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Resolving myself to this issue of Pan & Scan: Where we stand....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, May 7, 2002.

  1. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    My question is why aren't more studios putting a bit more effort in and releasing discs with both OAR and P&S (or P&S on the fly) options? Everybody wins!!! What bothered me about the recent interview Bill Hunt did with Chris Carey from Disney was this quote by Chris about putting OAR and P&S on a single DVD-9 disc:

    "Yes, it has been done before. And I'd do it when we can. But, generally speaking on a DVD-9, if you put two versions of a movie on - meaning you're talking about three hours of programming - you're really compromising the quality. The MPEG-2 compression levels that you have to drop down to to get that much run time on a movie is really questionable. I've sometimes made recommendations on a title against including both versions for that very reason."

    So...Chris is making a point about the quality of the DVD...yet ignores OAR as part of a quality viewing experience? My feeling is that in the above statement Chris is talking about recommending against P&S for more 'critical' films like 'Pearl Harbor.' Can you imagine compression quality being a heavy factor for a FAMILY title (like Snow Dogs) and OAR isnt't??? Something is fishy.

    I just rented 'The One' with Jet Li and it has both OAR and P&S. I thought the picture quality was great. I have TWO children's titles with OAR/P&S options - 'Rugrats' movie (not 16x9) and 'Barbie: Sugarplum Princess' (both highly recommended.) I really can find no reason why studios do not put both formats on a DVD-9 disc. It's been done with success before. Me thinks laziness and saving a few $$$ is the root cause. And that attitude is angering many stout supporters of the DVD format.
     
  2. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    From early accounts, today's "Vault Disney" family-oriented releases (PARENT TRAP, SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, POLLYANNA, and OLD YELLER) are very nice packages with OAR presentations. This is certainly the kind of treatment that should be encouraged.

    So think about picking these up and make sure you send Disney some positive feedback, specifically mentioning how the OAR anamorphic widescreen presentation was a key factor in your decision to buy this "family" title. I plan to do this, and at the same time mention how disappointed I continue to be with their bad decision to release other titles (like WHITE FANG) in P&S only. We need to send a positive message that we do appreciate when they do DVD right.
     
  3. Andy_B

    Andy_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Is TV going to do some of the dirty work for us in terms of getting the general public used of widescreen (even at just a 1.77 level?)?

    Every day I turn on my TV, I see more and more mainstream widescreen TV shows.

    ER, Third Watch, West Wing, Babylon 5, Enterprise and 75% of the videos that are run on MTV and VH1 just to name a few.

    AMC and TCM also chip in with their fair share of OAR.

    Are the TV stations being baraged with complaints, especially from hugely popular shows like ER and West Wing?
     
  4. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Ron,

    Thanks for the update. You stated that the Studios believe kids do not like the black bars.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a three and a half year old daughter (and WE bought her about 30 DVDs - she did not buy any of them, and I always by OAR). The black bars do not bother her one bit. Furthermore, she has complained about the "lost" picture when I have accidentally played the Full Frame version of Bugs Life, which she must have watched a bizzilon times (she asked where the picture went).

    The studios are wrong about this, period.
     
  5. Willem Vos

    Willem Vos Stunt Coordinator

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    Derek, I don't agree with you on putting two versions on a single dvd-9

    the quality of the film is just not going to be as good as it can be, because the compression rate will be much higher for most films in order to fit them in. You can probably forget about having a DTS track, too.

    For rental this would be fine, but I don't want half of the space in the dvd reserved for something that was made to appease people who are bothered by the evil black bars.
     
  6. Karl Englebright

    Karl Englebright Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, this is a bit encouraging. At the same time it means that we will have to fight ongoing battles with studios on single version, P&S releases.

    I think our job is cut out for us. We need to keep making a lot of noise and make studio P&S supporters realize that there are a lot of people out there that will majorly PISSED OFF if they don't release their movies in OAR. EVEN THEIR FAMILY TITLES.

    I also think, however that they need to know that we are not just "DVD geeks" or "zealots", but a genuine, revenue-producing piece of the market that they need to keep happy.
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Man, I wish WalMart would team up with that law firm and revive DIVX! (spit!)

    I know it was a threat at the birth of DVD, but now that we pretty much have all new releases and most catalog ones available or on the way, why not let WalMart bring DIVX (spit!) back? Featureless, Pan&Scan, Pay-per-view for the masses. Let us keep our OAR, SE DVDs!

    Anyone who knew me back in the day would be floored that I would even come up with this idea.
     
  8. wally

    wally Second Unit

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  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Question is, who determines which films are "family films"? Or is the phrase "family film" a euphemism for "children's movie"?

    Warner originally felt that Wonka was a children's title, and planned to release it in P&S only. The studio discovered just who the film's true fans are when an Internet-driven (i.e., HTF-driven) grassroots campaign forced the hands of the decision makers.

    So, what exactly is a "family film"?

    And with those niche titles, why not offer both a correctly framed transfer as well as the P&S thing?

    Ultimately, it's the P&S-only issue that sticks in our craw and casts a dark shadow over our enthusiasm.
     
  10. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    You guys are barking up the wrong tree. Glenn is on the right track... if you want to win the widescreen war, focus your attention on the television manufacturers. I've said it elsewhere on this forum, and I'll say it again: I AM NOT SPENDING $2000 ON A TELEVISION SET. I don't know ANYONE who would. It's ridiculous. For years we've been hearing about how the prices will come down, and they NEVER COME DOWN. When they make a widescreen television that is affordable, then the public will accept, and even demand, widescreen movies in their homes.
     
  11. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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  12. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    Yes, they are STARTING to... finally. I noticed Best Buy was advertising one for $1799 this weekend, after years of never seeing one go for under $2000. It's a start, but there's a long way to go yet.
     
  13. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  14. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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  15. Will Cunningham

    Will Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Ron inadvertantly hit on the answer to this horrifying trend.
     
  16. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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  17. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    John- I had thought of that idea a long time ago. Release widescreen only, and make it possible for someone to TRADE their widescreen copy for a P&S copy. I bet you'd find very few people trading their discs. They would either get accustomed to widescreen or they'd stick with VHS.

    Maybe that's too radical of a solution, as it may alienate the consumer. And of course there's always a danger that we'd be forced to buy P&S and then trade it for widescreen. So perhaps dual releases (along with trying to educate the public about the beauty of widescreen) is the best answer.

    Steve K.
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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  19. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    They could very easily release 480i (or p) 16:9 televisions, just like they have in other countries. Even in England they're under $500. They can slap a digital tuner in there, permanently set to the "output 480" setting
    Sure it wouldn't be HDTV, but it'd be a start
     
  20. Michael St. Clair

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