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5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 21, 2019 1:05 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:But things are changing.

I sense some rose-tinted spectacles there, Mr R. B. :lol:

The only thing that's really changed is that companies like Netflix and Amazon and Sky have managed to find ways of fleecing their audiences for a lot of money on a regular monthly drip. And, not surprisingly, that's allowed them to make (some of) their TV 'properly' and in a way that the cash-strapped BBC, ITV, and others haven't been able to do for a long time.

There's no rocket science here: throw bit pots of money at it and its easy to find great scriptwriters, actors, directors, skilled crews, fantastic locations, and all the post-production you could possibly want...

The really interesting thing will be whether the mass audience will be prepared to continue to pay multiple providers at the current levels, and whether there will be any significant take-up of largely pointless technologies like UHD and immersive sound in the domestic environment (although the manufacturers may well force that by not offering equipment without -- but only if they can get the retail prices down).

Personally, I have serious doubts -- as I did with 3DTV and was proven right very quickly. But then I'm old and grey and fat and wrinkly and -- as that lovely Mr Birt once told me -- 'tainted by experience' ... so what do I know? :D
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue May 21, 2019 1:27 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:But things are changing. Netflix has just signed up to use 15,000 sqm of studio space at Pinewood for £6m p.a. over 10 years and is said to be out shopping for UK production companies it can swallow.

A friend just got a job at one of the largest studio spaces in Toronto. She said Netflix is trying to get yearly lockouts of the big studios around the world, to the detriment of all other film + tv producers. Could this be world domination through control of a limited resource? (My thoughts).
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Dave B » Tue May 21, 2019 1:44 pm

It’s worth risking a conversation with Chevvytraveller about tv sound - he works in broadcast sand has fairly .. ahem .. forthright.. views on the subject. :mrgreen:

It seems that many programmes may well have a great mix when they leave the production team, but the distribution platforms (and choices about what mix to use) make a considerable difference to the end result. So, maybe a more interesting question is to whether the surround mix is ‘optimised’ knowing that it may get altered on broadcast ...
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Brian M Rose » Tue May 21, 2019 1:57 pm

I don't know if anyone was at a BBC presentation several years ago, about the technical requirements for HDTV Drama. It was requested that at least stereo front, and rear be recorded for all Drama production.
One very experienced and cynical recordist questioned the need for the rear channel, but yes, that was a requirement.
"Well, I suppose that takes care of the Genny and tea wagon.' he remarked. :headbang:
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby blinddrew » Tue May 21, 2019 2:21 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The only thing that's really changed is that companies like Netflix and Amazon and Sky have managed to find ways of fleecing their audiences for a lot of money on a regular monthly drip. And, not surprisingly, that's allowed them to make (some of) their TV 'properly' and in a way that the cash-strapped BBC, ITV, and others haven't been able to do for a long time.
And they're starting to run a real risk here of too much fragmentation. If you make acquiring content legally and cheaply too difficult for consumers they will either find 'other' ways, or just stop watching altogether.
Which is something I can see happening and would be a massive shame. :(
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue May 21, 2019 2:33 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And, not surprisingly, that's allowed them to make (some of) their TV 'properly' and in a way that the cash-strapped BBC, ITV, and others haven't been able to do for a long time.
That's the BBC that spent £200,000 in 2017 on booking taxis, trains, and hotel bookings which were later cancelled and left unused.

That's the BBC that has just spent £47m on a street set for Eastenders.

That's the BBC that spends less than half of its money on programmes.

That's the BBC that spent £1bn, yes one whole billion pounds building New Broadcasting House!

That's the BBC that spends about £5m p.a. on management consultants.

That's the BBC that has just spent £30m setting up a new Scottish HD channel that they forgot to commission any programmes for and as a result, dipped down to just 4,000 viewers for its main news programme. That's £7,500 for each and every pair of eyes!
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby The Elf » Tue May 21, 2019 3:05 pm

It's easy to be a bit sniffy about soaps (and I don't watch them myself, I should admit), but you have to have respect for the people that manage to get them out there on time, every time.

