Do those munchkins sound a little... off? No, I mean more so.
February 19, 2015 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Cable TV is speeding up its shows slightly to show you more ads. The Wall Street Journal has more including a side-by-side comparison video a sharp eyed viewer made of a "Seinfeld" episode.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (86 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yep. This happens to music on commercial radio too.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:09 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


They should speed the ads up instead.

Also, their response to people choosing alternative mediums is to make their product worse? Wow.
posted by tychotesla at 5:13 PM on February 19, 2015 [81 favorites]


There are many reasons why cable is dying; this is just another nail in the coffin.

Why they persist on putting the nails in themselves is beyond me, but they can have at it for all I care.
posted by flippant at 5:13 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Very obvious to those of us with perfect pitch.
posted by Melismata at 5:14 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow, this is pathetic.
posted by ReeMonster at 5:16 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


With the extra time gained, they should play the commercials at half speed. I might watch them then.
posted by Auden at 5:18 PM on February 19, 2015


They should speed the ads up instead.

I'd be cautious about encouraging that particular practice.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:18 PM on February 19, 2015 [29 favorites]


Very obvious to those of us with perfect pitch.

Yup. It's annoying on two levels - one because the theme song and voices sound "wrong", and two because I know there are more commercials. I basically find those shows unwatchable.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:19 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


If I were in charge I'd just cut Seinfeld down to a 5 minute highlight reel, then you can spend the remaining 25 minutes doing something better with your time (while watching my excellent product partner videos).
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:20 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cut the wire. Zero times any given number is still zero.
posted by furtive at 5:24 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Melismata: "Very obvious to those of us with perfect pitch."

Also obvious to people who work in the video industry.

At the end of the day, it's gonna be Blipverts.
posted by Sphinx at 5:25 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


*bitter laugh slowed down 14.3%*
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought that they'd been doing this for years.
posted by octothorpe at 5:27 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd be cautious about encouraging that particular practice

I knew that you were making a Blitvert reference even before I clicked on the link :D
posted by surazal at 5:28 PM on February 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


These kinds of schemes are going to get much worse as the young adult demographic finds better things to do than watch normal broadcast/cable tv.
posted by ryanrs at 5:31 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is perfect for gyms and waiting rooms that show TV in the wrong aspect ratio. Everything can be wrong!
posted by cccorlew at 5:31 PM on February 19, 2015 [103 favorites]


I thought that they'd been doing this for years.

Oh, it's been happening for decades. You can really notice it with some older shows. When originally aired, each episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks was six hours long.
posted by oulipian at 5:32 PM on February 19, 2015 [173 favorites]


s ths smthng wld nd tv t ndrstnd?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:34 PM on February 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh, so that's what the pitch control button on mplayer is for...
posted by mikelieman at 5:34 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Imagining a lost chapter of Infinite Jest where broadcast TV speeds up shows X50 to make up for lost ad revenue and the only way to watch it is via hacking cartridge viewers to play 50 times slower
posted by hellojed at 5:36 PM on February 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wait: so they don't even bother to pitch correct the speeded audio? They must really not care about the audience!
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 5:37 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hell, triple the speed of every show and add a Yakety Sax track. It'd be an endless source of knee-slapping hilarity for the masses.
posted by prinado at 5:52 PM on February 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


You're not the customer, you're the product. And management just laid off QA so they could make next quarter's numbers.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:53 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


On TV, I notice it a lot with the reruns of Law & Order--most of the time, the music keeps its pace, but every now and then, you'll hear them rush through the music. Same thing with radio--I happen to love Chain of Fools, when it's done at a slower, as-recorded, almost sultry pace. When some clown speed it up to jam in another commercial, it ruins the song.
posted by etaoin at 5:56 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not making any claims of perfect pitch, but I'm pretty sure in the linked side-by-side comparison video the faster side has been pitch corrected to match the original. (If there's any shift it's way more subtle than what a raw 7.5% speed change would cause.)
posted by nobody at 5:56 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


They should create a black-and-white version, then colorize it.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 5:57 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, in days of yore (I suppose before the video technology existed to do this), shows in syndication used to just have scenes removed entirely. I watched a lot of Star Trek in after school reruns as a kid, and there were scenes that I remembered from previous viewings but which never seemed to be there when I saw the shows again. I assumed that I was misremembering form when I spake as a child and understood as a child but the missing scenes magically reappeared when the DVDs came out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 PM on February 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


I pretty much stopped watching cable TV altogether around 1999, for various reasons, mostly financial. I got by with dollar VHS rentals, then later, DVDs. In the years since, my exposure to cable TV has been happenstance, usually only when visiting family for the holidays, so maybe a couple of times a year.

