Canadians! What do we do about our substandard studios???

Discussion in 'DVD' started by AnitaPeterson, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. AnitaPeterson

    AnitaPeterson Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi there,

    I'm addressing all Canadians on this forum.
    Unfortunately, there's no "national" forum for HTF enthusiasts, so I'm trying to find as many of you as possible, right here.

    I am trying to find out if I'm the only person teribly upset about the quality of DVD releases coming from Canadian (mostly Quebec) companies.

    I've just finished watching "Le diner des cons". The DVD is a disaster. It's Pan & Scan, full of encoding artifacts and shimmering, and there are no subtitles available. Meanwhile, the U.S. version is 2.35:1, and I bet it's well-encoded and anamorphic.

    Then I remember how studios like Seville, Lion's Gate and TVA Films put out films like "Jesus de Montreal" (Pan & Scan and terrible quality), "Run, Lola, Run" (P&S only) "Le Violon Rouge" (English edition: P&S ; French edition: WS, but no extras)... Then how "Le Pacte Des Loups" had terrible picture quality...

    And Alliance Atlantis is dropping features to accomodate French language tracks... and it's making bilingual jackets instead of reverse-printing covers... "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Heavenly Creatures" are P&S only... and so on... Masterpieces of French comedy, like the films of Louis de Funés are butchered on mediocre, VHS-like discs that would make Madacy ashamed.

    All day long, I hear the whining French-Ontarians, complaining about cultural legacies, the importance of bilingualism, and preserving French culture and heritage. Is this how the French-speaking Canadians understand to promote "la francophonie"? Most of these butchered movies are French or Canadian. Hell, Denys Arcand is probably the most famous Canadian director at the moment (no offense, Egoyan and Cronenberg!) - and his masterpiece "Jésus de Montreal" as well as the *first* edition of "Le déclin de l'empire américain" were among the worst DVDs I've seen (from non-"budget" companies, I mean)...

    Is there any place where we can complain? Is there a publication, forum, or organisation that could influence the studios? Are there any Canadians here who actually work in those studios? How can you people stand looking at yourselves in the mirror?
     
  2. Shane_M

    Shane_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Earlier this year I was able to meet a few people who work for smaller studios or DVD authoring companies in Canada and the Canadian Entertainment Awards. Apparently, the majority of the time they are only given pan&scan print to work with and it's in bad shape.

    The most unfortunate part is that these companies don't have the financial backing to repair/restore these prints. I haven't had the opportunity to see any of the titles you've mentioned, but I do get upset when major studios drop extras to fit the French language track.
     
  3. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I'm just recently decided to never purchase another AA title again. I don't care if AA did nothing but make the cover bilingual - I won't give them another penny.

    The final straw was AA duping me into purchasing the newly released widescreen Last Night DVD. I was given the specs beforehand by a few reps at AA - and it was listed as "enhanced for widescreen televisions". The backcover also states that.

    Well it's NOT anamorphic, and I've sent a few e-mails to the reps at AA and they're ignoring my complaints.

    I'm returning the DVD to Amazon.ca.



    There's hope, since Koch Lorber is releasing Jesus of Montreal and The Decline of the American Empire (and Koch seems to do decent work):

    http://www.kochlorberfilms.com/product.asp?ID=41

    http://www.kochlorberfilms.com/product.asp?ID=39

    I'm going to support company's that deserve my support, and AA can go suck a lemon.
     
  4. AnitaPeterson

    AnitaPeterson Stunt Coordinator

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    Seville has already produced a second version of "Le déclin" which is anamorphic, with good sound and subtitles, and even a featurette... The first version was atrocious.

    You'd think that, OK, if the companies are too poor to do anything about films in the national patrimony, someone in the government might cough up the money. Look at joint-ventures like RusCiCo, and the quality of their products... How come the Russians can do it and Canada can't? We are one of the richest and most technically advanced nations on earth, and we still are prey to this stupid mentality of mediocrity.
     
  5. Laurence Price

    Laurence Price Stunt Coordinator

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    If I am not happy with a Canadian produced DVD title then I will import. If the DVD is atrocious or dreadful in any way then I will purchase a different non-Canadian version of the DVD online or through other methods until I am satisfied.

    The Canadian studios are lazy and apathetic. I find they are often interested in cost cutting measures before anything else. Most of the time I find they could not care less about quality or consumer suggestions and contentment. They don't want to change their ways because they figure there is no need to do so.

    The only way to get exactly what you want is to bypass the Canadian studios entirely or as often as possible to avoid their product if you think certain titles have been fouled up or are horribly botched in some way. It's up to the Canadian consumer to choose whether they want to buy all of their DVD titles online or be selective and pick and choose which ones to get somewhere else. These are the only two ways that I have determined you may get what you want because it is a waste of someones precious time fighting with these Canadian companies and then getting nowhere.

    You won't get anywhere with them because these Canadian companies are not changing their ways anytime soon for anyone. They are not going to budge on any of their business policies and are probably going to improve very little.

    The Canadian studios do not seem to care or have any desire to implement significant or radical changes so why frustrate and aggravate yourself over it. Forget about them and purchase your DVDs elsewhere if your unhappy. I understand and relate to how you feel but it's definitely not worth the time and effort to initiate any sort of campaign against them.
     
