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Studio and HTF-sponsored Widescreen Education Consortium! (1 Viewer)

Rain

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2001
Messages
5,015
Real Name
Rain
You want to do something about it, DO SOMETHING!
Right on!
I think it is unfortunate that some people want to give up and just sit back and see what happens. But I'm very encouraged to learn that others are still willing to give it the old fashioned try.
My thoughts on this matter, though, are more targeted towards the financial implications for the studios. Since they clearly care nothing for the proper presentation of film nor do they regard it as the art form it is, I believe the key in fighting this battle is to get it accross to the studios that going P&S only is a money losing venture.
Of course, it's rather obvious that it is, but they haven't seemed to realize it yet.
So write letters, continue the petitions and above all never, ever buy a DVD that doesn't present the film in its OAR.
There is another thread going on about this right now, seemingly condoning P&S only and asking whether you would buy your favourite movie on DVD if it was only available non-OAR. Click here to view the thread. This plays right into the studios’ hands and will only give any lurkers the idea that if they force it on us, we will accept it. Be sure to chime in on that thread with a resounding “NO.” We mustn’t budge on this issue.
 

RobertR

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 19, 1998
Messages
10,665
Now Paramount is considering it.
That would certainly be a change from only ONE year ago, when you and me and a number of other HTF members sat in a Paramount conference room, and heard vehement pro-OAR sentiments from Paramount execs, not to mention examples FROM THEM (ranging from Braveheart to DaVinci's Last Supper)showing how awful P&S is. How sad.
 

Michael St. Clair

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 1999
Messages
6,001
DIVX killed itself. If it makes some of us feel better to pretend we killed it, so be it.
At the time of DIVX (at its peak of marketing), I asked every friend and coworker if they knew what DIVX was. About 10% of them had even heard of it, though about 90% knew what DVD was. Of that 10%, not one of them knew that there were active campaigns against it. I explained in an unbiased (I was really playing the devil's advocate) manner to all of them (not just the ones who knew what it was) how the consumer cost model for DIVX worked. Every one of them said they wanted nothing to do with it.
That spells out the story for DIVX. Did we kill it? Hell, it was dead before it was born.
Now, everybody knows what DVD is. But most don't know that most films are composed for a single ratio that doesn't fit your TV. Most don't know what composition is, or the difference between composed or protected ('protected' for 4:3). Most view movies as simple entertainment, something to pass the time. Director's like Spielburg have abandoned scope film in order to make compromising for 4:3 less intrusive. This makes it easier for people to stay in the dark. The future is somewhat bleak. But there are companies like Criterion, there are imports, and there are HD formats on the way. I hope HD does not become mass-market for a long, long time. Can you guess why?
 

wally

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 12, 2001
Messages
473
It's a grass roots thing.
I imagine most of you are Home Theater/DVD resources to your friends and neighbors. Educate about OAR and P&S. When the masses want OAR the studios will respond.
Be careful out there :emoji_thumbsup:
 

Steve O

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 19, 2000
Messages
111
Wow. :frowning:
This forum needs a big fat pep talk. Where's John Belushi when you need him?!
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
Personally, I don't see this as the beginning of the end, ... but rather the beginning of something good. This is the perfect time in the history of the format - while it is still relatively new and exciting to the masses - to start a widescreen education campaign.
Let's establish the Widescreen Education Consortium concept and then have this forum flood all major directors, producers, studio executives, film history societies, etc. with consistent letters urging them to join in principle. Once we get buy-in, we can execute the strategy.
Or something else. Anything but complacently sitting back and helping a self-fulfilling prophecy to take root. We can educate John Q. Public, given the right partners.
The question that we have to ask ourselves is, Are we up to the challenge -- or do we just want to lay down on the couch, cover ourselves up with our favorite "blankie," and pop-in this week's Pan and Scan title?
I choose to do what's hard and accomplish something great. I may not have the credibility of the Home Theater Forum, but I'm going to use what talents I have for making positive progress. Here's what I need - can someone get me the names and business addresses of:
1. Key studio executives at each major studio.
2. Corporate management at Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.
3. Major influential movie reviewers (Roger Ebert, etc.).
4. Entertainment media (TV programs such as ET, magazines, etc.).
5. Influential movie producers and directors who have been known to care about film preservation.
6. Film preservation societies and artistic organizations.
7. Major retail sales outlets, such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.
8. Deans of the most influential film schools.
Take a number and run with it. Post your results on this forum -- this information should be publicly available, so we're not breaking any privacy acts. I also need a Scribe -- someone to compile the information that is posted into a spreadsheet or document.
I will draft a letter for each of these audiences and post it here for comments and input.
We will prevail. :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:
 

Eric T

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 1, 2001
Messages
266
Maybe this would be easier with a "pull" strategy instead of a "push" strategy. Or a combination of both.

