TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT OR TITUS

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by haineshisway, Jan 25, 2014.

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  1. RobHam

    RobHam Stunt Coordinator

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    Agree that it's getting old, but it keeps coming back, and the release of Titus seems to have provoked the most hostile response yet to the TT model.

    I think Twilight Time may be victims of their own success.

    With a string of critical and commercial successes released over the past 12 months, there are probably unrealistically raised expectations at pre-order stage for new releases that are clearly wanted and loved. I nearly got caught up in this same wave of enthusiasm with the Khartoum announcement, but waited for the first reviews to appear before finally deciding to order – I think Bruce’s “sneak peek” was the first glimpse of something good coming our way.

    When the product does not live up to the high expectations, a backlash is inevitable – particularly at the TT price level. I remember a similar backlash happening a couple of years ago with the poorly reviewed Demetrius and the Gladiators TT release. Maybe in 2 – 3 years we’ll all just be grateful to see old favourites appearing in high def on a physical format, irrespective of pricing - a true niche market.

    In the here and now, it’s still about perceived value for money.

    And boy has Titus raised a right rumpus in the value for money arena – I’ve been watching this at various websites over the past week, astonished at the level of vitriol aimed in TT’s direction. I get the widespread complaint about marketing a 13 year old master in a new release at a premium price point, but some of the rhetoric does seem excessive.

    As to Bruce’s point about Titus still selling well despite the poor reaction to its quality – it may well be the size of the fan-base each movie has that ultimately determines sales and not the quality of the product. Bite the Bullet, a well reviewed TT release from a couple of years ago, has a superb transfer but apparently still has a sizeable amount of stock remaining. Go figure.
     
  2. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    If all DVDs are now coasters someone must have forgotten to tell me...or the millions of other people who are also quite happy to still buy them - in far greater quantities than Blu-rays. :)
     
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  3. Cine_Capsulas

    Cine_Capsulas Second Unit

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    Hear, hear!
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Rob,

    I am happy you are back with us.

    I am all for spirited debate on this forum. However, if anyone crosses the line and makes it
    known that your opinions are not welcome here, please contact me privately and let me know
    before you decide to leave again.

    That is not the kind of behavior we promote here.

    If the posts were actually removed, I'd like to talk to you more about that. The only reason
    we would remove posts is if they were part of an inflammatory batch of argumentative discussions
    we felt had gotten out of hand.
     
  5. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter
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    Bingo! And here's another telling recent example Rob: Alamo Bay:

    [*]Respected Award-Winning filmmaker with a world-wide fan base (Louis Malle)
    [*]Respected Award-Winning composer with a world-wide fan base showcased in lossless isolated form (Ry Cooder)
    [*]One of the career-best under seen screen performances by its star (Ed Harris)
    [*]A complete no-show on Region 1 DVD - last released panned and scanned on VHS (which prior to this Blu-ray would have set you back $50 - $80 in the Amazon or eBay aftermarket)
    [*]Recently remastered for Blu-ray from Sony's new 4k DCP. A state-of-the-art transfer and one of my twin nominees for best-produced catalogue Blu-ray of 2013 (along with Hard Times, also from Sony via Twilight Time)
    [/list]
    In a better world, this long-MIA title and beautifully presented Blu-ray *should* have flown off SAE's shelves and sold out within mere weeks. But even 6 months later, Alamo Bay remains available in still sizable numbers. The same thing could also be said about John Guillermin's Rapture...or Jean Renoir's Swamp Water...or Franklin J. Shaffner's Nicholas and Alexandra...or even some of TT's more pop-appeal titles like Bye-Bye Birdie and the Novak flicks. There isn't a shoddily produced or presented Blu-ray in that bunch, routinely authored to 50GB discs from 4k masters, and yet they all remain available a year, two years, or more later.

