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MOD Programs: The Official HTF "Pros & Cons" Discussion Thread


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#1 of 85 OFFLINE   SWFF

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Posted November 17 2010 - 09:53 AM

I'm all about free speech as the next person, but I do believe there is a time and place for everything, and for those who love MOD programs and for those who hate them, or are still on the fence about them, we should have our separate threads. For the record, I'm a staunch supporter of these programs, but for this thread, at least, for this opening post, I will regress back to my old self so as to kick things off. This will also be only post here.


Okay, let's touch upon the reasons why these programs are disliked and hated, which, I will admit are valid for discussion:


    [*] They aren't "factory pressed DVDs," and because of this they suffer from certain problems. [*] These problems affect both the movie and the physical DVD themselves. [*] Concerning the movies, studios, in most cases, refuse to remaster them (for the record, remastered MODs do exist) due to the money they would have to spend to get them that way, which is why non-anamorphic and full frame movies can be obtained in these programs. [*] Concerning the physical DVDs themselves, MODs have a tendency to be "problematic," (i.e. discs refuse to play, picture freeze up, etc), and from what I understand, they have a rather short shelf life compared to their remastered factory pressed brethren. [*] And, last but not least--cost!, which, seems to be the main contention among non-fans. They say, and I did, too, for a while, that the DVDs are just too plain expensive when weighed against the problems they have in transfer and in disc.

So, now that we have the talking points spelled out, you guys can now have at it. If Adam, or Ron, anybody eles with Moderator capabilities, doesn't want this thread to continue its existence, I will not take it personally if it gets wiped off the forum. I'm just trying to give us supporters and detractors our own spaces where we can contribute our opinions without stepping on each others toes.


So, now, who are the only studios who don't have MOD programs? Paramount? And does Universal still contribute to theirs?



#2 of 85 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted November 17 2010 - 12:16 PM

Thanks, Shawn. I hope the anti-MOD crowd takes advantage of this opportunity to get it all off their collective chest once and for all but I have my doubts.


For me, the MOD programs have been terrific. So many titles that I never thought would see the light of day. Let's face it, there's simply no market for Kay Francis, an actress known only to die hard film buffs. A Kay Francis box set would gather dust on the shelves of a CostCo or Best Buy. Now, with the Warner Archives, an opportunity to rediscover her as many of her films have been released via the Archives.


Still, to those who had been fantasizing about a Kay Francis box set back in the day when pressed DVDs were King, it was never going to happen. Hell, there hasn't even been a Jean Harlow box set available on pressed DVD and she was much better known than Kay Francis although I suspect even Harlow's star has dimmed. Last year on JEOPARDY, a photo of Harlow was shown and none of the contestants (all educated, intelligent, well rounded people) had no clue as to who she was!!!



#3 of 85 OFFLINE   jdee28

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Posted November 17 2010 - 12:50 PM




Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas T 


For me, the MOD programs have been terrific. So many titles that I never thought would see the light of day. Let's face it, there's simply no market for Kay Francis, an actress known only to die hard film buffs. A Kay Francis box set would gather dust on the shelves of a CostCo or Best Buy. Now, with the Warner Archives, an opportunity to rediscover her as many of her films have been released via the Archives.



But who exactly is rediscovering these films? Definitely not the same group who could have discovered these films had there been some sort of retail release. MOD programs just make these films more obscure, not less.


MOD programs are not for the general public. They are not aimed at everybody. They're aimed at the one movie buyer or the die-hard, not the average, ordinary consumer. MOD programs just help to make old movie collecting on DVD more of a niche, reducing the group of people buying them to those who remember these films, have the money to pay for them, and don't mind the poor quality and presentation they're getting.

MOD programs don't allow people to discover films on DVD. The pricing really doesn't allow for "blind buys." It is a shame.


It's really one giant step backwards in the home movie presentation. We're back to the early $99 VHS days; films aren't remastered, they're bare bones, no subtitles. Things have really come full circle.



#4 of 85 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted November 17 2010 - 12:59 PM

Okay, I'll play.  I'm still pretty much refusing to spend any money on these burnt discs.  Plenty of titles I'd like but I simply don't trust the format to be anything more than temporary.  All well and good, but not at the prices they're charging.  Frankly, I'm not even sure if I'd bite at half the price.  As far as I'm concerned, any burnt disc purchased will need to be archived on some other media that I will then have to maintain.  At this point, I see it as a waiting game.  A couple more years and I figure all these mod titles and then some will be available either streaming or as downloads.  I'm also figuring that the cost for these digital delivery options will be much less.  If I'm going to plunk money down on this product in a format I view as non-optimal, then I want to spend as little as possible on it.  Considering that I feel I must migrate these burnt discs to a more durable format and then maintain them, I might as well just get the straight digital files and not even bother messing around with the discs.



#5 of 85 ONLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted November 17 2010 - 01:12 PM



Originally Posted by jdee28 


MOD programs just make these films more obscure, not less.


I dunno, the only thing I can think of to explain this is that we're living in an alternate universe, one where making things available actually decreases their accessibility.



