transferring some of the film reels of this and at one point I went to the bbc.co.uk archive page where the original programmes can be viewed. I managed to find the episode that related to the rushes I was transferring at that moment so I was able to compare the pushed-in and murky black & white image online with the startling clear 16mm Kodachrome (if I recall correctly) shots in high definition colour. At times it was difficult to believe it was the same footage.
The newspaper-reviewers on Sky thought that it was wrong to even attempt to "colourise" (sic) this material,and that the public won't stand for second-rate viewing in the HD age...

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

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groovy69 wrote:I had the pleasure of transferring some of the film reels of this and at one point I went to the bbc.co.uk archive page where the original programmes can be viewed. I managed to find the episode that related to the rushes I was transferring at that moment so I was able to compare the pushed-in and murky black & white image online with the startling clear 16mm Kodachrome (if I recall correctly) shots in high definition colour. At times it was difficult to believe it was the same footage.
Ah that it explains it, Kodachrome is wonderful stuff. However like Technicolor, primitive TV technology could not use it directly due to it's wide contrast range etc, which would play hovoc with the levels on a 50s/60s/70s transfer to TV system, it had to be taken down a peg or two with a corrected transfer to the transmission copy, which of course with each extra generation you loose something and gain things you don't want.

The sad thing Is using Kodachrome like this probably didn't add any extra costs to the budget as it's a direct positive with no negative to positive costs involved, but perhaps in situations (dramas etc) with very involved editing procedures and lighting situations it was not deemed practical enough to use as a camera master, which had it been would have left us with a more extensive colour legacy.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Bernie »

I expect that that's the reason for shooting it in the first place, to do tests for colour tv which they knew was on its way. I bet a colour test engineer had to accompany the crew on the trip - a great way of getting our of the house for once.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by brigham »

There would be no point in re-creating the episodes in higher-definition colour if they were aimed only at folk trying to re-create the original (405-line B&W) viewing experience.
For someone actually interested in the programme content, however, the newly-found films would be a great boom, and a credit to the far-sightedness of the producers.
I fall into both categories. Anyone else?

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

fatcat wrote:
groovy69 wrote:I had the pleasure of transferring some of the film reels of this and at one point I went to the bbc.co.uk archive page where the original programmes can be viewed. I managed to find the episode that related to the rushes I was transferring at that moment so I was able to compare the pushed-in and murky black & white image online with the startling clear 16mm Kodachrome (if I recall correctly) shots in high definition colour. At times it was difficult to believe it was the same footage.
The sad thing Is using Kodachrome like this probably didn't add any extra costs to the budget as it's a direct positive with no negative to positive costs involved...
In a Facebook upload,spotted by Ian Wegg,David Attenborough says "I was astonished to hear that they had all this colour negative stock.I had never seen it...no-one had ever seen it.It had never been printed in colour".
https://www.facebook.com/pointswest/vid ... 004730276/
Is he wrong?

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Spiny Norman »

brigham wrote:There would be no point in re-creating the episodes in higher-definition colour if they were aimed only at folk trying to re-create the original (405-line B&W) viewing experience.
For someone actually interested in the programme content, however, the newly-found films would be a great boom, and a credit to the far-sightedness of the producers.
I fall into both categories. Anyone else?
Yes, but then it's probably much easier to make a new program with it. Which is probably what will happen.
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by fatcat »

JWG wrote: In a Facebook upload,spotted by Ian Wegg,David Attenborough says "I was astonished to hear that they had all this colour negative stock.I had never seen it...no-one had ever seen it.It had never been printed in colour".
https://www.facebook.com/pointswest/vid ... 004730276/
Is he wrong?

If it's as Groovy69 says Kodachrome then Dave is wrong.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Spiny Norman »

Well, he's 90, and it was 60 years ago...
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

Spiny Norman wrote:Well, he's 90, and it was 60 years ago...
Being straight-to-positive must have made it a damn sight easier to view the daily rushes...

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

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JWG wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Well, he's 90, and it was 60 years ago...
Being straight-to-positive must have made it a damn sight easier to view the daily rushes...
Yes but did they do that daily, out in the wilderness amongst the komodo dragons?
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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Brian F »

Due to the complexities of Kodachrome processing (14 steps?*) and thus limited number of labs (only Kodak I would image there) I would think that dailies would be out of the question. In the 1950's Kodachrome would be almost exclusively and amateur film, as would 16mm.

*IIRC Kodachrome processing as B7W develop, wash, re-expose to 1st colour light, colour develop 1, wash, re-expose 2nd colour light, colour develop 2, wash re-expose to white light, colour develop 3, wash, bleach, wash, fix, wash, dry. Each colour development was with a colour forming developer. Not a cheap process unless you had hundreds to process.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

You can be damned sure that John Ford would have arranged for his film to be sent,by bearer,for processing,and returned within 12 hours...but I can see why DA didn't even know that they were filming in colour.

In the trade,16mm was referred to as 'bootlaces' (or was it 'shoestrings'?).A fact with which I was unfamiliar until last week...

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by JWG »

DVD 23rd May (thanks to Nigel Lamb for this info) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoo-Quest-Colo ... =zoo+quest

First broadcast in December 1954, Zoo Quest was one of the most popular television series of its time and launched the career of the young David Attenborough as a wildlife presenter. Zoo Quest completely changed how viewers saw the world – revealing wildlife and tribal communities that had never been filmed or even seen before. Broadcast ten years before colour television was seen in the UK, Zoo Quest was thought to have been filmed in black and white. Until now! Thanks to a recent remarkable discovery in the BBC’s film vaults, the best of David Attenborough’s early Zoo Quest adventures can now be seen as never before – in stunning HD colour – and with it the fascinating behind the scenes stories from David Attenborough and cameraman Charles Lagus of how this pioneering television series was made.

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by brigham »

Anyone know what's on the DVD?

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Re: Six hours of colour Zoo Quest rushes found

Post by Brian F »

JWG wrote:You can be damned sure that John Ford would have arranged for his film to be sent,by bearer,for processing,and returned within 12 hours...but I can see why DA didn't even know that they were filming in colour.

In the trade,16mm was referred to as 'bootlaces' (or was it 'shoestrings'?).A fact with which I was unfamiliar until last week...
More commonly 8mm was referred to as Bootlace as in Movie Makers review page of 8mm package movies "Bill Davison's Bootlace Cinema"

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