    So yes, absolutely, the success of this limited release model always comes down to the title's depth and breadth of appeal rather than its specific production values, features, or price point. Unless...and this seems to be a factor too...some fans simply don't believe this really is as good as it gets for some fave movies which have always been available in hard media form since the beginning of home video.
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Some wonderful posts here and Dick's post should be made a sticky. It's all about price in terms of the complainers. Right from day one. We've all said it time and again - they want their little discs to be cheap. BUT - as we've also said time and again, if Twilight Time suddenly made these titles twenty dollars, then these same complainers would say they'll get them when they're fifteen. If they're fifteen, they'll want them for ten, when they're ten, it will be five and in the end they wouldn't even buy them for five. THAT'S the ultimate joke here. You can watch that happen on every thread elsewhere, the delight in getting some horrible thing for five bucks or a buck because they used this coupon with that deal in combination with that code - it's a game and has nothing to do with loving films. Twilight Time wants to be successful, of course. But the two owners LOVE film.

    And here's another little point: A lot of sturm und drang over the 3,000 number. I wonder if these people realize that most Blu-rays released by most companies, save for the biggest of titles, are also limited editions, some far less than 3,000. No, they don't use the moniker, but since there are huge numbers of catalog releases that never even sell 1000 copies and will NEVER be repressed, well, those editions are limited to 1000 copies because there will never be an upside to reprinting them IF the first 1000 sell after two or three years or when the license runs out in the case of Olive and other independents.
     
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  7. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    I think $20 is a fairer price for TITUS, actually. I think they're price-points should reflect the quality of the product in addition to the money spent on restoring it (if any) in addition to its rareness. You even admit the HD quality isn't up to where it should be, Bruce - at least that's my ultimate interpretation of what you first wrote (it's ok, but could be better since it's an older non-2k scan). If this was higher, modern HD quality, $30 would be more acceptable from my point of view. And yes, that's nice that the audio was worked on. Did TT do it or Fox or the film's owners?
     
  8. English Patient

    English Patient Auditioning

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    I agree with much that has been written about Titus here - I recently bought the blu-ray, thought the transfer was acceptable, and was pleased that much of the DVD's special features were ported over. For a film that was a financial flop (it cost $20 million to make and made about $2 million) and has little or no cult following, the fact that it made to blu-ray at all was reason enough to celebrate. $30 did not seem like an outrageous price to pay at all. It was fair.

    I think in the last eight years or so many consumers have gotten overly accustomed to releases such as Apocalypse Now or Blade Runner, in which you can get a beautifully restored/rescanned image, multiple cuts of the movie, documentaries and other special features at an incredible price point (I think I paid $19 for the Apocalypse Now 'full disclosure' edition). I think some people assume that every catalog title is going to merit this kind of treatment.

    And I'm puzzled at the all-or-nothing attitude many people have - the attitude that if the film isn't going to have a brand new 2k or 4k scan or some expensive restoration work, then Twilight Time or any other label shouldn't even bother putting it out at all. That's a little like saying that if you can't drive a Lexus, then you're simply gonna walk to work. They're outraged at paying $30 for a dated high def transfer... yet they forget that at least Twilight Time thought enough of the film to actually put it out on blu-ray, which is more than you can say for Fox, which originally put out the DVD. Twilight Time is trying to expand the reach of the blu-ray format to 'orphan' films that the major studios don't seem to care that much about - isn't this ultimately a good thing? Isn't it better to have a blu-ray of a favorite film than to not have that film? For a hardcore fan of certain titles, the $30 price point is not unreasonable. I must have paid twice that over the years picking up every different iteration of Blade Runner that's come out.
     
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  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't expect a small company with not much room for profit error should have to employ multiple pricing.
     
