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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Brock, Jun 12, 2012.
The author criticizes Brian Ward. He deserves to be criticized (and rightly so).
Great article about the Route 66 DVD mess. Thanks for posting...
I found it interesting that Shout Factory refused to be interviewed unless the questions were submitted in advance.
I think that speaks volumes. What possible excuse could they give that would be viable? Everyone knows that better versions exist of the first 15 shows, both on film and on 1-inch tape.
I don't know...as excellent as the article is in trying to piece this all together, it also shows how convoluted it all is. It still leaves the question as to who has the better source prints, what quality are they in now, and how expensive they would be to obtain.
It would be interesting to compare a sampling of the first 15 episodes from the release with what is currently being aired in syndication to determine what is generally available. If the those being aired on RTV are better then what's on the disks then I will know for sure that there is no excuse. Otherwise, it still just seems to be too big a mess to know exactly where all the fault should be directed and how it should be distributed.
Like everyone else i'm disappointed in not having better prints for the earlier episodes, but based on the expectation that we weren't going to have a perfect release, i am content with having the Shout! complete collection over the alternatives of:
- only seasons 1 through 3 from Roxbury, or
- seasons 1 through 3 from Roxbury and a season 4 from Shout!
Basically, I prefer the packaging of the Shout! complete collection over the other combinations. For me it looks better, is easier to work with, and takes up less space. And considering it only cost me an additional $40 (after selling my Roxbury editions) it was worth it. Especially, considering the price of a separate season 4 Roxbuty or Shout! release would have probably ended up being around the same amount.
The harkening back to the video masters made for Nick At Nite doesn't seem to want to deal with the fact that those tapes were struck in 1984. They're pushing 30 years old. It's videotape which doesn't age well when used constantly over the years.
Were the early episodes a little off since you're dealing with a film crew making half a movie in five/six days on the road? What was the situation with dailies? Reshoots aren't cheap when you've moved to a new location. Did they use different film labs to get things a little bit closer
The article would have been better if he had hard technical facts about where the 35mm negatives are stashed. Has he called up Me-TV to ask about the tapes they're currently using?
1-inch videotapes hold up amazingly well. And I don't know where you get the idea that those tapes were "constantly used". Nick ran them through a few times and other than that those tapes haven't been used anywhere since. Believe me, 4 or 5 plays of a one-inch tape is nothing. Unless those tapes were stored in a garage or some other such damp place, they would look as good today as the day they were transferred. I recently had some transfers done off 1-inch of a show that was mastered to tape around the same time period and they look pristine.
Which brings up the point about Route 66 currently airing on RTV. I stopped capturing season 4 awhile back because the quality wasn't that good. I didn't need season 1 so I didn't try to capture any of those, but i may now just to see how they compare with what Roxbury and Shout! put out.
So if they end up looking similar or worse then what was released:
1) They could be the same tapes as aired back in the 80's and now we know that they weren't maintained very well and aren't the answer to a better release, or
2) They aren't being used by RTV, which brings up the point of why aren't they? If they weren't available to RTV then maybe they just weren't available to Roxbury or Shout! either.
With all the issues brought out about ownership over the years and the fact that Roxbury and Shout! appear to have been provided the same source prints to work from, there is just way to much speculation going on to just assume these tapes are available and just sitting there waiting to be used. The more obvious scenario is that if readily available one of the three would have used them (RTV, Roxbury, Shout!), which leads me to believe that they either weren't available or were to costly to obtain.
From my memory, last year RTV aired the same prints of Route 66 that you see in the Roxbury releases. I think they even aired some of the fake widescreen ones; I remember some episodes being visually stretched from left to right; not pretty.
I haven't really followed all this, but after reading that article, all I can say is, no wonder there have been issues with the masters.
It seems as if the rights have been getting passed around from one incompetent entity to another. I don't think that its out of the question that none of these new owners have had the brains to pick up the phone and contact Sony to even ask about getting access to the remastered tapes. People on these boards attribute those who are in this business with far, far more knowledge and intelligence than is warranted. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that none of these new owners had any clue that Nick at Nite ran the show in the mid-80s and that gorgeous 1-inch transfers existed.
