How can a major distributor have a dvd representative who doesn’t understand OAR?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mikko Rasinkangas, Jan 31, 2002.

  1. Mikko Rasinkangas

    Mikko Rasinkangas Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 24, 2000
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    First off: bare with me since I know this text is a bit incoherent but if the person you are talking to doesn’t make any sense, the text can’t make sense either. Also, I know that I’m talking about a R2 disc but I think that R1 readers might want to read this. The title in question is “Apocalypse now” and it has been talked about in many threads but in this thread it isn’t the topic so please, no comments about doing a search on related topics. Well, anyway… here’s what I wanted to share:

    I’m enraged! I Just talked to a dvd manager of a finnish distributor Sandrew Metronome which releases all Warner Bros titles and some others. I inquired about the aspect ratio of the upcoming “Apocalypse now redux” dvd. It’s coming out here in Finland in a few weeks.

    You probably know that the R1 dvd was cropped to approx 2:1. Same was with the original release. Don’t remember if all vhs/tv releases of “Apocalypse now” have been cropped but I think that has been the case. The decision was made by Coppola and DoP Storaro. There were many discussions about this subject in various dvd sites and forums. Everyone wanted OAR.

    Well, anyway. The press release says that the finnish disc is 2.35:1 and 16:9 anamorphic. I wanted to know if the aspect ratio was really 2.35:1 and not just a typo. Naturally it would be amazing if the film would be OAR. But if the 2.35:1 turned out to be a typo I wouldn’t want to end up as a proud owner of two copies of “Apocalypse now redux” (one R1 and one R2) so I wanted to ask about it in advance.

    I had asked about this earlier via e-mail and the response was first that it was 16:9. Well that just means that it’s anamorphic. I wrote again and asked the ratio of the image. Response: 2.35:1 and 16:9. The same as the press release. I didn’t really believe it since the first reply was incoherent. So I decided to call them.

    Conversation start: I asked about the aspect ratio and she said that it was what it was and she just looked for errors. I got the impression that she couldn’t care less. I said that it isn’t image errors that we’re talking about here but the aspect ratio. I asked the lady if she could check the actual disc and look at the ratio and possibly compare it to some 2.35:1 film. Here is when I hit a brick wall. I must say that the woman just didn’t understand what I was asking. She kept rambling about the 16:9 ratio. Something so stupid that I almost started laughing. She said something like all films are cropped to 16:9. WHAT??? The ratio 2.35:1 just didn’t fit her head even though I tried hard to bash it in there.

    This is the point when she started to show signs of anger. She asked what was wrong about cropping and that we ain’t talking about cinema presentation here. I tried to explain that you lose image from the sides, the director’s vision, chosen aspect ratio and framing must be honored and that people want original aspect ratio. Reply: “does it matter if you lose a street light from the side”. I mentioned that you lose almost half of the 2.35:1 image on a 4:3 pan&scan presentation. Then she made a comment about 16:9 and it being the standard and something that 4:3 pan&scan isn’t used anymore. Again WHAT??? The same distributor uses pan&scan on all of their VHS releases.

    Then she said that they don’t bother with the aspect ratios and they just get the details on paper and that’s it. I tried to say that the aspect ratio info in the papers might be wrong and want to know if the disc is cropped like the R1. I said that if the details were correct and the disc was OAR, that would be a major selling point. It didn’t compute. Well the conversation went on and few more times she asked what was wrong with cropping. I repeated what I said and tried to be convincing but it didn’t make any difference.

    This is the point were I got frustrated and said goodbye.

    After the call I was boiling with anger and the same time amused: no respect for customers, no interest of what so ever to solve the matter, no technical knowledge etc. etc.

    All this from a dvd department manager! How can I educate these people without getting yelled at? I really want to know the aspect ratio of the “Apocalypse now” dvd before I buy it but I don’t know if I should call them again.
  2. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 9, 2000
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    [​IMG] I simply don't know what to say!
  3. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2000
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    London, United Kingdom
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    Mikko, this doesn't surprise me in the least. Most distributors I have talked to haven't had a clue about the most basic technical details of the DVDs they are selling. I once asked if a certain DVD was anamorphic and it was obvious that the company representative didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about. They might just as well be selling cabbages for all they know about their product.

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