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Disney - phone drive is 99.9% in favor of Pan and Scan!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaViD Boulet, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. Jim Golden

    Jim Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    I sent an email. Got a response thanking me for my input.

    P.S. I also signed the Columbia Tristar petition.

    Jim
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    #170 to Denmark petition. Now we need a local petition started.
     
  3. Brett Jason

    Brett Jason Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm in...Email and petition (I was #2999)
     
  4. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I sent an e-mail that I won't be buying Snow Dogs, and for what reasons.

    I think it is very good that everyone is calling and e-mailing. People simply don't know what black bars are, and Walmarts, Blockbusters and independent video retailers (yes, so many of them carry only P&S as well) are only adding to the confusion by providing less black bars to whine about.

    I plan on opening an independent video store in May of 2003 (all-DVD) and on a title like Snow Dogs, I would be buying about 30-40 copies, excluding sell-through. If it would only be available in pan&scan, I would be buying 15 tops and sending them a very angry letter. Yes, it would mean less revenue for me, but I think that in the long run that having more and more pan&scan titles will only add to the confusion for customers. You want customers to get used to something, even if it takes great lengths. I worked in the video business for over 3 years, and just about everybody that complains about 'black bars' is easily turned around by a simple explanation or a demonstration (Die Hard 5-star).
     
  5. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    I sent an e-mail over to Disney a few days ago and sometime next week I will call them to tell them how I feel about pan & scan.
     
  6. Jim Ogilvie

    Jim Ogilvie Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi there! I haven't posted in quite some time, but this is a great thread. I thought I might add (forgive me if someone has already raised this point).

    If major TV manufacturers really knew what was going on here, I imagine they would be as concerned as we are. Specifically, manufacturers of widescreen TV's.

    Time and again history has shown that when a "new" format emerges in the entertainment field, people will tend to purchase their favorite entertainment offerings for that new format. The analogy of buying "Dark Side of the Moon" on CD when it became available, to retire the casette tape or album, would be applicable. The same could be said to be true about retiring a VHS tape when a movie is released on DVD to replace it.

    As I understand it, North America is starting, slowly, to get into widescreen televisions. Clearly the hobbyists and purists have known about these for years, but only now are the logistics being put into place to get ready to make the push for widescreen sets to general consumers.

    When this happens, will Disney have the widescreen content that these people will want? The arguments will sound very familiar: "I bought a new TV and a DVD to watch on it, and I get these black bars on the *side*!!!!"

    Hardware manufacturers should be very concerned that it will be impossible to make this push to widescreen in any convincing way unless the DVD's are out there to purchase. Of course Disney isnt the only player in town, but I think its safe to say that Disney has some of the oldest and most cherished movie titles around, and they are likely to be one of the larger benefactors of this repeated buying cycle for currently owned movies on other formats.

    So its not just an issue of having Disney DVDs now to watch in OAR, but its something that needs to happen in order to prevent the industry at large from starting that big push for consumer oriented 16x9.

    Just my two cents. I am sure I am not the first to point this out - but there it is.

    Jim
     
  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  8. Steve O

    Steve O Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a reprint of the E-mail that I just sent. As soon as I get off-line, I'm going to call the 800-72-DISNEY line to log a complaint there as well.
    Everyone reading this thread should get everyone that you know to help in this effort. I believe that this is a critical turning point in the future of DVD -- much like the Div-X battle so long ago. The studios do listen to their customers. DON'T LET IGNORANCE WIN OUT OVER EDUCATION!
    [​IMG]
    ==================================================

