DTS/DD on Pan-and-Scan DVD? Why bother?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MichaelPe, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    After reading the news that Fox is releasing 2 editions of "The Passion" on DVD, I thought about this again...

    I've never understood the reasoning for including a multichannel (DTS/DD) track on a P&S DVD.

    Have studios actually done any marketing studies and found that people who own multichannel equipment (and are knowledgeable enough to select the appropriate track from the audio menu) would intentionally watch the film in its incorrect aspect ratio?

    Who cares, right? Well, I realize that it doesn't cost studios anything more to include the DTS/DD track, especially if it has already been mastered for the existing widescreen edition. However, by not including multichannel tracks on the P&S edition, this will provide an additional incentive for consumers to purchase the widescreen edition (or eventually "upgrade" to the widescreen edition once they've upgraded their HT audio system).

    Of course, one can extend this argument to director commentaries and other DVD features. Though, pricing of both editions would have to remain the same for such a strategy to work.
     
  2. Lev-S

    Lev-S Second Unit

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    I think a good statement would be that DVDs are too good for the general public. Correct aspect ratios, digital surround sound, commentaries, bonus features... J6P just doesn't care. They should honestly save the environment and instead of printing a second disc with special features for another "Full Screen" copy of Matrix Revolutions that will NEVER be touched and make 2 editions:

    Lite - > single disc, stereo, no extras, Full Screen
    Regular - > multi-disc, surround sound (DD + DTS), extras, OAR

    Then we (studios, public) could all stop bullsh*tting ourselves that a MAR DVD with extras makes sense.
     
  3. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    no, the problem is that some people love the loud sound, but don't care for them "black bars"

    They also love the extras...
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Why bother? It would only be wasted money. As you said, the multi-channel mix is already made and DVD players will down-mix to stereo. Doing a study and producing a stereo-only mix would be time and money wasted.

    I'm all for proper aspect ratio and encourage friends to watch movies properly for (what I think will bring) best enjoyment. But increasingly I perceive among the HTF membership the attitude that those who watch fullscreen are sub-humans undeserving of the oxygen they breathe, much less DVDs to watch. I see this in a parallel thread.

    It's an offensive attitude.
     
  5. Zachary Cohen

    Zachary Cohen Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, DaveF. Simply because someone may not understand (or CHOOSE) the difference between fullscreen and widescreen does not mean that they do not like good sound or own nice audio equpipment. Audio and video are two different things.

    And besides, is it hurting you? Are you being affected by studios including 5.1 mixes with fullscreen releases? Or do you just want pan and scanners to have less enjoyment?


    I'm not sure where exactly you got the idea that the general public does not like bonus features, as I can't recall the last time I've seen an ad on television for a DVD that doesn't stress how many bonus features a DVD has or hype up the ones that are there.
     
  6. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    No, I think you're getting the wrong idea about me... I'm not evil. [​IMG] I just think that it's time that studios phase out P&S, and this is probably the easiest way to do it. By phasing out P&S, studios won't have to produce 2 editions of every DVD, and this will cost them less in the long run.

    As it stands right now, "Fullscreen" and "Widescreen" are presented to consumers as equal options. In the eyes of an uninformed consumer, there is no "right" or "wrong" option - they're just 2 flavors of the same movie. So, it's basically a question of preference, without any incentive to educate consumers.

    So, by releasing P&S DVDs without multichannel tracks, studios are implicitly hinting to consumers that one edition is superior to the other. If Joe still chooses the fullscreen edition, then that's fine. But in the long run, he may eventually regret his decision and purchase the widescreen edition.

    But, I do see a flaw in my argument... "Why would studios price both editions equivalently if one product is inferior to the other?"
     
  7. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Universal sort of did this when Patch Adams was first released- Widescreen with commentary and extras for $34.95, and pan and scan with no extras for $29.99 (I think). This was the first movie to get a separate WS/FS release, they later put out The Mummy in separate editions but with same extras at the same price.
     
  8. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    How's this for logic? If studios were to release seperate pan n scan bare bones DVDs alongside oar special editions the SEs would probably be a bit more expensive. The number of customers who were willing to pay more to get the SE just might be smaller than customers who either don't know or care about aspect ratio and buy the cheapest version.
     
  9. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    They should do the 'lite' and 'regular' flavors with the same price, and a sticker that says "You want fullscreen, you pay for it!" [​IMG]
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Nice one Ravi! The FF versions do cost more to make, so they should be priced higher!

