100% on the money. Quite frankly that Beev review is par for the course-- a reviewing service which is completely oblivious to the unique terrain of silent film economics and disc production, which is always going to exist within a certain remove from the CC and WB discs (and most of the recent MOC's) which they so highly praise. Without categorical product perspective, the reviewing process is a disservice.vogler wrote:I just read the review and to be honest this is the typical kind of review I expect from Beaver when reviewing silents. I feel 100% certain that you did the best you could given the available materials, especially since it is obvious that these are films that you care about and the set is obviously very important to you. The screen captures look great to me. Beaver always seems to judge dvds on the same technical criteria but it seems unfair to expect a dvd set of extremely old and rare Keaton shorts to even begin to approach the quality of all the well known and loved 'art-house' classics that companies such as Criterion regularly release.peerpee wrote:After writing a piece in the book explaining exactly the situation with materials, and spending the last 3 months on this project doing everything possible to make it as good as it could be, it's very disheartening to read comments like: "I believe that they could have done a much better job on the technical side of this project than they did."
The Rediscover Jacques Feyder set comes to mind also. .
These criticisms levelled at MoC on this release, and the general refusal to review Kino's silent discs "until they get their act together" (no EDISON, MAN WHO LAUGHS, WARNING SHADOWS, 3 STILLERS, NIBELUNGEN, TARTUFF, FAIRBANKS BOX, ASPHALT, most Griffiths, etc etc, as well as the two fantastic Mamoulians, all absolutely sublime releases), the "shaking of the collective fist" at HVe for the sublime Feyder box, no PHANTOM (I could go on & on.. no Milestone TABU, HINDLE WAKES, TERRE, CHESS PLAYER, YEVGENI BAUER etc) amounts to the absolute equivalent of a Consumer Reports reviewer blasting an efficient, well powered, gas-efficient, crash-safe, Toyota or Honda, specifically because they lack the power and feature-rich luxury resident in a Maserati or Porsche or Morgan.
There simply is not the audience for silents for companies to run brand new telecine on large projects like this (especially when a digital tape from a recent run-thru exists.. in or out of one's own Pal/NTSC protocol; CC does it-- see MK2 Bresson's, Shepard's NANOOK, the same Library of Congress Robeson telecine used by Kino for their old VHS's) encode progressively and/or at soaring bitrates (which would amp up the number of discs required for this Keaton MoC set, bump into Nick & Doug's profit margins, and possibly kill the utility of this project from their perspective in the first place) for the vast bulk of releases. I actually worry about MoC because they put so much into this and other recent silent releases.. it frightens me that they may be overshooting into their own margins and put the co in trouble-- I don't want to lose these guys and would gladly settle for a 4.8 bitrate on a labor of love like this; quite frankly I was stunned that they went progressive on this, considering the vast bulk of material. And yes, 4.8 mb/s progressive is always going to look better onscreen than, say, 5-6 mb/s interlaced. We owe them nothing but gratitude gratitude gratitude for putting so much time and effort into a project like this. The caps are a clear, vast improvement over the original Arte run off the very same digibeta.
How can it be that the NYTimes, New Yorker, Film Comment, Premeire, et al say "All Hail Kino!", or "Imagining a film world without Kino is like imagining a park without trees,"... and that Milestone is worshipped by industrial icons like Scorsese, The National Society of Film Critics (the 03 HERITAGE award), et al, but yet, these indispensable services are mostly ignored, or when reviewed, are slammed for evidence of not operating on a WB disc-production budget.
Whereas we're all entitled to our own opinion, the only problem I have with this is kids come onto this site after discovering his service and take up the groupthink techdweeb rallying cry over the most negligible of freeze-frame artifacts, completely invisible during the viewing process, and-- sight unseen-- dismiss out of hand over nonsensical red herrings some of the most vibrant forces in film distribution both in the cinema and on disc.
Ignore the criticism Nick-- congratulations on a fine set which I'll be buying without hesitation.