Rather than attempt to only apply pressure on the studios from the realitively small demographic that we represent, why not also try to convince consumers to move to widescreen TV's? This would certainly get support from the retail outlets, since 16:9 sets are usually more expensive.

Get the support of Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. Educate consumers as to why a 16:9 set can be better than a 4:3 set. Explain how the HDTV format, which is becoming mandatory soon (we hope), will be a perfect match for their new 16:9 TV, and a headache for a 4:3 TV. And about how they won't see so many of those pesky black bars when they watch DVDs.

I'm sure that even a die-hard P&S fan would switch over to widescreen if he had a 16:9 television.

I think it'll be tough going to get people to buy into a format that doesn't work well with their equipment, only based on the artistic merits that many don't care very much about. So let's try to upgrade their equipment too.
 

DaViD Boulet

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 24, 1999
Messages
8,807
Eric,
You're totally on the right track. Hit the consumers and the retailers and we'll win. The studios will respond to what the retailers and the consumers want.
It's people DOING a good game is what matters. I proposed an in-mall education campaign for last Christmas, I said I'd spearhead it, I even talked to some local electronics manufacture reps about donating us some big TVs to showcase on, but no one wanted to sit at that mall all Saturday tellling people why they shouldn't watch half a movie
I'm still willing to do this, but I have to have a crew. 1 person looks like a nut, while 2 or 3, and organization.
Jeff, good point.
I'm in. Near every major mall there has to be at least a handful of HT enthusiasts who would be willing to cooperate to get this done. The difference between then and now is that then it was just something to do to promote education whereas now it is war for the right to view WS on DVD. Hopefully we'll get some more action from those who used to feel comfy in their lazy-boy watching 16x9 DVDs now that they're getting stuck with P/S releases :)
We don't need the studios and we don't need Ron spear-heading this campaign
All we need is individuals like ourselves and one more thing...we do need RETAILERS to let us set up shop and cooperate with us.
If we could get some posters and brochures to hand out...and get retailers to cooperate, we could have volunteers in each high-profile stores keep hand-outs stocked in the TV and DVD section of the stores. On key shopping weekends we could do what Jeff was suggesting and hold demonstrations in malls. We also need to have Blockbuster agree to let us hand-out leaflets and stock handouts in their store locations. Your idea to push for 16x9 TV purchases is right-on-the-money.
We need reatailer cooperation and support. Those are the entities to target.
Keep in mind folks that it's the retailers who've told the studios to release P/S and the studios did what they said. We start at the retailers and we're controling the studios defacto.
Maybe the widescreen Advocate website can help us get together some material to hand out (I know they already have some). We need some BIG posters or signs. We need to have a little carboard "handout" center with a big sign on it that's stocked with handouts we can drop off at every retailer in our region.
Those who want to join this grass-roots volunteer organization will be called the Widescreen Advocates.
Thoughts?
I'd like to get a group started in the DC area. When can we meet? I think that we should have an initial meeting of everyone within a 2 hour driving distance.
 

John_McKittrick

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 9, 1999
Messages
226
You know, I keep reading about how the studios investment in Pan and Scan only would lose them alot of $$. On the contrary, when WIDESCREEN becomes the mainstream like it will in 5 years the studios will make more $$ because the same idiots who bought these stupid P&S titles will now go crazy because of the side bars they have to deal with on their new widescreen purchases. I see the studios becoming the next George Lucas.

As for Ron, shame. You have one of the most vocal voices in the DVD Internet world. You're starting to get quoted now more than ever. Now they're going to quote you as just giving up. Shame.

If worse comes to worse and we all just 'watch it happen', I'd rather see Pan and Scan than rental pricing.

John
 

SteveK

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 10, 2000
Messages
518
John- Rather see Pan&Scan than rental pricing? No way!

Rental pricing is a temporary thing that means you can't buy your favorite DVD at a reasonable price for a few months. But Pan&Scan is PERMANENT. A studio can decide to drop rental pricing on any title or across the board anytime after they release a title. But a title won't suddenly become widescreen after 6 months of being Pan&Scan.