That is definitely plausible, as is the possibility that some of those involved have no relationship with Sony and couldn't get the time of day from them, or that in Shout!'s case they could work with Sony, but the cost to gain such prints at this time was beyond projected revenue forecasts when only one season had not been previously released. Thus, being too risky of a venture. The fact is we don't know, and most likely never will. I choose to not speculate in a negative way when there are no facts to justify it. This is a "fandom" hobby where everyone wants a perfect release regardless of the cost. But it is also a business that continues to see companies going under. Independents have the most risk since they have the least capital to work from and typically don't get the pick of the most profitable shows. Mistakes will happen and hard choices will have to be made, but I'd rather support them with the idea of more releases continuing in the future, then bad mouthing them without evidence and having another option go under.
The various owners of ROUTE 66 over the last few year must have been getting payments from If Sony since they only handles the syndication of ROUTE 66 and has no rights beyond that - So they ARE fully aware there tapes on-hand. (and contractually might even have a right to access those tapes.)
Someone please correct me if I am wrong in stating this, but from what i have gathered on this forum, there is ownership/rights to content and ownership of physical media that content may be on, and that the two don't always coincide. So an independent like Shout! may own the Route 66 content but that does not mean they automatically own all the physical media that that content resides on. So whether it be a studio like Sony having physical film and tapes with Route 66 on them in their vaults, or collectors with prints of Route 66 in their personal possession, Shout! does not own or automatically gain access to this media. Which I guess is why there gan be difficulty at times getting certain releases out because of negotiation between multiple sides of the equation.
Until hearing otherwise, and based on what has happened to date, the logical conclusion for me is that Shout! now owns the rights to the content, and in the transaction received prints available from the same source. But that Sony has better film and tape elements of Route 66 in their vaults and has no intention of sharing them without proper financial incentive. And for what Shout! was releasing, it was not deemed advantageous to broker a deal with Sony for better prints based on the cost to do so and the expected revenue to be gained from this release. This just seems so much more logical to me then assuming that everyone associated with releasing or syndicating Route 66 (Roxbury, Shout!, RTV) are so uninformed that they didn't take advantage of readily accessible better prints.
I think you've summarized the situation correctly, Brad. Having the rights to release Route 66 on DVD doesn't mean Shout! was in possession or had access to all the films/tapes of the show.
But SHOUT! didn't just get the DVD rights...
Shout! Factory also announced a new kind of deal for the company: Instead of simply licensing DVD rights to the hit 1960-64 TV show Route 66, it bought proprietary rights to the series, including all 116 original episodes, archived materials, worldwide home entertainment and digital rights and North American broadcast rights.
That can simply mean "archived materials" from the source they bought the series from. Unless they bought the series directly from Sony, it does not mean they received what is in Sony's vaults. I seem to recall reading on this forum multiple times before that just because someone has rights to a show it does not mean they own or have rights to access all the physical media that the show may exist on. So if I have it interpreted correctly, Shout! has the right to distribute Route 66 using what ever prints they have on hand or can obtain, while Sony has control over whatever media they own that contains the show, but can't distribute it without licensing from Shout! (unless Sony also has distribution rights). Based on what has happened, that is the logical conclusion to me.
Now this is predicated on my getting the rights vs. media ownership correctly as explained above. Someone with more knowledge in the industry feel free to correct me if i am wrong. But it would also explain the difficulties at times in getting releases out and in the best quality.
I've negotiated deals where one entity owned the rights while the physical property resided in a studio's vaults and the studio had no problems whatsoever in turning the elements over the the rights holder. Without charging a fee. So to say that Sony won't do it or that they are looking to charge a fortune just does not coincide with my experiences.
The point I was making was that just because Shout! bought rights to the show that it didn't mean they automatically assumed control of the physical property regarding that show that is in possession of others. So it sounds like you are validating the premise I made as a true possibility in this case.
So your conclusion appears to be (correct me if I am wrong) that Shout! was either just lazy and didn't ask Sony, or not knowing enough to ask Sony for permission to get better prints. Mine is that they more then likely checked into it (why wouldn't someone), but Sony decided either not to do it in this case, or presented a cost that was more then Shout! was willing to go. I think it has been mentioned in the past here that studio's do at times charge for what is in their vault's (even though it may not coincide with your experiences). Now individual experience aside, would you say it is more likley a studio would open up their vaults and not charge a fee, or charge a fee? As for charging a fortune or not, that has to be evaluated on a case by case basis with what the possible revenues will be for a release.
It's all speculation on both our parts. I just choose to not slight Shout! in a case where there is no evidence to support it.