#6 of 85 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted November 17 2010 - 01:49 PM

The thing I can't figure, and I know I'm somehow missing something obvious, is this new trend of limited autographed editions.  I mean does it really cost that much more to simply press the 500 discs you're autographing rather than burn them?  I mean, you already committed to signing 500 of the things.  Presumably you expect to sell all of them, and to date, I've been reading that all have sold out in a matter of days.  If you really want to impress me with a limited edition, how about making a real DVD?  That would impress the hell out of me.  Not only that, but I'd probably be purchasing at full price to make sure I got one.  Instantly they'd go from getting none of my money to getting me to pony up at full retail.  Anybody else who's happy with DVD-R can wait two months for them to go on sale, which would naturally coincide with the exhaustion of the pressed disc stock.  From there on out it's burnt discs.  Like I said, I know I must be missing something.



#7 of 85 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted November 17 2010 - 01:51 PM

"MOD programs are not for the general public. They are not aimed at everybody. They're aimed at the one movie buyer or the die-hard, not the average, ordinary consumer. MOD programs just help to make old movie collecting on DVD more of a niche, reducing the group of people buying them to those who remember these films, have the money to pay for them, and don't mind the poor quality and presentation they're getting."


Up until that last bit, I thought that was a pro-MOD comment. Posted Image


There are films, and there is film education. Having the films available helps with the education. But if someone doesn't know who Francis or Harlow is they're not going to pick up pressed or MOD discs of their more obscure movies, even if they're captioned, have Criterion-level extras, cost $3, and are available on Mars.


And when was "old movie collecting" a mass interest? Most people collect new movies, then call their DVD of TOY STORY 2 purchased in 2000 an "old movie." And the most-consumed "old movies," GONE WITH THE WIND, say, or CASABLANCA, are long available, two or more times over.

The one thing I truly lament about MODs is the way they've divided this fairly harmonious community.


#8 of 85 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted November 17 2010 - 02:44 PM

Older (or "classic" if you prefer) films have ALWAYS been targeted toward the film buff/collector. The bone of contention has always been are there enough of them to make a release of certain titles or actors commercially viable? Apparently yes in the case of Esther Williams and Bette Davis collections and no in the case of Betty Grable and Joan Collins sets. If a Betty Grable (who at one time was the biggest star in America) box set tanks (and according to Fox, it didn't sell well enough to merit a second volume), why would Kay Francis fare better than Grable on the shelves of CostCo? The Archives provide an opportunity for both fans and the curious (who are the target audience for this kind of thing) to check Francis out. A "rediscovery" by the mass public on the shelves of Best Buy is pure fantasy!



#9 of 85 OFFLINE   shoeshineboy

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Posted November 17 2010 - 05:36 PM

Ah, so this is where i'm being shuffled off to... well, it does feel homey here. I like the idea of candlelight, too.

I just posted something on another thread that would probably be better suited here. And then all the cheerleaders who apparently never liked when film companies treated their product like it was important and had a greater value than just another slice of cheese it had to squeeze out, they don't have to hear the droning. But it was a mean trick to have that gruesome pro-mod wolfhead staring at me to start the thread.

I did mention the droning, didn't I?

If it makes the winning side any happier, i almost broke down and bought my first archive disc today -- a glenn ford film that apparently was once labelled for a formatted boxset but has now been given the Kay Francis treatment. Just like hazbeens Bette Davis, Edward G Robinson, Errol Flynn and Joan Crawford.

Yep, that's a some terrible company.

Now that the companies have discovered how to treat its customers like the big oil corporations, I think i too will just park my money until the next format comes along. How many of you have about 100 discs unopened, too?



#10 of 85 OFFLINE   kingfish

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Posted November 18 2010 - 01:21 AM

i happen to own pressed dvds that are single sided and have the tendancy to freeze up. I for one am glad about the mod programs because many of these classic films would never see the light of day. As far as the pricing i would rather pay $20.00 for one of these mod discs than buy a bootleg edition for the same price that is a piece of crap. one of the benefits of these mod programs is that it puts bootleggers out of business.


#11 of 85 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted November 18 2010 - 01:58 AM

It would truly be a dull world if we all agreed.  Power to the opinions.


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#12 of 85 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted November 18 2010 - 03:39 AM



Originally Posted by kingfish 

i happen to own pressed dvds that are single sided and have the tendancy to freeze up. I for one am glad about the mod programs because many of these classic films would never see the light of day. As far as the pricing i would rather pay $20.00 for one of these mod discs than buy a bootleg edition for the same price that is a piece of crap. one of the benefits of these mod programs is that it puts bootleggers out of business.


Interesting.  I never was tempted to buy bootlegs precisely because they were pieces of crap.  For me, they never were in business.  Maybe that's why I find it so easy not to buy any MOD discs?  If I don't see any value in the product then I have no problem keeping my money in my wallet regardless of my love for the material.