  10. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    To Dick - I only now saw this in your post:

    "In direct response to your saying "A premium price of $30.00 can't be justified," what is apparently true is that you personally cannot justify spending $30.00 for a certain title. That's fine. No one is going to argue that everyone will think TITUS, for example, (which, by the way, has ported over all of the DVD extras, as are more and more TT releases now) is worth the price. But more broadly, and what you seem to be saying is that $30. for TITUS can't be justified, period. Not so. If TT is successful at selling its product for $30, the price is justified for TT, as it is for those of us who choose to buy it for $30. If you had to spend thirty bucks on this movie because a gun was being held at your head, I could understand your argument. Regarding the PQ of the Blu-ray: I do not always agree with Bruce about stuff, but I'll always give him a big pass (as I do with Robert Harris) when it comes to reviewing the quality of a given release. He's been in the film business, for God's sake. Have you? I haven't!"

    My comment about $30 not being justifiable, it is in terms of TT's product of TITUS, not the movie itself. It isn't justifiable to me - and I honestly don't think a $30 price tag for a passable transfer should be justified at that price-point either. I really dig the movie and would be happy to buy a modern HD version of it, regardless of extras (I don't have the time at this point in my life for extras, though they're always a nice addition). I am more than willing to wait for a UK bd of it, even if it ends up using the same lesser materials - I know that it'll cost less than TT's - and for that, I'm willing to wait. It's admittedly not as high on my want-list of movies right now, and I am also willing to state that my disposable income is just about at an all-time low at the moment since buying a house in October. However, I have bought some higher-priced discs since then using my CC. If I'd read that the transfer for TITUS was high quality - as it ought to have been as I think highly of it - I would have ended up ordering it at some point.
     
  11. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    I deleted my first comment, decided to restate it differently. I feel there should be more variety in pricing for their products, but what do I know, I guess. Maybe I should hold my tongue since my opinion doesn't seem to matter much than to myself (as it should). But I'm surprised people are ok with defending a product that could be better -- some feel ought to be better -- especially at its price-point.
     
  12. bluelaughaminute

    bluelaughaminute Stunt Coordinator

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    When I see Haines on other forums I don't often agree with his comments but this time I do. The constant whinging about Twilight Time on various forums has been getting tiresome for a long time . And the whingers try to hide behind various arguments but the bottom line is that they don't want to pay TT prices . Fair enough - don't. But shut the hell up about it . I believe TT are limited to 3000 copies per title by the studios. This means there's not enough to supply every retailer in the country which would lead to the usual discounting . The RRP of TT discs is about the same as every other company but TT discs don't get discounted.
    One has to assume that rightly or wrongly the studios licence films to TT that they consider won't sell well enough for them so they let TT take the risks . So all the whingers ( especially the peasants on Roobarbs) why not complain to the Hollywood studios who are licencing films to other companies rather than do it themselves which often means a lack of bonus features.
    It has to be said that a good number of films from TT would not be available on Bluray if it were not for the TT releases.
    So do what you do with other titles - look at the price and if it's not worth $30 then don't buy it . I've only bought 6 TT titles . There were 2 others I was interested in but not enough to pay $30 for them . But instead of whinging about that I'm enjoying the hundreds of titles I've already got and buying lots of other titles very cheaply.
    The bottom line is that each movie has a price you'll pay . There's very few brand new films I pay for as new releases - I wait for the discounts but catalogue titles are my main interest and if the price is right I'll buy on release day - if it's not I'll wait. So John Hodson , Alyd and other assorted losers - why not stop wasting your time slagging off TT and just enjoy the discs you do buy.
    If TT release a film I want I'll buy it - these guys try not to just on the principle that they won't support TT.
    But with the success TT are having in general I'm sure they can ignore the critics as the whingers really don't make any difference to them at all .
     
  13. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    Why not post that at Roobarb's? Wouldn't that make more sense? Anyhow, what you're stating is "shut up" to folks who don't agree with you. How is that better than what you're complaining about? Why shouldn't people be allowed to discuss something like this? Isn't that what forums are for? It's ok for Bruce and others to defend them, as it should be ok for others to complain about their pricing structure and product. At least some of us who disagree are willing to discuss reasons for disagreeing rather than some of the other crap people post (I'm referring to many of the fools at blu-ray.com, for instance).
     
