domino harvey wrote:
Moving away from an accepted format to a new, still tenuous format is ballsy and if they want to alienate potential customers and take that gamble, well then that's certainly their choice and it could very well pay off. But they are proposing such a change because they see it ultimately benefiting their bottom line, not because they love moviegoers so much that they want only the best for them. This isn't a selfless act of love, it's one of financial investment. MOC presumably sees the numbers going either way, which explains the dithering. As some of the most vocal champions of the label, they asked our advice. This is classy, and I thank Nick for seeking our input. But I'm very uncomfortable with this "Let's blindly support them for their brave decision" line of argument. Being one, I'm not convinced that such a move benefits all of MOC's loyal customers
I should firstly apologise to peerpee/Nick for adding my thoughts on this subject when I unfortunately have made hardly any constructive comments or critiques of the films Masters of Cinema have released over the last few years, (though I have been loyally keeping my collection up to date!) so I can understand that I have not really built up any bargaining power to use in putting forward my position on this topic.
I agree with Domino - looked at as a pure business decision (and an anti-piracy one) go for Blu Ray only discs if it is causing too much expense to produce for both formats.
However I also feel that there are many people for whom Blu-Ray is still a difficult proposition and more so for whom an enormous HD television is an impractical proposition which would, if the size matters theory is all, be enough to negate any benefits for a home viewer. Just speaking from my own position I have picked up a number of Blu-Ray discs and a Playstation 3 but currently only one of our household's televisions has the capability to play Blu Ray discs in colour (through an adapted Scart cable on the 'main' family television rather than HDMI, which is far beyond any of our current television's capabilities) - so from a business sense you are selling these discs to me but in a cultural sense I can't properly access the content on these discs yet, except during very limited and time sensitive periods. So for instance I've picked up all BFI's Flipside series on Blu-Ray mostly because of the 'exclusive' extras on a couple of the discs that kind of forced the issue (personally this was always the main selling point of the new format to me since I knew that I didn't have the equipment to propery appreciate sound and picture upgrades but the 50gb disc raised a lot of possibilities of far more in depth extra features or the ability to store longer films on just one disc that so far only seem to have been utilised in a few isolated cases) But I have not been able to watch, personally enjoy and maybe even stumblingly critique their quality on the forum yet because of the restrictions I face with the current technology (plus the difficulties of watching 'adult' material with the family! From previous experience I'd have similar problems watching 'boring, subtitled' films properly as well!)
However I can see that you shouldn't move at the pace of your slowest adopters - I may get a 40 inch HD television at some time, but by the time I have gotten to that point who knows whether there will be an even newer format with even higher resolution? In which case there would be another ground zero point from which to re-release the films again. Which brings us to david hare's comment:
He's made it clear that it's financially impossible for them to keep up the current release rate if they have to maintain dual versions of titles that have good HD telecines. I obviously don't know how many titles or what proportion of his output that's going to be over the next 12 months but it surely aint gonna be everything they're signing off on. And if I thought a title like City Girl or M or Une Femme Mariee was going to get a Blu in any region form anyone else I wouldn't be supporting Nick's proposal, certainly for my own viewing benefit, but I frankly doubt the Murnau or the Godard would get any other Blu release. M may become one of those split title things of course with different editions in the US Germany and the UK - who knows. And Metropolis of course. In other words I feel confident the titles Nick and Craig are considering for Blu treatment would in all certainy be MoC exclusives. Someone pelase correct me if they think that's wrong. And almost certainly their Blus would be complementing other companies' SD versions.
I'd love to believe that the discs would compliment other releases but at this point I feel a little too burned by multiple releases to believe this to be a possibility.
While I understand the economic argument for going Blu only as being an important one, I'm not certain I really buy the argument that releases on both formats harm hypothetical 'rarities' from being released - after all there were years when only DVDs were being released and there were still 'rarities' or 'no shows on DVD' being pushed back in order for General Idi Amin, Salesman, Devil and Daniel Webster to be duplicated from the Criterion, and vice versa with Criterion itself. I'd love to be proved wrong about this but I really don't think this situation will change if MoC goes Blu-Ray only - in fact this practice may actually become strengthened and more essential if For All Mankind being duplicated on Blu-Ray because of the region coding becoming an issue again, is anything to go by.
But again I'd like to thank Nick for at least asking for points of view before making their decision.