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I have recently been reading that Disney is planning many upcoming releases in "pan and scan" only. Where these movies were presented theatrically in widescreen format, this represents a serious misunderstanding of your customer base. The types of consumers who RENT movies are "soccer moms," who are generally uneducated about widescreen. Many of them just do not understand that they are LOSING up to 77% of the film when the sides are cropped for a full-frame presentation. Being a leading-edge studio, Disney and its subsidiaries should make an effort to educate consumers with an intro to every movie showing how much picture information is lost when a widescreen movie is cropped, rather than just pandering to and being complacent about ignorance by selling "pan and scan" versions.
    As a business, you must understand that the future is in widescreen and the bulk of your current customers who BUY films on DVD (rather than just renting) prefer widescreen. To be specific - anamorphic (16x9) widescreen, since this results in the best picture quality. I have an entire development full of friends who have DVD players and (like me) will NOT buy pan and scan. If a film was shot in widescreen, then it is WIDESCREEN OR NO SALE!!! And remember -- we all buy DVDs every week. Soccer moms might buy a DVD once per year.
    In summary:
    1. Please educate your consumers with an intro clip demonstrating the benefits of widescreen.
    2. No widescreen, no sale (provided that the film was presented theatrically in widescreen).
    Please pass this along to the person in your organization responsible for these types of formatting decisions.
    Thank you very much for your time.
    Very truly yours,
    Stephen P. Osvath
    Medina, OH
     
  9. Nick Pudar

    Nick Pudar Agent

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    Here is my email that I sent to Disney:

    To whom it may concern,

    It has come to my attention that Disney is deciding to stop distributing its movies in Widescreen format. This is most disturbing to me. My family will only buy DVDs that are in their Original Aspect Ratio (OAR). We USED to not like the black bars of widescreen movies, until a friend politely explained that the Pan & Scan (modified to fit my TV) cut off as much as 50% of the movie's image. Now that we understand the difference, we only buy Widescreen. This is a matter of education. I am an executive at a large corporation, and in many areas we feel an ethical obligation to educate our customers about how to appreciate aesthetics. Likewise, I believe that Disney OWES its cutomers an education about the aesthetic beauty of Widescreen, and how Disney supports bringing high quality content to their customers in a high quality format. You should include a short educational trailer at the beginning of each DVD along with your other previews that explain the value of Widescreen (OAR) format. I think Mickey would be a great spokesman. Better yet, the characters of the disc's movie should star in the eduational trailer with examples from the actual upcoming movie showing what is missed in Full Screen. With Disney's creativeness, this new eduational trailer could be as exciting to watch as the recent wave of animated "outtakes" have become. Be the leader that Disney is.

    Now the economics: In the last two years that I have been buying DVDs, I have bought over 300 of them. Many of them are Disney owned labels. They are all Original Aspect Ratio format. I will not buy a Pan & Scan (Full Screen) DVD. Period. Since I have such a large collection, (compared to most of my friends and family) they come over and watch movies, or borrow my discs. They all get a polite educational lecture about why Widescreen is the appropriate way to watch a movie (as the director had intended), and they ALL now understand, and are now converts. Now THEY will only buy OAR DVDs. And, none of us own a widescreen TV (yet). As I said before, this is a matter of education.

    For what it's worth, I have never in my life bought a VHS tape of anything -- I only rented movies. In the past two years, I have purchased over 300 DVDs and have not rented ANY movies. We still go to the theater at the same frequency as before.

    I wish you well in your decision process. Please consider my input as you proceed. As much as I love Disney content, I won't buy movies that are not Anamorphic Widescreen OAR.

    Thank you for listening.

    Nick Pudar


    Now I will make the phone call.

    Nick
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You guys make me smile. Keep up the excellent work. If any of you can rally your friends and others you know to either call, email or both...we'd multiply our efforts by a factor of x2 or x3!!!

    Keep it champs.

    -dave
     
  11. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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  12. Larry Gardner

    Larry Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    David Lambert:

    We should not stop there. Since this IS GOING to cut into widescreen TV sales for ALL manufacturers, we should contact the major manufacturers selling widescreen TVs and get on their cases about how decisions like Disney and Columbia WILL affect their sales.

    If people are told that films will always be available in FS/P&S, they may feel that it is not in their best interests to invest in a widescreen TV. Why should they? They can stick with their TVs and let the cable companies down convert WS programming to fullscreen format for them when WS is instituted.

    I work for the government and also at a local gym. For the gym I gave them my old DVD player. You cannot imagine how many members and trainers have purchased DVD players in since then and have become quite 'normalized' to WS presentations. It took some time, but a lot of them eventually purchased a WS TV and are quite pleased that they purchased WS DVDs when they did.

    They same for my office.

