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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
I imagine the "kinks" for worlwide avaiability refer almost totally to the RKO library. There are completely variable ownership regimes of most or all of it in different parts of Europe, Canada and especially Oz. Here the whole thing (bar Kane and Kong) is owned by some weird guy in Melbourne who has made a beatrice like living out of it constantly rerunning the TV rights to the national carrier, while managing to block the availablity of them on local R4 DVD. I tyhink Warners lawyers might take more than a few days to sort this mess out. But I hope they do.

I am more than guardedly cautious but the DRM plagued downloads are a total no-no.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm
In the interest in keeping everyone totally up to date with the Warner Archives ordering process, I have just received a shipping notice, complete with UPS tracking number. According to the UPS tracking info, my DVD order (1 item, placed on Sunday afternoon) was ready to ship late Monday afternoon and is on schedule to arrive at my doorstep tomorrow. I'm still skeptical of the service overall, but there's no question that their order fulfillment is top notch. I'll report back (with pictures) when I have the disc in hand.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:46 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England
Gregory wrote:
The good thing about the Warner sets with titles packaged in individual amarays is that one can sell off whatever one doesn't want to keep. I even recently got someone on Amazon to order my DVD of Sinatra's None But the Brave! How much money these get varies a lot, of course, but it's often quite good.

Indeed - for me that's the main selling point of the Warner sets in individual amarays. In some cases, I sold off two or three films I didn't want for more than I paid for the whole set! I even bought the fucking Ronald Reagan Collection to get Storm Warning (the only way you can get this terrific transfer of a fine noir that isn't even listed in some noir tomes) and King's Row then sold off the other three for a profit - listing Knute Rockne and The Winning Team in eBay's American Football and Baseball categories, by the way! Sadly, the Hepburn digipak prevented this - though I almost tried the loose discs of Dragon Seed, Without Love and (yes) The Corn is Green anyway! But the Warner amaray sets have effectively been a source of free DVDs that I really wanted. Warner Archive is a disaster for me!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:57 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:54 pm
david hare wrote:
I tyhink Warners lawyers might take more than a few days to sort this mess out. But I hope they do.

I suspect that the "few days" comment was not referring to working out legalities for titles where there are other rights holders.

I suspect that they were talking about upgrading their software / database so that different movies could have different distribution parameters. That would allow them to sell / ship worldwide for the titles for which they hold worldwide rights, while not breaking the law by shipping movies into territories where somebody else holds the legal rights to that title.


Last edited by PillowRock on Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm
It has arrived! It's a DVD-R, alright (blue playing surface, cannot determine brand), with a proper full-color printed top surface (not an adhesive label). It's housed in a Nexpak Amaray II Rental case (uh, okay). The cover insert is a very good quality print (inkjet or laser, can't tell) on thick, high quality, low-gloss paper.

It looks like they are using Allied Vaughn for replication and fulfillment. My disc shipped from Elk Grove Village, IL, but they may be using more than one replication/distribution center in order to provide better service and faster shipping.

The disc starts up with the good ol' FBI warning, then a quick promo for the Warner Archive Collection (yes, The Strawberry Blonde is an upcoming title, as is Don Juan (John Barrymore), Thousands Cheer (Gene Kelly), and Love (Garbo/Gilbert)). The menu is anamorphic, but basic (i.e. "Play Movie"). The Beast of the City looks to be taken from the TCM broadcast master (it starts with the old Turner logo). The image looks fine. No audio or video cleanup, obviously, but it looks better than a VHS and slightly better than what it would look like on TCM. I don't have the means to do a DVD Beaver-style bitrate analysis, but it was fluctuating between 5 and 8 during a brief scene I watched. Chapter stops are set at every 10 minutes. My DVD player is notoriously fussy with DVD-Rs, but I had no playback problems at all. No subtitles or closed-captioning.

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My digital camera is shitty, so I apologize for the quality of these pics. It should give you the basic idea, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:25 am
Thanks for the info, pics and screencaps Matt! Much appreciated. Just to be sure, are the chapter breaks just arbitrarily every 10 minutes, or are they adjusted to the beginnings/ends of scenes?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:42 pm 
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nsps wrote:
Just to be sure, are the chapter breaks just arbitrarily every 10 minutes, or are they adjusted to the beginnings/ends of scenes?

Arbitrary.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:56 pm 
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Thanks for the pics - I know the RKO set didn't have any subs, does this?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Looks a lot better then I would have suspected. Thanks for uploading.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:38 pm 
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htdm wrote:
Thanks for the pics - I know the RKO set didn't have any subs, does this?

No subtitles or closed-captioning (and I updated my post above to reflect this). That may not be the case with all releases, though.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased and will probably buy additional titles. I'd buy more if they were priced at $12-$15 (and if shipping remained free), and I'd prefer they used thin cases, but we'll see. If they can't lower the prices all around, a bulk discount (4 for $50, for example) would be nice.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:03 pm 
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I've never seen The Strawberry Blonde, but I'm still hoping they give it a regular release some day. I want to see that more than Greed or The Magnificent Ambersons, and I really don't know why.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
Thanks Matt. It's several notches up from the Oz TCM (low bandwidth) broadcast and pretty similar to the US TCM. My guess is they're using a Studio Beta for the source.