    What I'd like to see is the barebones FF edition, and the OAR with the extras. Funnier still would be to put the extras menu on the FF version, but when you select it a message comes up that reads - The extras are only available in the OAR edition!

    Glenn
     
  11. Benjamin.D

    Benjamin.D Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a two way street, however. Remember when West Side Story was re-issued as a barebones FF disc?

    Ben
     
  12. Jeff B.

    Jeff B. Stunt Coordinator

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    Honestly there are many movies that I do not like enough to watch all the extras or listen to the commentary. I don't mind buying barebones discs if its an OK movie worth having, but I know won't be a favorite. However of course I still want OAR and DD/DTS no matter what if its available. Thats why I have a ht. [​IMG]

    I think for the most part if people want their fullscreen. OK -- doesn't really bother me. As long as they offer me the same movie OAR, I'm fine. Too bad it seems some studios are REALLY dropping the ball as of late, IE, Matilda.
     
  13. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I don't really feel DD/DTS tracks seem right on a P&S DVD either, but it isn't for the "they don't deserve it if they are going to watch a chopped version" kind of attitude.

    It is just that 5.1 audio (especially a DTS track) seems out of place when the picture and framing has been dumbed down and bothced in such a way. It is just as strange as having a glass of vintage wine and candle light while eating a McDonald's hamburger and fries.
     
  14. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    I remember when DVDs first came out, studios had already begun their strategy to phase out VHS. I can still remember seeing a VHS and DVD copy of the same film side-by-side in the store, priced equally. (Very often, the DVD was cheaper than the VHS... and I'm not even talking about rental-priced VHS.) Even though the DVD was superior in every way, this equal-or-less pricing scheme was necessary in order to boost sales of DVDs (and DVD players). (And yes, I understand that DVDs are cheaper to manufacture than VHS, but just look at how CDs and audiocassettes are priced.)

    In the end, DVD prevailed because consumers made the obvious and natural choice, given the options they were presented with.

    All I'm saying is that studios can intelligently phase out Pan-and-Scan if they want to, without losing a penny.
     
  15. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    There's a weird contradiction between proper presentation for people with 4:3 sets. A proper widescreen presentation entails reducing the size of the image, while a proper sound setup entails more speakers and volume. So I'm sure there are people who like 5.1 but want their 4:3 screens filled.
     
  16. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

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    This is the dumbest thread I've read in ages.

    What does annoy me is when a DVD is available in MAR only and it includes a Director's Commentary. I mean why would a Director bother to do that without making sure the OAR was available?
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Fullframe isn't less "quality", it's less "movie". It's like having a glass of vintage wine and candle light while eating HALF a steak.

    Some people don't need the full steak and would rather only have half. Does that make the wine less enjoyable? I seriously doubt it.

    Just because we don't enjoy less movie, it doesn't mean everyone else is this way too.

    Don't blame the consumer, blame TV and VHS for P&S'ing movies to the point where consumers are used to it. DVD is doing a great job of converting people, but it's still too early to pull the FF rug out from SO many people who have gotten used to "filling" their screens.

    Michael, I know you're in Canada, but my fellow Americans can relate to the FullFramers...for example: The metric system. I know it's better than what we have here in America, but we're too set in our ways to change to the "better". [​IMG] I don't care how much you can prove it's better...I sure as hell ain't changin'. [​IMG]
     
  18. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I have to disagree with this. If it were about more or less less "movie", then open-matte would be better, as would P&S since the screen is filled yielding a bigger picture. I feel OAR is about preserving scene composition (a very impotant element), not a more or less issue. With that in mind, I think it is a "quality" issue.

    But if both are going to be steak, then the fullframe/P&S is definetly the one with Mad Cow disease.

    I guess if I had wine and a Mad Cow infected steak put infront of me, yes, the wine would still be enjoyable, but it would not be a complete meal.
     
  19. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    I think that if you're only getting half the picture, you should only get half the audio as well.
     
  20. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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    I understand your point, but my view on this is slightly different...

    Pan-and-scan is about deleting "extraneous" data and then amplifying the remaining portion to compensate.

    So, the audio analogy for pan-and-scan would be to eliminate the rear channels and then increase the volume of the front channels to fill the room with more "sound". (Or even just repeating the front channels in the rear speakers.)
     

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