    The main problem I see here is that when people complain about the 'black bars', very few KNOWLEDGABLE people explain to them CORRECTLY about them. Many are just confused. They seem to think that the film has actually been CUT OFF at the top and bottom just to give the appearance of a theater screen. When explained to them exactly what IS going on with the black bars, and also explain to them what will happend with FS/P&S films when they eventually upgrade to a WS TV, they actually understand the logic. They last part always seems to 'hit at home'. Americans are getting pretty sick and tired of purchasing the same films over and over again. Unless there is something new (like extras), they feel cheated by the studios and stores when they upgrade their DVDs.

    When I'm in a store, I am amazed how many store clerks can't understand this - even when they have a WS TV section. Usually, after the clerk walks away, I take the person over to the WS section and show them. Sometimes, I even play a disc that has P&S/WS and illustrate for them. When the clerk comes over, I explain to them as well. Some listen, others have that - I'm summer help, so I don't given a crap - attitude.

    But back to the main topic. We should contact SOny, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and others selling DVDs and tell them how decisions like this are going to affect their sales. And that they should get with the studios as well.

    Any petitions as well should be sent to the manufacturers. Nip this now - or EVERYONE - will suffer later!

    What does everyone think?
     
  13. Nick Pudar

    Nick Pudar Agent

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    While this discussion of widescreen TV manufacturers is an interesting direction, it's the movie content, and the viewers' understanding of OAR that will determine the outcome. This would be a classic chicken and egg situation if the movie content were not widescreen to begin with -- and the studios and the manufacturers played a balancing act of stimulating demand of widescreen with coordinated supply. However, in this case, the widescreen content is in great abundance because even though there are many movies to still release that may go P&S only, the OAR is still widescreen. So, once again this is all about education of the consumer. Word of mouth is pretty powerful. So keep educating politely, and don't proselytize.

    In the case of Sony, it may appear that they would obviously know that widescreen movies support widescreen TV sales. However, the reality is that these are two different profit centers that have no actual interactions (inside Sony). The executives in charge may not even know each other. You'd have to convince the CEO to meddle in the affairs of lower level departments in different business units. Managing the interactions of different parts across the enterprise (the true job of the CEO) is not a natural act. So my conclusion is that the greater leverage is to provide consistent feedback to the studios releasing content, and keep up the word of mouth towards education.

    Nick
     
  14. Charles Bober

    Charles Bober Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to agree with David and Larry here. Home theater software and hardware are inter-related (or maybe inter-dependent would be a better term). While this may not be the best example, I personally know 3 people at work who didn't watch widescreen because they think it only works on 16x9/HD sets (I have since taught them about OAR and converted everyone of them, including one person buying a new 16x9 set [​IMG] ). There is tons of misinformation and, more importantly, no information being given to consumers by manufacturers and studios. We are the exceptions to the rule because we sought out this information. The J6P's don't and thus are confused. The common reply to OAR is, "I didn't know that happened. Why would anyone want to see less of the picture?"
    If the hardware manufacturers are made aware of what the studios are trying to do, I'm sure they would do something about it. If we can ally ourselves with them and show them where they're going to lose revenue, they will act. It would be a detriment to their business if they didn't. Studios spiral out of control only releasing P&S DVD's, DVD sales suffer (how much to be determined), HD sets sales plummet, major networks & Congress get pissed because no one wants to upgrade, everyone loses. If there's someone big enough to get the studios attention, it's the hardware manufacturers.
    They need J6P to carry on and grow a format. They need US early adopters/home theater enthusiasts/elitist bastards to start a format. For studios to abandon our support is absolutely ludicrous. They picked the wrong people to screw.
    So guys, how do we start voicing our concerns to the manufacturers? I volunteer my time and resources to spearhead this campaign (just following the lead of my HTF brothers, Rain & DaVid).
     
  15. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Larry Gardner said:
     
  16. Charles Bober

    Charles Bober Stunt Coordinator

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    Done David. I will work on that this week as well. A united and well coordinated effort can get this done. Not only did I e-mail Disney and signed every OAR petition to date, including Rain's wonderful Columbia/Tri-Star campaign, but I will call the Mouse tomorrow to further the effort. And I have rallied all family, friends, & co-workers to join us in this fight.
    We can make a difference. WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!
     
