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Will Warners silly marketing create a new format for us HT elitists?


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Jeff

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:08 AM

VHS is to DVD as Laserdisc is to.....? It seems the VHS Joe Six Pack crowed are fastly seeping into DVDland and with that they are turning the format that some of us here helped shape, into their format. I had a feeling this was going to happen eventually. When I was into laserdiscs 5 years ago I never worried that a title would be pan and scan. This format was for the home theater elitist that wanted the best picture and sound and that's what LD delivered. Now, in video stores, I see 60 year old ladies with their grand children renting DVD's. One part of me thinks this is great and that DVD is finally beginning to go primetime. But another part of me worries about the future of DVD when Warner is releasing popular titles in P&S only. Maybe this is an isolated thing and hopefully other studios won't follow. But what if it continues and other studios do follow? And I don't want to get into rental pricing, which could be just around the corner. Is it really going to get to a point where DVD is so mainstream that another LD type format will come along for us elitist? I'm curious what you guys think... Jeff [Edited last by Jeff on August 16, 2001 at 08:09 AM]

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Frank L

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:21 AM

See the thing is that I don't think this should be an issue at all, the DVD spec was laid out so that for most movies you could fit both widescreen and P&S versions of a given title. It's actually in the spec that you can do the so-call 'on-the-fly' P&S.

The studios are to blame for this problem. I guess in trying to maximize profit by cutting production costs, they decide to either drop the P&S version, or in cases like Wonka and Cats and Dogs, to drop the widescreen version.

I understand that in some cases it's impossible to fit both versions on a single disc (i.e. when the movie is too long), but then if you do fit both versions in one disc, then you lose space for extra features, and we don't want that either.

In an ideal world what the Studios should do is to release titles in both widescreen and P&S, be it in seperate versions (for Special Editions, Collector's Editions, etc), or in single discs (for bare-bones titles).

Shame on Warner for shooting for the lowest common denominator...



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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Paul W

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:21 AM

I'm hoping FMD (Flourescent Multilayer Disk) will be the next big thing.

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#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:28 AM

quote:
See the thing is that I don't think this should be an issue at all, the DVD spec was laid out so that for most movies you could fit both widescreen and P&S versions of a given title. It's actually in the spec that you can do the so-call 'on-the-fly' P&S.[/quote] Just because it is in the spec doesn't mean it will be used. Just look at all the DVDs that take advantage of the MPAA-rating-switch feature that was originally touted... [Edited last by Brian Perry on August 16, 2001 at 08:29 AM]

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:20 AM

[quote]

When I was into laserdiscs 5 years ago I never worried that a title would be pan and scan.

[quote] That's because you were into them 5 years ago. Those of us who started earlier know that it took years for widescreen to become the norm on LD. When I started collecting in '91, I remember any number of titles that you couldn't get on LD except in P&S. Examples that spring to mind -- because I remember looking for them -- are the first two Indiana Jones films, Alien, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Silence of the Lambs. (They were subsequently reissued in widescreen, but only years later.)

Even as LD was achieving its greatest popularity ever (admittedly nothing compared to DVD today), titles would still inexplicably appear in P&S. One example that I remember vividly is The Last Seduction; it was announced as widescreen and the LD cover had a big banner saying something like "Special Widescreen Edition", but the disc was the same P&S version issued on VHS.

Warner's handling of its "family" titles is inexcusable, but I do wish people would stop romanticizing the days of LD.

M.
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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:42 AM

The Pan & Scan on the fly feature would not work well with 2.35:1 films, and for the films for which it would work, they would have to do pan & scan, even if matte opening would be better. Regards, ------------------ Ken McAlinden Livonia, MI USA
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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   richard plumb

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Posted August 16 2001 - 06:56 AM

Isn't it cheaper to produce an OAR disc? You don't need to pay someone to produce the pans and scans. on the fly P&S would be OK with more flexibility. Pan and Scan and zoom would be good, storing the area to be displayed and blown up to fit if necessary.
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 07:16 AM

[quote]

Isn't it cheaper to produce an OAR disc? You don't need to pay someone to produce the pans and scans.

[quote] True, but as long as there's a VHS market and televisions broadcasts continue in 4:3 format, P&S versions have to be produced.

M.
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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted August 16 2001 - 07:48 AM

Michael Rueben, Fact laserdisc began testing letterboxing in 1989. Fact during the mid 90's Laserdisc was primarily widescreen, why do you keep comparing Laserdisc's of 1991 with LD of 1996? How many VHS titles were widescreen in 1991? I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. Most films did get a widescreen release on laserdisc if they were released after 1995. Some were offered in Pan and Scan, but many titles were re-pressed in the letterboxed format. True, not every title came out letterboxed but most were. Unless your video store had a small selection of Laserdiscs your facts are incorrect. [Edited last by Greg_M on August 16, 2001 at 10:36 PM]

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Kenny Foor

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Posted August 16 2001 - 10:07 AM

Did you know that the first title to be letterbox was the CED of the movie Amarcord in the early 80's? RCA called this their "innovative widescreen mastering technique". The CED format was the first to release the first movie (Amarcord). Most people think that the film Manhattan on the laserdisc format was the first widescreen movie bit in fact Amarcord for CED came out eight months prior to manhattan.

#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 10:27 AM

quote:
Fact laserdisc began testing letterboxing in 1989.[/quote] Who said otherwise? Jeff said that, with LD, you never had to worry that it would be widescreen. That simply isn't true, whether you're talking about 1991 or 1996. BTW, here's another fact: The P&S LD of The Last Seduction was released in 1995. P&S LDs continued to be released right up until the end. M. [Edited last by Michael Reuben on August 16, 2001 at 01:36 PM]
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#12 of 13 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted August 16 2001 - 10:51 AM

[quote]

The P&S LD of The Last Seduction was released in 1995

[quote]

I'll go you one better, Michael. The LD release of The Limey, which AFAIK never came about due to lackluster preorders (less than 500), was going to be P&S, and this was a mere one or two years ago.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 11:01 AM

[quote]

lackluster preorders (less than 500)

[quote]Ouch!

I just picked up the LD of the Australian film Kiss or Kill at the DVDPlanet closeout sale. It's a 1997 film, and the disc was released in 1998 -- pan 'n' scan.

M.
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