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mastered in HD--why no blu-ray?


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#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Matt Stieg

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Posted February 13 2010 - 07:54 AM

So I understand it's pretty common practice these days to remaster new DVD releases of older films in HD.  So why is that the studios don't release a simultaneous blu-ray release?  Is it really that cost prohibitive to manufacture blu-rays?  The new Wolf Man special edition from Universal looks great, the movie was obviously mastered in HD...so why didn't Universal release a blu as well?  Sony has lately been giving us some great catalog releases.  The movies in the Film Noir set look great, but why was there no blu-ray release?  If they've gone to the trouble of mastering the films in HD, then why don't they just give us a blu-ray as well?

#2 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 13 2010 - 08:05 AM

Only the studios can give a definitive answer, but in my opinion, they hold back catalog BR releases because they don't think they'll sell enough units to justify such a release.  Does it mean they won't make a profit or not enough profit to satisfy the BR production costs?  Don't know, only the studios' beancounters can supply that answer.

With that said, as a classic film enthusiast it does burn me that Universal didn't release The Wolf Man on Blu-ray.  As a business manager I can understand their logic, but as a film buff and consumer, it irks me that I can't buy my favorite movies on the best available home video format.  Perhaps, when the remake is released on Blu-ray later this year that they include the original as a bonus like Fox did with The Day the Earth Stood Still.



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#3 of 25 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted February 14 2010 - 02:52 AM

In seems some of the studios are holding back on Blu-ray to try and milk SD-DVD one more time for many of their classic films. The Paramount Centennial Collection releases would seem to have been a perfect venue to start releasing their classics in new Blu-ray and DVD editions, but they passed, no doubt hoping to double or triple-dip with collectors who may pay again for improved transfers. But I think many of us have passed on them.


#4 of 25 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted February 14 2010 - 06:05 AM

For what it's worth, there's an interesting quote from Shout Factory's Cliff MacMillan regarding why there will be no Blu release of the Gamera films even though they are using the new hi-def masters:

 "Maybe one day, but not until Blu-Ray sales improve. All the hype for Blu-Ray doesn't translate to sales. Even some major studio films are selling poorly. With authoring five times the cost and a manufactured disc costs three times, and a minimum run is 5,000 copies, it's very expensive."

Granted, Shout is small potatoes compared to the big studios, but it would appear that genre BR discs aren't exactly selling like hotcakes.  Unfortunately, classic is fast becoming just another genre.  Frankly, it would bother me to read that one of the concerns is the minimum print run of 5000 units.  That right there speaks volumes.

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted February 14 2010 - 10:26 AM

Seems like a classic chicken-egg scenario. We can't improve Blu-ray sales figures if they don't offer enough of the titles we want in the format, and at a reasonable price.


#6 of 25 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted February 14 2010 - 11:25 AM

I don't disagree with you but it'll be up to the majors to fix this.  The small guys are going to keep well enough alone.  It doesn't help when you have a studio like Warner sitting on Citizen Kane for a couple more years simply to hit some anniversary date.  Nothing against Warner as they are doing as much as anyone to push the format, but this kind of nonsense doesn't help.

I just thought the small distributor perspective was interesting.  Media blitz/studio subsidies aside, BR still has quite a ways to go in the eyes of these outfits.

#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 14 2010 - 11:37 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by mdnitoil 

I don't disagree with you but it'll be up to the majors to fix this.  The small guys are going to keep well enough alone.  It doesn't help when you have a studio like Warner sitting on Citizen Kane for a couple more years simply to hit some anniversary date.  Nothing against Warner as they are doing as much as anyone to push the format, but this kind of nonsense doesn't help.

I just thought the small distributor perspective was interesting.  Media blitz/studio subsidies aside, BR still has quite a ways to go in the eyes of these outfits.
It's nonsense with marketing data to support such a release strategy.





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#8 of 25 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted February 14 2010 - 11:55 AM

There is a difference between a high definition film to digital transfer and a Blu-Ray  master

Films are usually transferred at much higher resolution than HD broadcast or even Blu-Ray can handle.  A Blu-Ray master is a source file from which additional Blu-Ray format copies can be made.  

Having an HD transfer on the shelf is certainly the first step in doing a Blu-Ray release, but it is hardly the whole thing.  You can't just take such a transfer and slap it on a BD and end up with something that your player could do anything with. 

The source has to be down-converted to BD resolution, you need to digitize and sync language tracks that were originally created for prints that screened in other countries, one master print per language, and make them work with one single master video file.  Then there are the extras, menus and all the other stuff that goes into a commercial BD release. 

All of that stuff takes time and therefore costs money.  No, replicating BD discs isn't terribly expensive, but creating the original BD master is.  And the HD transfer only accounts for a portion of that cost.  

Regards,

Joe


#9 of 25 OFFLINE   JimKr

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Posted February 15 2010 - 08:59 AM

Seems like it makes more sense from a profit standpoint to release old stuff on SD DVDs. The market is smaller and it plays fine on Bluray players along with DVD players. Remember, people like us are really a niche market in the grand scheme of things.


#10 of 25 OFFLINE   marcco00

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Posted February 16 2010 - 09:11 PM

i don't know what to think really about this whole hdtv-blu ray environment now. i was doing quite well with my sd dvd classic film library- i have about 80% of my favorite titles at this point, the majority of which have been dvds with restored/remastered transfers.

but with these state-of-the-art 1080p televisions-with a six times greater resolution- flooding the market, movie lovers have to reach again for one's wallet if one wants the greatest possible image quality of your favorite films. so that's more expense for us consumers.

yet the new trend does seem to be dvd-r for classic film titles.... and now it seems the studios themselves are hesitant to spend the extra money to produce classic titles on blu..... i'm beginning to wonder if the number of classic titles on blu ray will ever equal the amount released on SD, or if it is worth trying to build a classic blu library.


