Synapse: Triumph of the Will

Milestone, Flicker Alley, Oscilloscope, Cinema Guild...they're all here.
Message
Author
User avatar
kidc85
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:15 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#26 Post by kidc85 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:40 pm

Robert Harris and his company (Film Preserve Ltd) did the restoration and here is his comment on the matter:
For the record, the Synapse publicity, as well as that on Amazon states: Original German language with all-new on screen identifications and newly translated removable English subtitles for the speeches.

IDs are burned into the image. Sub-titles are optional. A transparent logo appears briefly, approximately once per reel.

The logo, as well as the permanent IDs are necessary because of constant piracy, enabling easy identification.

If the Blu-ray were to be released without the IDs, which are also important to those who may not be familiar with the history, the selling price would make the cost too high to release. If logos were removed also, the price of the discs could, of necessity, reach $5,000 or more.

Such is the cost of piracy vs the cost of the restoration program through which the elements were placed.

Unfortunately, there is no way around the problem. Earlier versions of the release appear on Youtube and other on-line sites with such frequency, that the time and legal expense is not worth the trouble of releasing the discs.

State of the art vs the state of film piracy.

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13494
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Synapse Films

#27 Post by swo17 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:50 pm

Why didn't Criterion do something like this when they released Charade or any of their other PD titles?

User avatar
Thornycroft
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#28 Post by Thornycroft » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:33 pm

I imagine because they saw the backlash coming a mile away and preferred to swallow any possible piracy losses than deal with incensed fans on the internet. Criterion would certainly know the risks - a number of their DVD transfers were mercilessly ripped off by various grey-market distributors, with Carnival of Souls faring the worst.

Though Robert Harris hasn't said so specifically, I suspect the watermarking and forced IDs may serve an ethical purpose as well. Having financed an HD restoration of Triumph of the Will I can imagine the restorers not wishing to have it used as by neo-Nazi groups for propoganda purposes, and hoping that the intrusive IDs may deter such use.

User avatar
Gregory
Posts: 5279
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#29 Post by Gregory » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:20 pm

The notion that many who are watching Triumph of the Will wouldn't recognize Hitler when they see him and that the forced added text "a bouquet for the Führer" will somehow clear that up for them, is flabbergastingly stupid and condescending. If they don't even recognize Hitler, how many of them would understand who "the Führer" was? And for others who are less easily recognized, isn't that the kind of thing that an optional audio commentary is useful for? And according to one review, Hitler is identified with an ID "every time he appears"! If that's even close to the realm of accuracy, that's almost beyond belief.

When I've bought a $6 Alpha DVD for lack of a better release, I'm often willing to overlook annoying watermarks, but not on a $20 remastered Blu-ray, and in fact I would never purchase the latter on principle alone because I'd hate to support that becoming anything like an accepted practice for restorations of public domain films.

If Harris's company and Synapse took piracy into account then they should also take into account lost sales and returns from those who don't want to own a release that's been treated like this. Three negative reviews have gone up on Amazon just in the past three days, all from verified purchasers of the release in question, most of whom are sending it back for a refund. Most readers of these reviews seem to be voting this information helpful because it's cluing them in to stay away from the Blu-ray.

To continue with the example of Criterion's Charade, by Harris's reasoning, they not only would have had to insert logos in each reel of the film, but it also would have been "necessary" to insert a forced subtitle when the French Resistance is mentioned that reads "(French Resistance to the Nazis)" because, you know, World War II was over 70 years ago, and who remembers all that old stuff? All but a few viewers hearing a mention of the Resistance will be sitting there thinking "French resistance to what?" unless there's forced text to walk them through the references.
So yeah, I'd put up with watermarks on a $6 Alpha Video DVD, but if there were "IDs" added, I'd probably say "the hell with it" and return it for a refund or throw the thing in the trash.
Last edited by Gregory on Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28509
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#30 Post by domino harvey » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:28 pm

Criterion knew it was worth taking a hit on bootleg companies using their print to still maintain the prestige of the label and also by offering exclusive extras. I understand why Synapse did this, but they forgot that the Blu-Ray market is also the most finicky and most in need of catering to minor digital issues, much less huge ones like watermarking and forced subs. Synapse will eat this release, possibly not be able to fund a few future Blus as a result, and lose face if not money as well. There's the easiest answer to why Criterion didn't go down this road!

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13494
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Synapse Films

#31 Post by swo17 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:31 pm

Where's InterFilmArt Entertainment when we need them?

User avatar
gorgeousnothings
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:29 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#32 Post by gorgeousnothings » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:54 pm

As a fan of Synapse Films, I hope they don't bite it TOO much. I agree that this release is probably not the best or ideal, but it is in the top five best-selling documentaries right now on Amazon, so it's possible the finicky blu-ray market might be overtaken a bit by the history-buff dad market.

