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Criterion Releases in HD Thread


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43 replies to this topic

#1 of 44 Ed St. Clair

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Posted January 19 2006 - 06:24 AM

Started for the hopes, dreams, info, & details, of Criterion Collection on HD disc.

From the CC web site:
"Over the years, Criterion has had a series of license agreements with almost every major Hollywood studio, be they for laserdisc or DVD releases. Some licenses are renewable, some aren't. We do our best to keep the whole catalog together and growing, but we do occasionally lose rights, and in those cases we are forced to take certain titles out of print. These days we approach studio titles on a case-by-case basis, hoping to make the studios see the value of our work, and we are sometimes successful.
While we would like nothing better than to release our entire laserdisc catalog on DVD, we are unable to do so due to rights issues. DVD and laserdisc rights are often discrete entities and ownership of one does not necessarily imply ownership of the other."
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#2 of 44 Juan C

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Posted January 19 2006 - 09:14 PM

Considering that they began releasing DVDs as late as November 1999, I expect they'll wait for at least a year before releasing anything on any of the new formats.

Also, and paraphrasing them, DVD and hidef disc rights are often discrete entities and ownership of one does not necessarily imply ownership of the other.

We know now that they won't be releasing Armageddon or Robocop, for one thing.

But for more arthouse stuff, I really hope they go to the next level .
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#3 of 44 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted January 22 2006 - 12:05 AM

So will Criterion retain it's current licensed film catalgoue in the HD format or will they have to start from scratch and strike new deals with all the major studios to release their films again in HD?

#4 of 44 Mark_Wilson

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Posted January 22 2006 - 12:49 AM

...and restart the numbering scheme again...

#5 of 44 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted January 22 2006 - 01:45 AM

Can somebody please post on the Criterion foum and ask about this, I'm really curious about the license agreement for HD / Blu Ray titles.


Thanks.

#6 of 44 Ed St. Clair

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Posted January 23 2006 - 08:04 AM

Marco,
In case you do not get an answer from someone posting on CCF;
Read the quotes I took directly from the web site:
1. "Some licenses are renewable, some aren't."
2. "While we would like nothing better than to release our entire laserdisc catalog on DVD, we are unable to do so due to rights issues. DVD and laserdisc rights are often discrete entities and ownership of one does not necessarily imply ownership of the other."
This thread is to discuss anything CC HD. Just, the nature of the beast it will be more for new CC HD release announcements than past releases on DVD now coming to HD disc. Although, with what a great job they have done in the past, I am sure a lot of folks will be looking to upgrade CC DVD titles as well.
Anyone know if CC will be BD, HD-DVD, or both?
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#7 of 44 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted January 23 2006 - 08:21 AM

Thanks Ed.

I'm aware fo the discrepencies between laserdisc and DVD, mostly due to the fact that there's been a decade plus interval in which time studios have shifted ownership, merged, licenses have expired, new deals struck.

But with the exception of currently discontinued titles on DVD, I don't see why releasing their properties in high-definition should pose any legal issues?

#8 of 44 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 24 2006 - 02:36 AM

Quote:
Anyone know if CC will be BD, HD-DVD, or both?

I suspect (I have no evidence for this) that the answer will be neither, until the format war is over.

Criterion is a small company, that has a hard enough time to keep up with its current DVD only schedule. The idea that they would suddenly start releasing three versions of every film (it's not like they'll abandon DVDs) is preposterous.

So if you want Criterion on HD, cross your fingers that the format war will be over before it starts. Otherwise it might be a VERY long wait.

Is there ANY studio that will do simultanous HD DVD & Blu-ray releases?

FWIW: this is the official answer from "Jon Mulvaney":

Quote:
Jon Mulvaney wrote:
Criterion has been making high-definition masters of our titles for
several years. While we have made no definite decisions about future formats, we are monitoring the development of HD-DVD/Blu-ray technologies closely and are prepared for the next generation of DVD technology.

All the best,
JM


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#9 of 44 Michel_Hafner

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Posted January 26 2006 - 07:17 AM

I hope they start releasing in 2006. I have not bought any Criterion DVDs for many years (and others) exactly because I was waiting for HD. They have many films I buy at once if the transfer is high quality.

#10 of 44 DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 30 2006 - 10:19 AM

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Considering how long it took Criterion just to figure out that it was "ok" to use the 16x9 feature of DVD, I'm not holding my breath for reference-setting HD versions of Criterion BD/HD DVD titles any time soon...

In the early life of DVD they actually argued *against* using 16x9 since most people only had 4x3 TVs when DVD first came out and Mr. Mulvaney had a 4x3 TV and a cheapo-DVD player and didn't like downconversion artifacts...so he decided to compromise Criterion DVD software rather than simply upgrading his player (to a model with decent 16x9->4x3 downconversion) or display until someone finally got through to him. The notion that videophiles would want their software to be the best quality on the best gear since they planed on keeping their DVDs for a while didn't seem to occur to him...as though no videophile collector would ever plan to upgrade from his/her 4x3 480I NTSC TV.