It has been astonishing to watch the decline of basic cable television. After you've been away for a while, all the commercials look like the satirical ones from Robocop or Idiocracy, only they're real, and not nearly as smart. The programming itself has been on a self-lobotomizing race-to-the-bottom death spiral for years and years now. it's ugly now, and I think it's only going to get uglier.
posted by KHAAAN! at 6:05 PM on February 19, 2015 [36 favorites]


It's surprising that anyone who can figure out how to PayPal $5 to comment on a website would still be watching cable television. Doesn't everyone in the know download from newsgroups, run torrents, or rip DVDs checked out of the library?
posted by anemone of the state at 6:13 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just posted this elsewhere...

This isn’t limited to cable networks.

Since the digital tv switchover (not that speeding up shows necessarily has anything to do with digital broadcasting) I pretty much only watch channels like AntennaTV and MeTV that broadcast old tv shows. I noticed quite a few shows noticeably sped up (sometimes by what seemed to be digital audio artifacts, particularly during what seemed to be poorly pitch corrected music, or scenes with quick action, which took on a slightly sped-up, comic look). In some instances, I even noticed truncated editing (noticed this on some Twilight Zone episodes, usually fadeouts fading out more abruptly and overlapping each other, sometimes to the point of missing key visual information). The only reason I can think for doing this is to make more room for commercials.

At least I didn’t pay for these over-the-air broadcasts, but still…
posted by 2N2222 at 6:17 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


If they do this to my Hart to Hart and McMillan and Wife reruns I'm going to shake my cane at them. Ruffians! Hooligans!
posted by Fnarf at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Why are people complaining? This gives me more time to have meaningful interactions with my Dominos pizza phone app without missing more quality hard-hitting entertainment.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2015


all the commercials look like the satirical ones from Robocop or Idiocracy, only they're real, and not nearly as smart

What shocks me is that like a third of the commercials are the ones I remember from when I last lived in a house with a TV like five years ago. It's actually disappointing.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:28 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Benny Hill runs too fast now.
posted by benzenedream at 6:32 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, now it's just straight up slapstick. It's turned it into a joke!
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:34 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is hardly even noticeable on my favorite show!
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:36 PM on February 19, 2015


You're not the customer, you're the product. And management just laid off QA so they could make next quarter's numbers.

...but my cable isn't free!
posted by Drinky Die at 6:46 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, in days of yore (I suppose before the video technology existed to do this), shows in syndication used to just have scenes removed entirely. I watched a lot of Star Trek in after school reruns as a kid, and there were scenes that I remembered from previous viewings but which never seemed to be there when I saw the shows again. I assumed that I was misremembering form when I spake as a child and understood as a child but the missing scenes magically reappeared when the DVDs came out.

That's right; scenes were often cut to make more commercial room when shows were syndicated. The problem with that, of course, is that it required a human being to make judgments and do the labor of editing. Nowadays you automate the whole process, speed up the entire episode by whatever percentage is needed, and save enough money to buy the CEO a brand new solid gold toilet seat. Progress!
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:47 PM on February 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


If it's between this and dropping punchlines (e.g., Simpsons reruns), I will reluctantly take this.
posted by box at 6:50 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


And people wonder why I pirate.

At the end of the day, it's gonna be Blipverts.

Oddly, Max Headroom got that backwards.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:57 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


> They must really not care about the audience!

