The Big Red One

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#51 Post by RedChannels » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:02 pm

Gregory wrote:Thanks for the information. Does the 35mm look like SD or is it better? (If the latter, can I just come over to your place to watch it in 35mm? Who needs blu-ray?)
Verdict: the 35mm print resembles a very nice transfer from SD. Because that's what it is, unfortunately.

The 35mm interneg of the 2004 reconstruction was created from DigiBeta. I.e., poor-man's hi-def. Sorry to say. Having said that, it looks very good _for what it is_. Yes, it is grainy. Yes, there is evident chroma. Yes, there are compression artifacts visible in smoke. But........

Okay, it's a total disaster. I wish I had better news.

All we can hope for is that somehow WHV thinks better of the project in hindsight then they did at the time of the restoration, and someone green-lights putting up the money to reconstruct the reconstruction. All the hard work is already done, so if the missing material was re-scanned in HD, it could be conformed to the AVID workflow from 2004, I would imagine. For a price. Then, at least, a full-resolution, modern HD copy would be available in DCP, and theatrical screenings in a repertory environment could be assured to look beautiful in perpetuity (and there would be a nice BR release, too). Here's hoping.

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Gregory
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#52 Post by Gregory » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:39 pm

Shit. Thanks for the follow-up.
Unfortunately, I have some idea of how WHV does things, and unless someone personally invested pushed for it, there wouldn't be the commercial incentive to for all the effort and logistics that it would take to get The Big Red One Reconstruction in HD. The sales of the previous DVD release were very disappointing, indicated by the huge number of cut-out copies that they had to dispose of.

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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#53 Post by manicsounds » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:30 pm

Gregory wrote:Shit. Thanks for the follow-up.
The sales of the previous DVD release were very disappointing, indicated by the huge number of cut-out copies that they had to dispose of.
Yet they still think it's a good idea to put it out on Bluray? They probably could get more out of it by licensing it out to Criterion or others.

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#54 Post by RedChannels » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:56 pm

Gregory wrote:Shit. Thanks for the follow-up.
Unfortunately, I have some idea of how WHV does things, and unless someone personally invested pushed for it, there wouldn't be the commercial incentive to for all the effort and logistics that it would take to get The Big Red One Reconstruction in HD. The sales of the previous DVD release were very disappointing, indicated by the huge number of cut-out copies that they had to dispose of.
Guess what? The disc turned a BIG profit. That's what I've learned from a source. It absolutely was a success. So, it might give a tiny bit of ammo to the idea of putting the money into a re-reconstruction for the Blu-Ray.

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Gregory
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#55 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:23 am

That's surprising. I found the 2-DVD set for three bucks at a cheesy big-box strip-mall closeout joint years ago with a saw mark through the barcode and have seen reports on other forums of others finding it at the same store as recently as last year, so it smelled of a huge unsold inventory that might as well have been buried in New Mexico. Glad to hear the Reconstruction effort did generate some real interest in the film and Fuller's intentions for it.

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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#56 Post by Props55 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:05 am

Gregory, I too picked up my copy from cut-out stock (Big Lots, where I've picked up piles of remaindered DVDs, overwhelmingly Warner and MGM, with a smattering of Sony, Paramount and Fox) over the last ten years or so. Now that I think of it I rarely found the remainder/cut-out scarring across the bar code in anything other than Warner product. This is the first I've heard of the supposedly destroyed inventory. Thanks for the link. Like you I'd always assumed this title was a sales failure with an overoptimistic unit run.

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Gregory
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#57 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:46 am

I can't find the article I read about the Big Lots allegations, but someone at DVD Talk copy/pasted a Hollywood Reporter piece about it

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#58 Post by RedChannels » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:54 pm

Gregory wrote:I can't find the article I read about the Big Lots allegations, but someone at DVD Talk copy/pasted a Hollywood Reporter piece about it
Key sentence from that article:
Studios periodically destroy excess DVD product, which consists of unsold discs returned from vendors and defective goods.

As a music distributor, myself, I can attest to this; the chances are that most of the copies of things like BRO were product returns, re-shrinkwrapped (or original wrap, with some dings), or cut-outs, or fake defective returns where nothing was actually wrong with them. That doesn't suggest that it was a "poor seller", necessarily. In any case, I can assure you that the BRO DVD made a lot of money for WB.