  14. Reggie W

    Reggie W Cinematographer

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    For whatever it is worth here, I have the Titus disc from Twilight (I love the film) and watched it today and I can tell you it is a big step up from the DVD (which I also have) and there are no color issues at all.

    I came here to see if anybody had commented on the disc and found this discussion...which again seems to be more about the business model than the film.

    There is nothing wrong with the Titus blu-ray...really...and I have to wonder who these people are that are complaining about it because as far as I know a very small number of people have actually WATCHED THE DISC!

    I can tell you it is now the definitive version for home viewing and it was a wonderful experience watching the film again.
     
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  15. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    I agree, their costs to produce the Blu of TITUS are the same as with all the past. I'm must be missing something. The aspect I like about Twilight is they have a diverse releasing taste. The ones that are not my taste I don't purchase and the ones that are my taste I feel are worth it. And by way I have SWAMP WATER and it is incredible.
     
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  16. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    But that is exactly the point: Titus could NOT be better. They used the one existing transfer. It was THIS Blu-ray or NOTHING. If people want to just stick to upscaling the old dvd, they have that right. If someone wants to not buy the Blu-ray, they have that right. But if people are happy to get a Blu-ray of it and pay $30, they have that right.

    As I said earlier, if a newer transfer existed that TT didn't use, I could understand some of the criticism. But that isn't the case here.

    As far as the price point, as Bruce pointed out, some people are never going to be happy with the price point and do nothing but complain about it. And for the ones who, like you, feel the price point should be dependent on the quality of the transfer, I'm not so sure how that would work in a licensing case like TT. Essentially, aren't they doing the same work as they did when handed beautiful, newer transfers from Sony and Fox like The Other, Alamo Bay and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines? But in this case, they should take less money for their work?
     
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  17. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    I agree that TT should certainly not be completely immune from criticism. The problem is that when all the arguments against TT, presented here and particularly on that other forum, are examined closely, they're based on an incomplete understanding of how and why the TT model actually works (as explained in detail here), and/or are also highly subjective. That means that you can't have an informed discussion, it just becomes a circular debate. The most common point of discussion centers around the price and the limited availability of TT discs (3,000 units), and we've had that discussion in virtually every TT thread for the past two years. Ultimately, if something isn't worth $30 to you, no-one can argue otherwise - you've placed a subjective value on the product and you should not purchase it. What's to discuss?

    On the other hand, if you or anyone else wants to point out image quality or audio flaws, and provide better alternatives, in an objective manner, then that can be useful to the discussion.

    Otherwise it all just boils down to the same old variations of "TT need to lower their prices and/or add more extras and/or print more copies". If you understand the interconnected and delicate nature of TT's business model (see the link above), you would understand why this won't happen, at least with regards to printing more copies and lowering prices.
     
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  18. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    I'm fully aware of the TT business model, have been since their beginning. I have some of their releases. I'm not new to this whole thing. After what happened with THE FURY, I cannot but feel that someone else will eventually do this differently - and perhaps better - and I'm perfectly ok waiting for that. If not, then I am happy to wait for an international release that will likely end up containing the same technical contents but will be more affordable. No need to be condescending - it doesn't boost your side of the discussion.
     
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  19. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I agree with you completely, and to those who are misinterpreting what I wrote in my initial post - I merely said that of course a fresh scan off the camera negative would, most likely, look better. That wasn't dissing what the Blu-ray is. Half the complainers are complaining because the other half of the complainers are complaining, i.e. they haven't bought or seen the disc. Actually, I'd amend that to say more than half, probably two thirds - just jumping on the bandwagon and assuming that the complainers are right. Thus it has been thus it will be again.
     
  20. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    The Fury had multiple transfers. Titus does not. Are you saying TT should not have put it out because a new scan may happen at some unspecified point in the future?

    You may be okay with waiting, but I would rather have it now and double dip IF at some point the film's owners miraculously decide after more than a decade and a half to do a new scan. Why is it wrong for TT to market now to me and those who may feel as I do?
     
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