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Early 80's vs Late 80's telecine aesthetic

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Hello everyone!
I've always noticed that music videos (shot on film) from the early 80's tend to look very different to the ones shot in the late 80's. Early 80's music videos tend to have something different, like a softer look, more flickering and also dust. As I wasn't alive back then, I'm assuming that telecine systems in the early 80's used video camera tubes and late 80's telecine used either better video camera tubes or CCDs.
Is this difference due to telecine systems? Maybe type of film used?
Early 80's
The Human League - Don't You Want Me
The Clash - Rock The Casbah
New Order - Confusion
Late 80's
New Order - Blue Monday '88
Eurythmics - There Must Be An Angel
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

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'twas a period of significant change in telecine technology.


The very earliest telecines were essentially a (tube) camera looking into a projector. During the 80s two other techniques became popular. Flying-spot telecines (such as the extremely popular Rank Cintel Mk. 3) used a white light emitting CRT to illuminate the film with a scanning pattern, and a set of three very sensitive photomultiplier tubes behind red, green and blue filters to pick up the light after it had been filtered by the film. They were pretty good, but suffered the same geometry issues as any CRT device and the CRTs wore quickly because they had to be driven quite hard to get enough brightness, even with the extremely high sensitivity of the photomultipliers.


Line-array telecines used a CCD with a single row of photodetectors, or possibly with three rows, one for red green and blue, and often kept the film in continuous motion. Marconi B3410 and Bosch FDL60 telecines this (both using the same sensors, incidentally) although the Marconi was slightly more flexible as it assembled the frame into an extremely early example of a digital framestore. For this reason, the Marconi could do tricks like freeze frame which the Bosch couldn't, as it relied on scanning continuously as the film went by the sensor. Line array telecines, particularly the Marconi model, are sometimes identifiable as they produce a sort of vertical wobble in the image, slightly similar to a rolling-shutter artifact in a modern camera, as they passed over splices which disturbed the timing rollers.


The line-array approach is used to this day by devices such as the various marks of Thomson's Spirit and Shadow telecines and by many film scanners. Incidentally, the Fernseh (television) division of Bosch traces its roots to the very earliest days of television with John Logie Baird's Fernseh AG in Berlin, before World War II.


I don't have the experience to spot what was used in each of those cases, but it'll be a selection of those things. Probably mainly Rank Cintel 3, which was unaccountably popular despite probably being the least effective.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Luis


As well as the changes in telecine technology from tubes to CCDs, probably the most significant change was from composite video to component. What you would have seen on TV at the time would have been almost exclusively composite video throughout the 80s many promos would have been mastered on beta SP from the late 80s and you would likely be seeing these now from these component masters. Later period still, but check out Oasis - Do You Know What I Mean - original 96 against remaster in 2016 - shot on 35mm - 96 was from URSA to SD Digibeta , whereas 2016 version was from 2K scans using Arriscan. Working on something really exciting currently from late 80s that will get a 4K HDR finish from 35mm - original was transferred and finished on 1 C-format!





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I'm not sure you can deduce much from what gets uploaded to YT. it's too many generations away from the original. A lot of the differences in your examples I'd say were down to production design and lighting, not material or TK differences.

In 1981 film was still cut on film. So as Bryan says an A/B roll positive print would have been made. The HL video features its own 35mm. rushes by the look of it.
Edited by Mark Dunn
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The MK3 telecine went through so many iterations and modifications from 1979 through the mid 1990s and finally ending with the Y-Front and Millenium / C-Reality machine which can do 2K and 4K that it would be hard to pinpoint which machine did what.


I know there was allot of people putting filters into the gate system of flying spot telecines over the years.


IMO the Flying Spot was superior to the hard and videoy looking CCD machine until the Spirit and even then the original SDC2000 could look pretty electronic if handled wrong.

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