A Blast From The Past

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark_Mc, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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    Hi guys,

    Maybe a little OT, but I posted this earlier today on the UK based DVDDebate.com website, and thought I'd do the same here. I think it's a good illustration of how far our favourite format has come in such a short time...

    Before DVD, I used to be a big LaserDisc collector. One of my primary sources of information on the kind of films I like was and still is Video Watchdog magazine, a small, independent mag, covering cult, rare or long lost genre films. If you can find it, buy it.
    Anyway, I was flicking through an old issue from 1997, in which their editorial column discussed the then newly emerging DVD format:

    ‘One of the questions we've been hearing a lot in recent months is, "does VW plan to cover DVD releases?"
    The short answer to that is, "probably not any time soon." First of all, everything that we've heard in read about DVD has fallen far short of the expectations excited in the public by the hucksters of the 5” format.’

    And then:

    ‘Aside from the fact that the technology doesn't seem to be anywhere near competing with the sophistication or selection available on LaserDisc, it is going to be quite a while before DVD gains sufficient foothold to offer the kinds of titles we at VW care most about…..
    Remember, it took LaserDisc more than 10 years to get around to releasing some of our most beloved horror films…..
    And despite Laser’s head start, many crucial titles still remain unreleased’

    And finally:

    ‘In other words, before DVD becomes important to VW, it will first have to find a way of combining the quality and supplemental features of LaserDisc, with the selection and reasonable cost of videotape. Will that ever happen? I don't know…. Because let's face it, LaserDisc is pretty damned irresistible. If you can resist Laser after all we've written about it, you aren’t likely to pounce on DVD’s measly introductory assortment just because it's more compact in size. Picture, sound, selection, - these other things that count.’

    Soon after, I bought my first DVD player, a Pioneer 505, imported from the US, and VW even started reviewing a couple of DVDs in each issue.

    Just 6 short years later, my DVD collection is about 4 times bigger than my LaserDisc one, and still growing, and the LaserDisc format is dead and buried....

    How times change....[​IMG]
     
  2. DanFe

    DanFe Second Unit

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    I remember something like that written by other magazines, if not that one. It wants to make you laugh at how out of the loop they were.
     
  3. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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    And what I put there is just a small selection... he goes quite a bit further lol.

    Happy to post it all if anyone's interested....
     
  4. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

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    Well, I'd like to read it, but don't retype the whole article on my account.
     
  5. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    why don't you give us the link to the dvddebate.com thread instead

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Eric Emma

    Eric Emma Supporting Actor

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    Technology is a funny thing, you never know what will take off and what won't.
     
  8. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    oh how long before you are alowed to post links then ?

    Oscar
     
  10. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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  11. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks for that, never knew that.



    [​IMG]
     
  12. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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    For those interested, here is the editorial in question in full. Full credit, naturally to the writer and VW editor Tim Lucas, who really helped fuel my passion for genre movies. Without his articles, I would never have seen half the movies I have in my collection today.

    I can't post a real link, but go checkout videowatchdog.com for more info on this superb mag.

    Anyway, here's Tim's thoughts from 1997. Glad to say they've changed since then [​IMG]

    ---------------------------------------------

    One of the questions we’ve been hearing a lot in recent months is, “Does VW plan to cover DVD releases?”

    The short answer to that question is, “Probably not anytime soon.”

    First of all, everything that we’ve heard and read about DVD has fallen far short of the expectations excited in the public by the hucksters of the 5” format. The current “Winter Sale” catalogue of the Waltham, Massachusetts-based laserstore Sight & Sound contains a frank appraisal of the first five DVD titles they have imported for sale. Priced between 3400- 3800 Yen, the Japanese DVDs are said to “look acceptable... generally better than VHS tape.” They also note “odd blurs during rapid camera movements, constant sharpening and softening... in a rapid pulsating pattern,” and recommend that “it helps to lower the sharpness control on your TV all the way down.”

    Now there’s an endorsement for you.

    Aside from the fact that the technology doesn’t seem to be anywhere near competing with the sophistication or selection available on LaserDisc, it is going to be quite awhile before DVD gains sufficient foothold to offer the kinds of titles we at VW care most about. To provide masters for this fledgling format is going to require a lot of money, so the first titles will have to be squarely aimed at the mainstream.

    Remember, it took LaserDisc more than 10 years to get around to releasing some of our most beloved horror films, from the best (THE INNOCENTS) to the worst (DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN), and despite laser’s head start, many crucial titles still remain unreleased. And I think the survival of videotape is ensured by the fact that a certain kind of movie is always going to dwell outside the digital arena, kept alive by important labels like Sinister Cinema and Something Weird Video.

    How we will cover DVD in the future is going to depend on a lot of things. Naturally, if we review a tape or disc that is also available on DVD, we will publish the catalog number and price, and list the bonus contents, if any. Beyond that, the format must earn its right to additional space in VW— space that is now being used to cover other things.

    In other words, before DVD becomes important to VW, it will first have to find a way of combining the quality and supplemental features of LaserDisc, with the selection and reasonable cost of videotape. Will that ever happen? I don’t know.

    Another factor, of course, is expense. Setting ourselves up with new equipment will be a costly proposition, and since we’re not supported (like other magazines) by paid advertising, we won’t be springing for a new DVD player just to hop aboard some misconceived bandwagon. We’ll have to be tempted.

    Everybody’s heard about the people who are “waiting for DVD,” but if you ask me, I don’t think these fence-sitters will ultimately go with either DVD or LaserDisc. Because, let’s face it, LaserDisc is pretty damned irresitable. If you can resist laser after all we’ve written about it, you aren’t likely to pounce on DVD’s measly introductory assortment just because it’s more compact in size. Picture, sound, selection—these are the things that count.

    We’re skeptical, but we promise to keep a toe in the water, so to speak. As those waters grow inviting, we’ll decide whether we should get in up to our knees, up to our shoulders, or over our heads in regard to DVD.

    ------------------------------
     
  13. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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  14. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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    Ooooh... I've posted 13 times... well, make it 14 now LOL

    Almost there.... [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I remember reading that, but actually on ANY format (and broadcast TV, if you can find something to watch) it's best to keep the sharpness control all the way down.
     
  16. Robert Dunnill

    Robert Dunnill Second Unit

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    Three years later, Something Wierd was releasing a lot of product on DVD. I know, because I was renting it via Netflix! [​IMG]
     
  17. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    Interesting article. They seemed rather snobbish towards DVD, like Goliath snickering at David until that rock came flying and knocked him on his ass.

    "The technology doesn’t seem to be anywhere near competing with the sophistication [...] available on LaserDisc."

    This has got to be the understatement of the decade. Only bigger one I can think of is the scientist who commented that science couldn't get much further that it was then -- and that was in the 50s. [​IMG]

    -paul
     
  18. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Marc

    Thanks for the article

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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  20. Mark_Mc

    Mark_Mc Agent

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