The Yule Log Christmas 2003 in High Definition

Sean Mota

SatelliteGuys Master
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
New York City
If you live in NYC, here is a good one. This will be transmitted in WPIX (WB) digital channel 12, but VOOM only maps channel 11-1. I will ask around to see if VOOM can map this to their local map.


Make Sure You Don't Miss The "Real Thing" Yule Log Which Will Air This Christmas Morning, Dec. 25th, 2003 From 9am to 1pm

The beloved Yule Log, a favorite New York holiday tradition, will burn twice as long and twice as bright this year. The Log, our video Christmas card to New York, will be seen for four (4) hours this Christmas instead of the traditional two hours. It will be seen from 9 am to 1 pm on Christmas Day.

In addition, the Yule Log sears its way into the 21st Century with a major technological advance: For Christmas 2003 The Yule Log will also be seen in High Definition Television (HI DEF) on WPIX's digital channel, WPIX-DT Channel 12. The Yule Log in HI DEF, as close as TV can be to a real burning fireplace log, will be available to those with HI DEF sets who can receive the WPIX-DT signal. Those with standard TV sets will still be able to see the Yule Log in its traditional format from 9 am to 1 pm on December 25, Christmas Day. Both versions will feature popular Christmas music in high-fidelity stereophonic sound. The HI DEF broadcast of The Yule Log is made possible by Samsung.

The Yule Log, video of a blazing fireplace accompanied by holiday music, was a holiday tradition on Channel 11 from 1966 to 1989. During its hiatus, the many letters and phone calls to Channel 11 requesting its return attested to its undying popularity. The Yule Log has won its time period for WPIX in New York's overnight Nielsen Station Index ratings each year since its return to television.

The Yule Log was the creation of the late Fred Thrower, General Manager of WPIX from 1953 to 1975. "I thought about all the cave dwellers in New York, all the apartments that don't have fireplaces," he remembered in a 1988 interview. "I thought this might be a wonderful let people hear real good Christmas carols and to have their own fireplaces burning."

The first Yule Log was a 17-second film of the fireplace at Gracie Mansion, residence of New York's mayor, shot when John Lindsay was in office. The film was looped to fill a two-hour broadcast. It was re-shot a number of times, always with care that the fireplace should resemble the original at Gracie Mansion. To bring The Yule Log back to TV in 2001, the film was completely remastered using the latest digital technology to give a very sharp picture. The sound track, however, is the original collection of carols that delighted viewers throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Even better could we get this on one of the Cinema channels? Or maybe replacing the barker channel?

Hey Wilt, you think you could put a word in upstairs (or across the hall)?
The WPIX-D signal on the Voom box that is displayed in the guide as 11-1 is the result of "mapping" the 12.1 to 11--for recognition purposes.
This is the same practice as with CBS being mapped from their digital UHF assignment to 2-1 in this NY market.
The real issue here is how low power, apparently, PIX is not the mapping this time.
So, I assume that it will be shown on 11-1 from what Wilt just mentioned since the mapping is there already if I am reading his response correctly.
If you're in a location that can receive it, through the Voom box it will be on 11-1, that's correct.
Yea, but I don't get 11-1 (well actually that is the only one I get, but it is PBS up here in NH) , what I was saying was, rebroadcast it onto a standard VOOM channel for the rest of us not in the NY area.
Did they ever flip the switch? I can't believe they fogot to flip it especially since they are the ones who made the HD version!

I saw the Yule Log on the Denver Station and on WPIX (SD on Both) and was disapointed with the Denver presentation as they inserted a voice over commercial from the station or a local radio station between each song.

On WPIX hour 3 and 4 was a repeat of hour 1 and 2.
Well, I guess I was wrong about this one since I only saw the 4x3 picture I thought it was SD and not HD. Here is the e-mail I got from Technical Director/Lead On-Line Editor at WPIX-TV.

Happy New Year Sean,

Just wanted to let you know that WPIX in fact did transmit the Yule Log in

The original film was imaged 3x4 and to keep as much video information as possible, it was decided, during the hi-def film to tape (Sony HDCam)
transfer, not to blow it up to fill 16x9. Anamorphic stretch looked odd and
blow up caused a loss of all but the flames. Much of the film damage (due
mostly to mold) was later painted out frame by frame on a HD discreet logic smoke.

What you saw was a pillar boxed image in 1080i at 59.94. I am guessing that not seeing the image full screen led you to believe that we forgot to "throw the switch." If we had forgotten to switch to the output of our HDCam deck, you would have seen as stretched out Yule log since our up convert process includes a 14x9 stretch (via a Farouda Picture Plus).

The two hour tape was played twice. The original source music material is
long lost having been played back from l.p. records to 1 inch tape video
tape years ago. There are tentative plans to remaster the audio track for
next year. The original six and a half minutes of film was seen about 34
times over the course of the four hour broadcast. Every 1/2 hour you get to see the beginning and end of that 6 1/2 minutes which is the zoom in and zoom out of the fireplace. The log "revitalizes" every 6 minutes or so by a 2 second dissolve.

Should you ever have any questions about WPIX, please don't hesitate to
email me. Thanks!

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