Oh, that's hardly Comcast's and Time-Warner Cable's most blatant display of contempt for their customers.
posted by at by at 7:00 PM on February 19, 2015


Broadcast versions of movies have done this forever; if you watch The Blues Brothers on TV, poor Aretha, for example, sounds like a chipmunk.
posted by PMdixon at 7:03 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I notice this with songs on the radio. Which is why I no longer listen to the radio - everything sounds like it is being sung by chipmunks in a hurry.
posted by cobain_angel at 7:07 PM on February 19, 2015


I'm fully convinced most newer, hard drive/streaming based jukeboxes at bars do this. I think the ratio they do it at might even be adjustable by the owner or jukebox company. I heard a hilariously sped up version of smells like teen spirit when i was out shooting pool last night.

None of my friends ever believe me though, they're always just like "yea dylan, and jet fuel can't melt steel beams ◔_◔". All those smartasses are getting a link to this.
posted by emptythought at 7:08 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm not making any claims of perfect pitch, but I'm pretty sure in the linked side-by-side comparison video the faster side has been pitch corrected to match the original. (If there's any shift it's way more subtle than what a raw 7.5% speed change would cause.)

Even the most threadbare audio and video editing suites/NLE programs/DAWs nowadays either default to pitch-correct playback at different speeds, or have it as a primary option. I've actually had to hunt for real time+pitch playback changing several times in the recent past. It's such a default now that pitch and time are often completely separated from each other.

It works good for speeding things up since it just mashes frames together, but the interpolation when you slow things down, especially on the audio side(or on progressive scan video) gets ugly really really fast.
posted by emptythought at 7:12 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Melismata: "Very obvious to those of us with perfect pitch."

Er - it shouldn't be. The pitch stays the same. They can do that now fairly easily - speed a thing up while compensating for pitch - and it's clear in the linked video that the pitch stays the same. (It might be that earlier techniques didn't do this, though.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:20 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


How long has this been going on? For years I thought songs on the radio seemed faster sometimes. I chalked it up to some quirk of the brain, like something Oliver Saks would quite about. It's real? that's some desperate shit
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:42 PM on February 19, 2015


This is the entertainment version of gas pumps slowing down a dollar before they hit the prepaid mark. (Yes, I know, mechanical stress, accuracy, etc., but I'll be damned if it didn't go through at least one person's mind that unused 13 cents times a bajillion lazy people equals free money)
posted by deadbilly at 7:43 PM on February 19, 2015


That profile piece that David Foster Wallace did about a talk radio host mentions that software for doing this in radio is an industry standard.
posted by thelonius at 7:43 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Who are these people?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 7:47 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why don't they just broadcast Seinfeld in split screen, like in this test, except run non-stop commercials in the other screen?
posted by mazola at 8:08 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


How long has this been going on? For years I thought songs on the radio seemed faster sometimes.

At least since the early 1990s. I still remember the first time I noticed it — a Denver radio station was playing "Walk on the Wild Side" sped up so fast that Lou Reed sounded like, yes, Alvin of chipmunk fame. To this day I can make my wife giggle a little by speaking softly and quickly: "heybabe ... takeawalkonthewildside ... isaidheysugar ... takeawalkonthewildside ...."

I notice this sometimes when I'm flipping through basic cable channels and I generally detect it as dropped frames -- as in, video runs at 30 frames a second, and these guys are just eliminating one or two frames out of every second of video footage so that the frame rate is effectively a speedier 31 or 32 fps. The resulting stutter in the picture would drive me nuts but I guess a lot of people don't mind. I guess it's possible that some channels do some frame blending (although that doesn't look much better, if you ask me) but what I see on USA just looks like straight-up dropped frames to me.
posted by Mothlight at 8:13 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I work for a national tv network mentioned earlier in the thread. I saw the side by side comparison earlier this week and asked my boss about it. He said the official explanation is about older shows not being formatted for modern broadcast schedules or avoiding cutting out part of the show. But yeah, it's about squeezing some extra money out of each episode.
posted by borkencode at 8:27 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been wondering if OTA broadcasts are playing a similar game with transmission power or something. Some channels can be a bit iffy, dropped packets or whatnot leading to the occasional loss of sound for a moment or a few frames full of blocks...

But once the commercial break starts, presto! perfect picture for the duration. As soon as the show starts, back to maybe not enough power and occasional loss.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:31 PM on February 19, 2015


Up-pitched radio tunes are an entirely different phenomenon. To quote kunilou on Straight Dope:

Way back in the pre digital days of radio, we simply recorded a song to tape, then sped up the tape. Our music folks calculated you could speed up most songs by about 3% before they started to sound "chipmunky."