What is good for Synapse is that they have their Argento films (Tenebrae, Phenomena, Suspiria) coming up soon, which I imagine will become some of their best-sellers. They posted a sneak peak at the limited edition steel-book for Tenebrae a while back, which also includes a soundtrack CD. I have a hard time imagining they will bungle these.

User avatar
Minkin
Posts: 1850
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#33 Post by Minkin » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:57 pm

Given the research I uncovered with this post, I suspect that Janus still has the rights to all of these Riefenstahl films (and she does have a phantom page) -despite not having heard /seen anything about them for some years (probably the massive wave of PD bandit releases deterred them). So if you're wanting to hold off for something better (however long that will be), Criterion's releases would use the OCN.

Jonathan S
Posts: 1051
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: Synapse Films

#34 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:27 am

Synapse's Blu-ray cover claims that their product is "Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will". That's certainly not the case aesthetically or historically speaking, and I seriously doubt whether it's legally accurate. In creating a new work they can copyright, Harris & co. are offering a drastic revision (I'd say defacement) of the original film. They're trying to have it both ways.

User avatar
tenia
Posts: 3465
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Synapse Films

#35 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:29 am

swo17 wrote:Why didn't Criterion do something like this when they released Charade or any of their other PD titles?
Because nobody cared because how many people are actually downloading 40 Gb blu rays illegally ?

User avatar
TMDaines
Posts: 3677
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: Synapse Films

#36 Post by TMDaines » Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:40 pm

domino harvey wrote:Criterion knew it was worth taking a hit on bootleg companies using their print to still maintain the prestige of the label and also by offering exclusive extras. I understand why Synapse did this, but they forgot that the Blu-Ray market is also the most finicky and most in need of catering to minor digital issues, much less huge ones like watermarking and forced subs. Synapse will eat this release, possibly not be able to fund a few future Blus as a result, and lose face if not money as well. There's the easiest answer to why Criterion didn't go down this road!
Agreed, it's a big own goal. Again, like with anti-piracy messages, forced trailers and subtitles etc., the genuine customer is the one who loses out.

User avatar
tenia
Posts: 3465
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Synapse Films

#37 Post by tenia » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:03 pm

All the things you're talking about are so pointless.
If you're going to download the movie as a Rip, you're not going to have any forced trailer or subs or whatever.
If you're downloading the full disc, you can make all the forced operations as optional ones too.
On the other end, if you bought the disc, why are you being told you shouldnt download it ? You didnt !

User avatar
kidc85
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:15 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#38 Post by kidc85 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:58 pm

Image

User avatar
swo17
Posts: 13494
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Synapse Films

#39 Post by swo17 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:08 pm

Ugh. If only der Führer had been more vigilant in securing copyrights for this important historical work. Why Hitler, why?

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12209
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Synapse Films

#40 Post by MichaelB » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:08 pm

Der Fürher, surely?

User avatar
CSM126
Posts: 1443
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: Synapse Films

#41 Post by CSM126 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:11 pm

You see, the embarrassing typo makes it even easier to identify it as Mr. Harris' unique print. It also reminds you just how hard they really worked on this goofy edition.

User avatar
TMDaines
Posts: 3677
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: Synapse Films

#42 Post by TMDaines » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:15 pm

Oh dear. What a shamble of shit.

User avatar
kidc85
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:15 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#43 Post by kidc85 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:18 pm

Image

\:D/

User avatar
perkizitore
Posts: 2529
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:29 pm
Location: OOP is the only answer

Re: Synapse: Triumph of the Will

#44 Post by perkizitore » Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:53 pm

I guess if someone uses their master and corrects the typos, they can claim it is a totally different piece of work :P
Last edited by perkizitore on Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bainbridgezu
Posts: 328
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:54 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#45 Post by bainbridgezu » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:12 pm

Jonathan S wrote:Synapse's Blu-ray cover claims that their product is "Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will". That's certainly not the case aesthetically or historically speaking, and I seriously doubt whether it's legally accurate. In creating a new work they can copyright, Harris & co. are offering a drastic revision (I'd say defacement) of the original film. They're trying to have it both ways.
I'd like to think this strain of vandalism will compound to the point that their edition of the film is copyrighted as Synapse Films Presents: Leela Reichenbach's "Trumpet in the Well" -- a Film by Robert A. Harris, Unterführer.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28509
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Synapse: Triumph of the Will

#46 Post by domino harvey » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:57 pm

Speaking of Hitler, the copyright on Mein Kampf expires tomorrow in Germany and an annotated version will see release next week as the book comes back into print in its home country for the first time in decades

User avatar
Gregory
Posts: 5279
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#47 Post by Gregory » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:15 pm

kidc85 wrote:Image
This ID was needed because you all forgot Rudolf Hess!

