why all the fuss about cover art, inserts, etc?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by andrew markworthy, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    Sorry to sound stupid, but why is the insert/sleeve design so important to a surprisingly high percentage of people in HTF? If I buy a DVD it's for what's on the disc. When the disc is playing then I'm watching the screen, not reading sleeve notes or drooling over the cover (otherwise, what's the point in playing the disc?). And when I'm not watching a disc it's on a shelf with just the title on the spine showing. Is there some strange ritual that I'm missing out on?

    To my simple mind, arguments on various threads like 'no insert = no sale' is like saying 'I'm not reading any Shakespeare from this book because I hate the cover'. Surely I must be missing something here, becaue if I'm right, there are an awful lot of very very superficial people out there.
     
  2. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    I think the "surprisingly high percentage" of HTF folks you are talking about is really a "surprisingly large number". Keep in mind that any Internet forum will attract the geekiest of the geeks for a given topic. If you're someone who cares about collecting DVDs (as opposed to movies) down to the tiniest detail of cover art and inserts then you're likely to find your way to some place like HTF to get the straight scoop on all that stuff.

    So there's a few dozen hard-core collector/completist/picky types who generate a surprisingly large amount of comment on real or supposed flaws in the details of every new DVD release. Then there's the great mass of HTF members who are quite satifisfied once they find out the release date and confirm that the transfer is good and the movie is in OAR. If you care about stuff like inserts and cover art then you really feel compelled to talk about it. If you're happy with the movie you just bought there's not much to be said.
     
  3. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    It seems like this topic comes up every day, but while I couldn't care less about insert sheets, I personally love a nice cover with beautiful artwork. When it comes to enjoying DVD movies and their packagings, I can't for the life of me understand why some people have to make a distinction between the two. It's as though if you say you don't like a certain packaging, you are said to care nothing of the "movie".

    Well, the movie is always the "most important factor" to me. But just like anything else I've collected - record albums, comic books, movies ... I also appreciate an attractive sleeve/cover to house the contents in. Doesn't mean I don't give a damn about the movie, the record or the comic, nor that I'd ever say "No Sale" for a film just because the cover was shitty. A person can enjoy both.
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I'm with you Andrew. While I like the packaging of most DVD's and I am also of the "collecting" mindset, I just find that the cover art is "utilitarian". It's basically a way of differentiating itself from the other DVD's on the store shelves. Valuing the artwork is fine, but there does tend to be an over emphasis on it here. Probably because there are so many that are so vocal about the cover art, that they make it sound like bad cover art, ruins their entire DVD experience. Saying that the artwork is bad or that the packaging suck is fine, but there are those (as Andrew has also noticed) that seem to take it to the level of "The movie is totally ruined" because of bad art of packaging.
     
  5. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    Joe,

    I believe the point Andrew is making is not that appreciating or disliking a specific cover art is reasonable or not - rather that is seems highly unreasonable to use that as a deciding factor on whether or not to purchase a DVD.

    For example just read this recent post At least with the cover art I can sort of (just barely though) see how someone might be so offended that it would keep them from buying a DVD as it would be more difficult to replace the official cover art now that sites like dvdcoverart are no longer in operation, but to refuse to buy a DVD because it doesn't have an insert or the insert isn't appealing is just plain bizarre.

    As explained in another thread, if an insert with chapter listings is that important, just make your own - it couldn't be any easier.

    Personally I've never used a chapter insert, and I've gone through hundreds of DVDs.
     
  6. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    "PURIST"
    Are here at HTF, in case you have yet too notice!;-)
    Which make's me OK, with all the whinning.
    Cause, it keeps the studio's on their toes.
    Which, benifits us all.

    Actually, I wished people/purist refused to buy inferior transfers, with such convition!!!
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Ed, some could argue that bitching about minor things can be a bad thing. It makes the studios feel that they can't win, no matter what they do, because some group will compain to no end. The 'nit-picky' stuff tends to dilute the bigger issues.

    This is why I feel we (the ones who make up the large demographic of DVD lovers) need to pick better battles. Exactly!
     
  8. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Well I was going to add to this discussion but Mark H. said everything I was going to say. [​IMG]

    CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES, PEOPLE! Let's end Edge Enhancement. Let's ensure original soundtracks are included ALONG WITH the 5.1 remix.

    Complaining that your favorite TV show comes in 2 small boxes instead of 1 big box make me feel like we're squandering the small amount of influence we still have with the studios.
     
  9. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    As I posted in another thread where people complained that Columbia had mucked up the cover art to some film I've never heard of - the studios are always wrong in some way or another, according to a very vocal minority here. It didn't matter that after many complaints about Columbia's odd full-frame transfer that this film was being done in its proper ratio and anamophic - no, they didn't even mention that. They just went on and on about the cover art. I salute the posters in this thread for at least calling attention to the silliness (and it IS silliness in the long run). Some of my most beloved first editions don't have covers that befit the masterpieces contained in the actual book - and, of course, the cover is completely meaningless in the scheme of things. All this continual nitpicking must frustrate the studios no end, really. And if Columbia had done right by the transfer AND right by the cover then it would be the menus, or the extras (or lack thereof) or the art on the disc. Of course, the thing, I suppose, to keep in mind is that it is just a handful of, as someone put it earlier, the "geekiest of the geeks."
     