The goal was not to squeeze in more commercials (we did that by whacking out entire verses and instrumental bridges) but to make our music sound peppier and brighter. Since that would make our radio station sound peppier and brighter, our competitors would therefore sound dull and flat.

posted by xigxag at 8:46 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why don't they just broadcast Seinfeld in split screen, like in this test, except run non-stop commercials in the other screen?

don't go giving them ideas!!!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:42 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I noticed this at least 20 years ago when network TV ran movies. I recall mentioning it to people and getting blank stares.
posted by davebush at 9:46 PM on February 19, 2015


Where's Roddy Piper when you need him?
posted by fullerine at 10:29 PM on February 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


This isn't even limited to TV -- if you ever played Far Cry 2, a runny-shooty-Africa game, YOUWILLNOTICEEVERYONETALKSLIKETHIS INEEDYOUTOGOKILLTHISGUY, MAKEITSILENTYOUHAVEYOURORDERS, likely because some brilliant producer or dialogue editor was tasked with trimming off some of the file size, and thought "hey, I'll just speed up the dialogue! Perfect!" It isn't sped up in the normal "speed up the tape" sense so the pitch isn't affected and they don't talk like chipmunks, it's compressed using newfangled time-compression algorithms similar to the YouTube 2x method. It's ....I'd say maybe 1.3x normal speed? But it's hugely distracting. Combined with "You can totally tell this script was written by French Canadians" it's really something.

p.s. did you read the rest of my comment in sped-up voice? Once you pop that mental clutch, there's no turning back
posted by jake at 10:37 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not making any claims of perfect pitch, but I'm pretty sure in the linked side-by-side comparison video the faster side has been pitch corrected to match the original. (If there's any shift it's way more subtle than what a raw 7.5% speed change would cause.)

Ha, well FWIW you're 100% correct. To expand on what emptythought said, there are in fact entire audio workstations built specifically around harnessing these correction algorithms -- Ableton Live, which I use daily, basically turns audio into melty goo and lets you stretch and squish stuff around the way you'd play with clay, changing the pitch without changing the timing, and vice-versa. You can take a drum beat and have it play a completely different rhythm with no one being the wiser. This tech has been around for decades, but we're at the point now where you can process 100 tracks in real-time without your computer breaking a sweat. CRAAAAZY!

One of the coolest things I've ever seen is VocAlign, a plug-in for Pro Tools, which... if I lay down 3 readings of the same line, it will analyze one of them, and squidge the others around juuuust so, using the same tech as described above, but automatically matching where words begin and end -- resulting in absolutely identical timing. Really useful for lip-sync in animation, or over-dubbing razor sharp vocal harmonies, for those of us who aren't Freddie Mercury.

It's a really damn good time to be alive if you are fascinated by audio tech and/or digital signal processing. LOTS of cool stuff to play with.
posted by jake at 11:01 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


if you ever played Far Cry 2, a runny-shooty-Africa game, YOUWILLNOTICEEVERYONETALKSLIKETHIS

Oh how I wish every video game had an option like this to speed up the dialogue and get it over with faster. Far Cry 2 has some of my favorite voice acting in video games, partly because of the speed, partly because the delivery is so flat and free of overacted melodrama.
posted by straight at 11:06 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


lets you stretch and squish stuff around the way you'd play with clay, changing the pitch without changing the timing, and vice-versa

This technology has been available, and in use for over 20 years now. It's most frequently used for "disclaimers" during commercials. (basically the audio equivalent of "fine print.") There's (presumably) a standardized "threshold" for the number of words per minute a person can hear, and they crank it up to that point, while leaving the pitch intact.

In fact, YouTube has recently (recent to me, anyway) added a feature that lets you, the viewer, do this yourself! To a degree, anyway. Click the "settings" button on a video, and you'll see a "speed" setting. The speed can be increased or decreased, while the audio pitch remains the same.