  17. Larry Gardner

    Larry Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys. I am currently working in two areas - one at the retail level (Best Buy, Cicuit City, ...) and other video retail outlet stores. I will be sending them letters detailing what may happen to their WS TV sales if this marketing decisions continue.

    I am also thinking of sending a letter to Comcast Cable, requesting information on when transmissions do go to WS, what will the be doing to the signal, specifically for people still with FullFrame TVs.

    I considering other avenues as well - I am not in agreement with N. Pudar in this area. If we wait until this REALLY gets out of hand to include retail stores and manufacturers - then it WILL be too late. Start it now.

    The other avenue I am proceeding with is based on D. Lambert letter. I am going to attempt to write 3 psuedo-screenplays for Disney:

    1. Roy Disney calls everyone up for a surprise party for Donald Duck. The studio has purchased Donald a WS TV and everyone will be getting together. Daisy, Huey, Duey, Luey, Minnie, Mickey, Scrooge, Goofy, ... What will carry on will be discussions by Daisy (she will be brnging the DVDs) and the presentations of the films. Mainly, Donald's Oscar worthy performance in Fantasia 2000 (finally gets his day). Only Daisy likes FullScreen and gets a FullScreen versions from the studio. When Donald's parts come up - most are cut out due to the cropping.

    I will expand this a great deal more.

    2. Professor Ludwig explaining WS to a room of confused PTA Moms and kids (like he used to in order short cartoons).

    3. Scrooge McDuck finally gets a DVD player and complains to everyone about the 'black bars'. Until he is shown the films he is in, does he get the message.

    4. Studio heads have a meeting with students asking questions about why spend all that money on creative talent if the artistry will be eliminated when released to DVD? Other questions follow.

    I took this queue from David Lambert (I believe) and other members who mentioned about using the Disney animation characters to educate the public - with the correct information.

    I am sick and tired that everytime someone mentions that complaints are coming in from Moms and kids - about the black bars.

    HOWEVER - they never state what the reply. I'm sorry - but if that number on the back of the Disney cases was supposed to be used for calling them and telling them what a great product they have - they should have asked for it. Most people do not contact the studios unless there is a problem - no problem - no call. Maybe that is a failure on our part - who knows. I for one, do not believe that children are calling that number to complain about the black bars. Basically, it is the 'Soccer Moms' - who the majority of are using DVDs for 'babysitting' purposes. Maybe, the problem here is that when the children ask questions - the Moms are quite embarassed since they do not have the information nor can they get it.

    Maybe, one solution would be to place a information page in the DVD explaining WS - in terms that they can understand.

    Also, make certain that the pitfalls are explained about FullFrame DVDs and WS TVs - grey bars and decreased resolution on zoomed pictures.

    Anyway I have much to do!
     
  18. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    If you plan on calling and haven't yet, please make it a point to NOT identify yourself with the Home Theater Forum. Say you saw it on some other site, use my site if you want. Or The Digital Bits, DVD File, anywhere. Better yet, be vague and just say a Disney site on the internet.

    I know it seems stupid, but with people identifying themselves as HTF members, unfortunately, Disney is viewing the hundreds who call as one group, a group which isn't the primary audience and many of whom probably aren't going to buy these titles anyway.

    So be honest, but try not to sound like we're some kind of cult that seems to be the only one who knows/cares about OAR. Seem like an individual Disney customer.

    You might not think it makes a difference, or that this sound stupid. Well, yes it is stupid, but it's a nuiance that is beneficial to our ultimate cause, because unfortunately Disney isn't taking this campaign as serious as we would have hoped, from what I have heard.
     
  19. Charles Bober

    Charles Bober Stunt Coordinator

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    I hear what you're saying Luke but this disturbs me even more. Not about what the awesome members here are doing mind you. If Disney thinks they can sweep this under the rug by dismissing our membership, wait til they start hearing from all the other forums out there. This only solidifies my resolve to spread the word even further than what I initially planned. Hell, I'm even having my Mom call tomorrow. And Dad will do the same. And my Uncle, who's a recent OAR convert, will follow through (I showed him the Die Hard Why Widescreen? featurette on the Ultimate Collection set).
    I will fight the good fight until this problem is vanquished from existence. This is totally and completely unacceptable.
     
  20. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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