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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#59 Post by felipe » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:04 pm

RedChannels wrote:the chances are that most of the copies of things like BRO were product returns, re-shrinkwrapped (or original wrap, with some dings), or cut-outs
What are cut-outs?

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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#60 Post by swo17 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:19 pm

felipe wrote:
RedChannels wrote:the chances are that most of the copies of things like BRO were product returns, re-shrinkwrapped (or original wrap, with some dings), or cut-outs
What are cut-outs?
Where the UPC on the back has a big slash from a box cutter through it.

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#61 Post by RedChannels » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:14 pm

felipe wrote:
RedChannels wrote:the chances are that most of the copies of things like BRO were product returns, re-shrinkwrapped (or original wrap, with some dings), or cut-outs
What are cut-outs?
Sealed copies with a small hole, punch, or cut made in them, thus de-valuing them and marking them for discounted sale (or as free promotional copies). Otherwise known as "remainders". This is a different process from actually destroying them with a bandsaw (or a shredder), which is done when they actually are disposing of copies and making them completely unsellable. You wouldn't believe how many plastic CDs, DVDs, vinyl LPs, etc. get destroyed and go to landfills in this way...

No, it's not from a box cutter going through it (not by accident, anyway).

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swo17
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#62 Post by swo17 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:19 pm

It often looks like it's been done by a box cutter, intentionally.

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#63 Post by RedChannels » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:55 pm

Here's a horrific punctuation mark to this discussion...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN_8ZBiYUJ8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Gregory
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#64 Post by Gregory » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:01 pm

RedChannels wrote:
Gregory wrote:I can't find the article I read about the Big Lots allegations, but someone at DVD Talk copy/pasted a Hollywood Reporter piece about it
Key sentence from that article:
Studios periodically destroy excess DVD product, which consists of unsold discs returned from vendors and defective goods.

As a music distributor, myself, I can attest to this; the chances are that most of the copies of things like BRO were product returns, re-shrinkwrapped (or original wrap, with some dings), or cut-outs, or fake defective returns where nothing was actually wrong with them. That doesn't suggest that it was a "poor seller", necessarily. In any case, I can assure you that the BRO DVD made a lot of money for WB.
By far, most remainders for sale at closeout stores like Big Lots are unsold stock (including some store returns of excess inventory, and liquidated stock when stores closed), rather than defective/opened/customer-returned units.
The fact that led me to believe that TBRO had sold poorly was that Big Lots had apparently stocked cut-out copies in hundreds of their stores for years on end: I bought it there around 2009 and, as I mentioned, people on other forums have reported still finding it at Big Lots locations as recently as 2013.
But I'm not saying that what your source said about TBRO having sold very well is untrue. There could have been several pressings of the DVD that sold like proverbial hotcakes, and then when sales dropped off markedly, WHV was left holding the bag with a lot of excess stock. It seems to happen with quite a few of their catalog titles.

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#65 Post by RedChannels » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:29 pm

Gregory wrote:But I'm not saying that what your source said about TBRO having sold very well is untrue. There could have been several pressings of the DVD that sold like proverbial hotcakes, and then when sales dropped off markedly, WHV was left holding the bag with a lot of excess stock. It seems to happen with quite a few of their catalog titles.
It's a quote from the project's co-producer directly to me.

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Gregory
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#66 Post by Gregory » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Again, I wasn't disputing it. My earlier guess that it hadn't sold well was not very solid.

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zedz
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#67 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:02 pm

RedChannels wrote:
Gregory wrote:I never had the chance to see how Warner was distributing the reconstruction in 2004–2005, but seeing this news now I had a hard time believing it was shown in SD at Cannes, NYFF, etc. when a 35mm print would have been the standard back then, especially for a project of this caliber, and so much painstaking cleanup work was done on the rediscovered elements. Today it wouldn't surprise me at all to see a major studio decide not to bother distributing decent-looking prints, but ten years ago?
THE BIG RED ONE reconstruction was distributed, in part, on 35mm. Very few were struck (something like 25, if memory serves). I know because I have one in my collection. I'm doing some outreach to determine why WHV is going the SD route, though if the workflow on the reconstruction project was never HD to begin with, a print is not going to be helpful in this situation. Sadly.
Yes, I saw the reconstruction projected in 35mm when it was doing the circuit, and it looked fine. Why Warners can't just transfer one of those prints, I have no idea. They can't all have been run into the ground!