#11 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 16 2010 - 09:40 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by marcco00 View Post


yet the new trend does seem to be dvd-r for classic film titles.... and now it seems the studios themselves are hesitant to spend the extra money to produce classic titles on blu..... i'm beginning to wonder if the number of classic titles on blu ray will ever equal the amount released on SD, or if it is worth trying to build a classic blu library.
 
Why should the studios spend the extra money if people don't buy these classic films on Blu-ray disc in enough quantities to justify the expense?





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#12 of 25 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted February 17 2010 - 01:32 AM

As has already been pointed out before, if the studios are crying poor and dumping SD product out on burnt discs, what would make anyone think that a BR release was in the cards down the road?  We'll get our top 500 catalog titles again and the occasional surprise but it seems unlikely to ever reach the heights of DVD.  At this point too many people own too many discs, and BR hasn't differentiated itself enough with the average buyer to be seen as anything other than just another disc.

#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 17 2010 - 06:11 AM

For the most part, if it's not an A-list classic, the likelihood of a major studio releasing it on Blu-ray is slim-to-none, especially if it is older than ~1980. Right now new releases sell like gangbusters on Blu, but catalog is not. Makes it easier to wait for a keen marketing window (anniversary, new remake/sequel tie in, etc.) to release it.

The good news is that some smaller labels, such as Criterion, are using the opportunity of their lower expectations of profit margins (no big business share holders to please) to release the stuff they can acquire. Just over the past couple years, for example, Warner has let titles they've licensed expire, such as the titles in the Caidin Trust (Stagecoach, Foreign Correspondent, etc.) and the MK2 Chaplin films. Who has swooped them up? Criterion

And StudioCanal is making their move to release through a single distributor in each territory (Lionsgate in the US) in order to gain name recognition internationally.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#14 of 25 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted February 17 2010 - 08:35 AM

It also helps if we all remember that Blu Ray is still a niche product.  SDTVs still outnumber HD sets.  A lot of the HD sets that are sold to replace dying SD sets aren't even hooked up to HD sources.  There weren't tons of deep catalog releases in the early days of DVD, either - and DVD gained market share much more rapidly than Blu Ray.  Sometimes here in the enthusiast's echo-chamber it is easy to think that everybody has a Blu Ray player and a couple of HDTVs, but that simply isn't the case.  Especially given the state of the economy, a lot of people aren't buying new toys.  (Hell, I've been a member here since the beginning, and first met Ron and Parker on the old Compuserv Consumer Electronics forum and I just bought my very first Blu Ray player in NOVEMBER.  I decided to sit out the format war and wait for a clear winner.  By the time one emerged, I was feeling the economic pinch.  Today I have a total of 18 BD titles with a couple of more on order.  All of them have been bought on sale, none for more than $20, most for $10 or less.  I rent more than I buy - through Netflix.) 

While Blu Ray player and disc sales are expanding, they are doing so gradually than we may realize. 

Regards,

Joe

#15 of 25 OFFLINE   MikeMorel

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Posted February 17 2010 - 08:51 AM

I don't believe it is only about poor sales. I believe it is about piracy as well.

Blu-ray copy protection is very broken. Which means free 1080p copies of every single released blu-ray disc, with lossless sound, re-encoded at various resolutions and bouncing around the internet, and from optical disc to hard drive, for all eternity.

I believe that is the primary reason there are only 2100 titles available after almost 4 years.


#16 of 25 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 17 2010 - 10:41 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMorel 

I don't believe it is only about poor sales. I believe it is about piracy as well.

Blu-ray copy protection is very broken. Which means free 1080p copies of every single released blu-ray disc, with lossless sound, re-encoded at various resolutions and bouncing around the internet, and from optical disc to hard drive, for all eternity.

I believe that is the primary reason there are only 2100 titles available after almost 4 years.
 
No, I think it's about poor sales.  Sure, studios might be worried about piracy, but they're not going to turn down profits from moving video sale units of films made several years or decades ago.  Why wouldn't they have the same fears for their newer films if their lack of output was due to piracy?





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#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted February 17 2010 - 12:21 PM

How many times is Warner Bros. going to get people to buy Citizen Kane????? Anniversary Re-issue are the same as "new and Improved" on Fabric Detergent. You can only sell something to the American public so many times before they give up. Only true Film Bluffs will by the title a dozen times (yikes, some films have been released a dozen times over the last 20 years)

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted February 17 2010 - 12:22 PM

How many times is Warner Bros. going to get people to buy Citizen Kane????? Anniversary Re-issue are the same as "new and Improved" on Fabric Detergent. You can only sell something to the American public so many times before they give up. Only true Film Bluffs will by the title a dozen times (yikes, some films have been released a dozen times over the last 20 years)

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted February 17 2010 - 12:22 PM

double post

#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted February 17 2010 - 12:27 PM

I understand what you're saying, but the next DVD release of Citizen Kane will be only its 2nd, and its first on Blu-ray. The current DVD came out in 2002. Not even close to the worst example of aggressive re-releases (Terminator 2, Dune, or Labyrinth, anyone?).

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932