For some genuine laughs, I highly recommend watching people talking on the "0.5" speed setting. Everyone sounds legitimately drunk! (you'll have to adjust the speed yourself there, as there's no way to embed that setting into a link)
posted by ShutterBun at 12:45 AM on February 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, in days of yore (I suppose before the video technology existed to do this), shows in syndication used to just have scenes removed entirely. I watched a lot of Star Trek in after school reruns as a kid, and there were scenes that I remembered from previous viewings but which never seemed to be there when I saw the shows again.

Oh yes, back then the syndicated episodes of ST (among others) were distributed on 16 mm film for real-time telecine and shortened by "editors" at the local network affiliate stations. The cut frames would frequently show up in slide mounts for sale at the cons. I used to have a collection of these.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 1:28 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've often thought that this would be a useful product, if it was under my control and not the TV company's. Game of Thrones is up to about 50 episodes now, and that's a hill I'm not willing to climb. If I could automatically double the frame rate when nobody's talking, bump whatever's left to 33fps and pitch-control the audio back down again...
posted by Leon at 2:02 AM on February 20, 2015


VLC let's you mess about with playback speed (along with a bunch of other things) and all my US tv tends to get watched through VLC.
I will often listen to podcasts or coursera lectures double speed.

I think one of the hidden advantages of the BBC is that because they have no adverts it means the commercial companies can't get away with so much crazy stuff because there's always a base state to compare to.
If every channel has adverts then you can more easily hide your crazy behaviour until it becomes normalised.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:48 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


did you read the rest of my comment in sped-up voice?

damn, I totally did!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:50 AM on February 20, 2015


It seems odd that they resort to cutting down program time by compression when so many shows include the following:
1. Superfluous introduction section where they tell you what you missed last time.
2. Superfluous summary section where they tell you what they are going to cover this time.
3. Superfluous sections where they tell you what they are going to tell you after the break.
4. Superfluous sections where they re-cap where the action was just before the break.
5. Superfluous section where they cover what they are going to deal with next time.
- All of which makes watching a show about as much fun as looking at a mandatory Powerpoint presentation from HR - and which takes up about 40% of overall content. Take out that shit first.
posted by rongorongo at 4:37 AM on February 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


The video demonstrating the speed shift is pure art. It's like Steve Reich's "Come Out".
posted by sixohsix at 4:42 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]




This technology has been available, and in use for over 20 years now. It's most frequently used for "disclaimers" during commercials. (basically the audio equivalent of "fine print.") There's (presumably) a standardized "threshold" for the number of words per minute a person can hear, and they crank it up to that point, while leaving the pitch intact.

Once again, it saves money. If you can speed up the audio digitally, you don't have to hire John Moschitta, Jr.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:45 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised about the changed pitch thing. There's software available that allows you to speed-up music without changing the pitch. I would have assumed it would be used in video as well.

Things like this has been going on for a long time. I recall watching reruns of ST:TNG many years ago, and noticing little edits that removed frames from non-action scenes, like a shot of the Enterprise entering orbit above a planet...Instead of a smooth glide, the Enterprise would move in small, almost imperceptible leaps. Doing a little research, I discovered that this was being done by the studio for syndication purposes, in order to build-in an extra minute or so for commercial time.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:52 AM on February 20, 2015


And here I thought I was just getting old, and my annoyance threshold was dropping.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 4:58 AM on February 20, 2015


PAL speedup is 4.2 per cent, so you're just watching it like it is in Australia.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:00 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh how I wish every video game had an option like this to speed up the dialogue and get it over with faster. Far Cry 2 has some of my favorite voice acting in video games, partly because of the speed, partly because the delivery is so flat and free of overacted melodrama.

Turn on subtitles. Space/push button/esc your way through it.
posted by minedev at 5:03 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've noticed this too, even though, I don't have cable. This seems to be MeTVs basic business strategy.

Thank god for Tivo.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:22 AM on February 20, 2015


It has been astonishing to watch the decline of basic cable television. After you've been away for a while, all the commercials look like the satirical ones from Robocop or Idiocracy, only they're real, and not nearly as smart. The programming itself has been on a self-lobotomizing race-to-the-bottom death spiral for years and years now. it's ugly now, and I think it's only going to get uglier.

I spent seven years in the UK watching BBC documentaries.