User avatar
TMDaines
Posts: 3677
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Synapse: Triumph of the Will

#48 Post by TMDaines » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:53 pm

What's most disappointing about this whole controversy is that Robert Harris over at the HTF has avoided being upfront and has been so passive-aggressive on this. People asked what was meant by "Identifications"/"ID" several times before the disc was shipped and at no point did he divulge that these were part of the video image, despite people querying the optionality of the subtitles. If he or Synapse had come out and explained why they had taken the route they had, people would have been able to make a transparent purchasing decision and choose to disagree with their methods, but the whole thing feels as if they did not wish to be honest about their product until they had to be.

Instead he, and his supporters echoing him, is now acting as if there was a (false) dichotomy between releasing this disc as is or without the copyright measures at $5,000 a pop, despite all the other Blu-rays of public domain titles from reputed labels on the market seemingly doing OK. There's also the absurd position over there that your opinion, as a potential paying customer, is not valid unless you're willing to go away and do your own restoration and produce your own Blu-ray release, in order to prove to them that their way is not the only viable method and most importantly not the one that would produce the best final product: a Twilight Time argument if I ever saw one.

User avatar
aox
Posts: 2394
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Synapse: Triumph of the Will

#49 Post by aox » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:07 pm

TMDaines wrote:What's most disappointing about this whole controversy is that Robert Harris over at the HTF has avoided being upfront and has been so passive-aggressive on this. People asked what was meant by "Identifications"/"ID" several times before the disc was shipped and at no point did he divulge that these were part of the video image, despite people querying the optionality of the subtitles. If he or Synapse had come out and explained why they had taken the route they had, people would have been able to make a transparent purchasing decision and choose to disagree with their methods, but the whole thing feels as if they did not wish to be honest about their product until they had to be.

Instead he, and his supporters echoing him, is now acting as if there was a (false) dichotomy between releasing this disc as is or without the copyright measures at $5,000 a pop, despite all the other Blu-rays of public domain titles from reputed labels on the market seemingly doing OK. There's also the absurd position over there that your opinion, as a potential paying customer, is not valid unless you're willing to go away and do your own restoration and produce your own Blu-ray release, in order to prove that their way is not the only viable method and the one that would produce the best final product: anTwilight Time argument if I ever saw one.
Agreed. I want to give RH the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe the decision wasn't his, and he felt embarrassed so he dodged the question pre-release? Alas, it doesn't matter. The final product is what is to be judged and this is a miscarriage of both home media and history.

<<-- AOX posts in a thread on Criterionforum.org

Class316
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:27 pm

Re: Synapse Films

#50 Post by Class316 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:43 am

For anyone confused about the previous DVD releases,

The 2006 Synapse release has no forced IDs, the subtitles are optional, and is the best DVD release that exists.

That aside, I was one of those that asked about the IDs and he ignored my question. But I was so excited on getting an HD release of TOTW that I blindly bought it. Thankfully I read on forums about those forced IDs and was able to return the blu ray (without opening it) for a full refund. I didn't even pay to ship it as I simply returned to sender. So it worked out in that respect. But I pity those that don't read forums that will be frantically trying to switch off those IDs.

One of the arguments Harris brought up is that the IDs are "essential for education" and that something like TOTW has no reply value.

Both of these claims are laughable. Only I as the consumer should decide if I want or need to be educated. I don't need a third party telling me how I need to be educated. And I don't see other labels telling me whether or not a work of cinema has reply value from my point of view.

Hell, there are tons of movies out there that most people enjoy but I find utterly boring. Similarly there are movies that are viewed negatively by critics but I found enjoyable. Does the studio putting out that movie tell me how to enjoy it?

Perhaps the IDs can be seen as a deterrent for "recruitment" as some have pointed out. But again, who is anyone to deter anything? The work should be given in objective form and not subject to any opinions whatsoever. Be it the usefulness of IDs, the entertainment/reply value of the work, or the context of the subject matter.

Some household chemicals bought from Walmart can be used to make bombs. Does Walmart try and dictate how an individual who purchases a product uses it? No they do not. It is not their business or concern.

Any commercial blu ray release is supposed to be neutral and let the viewer decide if it's good, bad, evil, educational, has reply value, etc etc etc. To diverge from that is just bad business.

The worst part is Synapse has been the only label in the world to give TOTW any treatment. So I sadly don't see another blu ray release in the future.
tenia wrote:All the things you're talking about are so pointless.
If you're going to download the movie as a Rip, you're not going to have any forced trailer or subs or whatever.
If you're downloading the full disc, you can make all the forced operations as optional ones too.
On the other end, if you bought the disc, why are you being told you shouldnt download it ? You didnt !
The IDs are burnt in. So if you rip it and only keep the bare bones video, it would still be there. You would need major video editing to remove them and even then would leave traces of the IDs.

Post Reply