Latest Skinny on Disney - latest tech phone call info

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Larry Gardner, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. Larry Gardner

    Larry Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    It is 4:00 PM EST Tuesday 4/23.



    Just got back from Best Buy where I purchased Behind Enemy Lines (2 copies), Angels in the Outfield, and Thin Red Line.



    I knew there was a question on whether or not AITO was anamorphic - so that is the first thing I watched.



    BTW, I already have this on VHS and LD.



    Well, everyone was right. But what p**ssed me off was that the menus are anamorphic - the feature isn't!!!!



    Called Disney - spoke to Allison - very nice person. Explained my concern and questions - wanted to know if my WS TV was a waste of my money (also got my replacement Dinosaur and added my name to P&S poll).



    Well, they switched me to a technical person (who will go nameless). Very nice person and knowledgeable (beats the support people from Warner Home Video by a MAJOR longshot).



    Just to let everyone know - the HTF poll and threads are being watched by DISNEY - HOURLY! They are very concerned by the actions going on. The person I talked to was very aware of my name - asked me if I was the same Larry Gardner from HTF. Told me that Disney is quite interested since this is creating quite a stir there.



    So I asked my questions:



    1. Has their been a turnover in personnel in the Disney Video Disvisions?



    2. Since Disney (not Touchstone, Dimension, Mirimax, ..) is associated with Family Fare - how does once 'Family Fare' title get to be WS while another doesn't?



    3. Does Disney actually believe that there is going to be an overwhelming rush to these catalog titles by the masses - just to replace their VHS? They're luck if they even get rented!



    4. AITO is released Widescreen - 1:85.1. However, it is actually letterboxed - not what is considered Widescreen today. Does Disney realized that in the last few years that very little Widescreen non-anamorphic titles have been released by anyone? Disney originally did - then stopped and started becoming one of the major DVD studios to be reckoned with. Are they ready to throw this all away. Isn't Disney aware that they are associated with quality - not quantity? IF Disney is going to released non-anamorphic titles - then they should be labeled Letterboxed - not Widescreen.



    5. Is Disney cheapening it's releases in order to get more out? Back to the purchase/rental issue. How many catalog titles of sub-par quality does Disney think are going to be rented/sold? Have they checked what DVD titles of theirs are still sitting on the shelves after these many years?



    6. Has their been a new direction by Disney?



    7. Is Disney (and other studios) planning on compensating the WS TV manufacturers for removing any incentives for people to upgrade to a new WS TV (when prices drop).



    8. Is an anamorphic release that much more expensive than a non-anamorphic one (given the fact that more and more studios are doing their own now)?



    9. How do we now know when a release comes out (which is in a 14.99 range) - is the real deal? Remastered? LD transfer? What? Disney, you a creatnig this issue, yourself.



    10. Why doesn't Disney do it's own poll on WS/P&S issues? They cannot go by distribution numbers. They have to go by ACTUAL sales. Blockbuster and Wal-Mart have to stay out of a poll in order for it to be unbiased. You cannot base a poll based on information for retailers who refuse to stock all versions. The feedback from them is tainted - since they only carry P&S - of course, P&S is going to be what they say the consumer wants. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to see this. This poll should question AND educate. If the pollee gives their indication - what should be questioned is if they are aware of the advantages/disadvantages of their answer (and give an option list, e.g.) :

    • x
    • Prefer Widescreen (Anamorphic - Enhanced for 16x9)[/list=1]
      • Are you aware that black-bars will appear (but will vary in size based on television display ratio)
        • Are you aware that most of these 'black-bars will disappear when viewed on a Widescreen TV?
      • Prefer Fullframe (Panned and Scanned, FIll-My-Screen)[/list=1]
        • Are you aware that 'black/gray' bars will appear when viewed on a Widescreen TV?
        • Are you aware that, in zooming to remove these bars, the picture quality will be degraded (made worse)?

        11. Is Disney aware that they are just re-creating the same rental retailer strong-arm controlled video distribution network - that the studios have been trying to get away from for the last 20 years? Taking input only from the major retailers - causes them to control Disney in the long run.



        12. Since my family is a Widescreen family - does that mean I am no longer in the equation - based on these Disney numbers? My family has been watching WS for over 15 years now - started with LD and moved onto DVD. I have purchased a DVD player for all my immediate family (3 sisters, Mother). And purchase at least 4 DVDs a month for one of them - sometimes even more. Should I remove Disney from MY EQUATION?



        13. Is Disney saying that we should be calling Disney from time to time to inform them about our pleasure with their products - their DVDs don't state that - only if you have a problem?



        14. When people do call - what is told to them (about the black-bar issues)?



        15. Does Disney really believe that people will refuse to rent/buy DVDs if they only have WS features. Basically, do they believe that people will tell little Johnny/Joanie - no, we can't get that - it's only in WS. Besides, I hear son/daughter that [Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin], wasn't a very good picture anyways!