  10. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    I agree with the other replues that it is skewed perspective here, with a really small minority having a strong presence.

    May be similar to the way in which fans of certain authors have websites dedicated to the different cover art that various editions of their books have received. Not just a few - probably for every famous author there's a website full of cover art.
     
  11. StevenA

    StevenA Second Unit

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    I wonder why this issue seems to be so important to those to whom it's not important, so to speak! In other words, if you don't care about cover art, etc., fine. Some of us do. That's fine, too. If you don't get it, don't worry about it. But it seems that every time somebody posts a comment about cover art or packaging, there's somebody who answers him or her saying "who cares about the cover art?! It's what's on the disc that's important!" or words to that effect.

    I like films presented and packaged appropriately and distinctively. But if you don't care, that doesn't bother me.
     
  12. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Ooooooooooooh yeah! We tend too freak out The Powers That Be!
    However, I would not, and their are others as well, that would contend rightfully so that 'something' that was included in 'every' DVD release & sometimes listed as a "Special Feature" (which people at the time, laughed at), is now 'GONE'!
    [Was that the longest sentence in HTF's history???]
     
  13. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    "Ooooooooooooh yeah! We tend too freak out The Powers That Be!
    However, I would not, and their are others as well, that would contend rightfully so that 'something' that was included in 'every' DVD release & sometimes listed as a "Special Feature" (which people at the time, laughed at), is now 'GONE'!
    [Was that the longest sentence in HTF's history???]"

    No, but it was the most obtuse.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Apparently it IS a big deal. After all, some people won't buy titles because of the case (snappers, digipaks) or even if the title uses multiple discs.

    To be honest, inserts are useless unless they're worth reading for reasons other than the chapter stops. If a studio is going to put something in there, it might as well be a collection of essays (like Criterion does).
     
  15. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    I think it's pretty obvious the studios don't include these because their "focus groups" or equivalent said much the same as we are: we don't use them. We may like them for some obscure reason, but we don't really use them. It can't just be the relatively minor additional cost.

    Here's an idea: why don't the studios include a simple (or fancier) file on the disc that we can print out and stick in our cases. We could even extend this to include alternate cover insert artwork, which in Canada might include only the first language of choice. Artwork may be trickier for copyright reasons, but would the studios care that much about a chapter etc. insert (kinda useless without the disc)?
     
  16. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    It could possibly the printing time. I know that print houses are usually backed up for months, so it may often be just a matter of a studio making a dealine rather than being "cheap".
     
  17. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    That's a good point re the print houses, something I'm not familiar with. I guess many have long-term contracts, and some who do fancy glossies probably do well with their disposable flyer contracts. I have even heard of people with timely books (computer and other tech-related) not being able to wait for a printing, and that's why they issue them on CD, not for cost reasons. However, you'd think the insert would be contracted with the covers, as often the covers are more timely (Oscar stuff etc., and they know the disc content by then) and seem "newer", so I don't think printing is probably the main reason for them being excluded.
     
  18. Thomas T

    Thomas T Producer

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    Actually, do any companies STILL provide inserts? With the exception of the Criterion Collection (for obvious reasons), I toss out most of the inserts as so much clutter. When I open the case, I like the nice spare look of nothing but a DVD looking up at me.

    However, on the subject of cover art, though I would never in a million centuries not buy a DVD because I didn't like the cover art (what's that all about???), I do love covers that utilize the original poster art like Warner Brothers especially for classic films or unified cover art like the Fox Studio Classics series. Still, great cover art is the icing, not the cake.
     
  19. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

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    You forgot one big battle Rob. The battle against pan & scan. It's more upsetting to me, to see a movie shot 2.35:1(Charly) thats released pan & scanned to 1.33:1, then to miss an insert that I'll look at once and probably never look at again.

    As I think about it, the inserts are just not that important.
     
  20. Ben_@

    Ben_@ Stunt Coordinator

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    I think its also a matter of price point. For a $10 movie, I don't really think that you need some insert. But when you get $20 and up, some reading material might be nice (if even only for looks, like with chapter lists). Criterion knows that for $30-40, you deserve some sort of essay (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is great!). I liked The Good, The Bad and the Ugly's inclusion of a Roger Ebert essay (not a Criterion, but a good disc). It doesn't have to be anything astounding, just something to give you the sense that the movie has a value beyond the personal significance it has to you. I guess you can include this sort of thing on the disc (production notes, bios, etc.) But there's something about having it to hold and read at your leisure.

    But with that, I know that thats not the point of most inserts. IMO, if you're going to put anything to accompany the disc, you should make it worth reading.
     

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