It is now so horrifying to watch American cable 'documentaries' and it is not only the alien-autopsy america's secret pyramids woo that kills me but the mind numbing repetition of I'm going to tell you what I am going tell you & I'm telling you what I told you recaps that come before and after every commercial break that squeezes an hour timeslot documentary down to about 8 sentences of total content.
posted by srboisvert at 7:42 AM on February 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


Well, in days of yore (I suppose before the video technology existed to do this), shows in syndication used to just have scenes removed entirely.

Not just shows; when I was growing up, one of the local stations was so notorious for truncating movies to fill an afternoon time slot that cartoonist Don Rosa (yes, that Don Rosa) used to complain about it in the margins of the weekly comic strip he wrote for the local newspaper.
posted by Gelatin at 7:45 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is this legal? If they have broadcast rights for X does that mean they can make a derivative work and broadcast that? If you can change the entire work (by speeding it up) and it's still legal, couldn't they do much more without any extra authorization?
posted by ODiV at 9:10 AM on February 20, 2015


I once had rented a season of Homicide and had to get the DVDs back, but time was running out. I was also interested in the commentaries, and a bit of mucking about with the settings led me to discover that when watching a thing for the first time, playing it at 1.5X usual speed, turning subtitles on, and switching the audio track to the commentary gives me exactly as much stuff as my brain can process and still follow everything. An evening of this, however, gave me the same mental exhaustion that a day of meetings in my second or third language does.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:15 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


They should speed the ads up instead.

They do. It has been standard practice for years. But the goal is not to get a 30 sec ad down to 25 seconds, it's to pack 35 seconds of ad content into 30 seconds.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:28 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


the mind numbing repetition of I'm going to tell you what I am going tell you & I'm telling you what I told you recaps that come before and after every commercial break

I've thought a couple times about trying to fix that just as a video editing project: pick a few Discovery/History/whatever documentary or reality shows and cut out all the extraneous bumpers and teasers and reiterations to produce a shortened episode that only shows any of the content once, and see just how (a) short and (b) watchable the result is. My guess is a lot on both counts; the idea of these things is often not bad if not tremendous, but it's the padding out to a half-hour that really kills an otherwise totally dumb-but-fine bite-sized bit of content.
posted by cortex at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I suppose the answer is for Seinfeld to become as popular as the NFL. Not only will they give it a proper runtime, but it will come with hours of pre- and post-episode commentary.
posted by Monochrome at 9:41 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I suppose the answer is for Seinfeld to become as popular as the NFL. Not only will they give it a proper runtime, but it will come with hours of pre- and post-episode commentary.

Sure, but every 2-episode block will take 3 1/2 hours to show.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:50 AM on February 20, 2015


> Things like this has been going on for a long time. I recall watching reruns of ST:TNG many years ago, and noticing little edits that removed frames from non-action scenes

Yeah, the micro-cuts have been going on for a long time (particularly with Seinfeld). I'd actually prefer to have it sped up X% (pitch corrected, which i think it is) than have micro-cuts. Those really distract me.

> rip DVDs checked out of the library?

An excellent, if potentially illegal, suggestion. I love getting DVDs from the library, but unfortunately, half the time the disc is ruined and shuts down somewhere in the middle (or worse, near the end).

Ripping them first lets you know if it's actually going to work before you watch the whole thing. Also, library DVDs are rarely protected in the way that, say, Netflix DVDs seem to be.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:13 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Very obvious to those of us with perfect pitch.

I personally struggle to watch American TV shows and films (24 fps) that have been sped up for broadcast in Europe (PAL, 25 fps / 50 fields).
posted by LightStruk at 1:51 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I see what you mean there, LightStruk, though that practice makes no sense to me. Since films are mostly shot at 24fps, and NTSC broadcast standards called for 29.97fps, they would simply add a "pulldown" frame every 5 frames (essentially show every 5th frame twice) while keeping the audio track intact.

Seems like they could just "snip" every 5th or 6th (video) frame from an NTSC broadcast, keep the audio intact, and things would work out OK. Or does the "pulldown" process not work in reverse? (that is, in the pre-digital era)
posted by ShutterBun at 9:13 PM on February 21, 2015


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