        16. How does Disney justify paying for all that talent in making films (animation or otherwise) - and then basically leaving it on the 'cutting room floor' when creating the DVD - a technology originally promoted to be WS presentations of you classic films. If films were to be FS/P&S, why did it take the DVD Consortium so long to agree on an anamorphic feature for DVD?



        16. Disney is known for innovative, technology in many areas (Disney World - Hall of Presidents, It's a Small World, Space Mountain, ... DVDs - Dinosaur, Snow White, ...)

        Why can't Disney solve/utilize the Pan/Scan-on-the-fly feature? If they create new authoring software that automates this - patent it - and license it out.



        17. Ho many 'kids' have really called your hot-line. How many people have complained - or just needed some information on the 'black-bars'? And was the correct information given? I talked to a technical rep - how many other people have gotten that luxury?



        Well, I was on the phone for nearly 30 minutes. The person was very informative and we talked back in forth (meaning - I didn't do all the talking). All these issues are a concern right now at Disney. I was told to write down my questions (above - which I am going to re-edit) and email to Disney - both questions and sugggestions.



        I told the rep that today I purchased 10 DVDS. 6 of them Disney. Three Men and a Baby, Three Men and a Little Lady, Ruthless People, Angels in the Outfield, Sword in the Stone and another copy of Snow White (I have purchased 7 copies so far - 5 from the web-site (in order to get the box special options) and two from Best Buy. I told the rep that I normally purchase between 5-10 DVDs per week. That's 20-40 DVDs a month, 240-480 DVDs per year. I own over 1000 Disney LDs and have been waiting to replace most of these with DVDs - but not if they are going to be this quality. Ask what quality - I stated LD transfers - no audio enhancements - no features (or even the original trailer) and I used AITO as an example.



        So if Disney wants to throw my family away as revenue, I'm sure there are other studios more than willing to take my family's money.



        Just wanted to let everyone know - especially the people feeling that this is a lost cause - or that this was inevitable - take note!



        In only story - the Pearl Harbor Vista Series DC - is going to be unbelievable - according to the rep. I said - well - does Disney REALLY want us to support them in this purchase?



        As Ron stated in his article - stop and look at the big picture.



        My addition - stop using P&S/FS eyes when viewing this issue - and start using widescreen eyes of the future.
     
  2. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    1) Did they answer you?

    2) You do know that Three Men and a Little Lady is P&S, right?
     
  3. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    I can answer #1 Luke....they guy he talked to told him to email all the questions in.
     
  4. Larry Gardner

    Larry Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    If TMAALL is P&S - it is going back with the original - I am not going to split up the set - since I have both on LD.
     
  5. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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  6. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Disney laserdiscs, up to the very end, came with survey cards. For a while they included questions about widescreen- my Fantasia disc (which was relased 1.33) includes a few questions like What is your reaction to the letterbox format? followed by multiple-choice answers like I always prefer letterbox, I always prefer regular format, or It depends on the movie. My disc of "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag" ($3.88 Camelot cutout!) has a card that asks If this title had not been available in letterbox format, would you still have purchased it?

    I never sent in any of these cards because I have to keep EVERYTHING that comes with my stuff, but since 99% of their later LD releases were only in widescreen, it seems that's what most people who sent them in said they wanted.

    BTW great job complaining about a non-anamorphic disc! That'll show them that not only do people WANT "family movies" in widescreen, but they must also be 16x9 enhanced!
     
  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Larry...awesome job, there. Impressive questions and comments. You done good.
    (Except for buying Three Men and a Little Lady...several posts mentioned it was MAR a couple of weeks ago, when it released...including my Weekly Roundup.)
    I was planning to call Disney back myself and complain about the non-anamorphic titles AND the lack of widescreen on White Fang. Also to go over some of the titles in their press release yesterday, and mention a bunch of them that damn well BETTER be in widescreen! Actually, all of them need to be, but I was going to specifically mention the ones I wanted to buy. Quite a long list, too, I might add.
    It's funny, actually: the only "Disney" movie I ended up buying today was Anchor Bay's release of Unidentified Flying Oddball. At least it's 1.66:1, right?
    I'll end up picking up the OAR releases this week...even Angels, despite the non-anamorphicness of it [​IMG] , but no way the first White Fang is gonna be touched.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Disney's Tech department is full of liars.

    I called some time ago about why Fantasia was censored and they insisted that there was nothing censored. In fact, they said it was my player causing the graininess.

    Disney is too schizophrenic with DVD releases.
     
  9. Larry Gardner

    Larry Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    David:

    Send me e-mail address, so I can post information to you which I am not liberty to post in the forum.

    No biggie though!
     
  10. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Larry, you have mail.
     
  11. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    Good news. If they are paying attention on an hourly basis, hopefully they are also taking us seriously.
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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  13. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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