And if you were part of that history, then respect to you too! :thumbup:
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby CS70 » Tue May 21, 2019 3:16 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The only thing that's really changed is that companies like Netflix and Amazon and Sky have managed to find ways of fleecing their audiences for a lot of money on a regular monthly drip. And, not surprisingly, that's allowed them to make (some of) their TV 'properly' and in a way that the cash-strapped BBC, ITV, and others haven't been able to do for a long time.

Not sure why "fleecing"? I am a Netflix customer and I dont feel fleeced at all. I barely notice the outlay, and I have 4 quite active concurrent viewers most of the time. The price/performance to me seems perfectly sensible.

So long Netflix pays its content creators properly (unlike the Spotifies or other audio streamers), it's doing just the right thing - like cinema used to do, selling relatively inexpensive tickets in very high volumes.

And while at start I basically got Netflix because my older son wanted it, I've come to appreciate the incredibly well done productions that they have been making in the last few years - which brought me to expand the subscription to, as said, four people and even, occasionally, watch some production myself.

Great content viewed by an high volume of people, each paying relatively little: what's wrong with that?
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 21, 2019 3:42 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:That's the BBC that spends less than half of its money on programmes.

I'm the last one to defend the BBC's profligacy, having seen much of it at first hand. However, some of the costs you cite aren't anywhere nearly as exceptional or wasteful as they might appear to the uninformed and the infrastructure costs do have very long life cycles to amortise the investment.

Plus, a very big chunk of 'its money' -- meaning the Licence Fee income -- is actually spent propping up all sorts of other bits of the broadcast and film industry in the UK and elsewhere, as well as covering a variety of social and political expenditures which should be -- and were originally -- paid for by HMG... like World Service, Caversham, and pensioner's licenses etc.

And don't get me started on external consultants! Pointless money-extraction exercises to satisfy the demand for 'compliance'.

While it doesn't do itself any favours sometimes, the BBC is also a victim of a wide range of politically motivated policies which have induce crippling expenditures. Like having to pay third parties to operate the transmission networks that it once owned and ran in-house.... and so much more besides... I could go on but life is too short.

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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue May 21, 2019 3:45 pm

The Elf wrote:And if you were part of that history, then respect to you too! :thumbup:
I was just a lowly goffer!

Those were the days! The cameras didn't sync, so there had to be a 5-second break on every switch and the tape had to be physically cut into the black-burst to make the picture sync. This was done using a sort of paint with magnetic filings so that one could see the magnetic stripes and the black-burst at the end of each frame.

Sometimes there wasn't the time to copy the tape over to a second tape for broadcast and that lead to the 'edited' tape breaking while on-air!

Tape was expensive, so the cut tape could be thrown away, but the play-out tape had to be wiped and used as the next cut tape and then was binned.

The newsroom studios upstairs had cameras that did sync! S1 and S2 had exactly and precisely three cameras between them, each with four prime lenses on a turret - no zoom in them days! Each camera cost about the same as a really nice house! The cameras had to be shuttled from studio to studio. Towards the end of B&W they were constantly breaking down and some shows had to be done using just two cameras!

The outdoor lot for Coronation Street was built at two-thirds size, so actors always had to stand away from the houses, otherwise, they would have appeared as giants! Granada's one and only OB truck did the CS exteriors at the two-thirds lot.

The 'street' in CS was also much smaller, so any cars driving past could only do so one at a time!

Aside from the tiny upstairs newsroom, there were just two studios, cunningly labelled Studio One and Studio Two. Studio Two was large, about 500 sqm and did University Challenge, Nice Time and other audience shows. Studio One was just there for CS and was about 150 sqm, tiny by today's standards!

Each set in S1 was tiny. The pub was just two tables, some chairs and about three meters of the bar and that was it. Next to that was a living room and a wobbly staircase. The top of the stairs lead nowhere and the door at the top was not practical, so actors could only be shown coming down or going up, but never opening that door!