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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#68 Post by captveg » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:42 am

What would the point of using a print when the footage is SD source?

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RedChannels
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#69 Post by RedChannels » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:27 pm

captveg wrote:What would the point of using a print when the footage is SD source?
That's the thing. It's pointless. They could take the existing DigiBeta master and bump it up "in the box" to HD, but that's not going to make it "better". I had the hopeful thought of offering my lab-mint 35mm print up for transfer... until I went back and looked at it again, and saw all of the evident chroma and digital compression in the image.

Zedz, I ran the print at the cinema I used to own on initial release, and my memory of it was that it was "fine". And it KIND OF is, until you take a closer look at it. It's sad that it lacks the fine detail of the original 35mm cinematography, but it really does.

In a funny way, I have been thinking that a new transfer of the 35mm _might_ actually create a more pleasing image on the Blu-Ray, simply by virtue of the analog film process having "smeared" all the digital and video artifacts together and added film grain. But I'm afraid it still wouldn't be up to the standards of discerning film buffs and/or Blu-Ray consumers, especially when looked at against the (presumably) new transfer of the butchered version in HD which will be in the same package.

Also: I got a little more information on how many 35mm prints were struck in 2004: 4!! That's it. Just 4.

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Re: The Big Red One

#70 Post by david hare » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:32 pm

Mono/Red I'll post this here rather than the Beaver where I am both unwelcome and unworthy. I think a lot of people have gotten to know Christa Fuller on Facebook. I don't know if she has any clout in this, but she is surely worth engaging in the conversation. She at least deserves to know the discussion is going on. Maybe you already have, en tous cas.

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RedChannels
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Re: The Big Red One

#71 Post by RedChannels » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:09 pm

david hare wrote:Mono/Red I'll post this here rather than the Beaver where I am both unwelcome and unworthy. I think a lot of people have gotten to know Christa Fuller on Facebook. I don't know if she has any clout in this, but she is surely worth engaging in the conversation. She at least deserves to know the discussion is going on. Maybe you already have, en tous cas.
Unwelcome on DVDBeaver?? Since when? You've got Knowledge.

I'm about to contact Christa, but the mountain to climb with this project is very steep. It's not like she had any "pull" in the past to get the original reconstruction done in the first place. I'm afraid this all comes down to convincing WB that their only chance of having a successful BR release is to spend the money to do it correctly. Someone over on DVDBeaver suggested Kickstarter, which isn't necessarily a bad idea, but I think raising the capital needed for this project is unrealistic. Furthermore, as a property of WB, there's no point in engaging in "fundraising" without their blessing in the first place.

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RedChannels
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Re: The Big Red One

#72 Post by RedChannels » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:20 pm

Just by way of an update on the situation: I've now been in direct contact with pretty much everyone responsible for, or deeply connected to, the BIG RED ONE reconstruction; I've spent the past two weeks in discussion with the folks who care.

There's a definite movement afoot to convince WB to alter their plans; if they at least cancel the BR release date, it would be a start (because once they do it, I think we can forget ever seeing them do it again). Unfortunately, there's been no replies from WB as of this writing.

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warren oates
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Re: The Big Red One

#73 Post by warren oates » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:23 pm

I'm pretty sure I speak for all of us Fuller fans when I say that we're deeply grateful for the efforts you're making, regardless of the ultimate outcome. It's not every day that those of us who care about this kind of thing have a way to make our voices heard at the studios. So, thank you for pursuing this and for keeping us up to date.

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RedChannels
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Re: The Big Red One

#74 Post by RedChannels » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:50 pm

And I've forwarded your comment to everyone on the team, "Mr. Oates."

It's not just on this forum that I've read people dismayed over WB's plans for this release. And the more of a steamroller of criticism comes in, the more likely it may be that it would have an impact. (Fingers crossed.)

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captveg
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Re: The Big Red One

#75 Post by captveg » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:30 pm

One just hopes that they only delay it rather then cancel it. See: Tom & Jerry Golden Collection Vol. 2

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