  6. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    It may be better to direct your complaints to the DVD distributors themselves. I've found out from a reliable source that even the studios have trouble dealing with distributors such as AA. Even when a studio wants to release a fully loaded DVD edition of one of their movies, the distributors are very relunctant to spend any money to create a decent edition. They much prefer to do it on the cheap.

    Honestly, I could produce better DVD editions on my computer!
     
  7. Matt Leigh

    Matt Leigh Stunt Coordinator

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    The bilingual packaging bugs the hell out of me on all canadian releases. Yes, this is a bilingual country but if I were french I'd still want a french side and an english side so I could choose which I wanted to view and display. If it were done tastefully it would work really well.
     
  8. Dom

    Dom Stunt Coordinator

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    Buy the discs from amazon.com. With the CDN $ being where it's at the US exchange will be about 25%. You don't have to pay GST and PST cause they ship from a Canadian depot..


    Enter the Share the Love program and get an additional 10% off on ordering.

    Cheers
     
  9. JoshuaB.

    JoshuaB. Second Unit

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    AA has always been awful with their DVD releases, but at least Seville is getting better. They used to always release DVDs in pan-and-scan and now they're heeding collectors by releasing OAR discs (of course many European films are taken from PAL transfers). It's quite sad when I have to buy New Waterford Girl, an excellent Canadian film, from amazon.com because the AA version is not OAR.

    It seems more and more American companies are releasing Canadian films on DVD, so maybe some of our favorite Canadian films will finally see the light of day (Highway 61, Kissed, Suburbanators, etc.). At least they have the budget to spruce up the films and give them an OAR release.
     
  10. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

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    I remember the days when AA was better than the US. I remember From Dusk TIll Dawn 2 disc, anamorphic, and DTS being pulled at the last minute cause Miramax said so. The best way to be heard is with your dollars and your voice though.
     
  11. Paul_Stachniak

    Paul_Stachniak Screenwriter

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    Kick 'em in the crotch!

    ...er... wait

    How about not buy their DVDs. Buy 'em from Amazon.com.
     
  12. WarrenM

    WarrenM Stunt Coordinator

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    I notice people are mentioning ordering off Amazon.com... you'd be better off ordering the US imports at amazon.ca if you can. Sometimes its actually even cheaper, and you won't have to worry about customs charges or anything.

    I think its hilarious that the previously mentioned "New Waterford Girl"... the american WS release is only about $15CAD, while the P&S canadian release is about $30, makese no sense at all! :p It is pretty sad when Wellspring/Fox Lorber (usually an inferior company) does better than you.
     
  13. Paul_Stachniak

    Paul_Stachniak Screenwriter

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    I've never payed customs through amazon.com. Additionally, I'm not charged a tax, only shipping. If you are importing, import directly from Amazon.com.
     
  14. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Made over 100 orders from Amazon.com, and have never been nailed for customs charges.

    Sometimes the imports at Amazon.ca never come through. Trainspotting was the same thing - had it on order and 1.5 months after the release I received an e-mail telling me they cancelled the order since the DVDs are not available.
    This happened to a few DVDs of mine.

    The positives of Amazon.com are the 10% "Share the Love" and no taxes. So it's a decent option as well.
     
  15. Laurence Price

    Laurence Price Stunt Coordinator

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    Same here. I have never been forced to pay customs charges when ordering from Amazon.com. When I recieve the package containing the DVDs then that's it there's no hastle of any kind.
     
  16. JoshuaB.

    JoshuaB. Second Unit

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    I use amazon.ca primarily, but sometimes the way the site is set up, it's often hard to figure out which version is the imported American version and which one is the Canadian version--sometimes there are no descriptions of a particular edition, no picture, nada. In that case I refer to amazon.com. And I've never been charged customs costs either.

    And the fact that Fox Lorber outdoes AA is an irony not lost on me either. [​IMG]
     
  17. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    Depending on the title and how well it's handled, I'll get it from up here or import it. [​IMG]
     
  18. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    Another thing that should be brought up is that in some cases, AA produces French dubs, with no option for French subtitles. This is a day and age where one wouldn't think to release a foreign film on DVD without both a dub and subtitle options. However, it seems the French speaking of this country are not allowed that luxury with regards to English films. I checked my DVD collection, and while it's not true of all releases, I did notice Kill Bill 1&2 were only dubbed in French with no French subtitles. (And the cover still looks ugly. Darn. They seemed to have no problems rewriting everything in French for the cover.)

    Now of course, AA are not the only studio guilty of this, but as Canada's national studio, (sigh), they should be more responsible.
     
  19. WarrenM

    WarrenM Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, that's quite a few people here saying they haven't been charged customs from ordering Amazon.com. Perhaps I'll have to try it sometime. I got nailed once from customs by ordering from Amazon.uk. Maybe since the US is our next door neighbor, they don't bother to tax the packages? That's good news, if it's true. [​IMG]
     
  20. Eric_B_C

    Eric_B_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I DID try and order the US version of Clerks X from Amazon.ca, but:

    They kept moving the shipping date.

    Then said they couldn't get the disk and were shipping the rest of my stuff without it and cancelled the Clerks X part of my order.

    Now the disk has reappeared, but a whopping $10 more expensive than the Canadian version.
     

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