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Computer Chronicles: 35th Anniversary Edition

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In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the classic PBS series from KCSM-TV and the Interregional Program Service (now American Public Television), I'm working on an HD restoration of the complete series, beginning with the very first season, produced in 1983 and broadcast nationally in 1984.

Mission: to restore the PBS classic Computer Chronicles in the correct episode order, from start to finish.

Video sources: MPEG-2 files from the Internet Archive.
Audio sources: original soundtrack from the same files, also French and Spanish tracks as applicable.

Subtitle sources: English SDH, to reflect soundtracks; other languages, direct translations of the English original.

Project info:
There's a lot of confusing information all over the Internet about the order in which each episode of Computer Chronicles was made or broadcast; not even the Internet Archive is helpful in that regard. For this project, I'm going to go with the order given by stquantum.com, a fansite for the series which has been active since 2006 and appears to be the definitive source for all things Computer Chronicles. Each set will include a series of special features produced by yours truly titled Computer Chronicles: Then and Now, detailing how much has changed in the industry since the series was originally broadcast on PBS stations.

Source Material

  • Computer Chronicles - MPEG-2 Internet Archive
  • Viewers Like You tags - Pledge drive broadcasts recorded to VHS tape in 4:3
  • American Public Television closing logo - Broadcasts of recent APT programming with the original APT music playing over the logo, also recorded to VHS tape in 4:3
  • Computer Chronicles - Various Internet Archive files
  • English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.

Final format: BD-25 (tentative), DVD-9 (number of discs TBA)

  • Blu-ray: x264 960x720, 59.94 fps progressive, ~5mbps
  • DVD: MPEG-2 720x480, 29.97 fps interlaced, ~3mbps
  • English AC3 192kbps 2.0 16bit 48kHz Dolby Surround
  • French AC3 192kbps 2.0 16bit 48kHz Dolby Surround - as applicable
  • Spanish AC3 192kbps 2.0 16bit 48kHz Dolby Surround - as applicable
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
Episodes (Season 1):
  1. Mainframes to Minis to Micros
  2. Microchip Technology
  3. Storage Devices
  4. Printers
  5. Networking
  6. Programming
  7. Operating Systems
  8. Database Software
  9. Integrated Software
  10. Business Application Software
  11. Word Processing Software
  12. Decision Support Systems
  13. Robotics
  14. Simulator Software
  15. Computer Graphics
  16. Computer Music
  17. Computer Games
  18. Speech Synthesis
  19. Computers in Education
  20. Computer Ergonomics
  21. Computer Entrepreneurs
  22. Computer Security
  23. Artificial Intelligence
  24. Supercomputers
  25. Fifth Generation Computers
Episodes (Season 2):
  1. Computer Games
  2. IBM Clones
  3. Software Piracy
  4. Computers and the Disabled
  5. UNIX
  6. Computers in Sports
  7. Personal Finance Software
  8. Profile of Big Blue: IBM
  9. Lasers and Computers
  10. Computers in Communications
  11. Low End Computers
  12. Japanese PCs
  13. Computer Graphics
  14. Slowdown in Silicon Valley (2-parter)
  15. Women in Computing
  16. Printers and Business Graphics
  17. Computers and the Media
  18. Modems and Bulletin Boards
  19. Computer Networks
  20. Computers and Politics
  21. Computers and Medicine
  22. Optical Storage Devices
  23. Business Applications
  24. Amiga and Atari
  • Main animated menu, static soundtrack and subtitle settings menu, static chapters menu (all tentative)
  • Blu-ray and DVD custom made outside and inside covers, plus disc label; number of chapters to be determined; Computer Chronicles: Then and Now; interviews with Stewart Cheifet and Gary Kildall; assorted Comdex videos
  • Micro Focus (Season 1)
  • McGraw Hill (Seasons 2-4)
  • American Federation of Information Processing Societies (Seasons 2.5 and 3)
  • Leading Edge (Seasons 3.5 and 4)
  • CompuServe (Season 4.5)
  • Public television viewers (35th Anniversary Edition)
Special thanks to:
  • BronzeTitan (for directing me to stquantum.com)
  • Dan Bricklin (for the Comdex '83 footage)
Project status: All 25 Season 1 episodes downloaded from Internet Archive, will start encoding work next week.
(This post was last modified: 2017-08-12, 06:28 AM by Koopa Luath. Edit Reason: A bit of an update )
Very nice! I'm looking forward to seeing the results!

Can you be talked into including some interviews with, and other documentaries about, the show and it's host(s)?  Big Grin
[Image: jason-and-the-argonauts.png]
"The gods want their entertainment.  The gods of Greece are
cruel!  In time all men shall learn to live without them."
Where would I find them?
Well, a very good sit-down interview is at TWiT (also typically re-encoded on YouTube, so the TWiT one should be the better source:

Stewart Cheifet has done other sit-downs and public addressings (just checking from YouTube but different ones may be on other video sites, too; check PBS articles). I'm sure Gary Kildall (long time co-host) did the same thing (one documentary about him was on Computer Chronicles, too).
[Image: jason-and-the-argonauts.png]
"The gods want their entertainment.  The gods of Greece are
cruel!  In time all men shall learn to live without them."
I found that the Internet Archive downloads are apparently bottom field first for some reason. I'm currently looking into a way to get them back to top field first and then apply the Yadif filter to the result.
On the Season 1 set, I plan to include the complete Comdex '83 video made by Software Arts as a special feature. Unfortunately, the only footage I could find is from progressive sources. I hope an interlaced source comes up at some point in the future...
Here's a preview of a planned color correction. I just took the LUT from that slate color match achieved using Dr. Dre's tool and applied it in DaVinci Resolve, then lowered the Saturation setting in the bottom-left pane from 50 to 25 (on 50, it was too saturated, and Gary Kildall's face appeared to be bleeding badly into the background).

Feel free to drop opinions on these color settings in this thread. And yes, I know I might need to apply a deblocking filter at some point.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
I have feeling it's a bit too greenish, check out the blazer on dude on right on second screenshot.
(2017-08-13, 05:17 PM)Colek Wrote: I have feeling it's a bit too greenish, check out the blazer on dude on right on second screenshot.

Gary Kildall's blazer? I think I can fix that. Just a matter of figuring out whether to change the lift, the gamma, the gain, the offset, or two or more of the aforementioned settings.
I think it's gamma values of Y 0.00, R 0.00, G -0.02, and B 0.25. Here's the same screenshot with that setting applied. How does it look now?

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

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