A full series Bluray box-set is being planned by German production studio Koch Films who have secured the rights and copies of the CBS HD masters which they received in early May of this year.
The news was first announced last December in our forums by Jano, the German MacGyver Forum owner, who is working with Koch Films in an advisory role. He explained that when licensing out a property to another studio, there’s an internal feedback round with official international branches first to see if any of them are interested in doing the property themselves (in which case it wouldn’t be licensed out). This wasn’t the case for MacGyver, so the license was available for the German studio to purchase and they are now in planning stages for a Blu-ray release.
Jano wrote, “This won’t be released before next summer or fall at the earliest here in Germany (and who knows when and if in the US), but what I can guarantee you is that we’ll do our best to give you the very best Mac experience ever (including hopefully bonus materials if available through the licenser and I’m currently writing an extensive booklet about the show’s history)”
Jano went on to say that they are working to remove the white flicker caused by the video compression seen in parts of the first season Bluray as well as looking to be able to include things like the cut Pentagon scenes from the pilot episode. He also says they are looking at replicating the opening explosion title in HD rather than using the current version which replaces the original logo with a less animated graphic. There are also plans to have interviews with key cast and crew members for inclusion as extras on the boxset.
There’s currently no release date or target for the completion or release of the boxset and it’s likely that production work will be heavily hampered by the ongoing Covid 19 situation around the world, but whenever we do see the set finished it will be an outstanding item to add to our collections if their Miami Vice set is anything to judge by.
For years it was believed that an HD conversion wasn’t even possible because the episodes had been transferred to and edited on video with the original film stock either lost, damaged or destroyed. This idea found firmer footing when the video copies were used to produce the DVD releases. But despite the apparent impossibility of the request, fans continued to ask. Several online partitions were started over the years with all having only a modest response from the fans with many comments referring to the thought that the original film stock was gone. This, however, was laid to rest when CBS announced in 2018 that they were halfway through transferring the full series over to HD. The news was quickly followed by a video release from CBS which compared DVD scenes with the newly restored HD versions and the difference was staggering. Fans were excited at the thought that they would finally be able to watch MacGyver in the high quality they had become accustomed to through modern TV and digital shows and movies and many commented that they couldn’t wait for the release.
Why does the film stock matter?
Film stock is the only way older TV shows and movies can be converted to HD format. This is because the photographic film has an almost limitless definition – that is to say, you can project a photo to practically any size without losing quality. That feature translates to also being able to make very high-resolution scans of each frame to create HD versions of shows, unlike standard definition images that don’t contain enough information to make a clear image.
One of the processes used in the absence of full episode stock is to use the daily takes, which is the footage shot each day, and reconstruct the episode using the director and camera notes. This was the process used to transfer Star Trek: TNG to HD several years ago. It’s possible that this may also have been done for MacGyver if the original episode film stock has been lost or damaged.
What’s the point of making HD if they don’t release it on Blu-ray?
It’s important to remember that Blu-ray is not the primary reason for converting TV shows to HD. CBS is “future-proofing” their products to ensure they can be used for years to come. Converting their shows and films to HD now means they are ready to be used in whatever format and/or size future TVs and audience demand.
Parts of Europe (including Poland), and South America are already seeing other seasons in HD on their public television so it would seem that CBS has already made the HD versions available for other networks to use. We had expected that the CBS streaming service would have been updated to the HD versions, but to date, they still have the SD versions only so the exact plans for HD remain a bit of a mystery for now, but we do know that they haven’t spent considerable time, effort and money converting this show to HD for nothing.