When I contacted folks at Criterion in the early 2000's to express my displeasure for their lack of 16x9 support they even fed me the "full 16x9 WS transfers would have too many compression artifacts...the wasted space on black bars makes it easier to compress" argument. Funny how they never had a problem with 1.33:1 OAR titles using all those 720 x 480 pixels for active picture area...

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In any case, they finally got their act together and except for some issues with EE and filtering (Royal Tenenbaums looks pretty bad projected), they've been improving steadily.

Maybe they've learned.

Maybe I shouldn't be such a cynic...

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#11 of 44 Mark_Wilson

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Posted January 31 2006 - 03:48 AM

RT has horrible EE but I thought that was Bunea Vistas fault as CC had to use what they were given.

#12 of 44 DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 31 2006 - 04:39 AM

I could believe that...it has the classic "Live action Disney DVD" look of too much HF filtering and edge-ringing.

It is true that when Criterion can't do a film-digital transfer themselves that they are forced to accept whatever the studio chooses to give them.
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#13 of 44 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 31 2006 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
and Mr. Mulvaney had a 4x3 TV and a cheapo-DVD player and didn't like downconversion artifacts...so he decided to compromise Criterion DVD software rather than simply upgrading his player (to a model with decent 16x9->4x3 downconversion) or display until someone finally got through to him.

You do know that "Jon Mulvaney" is a fictional character, right?

As for HD Criterions in 2006, no way. I'll be totally amazed if any such appear in 2007.

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#14 of 44 DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 31 2006 - 12:12 PM

The Criterion techs kept telling me that the president/head of the company (I thought they said "Jon") had a 4x3 TV and didn't want to see downconversion artifacts and that 4x3 mastering was "just fine" for videophiles.

I'll dig through some of my old emails to see what name was mentioned (I could have sworn it was Jon)...
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#15 of 44 Ted Todorov

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Posted January 31 2006 - 12:19 PM

"Jon Mulvaney" is the person who responds to customer e-mail -- a task done by many different people at Criterion. The president of the company is Peter Becker. For more info Criterion's wikipedia entry.

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#16 of 44 DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 31 2006 - 12:32 PM

Ted,

who was the guy in charge back in 1997/8 when Criterion published those silly articles about how "laserdisc was better because it stored the whole picture and didn't use compression" blah blah blah? That's the guy who had the 4x3 TV whatever his name is.

The only email I found saved in my folder from Criterion was from April 13, 1999 from the guy who did the transfer for "Insomnia" which was Criterion's first 16x9 transfer/title on DVD.

Here are his comments, some of which pertain to what we've discussed:

Quote:
I've asked them about their stance on 16:9 and their response was that they thought the image quality suffered when players downconvert to 4:3, plus the fact that the 4:3 letterbox needs less compression so it takes up less bandwith giving them the ability to increase the bit rate. They also felt that 16:9 was a niche market.

When we transferred Insomnia we decided to do both a 16:9 and a 4:3 transfer. I talked to their 2 top QC people and after some discussion of the pros and cons we decided to go ahead with both, it only took a little more time. 16:9 right off the film is stunning, about as close to hi-def I've seen from an NTSC set. Since this would be the first Criterion 16:9 release they wanted a 4:3 to fall back on, so I don't know whether the DVD will be 16:9 enhanced when it's released, but I think Criterion is leaning toward doing 16:9 from now on.

I wish I could play back for you the phone calls with the techs all trumpeting the benefits of 4x3 transferring...I'm glad this fellow finally got through to them with Insomnia!
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#17 of 44 Ed St. Clair

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Posted February 01 2006 - 01:41 PM

When I E'd CC about non-anamorphic widescreen transfers back in the day, I also got the 'it looks better on a 4:3 set' reply. I only bought Armageddon. Feel for all the people that supported them when CC did not support anamorphic transfers.
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#18 of 44 Paul_Nyman

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Posted February 11 2006 - 03:54 PM

I'm curious if Criterion will be able to release Brazil boxset in HD or if Universal will release it themselves ever?

#19 of 44 DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 12 2006 - 12:35 AM

Criterion at present has no HD transfer for this film. In fact...when they did the transfer for the laserdisc...despite the fact that other studios were already doing HD transfers (Sony) and at minimum other studios were doing 16x9 SD transfers (WB) and downconverting to 4x3 for LD, Criterion elected to do a 4x3 lbxed-only SD transfer. This is why the DVD edition was only 4x3 lbx and not 16x9.

I can forgive them not going with a full-blown HD transfer back in the day due to cost issues, but at least having gone 16x9 wouldn't have cost anything additionally and provided a more 16x9-friendly/higher-resolution SD alternative while we wait.

Ok...working out my non-anamorphic Criterion issues... Posted Image

In any case...I'd hope if Universal let them use this title again for an HD release that Criterion would finally have the chance to do this one all-the-way. Whether Universal would let them do their own film-digital transfer or just hand them their own digital master would be the question...
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#20 of 44 Juan C

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Posted February 12 2006 - 01:12 AM

...or wait for Fox Blu-ray from Europe... Posted Image


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