There were other interiors around the studio, at least six and they were dressed differently to become different rooms. There was a collection of stairs and other props like doors and fireplaces and plastic flowers in the outside hallway that were wheeled in and out to change one interior into another.

The canteen was one of the worst I have experienced anywhere - but we did have Bacon's 'Pope' in reception for a while! It was large and really stunning.
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 21, 2019 3:51 pm

CS70 wrote:Not sure why "fleecing"? I am a Netflix customer and I dont feel fleeced at all. I barely notice the outlay...

That's what they rely on of course. To be fair, Netflix isn't too bad at the moment -- it's about the same as the monthly cost of the TV licence fee in the UK -- although there have been hints that the prices are set to rise.

I was bemused recently to discover my daughter was watching the Line Of Duty boxed set on Netflix when it was available on the BBC iPlayer for which she was already paying a license fee. Hence fleeced... :-)

But really, the fleecing term applies more to the likes of Sky charging a minimum of £22 a month for the most basic package -- double the TV licence fee -- and most customers seem to have to pay a lot more than that. And many also pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime on top because not all the latest hit programmes are available on all platforms...

Great content viewed by an high volume of people, each paying relatively little: what's wrong with that?

Nothing at all -- it's what we all want. I just wonder if it's possible over the long term when strong global competition is involved?

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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 21, 2019 5:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:To be fair, Netflix isn't too bad at the moment -- it's about the same as the monthly cost of the TV licence fee in the UK -- although there have been hints that the prices are set to rise.

I was bemused recently to discover my daughter was watching the Line Of Duty boxed set on Netflix when it was available on the BBC iPlayer for which she was already paying a license fee. Hence fleeced... :-)

There are options - I'm currently paying £7.99 a month for the ability to have two independent Netflix streams at a time (kids!), though of course for more you do pay more. At £96/year that is significantly less than the £154.50 BBC licence, proportionally speaking and, as you rightly pointed out, it includes access to a good range of BBC content so from my perspective it would appear that the fleecing could be said to be on either side with equal validity.

I take your point about the other aspects of the BBC licence revenue (World Service etc.) and though we've all discussed this before my view was that this was best funded as a state asset separately from the licence revenue.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:But really, the fleecing term applies more to the likes of Sky charging a minimum of £22 a month for the most basic package

On that front, we are in complete agreement :thumbup:

I just wonder if it's possible over the long term when strong global competition is involved?

I have a strong hunch it is. There are giant players in various aspects of 'the modern way things are going' and it's clear there is a huge market worldwide for them. At least enough to keep some options open. And it is worldwide - my Netflix subscription works just as well in Amsterdam as it does in Brighton, for example.

It's also worth noting that the quality and variety of Netflix productions has rocketed over the last 3-4 years and that trend seems to be continuing. The same could be said of Amazon although they tend to be more film orientated. Netflix, on the other hand, has massive feet planted firmly both the 'traditional TV' and film camps, albeit the TV stuff tends to be more box sets and series, which for the consumers of that type of content especially is not a bad thing at all.
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Zukan » Tue May 21, 2019 5:12 pm

If you really think about it we are out of pocket with all these changes for the simple reason that there are so many channels with their own sub models that to watch all the popular series across all the networks would bankrupt us.

I pay the tv license, I pay sky and Prime and Netflix....
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby The Elf » Tue May 21, 2019 5:22 pm

What gets me about Netflix is that it's just one too many layer of 'give us some money'.

I pay a TV license that enables Virgin to transmit TV to me, and then I'm expected to pay yet again so that Virgin can show me Netflix?

Nope. I'll happily live without it.
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 21, 2019 5:29 pm

The Elf wrote:What gets me about Netflix is that it's just one too many layer of 'give us some money'.

I pay a TV license that enables Virgin to transmit TV to me, and then I'm expected to pay yet again so that Virgin can show me Netflix?

Nope. I'll happily live without it.