#13 of 85 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted November 18 2010 - 04:49 AM

My only gripe with MOD is that these films aren't available anywhere for rental. I refuse to buy a film I've never seen - and most likely will only want to watch once - even if it costs $5, let alone $20


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#14 of 85 OFFLINE   Nebiroth

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Posted November 18 2010 - 05:39 AM

Personally, I don't think that doubling or tripling the price of a product whilst making big reductions in it's quality and content value should be regarded as a step forward.


I regard this as a scheme that just takes advantage of the desperation of fans to get hold of certain films to rip them off. It's just throwing the starving man a bone - and an expensive one, at that.


It's no wonder that everyone is jumping on board this little bandwagon.


The techincal issues don't worry me that much - it's the price structure that really bites. $20 for an unrestored movie that doesn't even include a trailer? Three movie boxsets priced at $70+ that parade themselves as "value sets"? I mean, come off it!


#15 of 85 OFFLINE   jdee28

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Posted November 18 2010 - 06:12 AM




Originally Posted by Nebiroth 

Personally, I don't think that doubling or tripling the price of a product whilst making big reductions in it's quality and content value should be regarded as a step forward.


I regard this as a scheme that just takes advantage of the desperation of fans to get hold of certain films to rip them off. It's just throwing the starving man a bone - and an expensive one, at that.


It's no wonder that everyone is jumping on board this little bandwagon.


The techincal issues don't worry me that much - it's the price structure that really bites. $20 for an unrestored movie that doesn't even include a trailer? Three movie boxsets priced at $70+ that parade themselves as "value sets"? I mean, come off it!




Totally agree.


In the real world, there are such things as quality control. Products have standards. Why is it that MOD programs seem immune to the basic standards and quality control that have developed in the industry the past 30 years?


If low quality is all they can give, ok, then adjust the price accordingly. If they want to keep the high price, ok, then please raise the quality; give us subtitles; try to remaster most of these films; throw a little short or cartoon onto these dics. But no, they continue to give low quality at a high price; they want their cake and eat it too.


I really think the studios jumped the gun at these MOD programs. They should have waited until technology could come to the point where these studios could do these MOD programs right. I just hope that these programs aren't set in stone; that advances in technology will eventually let them correct their misguided beginnings..



#16 of 85 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted November 18 2010 - 06:51 AM

Well, the only way the studios are going to "correct" their MOD programs is when folks decide to stop buying them.  Given how the crowd on this board is so excited they'll actually pre-ordering titles sight unseen, I'd say the studios have about zero incentive to raise the bar.



#17 of 85 OFFLINE   Nebiroth

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Posted November 18 2010 - 07:11 AM

It's nothing to do with technology. An MOD disc can deliver the same quality as a standard DVD.


The current crop of MOD's look worse and lack extras because the studios have decided not to invest in restoration or putting extras on the discs.


Why should they? They apparently have a customer base that is ready and indeed eagre to buy these films - at virtually any price and any quality.


The only thing that will change the pricing, quality or content of these things is if enough people stop buying them.


The target consumer these are aimed at just won't do that. They'll go on buying no matter what.


Youo know, it reminds me of that sketch in The Simpsons, where Millhouse is putting cash into a "Waterworld" videogame. He puts forty quarters in, gets to move the character one step and then it's Game Over: Please Insert Another 40 Quarters.


"What a rip!" he says.


And then starts putting the money in again.

Originally Posted by jdee28 


I really think the studios jumped the gun at these MOD programs. They should have waited until technology could come to the point where these studios could do these MOD programs right. I just hope that these programs aren't set in stone; that advances in technology will eventually let them correct their misguided beginnings..





#18 of 85 ONLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted November 18 2010 - 07:22 AM



Originally Posted by mdnitoil 

Given how the crowd on this board...


Please; we're not a "crowd," we're "you people." Don't condescend to us with such wishy-washy terminology.



#19 of 85 OFFLINE   mdnitoil

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Posted November 18 2010 - 09:04 AM



Originally Posted by Paul Penna 



Quote:
Originally Posted by mdnitoil 

Given how the crowd on this board...


Please; we're not a "crowd," we're "you people." Don't condescend to us with such wishy-washy terminology.


What I really meant was fervent fans.  I think that's probably the politest way to put it.



#20 of 85 OFFLINE   Thomas T

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Posted November 18 2010 - 01:52 PM

"The current crop of MOD's look worse and lack extras because the studios have decided not to invest in restoration or putting extras on the discs"


Current crop? While some of the early transfers were problematic (and even Warners has admitted this), the majority of the "current crop" look excellent. Sharp, clarity and vivid colors. I've many titles from the Warners Archives and only three so far from Sony but if you didn't know, you couldn't tell the difference between between a newly pressed DVD and a MOD. Indeed, if many of these were "pressed" rather than MOD using the same transfers, the anti-MOD crowd would be pleased as punch. It's not the transfers that bugs 'em, it's that they're MOD, and not pressed.


Sure, there's still the disappointment like the soft looking ENCHANTED COTTAGE but they're the exception, not the norm. Even some pressed DVDs had poor to disappointing transfers.


As for extras, personally, I was never into extras and they were always, for me, something to clutter up the disc. I'm all about the movie. Extras are okay and sometimes very nice but never an incentive for me to buy.







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