Neither rental pricing nor Pan&Scan is a good thing, but Pan&Scan is FAR worse then rental pricing.

Steve K.
 

Steve O

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 19, 2000
Messages
111
While a grass roots campaign is noble, it won't work here. Your local Best Buy, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, or any other international retailer will not post unauthorized material in their stores. I'm fairly certain that they would be prohibited from doing so per their respective corporate policies.
I believe that the only way to accomplish that goal is to get corporate buy-in as a formalized program. The Widescreen Education Consortium would be one vehicle for doing so. However, this cannot be done successfully without significant help from our network of resources on this forum.
If you would like to help, please let me know what you'd like to do (see my last post for ideas).
Let's roll! ;)
 

Rob Lutter

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2000
Messages
4,523
Reading this thread almost makes me want to cry :frowning:
If I CAN'T (as in, don't have a choice) have OAR on my movies in a couple of years, I may need to take up a new hobby... I wouldn't be able to stand it (I can't stand it now) :thumbsdown:
Can we still go back to laserdisc? :D
Whatever I can do to help, I am in.
 

Jeff Kleist

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 4, 1999
Messages
11,267
I outlined earlier in the thread what I want to do

The one thing you have to worry about rental pricing are the great movies that never come OFF rental pricing

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams- STILL $80

Hackers didn't go off of rental pricing till AFTER Angelina Jolie was a star, 5-6 years after it came out.
 

David Lambert

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2001
Messages
11,377
Just about any mall will likely allow a well-organized group with an official-sounding name set up a display on a weekend day to do an "event" that is a public service of some sort, especially if it can lead to sales at one of their stores.

Two or three HTFers (or WECers, if you want) ought to get together with a store in the mall that sells widescreen TV's (Sears, for example) and talk the Sears mgt. into wheeling down a 16:9 TV and a similar-model 4:3 TV to demonstrate the difference. Perhaps a 3rd unit as well, a smaller-screen (14-19", say) TV/DVD combo that could play an A/B loop of the Die Hard demo of WS vs. P&S. OR instead a TV/VCR combo unit that could play a looping tape of WS vs. P&S demos (like the Nimoy thing on ST4). Have some of the material from Widescreen Advocate printed out and read to pass out to passers by. Sears would have big signs on their units "Equipment Provided by Sears", and all they have to do is provide a couple of strong guys at the start and finish of the day to be roadies, and a minimum wage flunky to answer questions about how cool the equipment is and where to buy it. Wallah!, instant sales for Sears (or whoever). And a forum for us to explain our cause. Clear up misconceptions. And maybe even spice things up by inviting a local television station affiliate down to speak about their wonderful HDTV signal, and how Sears' equipment can display it for the nice customers.

Hell, invite a rock station DJ to come down and cover the event; have fun with it and make it a real party!

Call the whole shebang "The Future of Television Day". Sponsored by Sears, WMC Channel 5, Rock 103, The Widescreen Education Consortium, The Home Theater Forum, and The Galleria Mall.

Malls go crazy for attention-grabbing shit like that. You can't imagine how low their advertising budgets are!

Above all, invest a bit of money into the concept. Go to Kinko's and get some PROFESSIONAL-LOOKING signage made up for all of your needs. Make the other "sponsors" be proud to be associated with you; perhaps they will help cover the costs. Remember that something has to be in it for them, though (usually the free publicity and the promise of a good time away for the dull routine is enough; a change of pace appeals to these guys).

Do it right, or don't do it at all!
 

DaViD Boulet

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 24, 1999
Messages
8,807
Dave,

I'm 100% there. I'm in the DC area and would love to hook-up with some other HT enthusiasts to do something just like this.

I also agree with Steve that we should also "unite" our efforts under a common group with national appeal...that way when we're doing demos our handouts etc. could all have logos and even a web-address for more info. Maybe the widescreen advocate (url in my sig) could be our "web site" and we could just adopt a common name for recognition? He's already got lots of material ready to be printed and handed out. We should have a meeting where we get together, go over the material to see about making some changes if necessary, and discuss the details of how to become an "official" group. Is there something legal one must do so that it's a recoginized organization???

-dave
 

Keith Yatsuhashi

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
72
Maybe this is a little defeatist, but what's going on outside R1? If I had to, I'd have no problem going to R2 (Japan most likely), or europe to pick up a WS title. In my experience, Japan is the most WS friendly country. Don't know much about the EU since I just picked up a player with the PAL/NTSC converter.
 

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