And that's a fair choice. I do not want to derail the thread (I've found the 5.1 discussion most enlightening!) and won't labour the point after this post, but from the way I look at it the 'superflous' layer in the equation is the BBC licence (unless you were to pay it for direct consumption of BBC content of course), because you cannot watch Virgin, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 or indeed any other broadcaster without it (do Virgin show BBC programming on occasion? I don't know, but if so you're paying twice there too of course).

The £7.99/month I pay Netflix is all there is for me. Nothing else. The BBC gets a little of that indirectly through licencing of their content by Netflix, as they should. My wife has an Amazon subscription which obviously I get the benefit of but I would be quite happy without that also.

Most (all?) of the 20-somethings I know get all their content from online streaming services. We live in fast-developing times and it's an unwise strategy not to adapt to them.
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby The Elf » Tue May 21, 2019 5:48 pm

The Elf wrote:What gets me about Netflix is that it's just one too many layer of 'give us some money'.

I pay a TV license that enables Virgin to transmit TV to me, and then I'm expected to pay yet again so that Virgin can show me Netflix?

Nope. I'll happily live without it.
And I'm serious about this... I'd happily pay all this money to the BBC if I really thought it could once again be the fabulous institution it was in the 1960s/70s. Our once great public service has been replaced by opportunist money-grabbing leeches.
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 21, 2019 6:04 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:... the way I look at it the 'superflous' layer in the equation is the BBC licence (unless you were to pay it for direct consumption of BBC content of course), because you cannot watch Virgin, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 or indeed any other broadcaster without it.

I take the point... and it's partly for that reason that I don't see the TV LICENSE FEE* surviving as a concept for too much longer. A subscription model is the inevitable outcome.

It was obvious to me two decades ago that there was a clear plan being put in place to convert the BBC into a commissioning house for TV -- just like Channel 4, Channel 5, or Netflix -- but with a slimmed down (and less editorially independent) News service and a bit of Radio on the side -- although that could well have its days numbered too! At the moment the Radio networks have a relatively small cost line in the budgets, but it will start to look a lot more expensive when in-house TV production is faded out. Moreover, there are increasingly loud calls to do away with Radio 3 (too small an audience), and both Radios 1 and 2 (audiences already catered for by commercial radio)...

*Although technically organised by the BBC, it is not actually called the BBC licence fee for very good reasons, it's collected by a separate organisation, administered by several private third-party financial companies, and a handling fee is creamed off directly by HMG before the money is passed to the BBC for distribution -- and not all the funds raised go to the BBC anyway, as has been mentioned. Some of it even goes to pay for the UK's feeble attempts at rural broadband provision, while more pays for entire national networks of non-English-speaking TV for a small handful of pedantic viewers! :D
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Re: 5.1 mixes that are really just botched up-mixes!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue May 21, 2019 6:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:... the way I look at it the 'superflous' layer in the equation is the BBC licence (unless you were to pay it for direct consumption of BBC content of course), because you cannot watch Virgin, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 or indeed any other broadcaster without it.

I take the point... and it's partly for that reason that I don't see the TV LICENSE FEE* surviving as a concept for too much longer. It was clear to me two decades ago that there was a clear plan in place to convert the BBC into a commissioning house for TV -- just like Channel 4, or Netflix -- but with a slimmed down )and less editorially independent) News service and a bit of Radio on the side -- although that could well have its days numbered too... At the moment the Radio networks have a relatively small number line in the budgets, but it will start to look a lot more expensive when in-house TV production is faded out.

And likewise, point taken on the name of the charge ;)

Fundamentally I think we're all of a similar mindset when it comes to the BBC if perhaps coming from different angles. I would very much like to contribute to a high quality, independent BBC although like Elf I don't like the way it seems to be going as an organisation and I think it's a great shame.

Were the TV licence fee to morph into a 'true' subscription option then I would seriously consider it, as at that point the decision would be based on the content they provide as opposed to the current arrangement which I find so distasteful.
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