Am very keen to see how much better Bhowani Junction looks than the Laser.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm
ClassicFlix is going to be offering these titles for rental.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:32 pm 
~_~
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Location: NJ
Matt wrote:
ClassicFlix is going to be offering these titles for rental.

Smart business move. Would netflix match them at it?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:04 pm 
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Location: Denver, CO
Thanks for taking the time to do that, Matt. I'm going to give a few titles a shot.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:00 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
Matt wrote:
ClassicFlix is going to be offering these titles for rental.

Yeah, but not all of them -- note that they're stocking only 115 out of the 150+ and that the list provided cuts off at 1969. I guess that's "Classic" as in "video store section full of old movies" rather than "Classic" as in "good." Sarcasm aside, I'm happy to hear this: it'll cut down on the financial damage.

Netflix would be nice, but I wouldn't count on it, if only because WB would have to be colossally dumb to overprice these DVD(-Rs) like bandits and then let Netflix undercut their profits.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:15 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England
Matt wrote:
nsps wrote:
Just to be sure, are the chapter breaks just arbitrarily every 10 minutes, or are they adjusted to the beginnings/ends of scenes?

Arbitrary.

Even kitchen-table one-man bands that produce DVD-Rs take the trouble (in my experience) to place the chapter stops at appropriate points! So much for all the great care this mighty company have supposedly put into these discs...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am
I think the whole point of this line is about accessibility rather than quality, in some way it is much like Eclipse is to Criterion.
Although from the prices they charge, you wouldn't know it.

The chapter breaks on TCM's RKO boxset were also arbitrary. Disappointing.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:02 pm 
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So far only Altman's "Countdown" and Coppola's "The Rain People" look appealing to me. But I'll only buy them if I know for sure they'll be presented in their correct aspect ratios (i.e. widescreen). Can anybody confirm this?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:35 pm 
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Location: WellyYeller
Rosebnaum has already confirmed Wichita as anamorphic Scope, so Warners are obviously doing the right things.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:34 pm 
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I took one for the team and read the HTF thread and learned that the discs are apparently not progressive but may be sold via Amazon soon


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:56 am
Location: on the border
Will everyone who is 3-D enabled at home please support post 671. The people at Warner Archive are monitoring this thread.

NOTE: this is NOT the place to ask how field-sequential 3-D works, etc. Don't derail the thread with questions about 3-D technology etc. Just support the suggestion that field-sequential 3-D DVDs are popular and if added to the burn-on-demand Archive program you'll buy them etc.

Many thanks.

Richard


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Chicago
Richard--W wrote:
Will everyone who is 3-D enabled at home please support post 671. The people at Warner Archive are monitoring this thread.

NOTE: this is NOT the place to ask how field-sequential 3-D works, etc. Don't derail the thread with questions about 3-D technology etc. Just support the suggestion that field-sequential 3-D DVDs are popular and if added to the burn-on-demand Archive program you'll buy them etc.

Many thanks.

Richard

Well, if they're listening, here are my two cents about this new wrinkle in their marketing of old films: too expensive for the product they are peddling!

I just received a copy of Westbound, the one Boetticher western from the Randolph Scott series that hadn't received a proper DVD release yet. Very good-looking image, anamorphic, and presented in the OAR of 1:85. But this 72 minute effort, with no extras to speak of, ended up costing me over $26 shipped to my front door, with the attendant shipping and tax (I live in Illinois) costs included. The shipping charge of nearly $5 is absolutely laughable, if it didn't hurt my pocket book. To give you some context, the majority of films shipped from any number of British DVD e-tailers (Amazon.uk, sendit.com, HMV, Moviemail, etc) end up costing me less than a single title sent less than 30 miles from my house!

I think it's Warner's attempt to mimic Criterion's Eclipse series of films and present sought-after titles without much fanfare, restoration, historical context and CHEAP! Well, they definitely got it right on all accounts except for the pricing structure. A typical discounted Eclipse set from Criterion (when discounted through outlets) ends up averaging out to around $12-15 per movie.

So they should drop the price for each film to $14.99, and standardize the shipping to $2.95 or thereabouts per title (well within reason). This would drop the total price to less than $18 shipped to anywhere in the continental U.S., and for those of us unfortunate enough to be living in the same state as one of their distribution centers, add an additional $1.50 in tax, thus still keeping the price below $20 per movie shipped.

That would be fair, and competitive with what other big DVD labels are doing with their marginalized films! I doubt I'll be revisiting their store anytime soon unless they reduce their prices to the aforementioned levels. Besides, for the money they're asking, I can always just record these films from TCM directly on dual-layer burners (keeping the bit rate above 7 MBPS), with an occasional Robert Osborne "intro and epilogue" and deal with the TCM logo popping up intermittently during viewing.

On a more positive note, I ordered the title on Monday, it was sent out on Tuesday, and it arrived at my doorstep on Wednesday. Customer service is very good, that much I will give them!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:06 pm 
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They have just sent out a very extensive survey to people who have purchased Warner Archive titles. It's a pretty well-designed survey, and I hope they get a lot of constructive feedback from it.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:10 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:51 am
I'm interested in a lot of the films listed as available or coming soon, and am waiting with interest to see a/ whether the quality of the discs is as good as reported for all titles and b/ whether they open up sales to amazon etc or find another way to make these titles available outside the USA. I don't have any problem with buying DVD-R as I understand this is probably the easiest option for on-demand delivery, but the prices seem high, especially with no subtitles or extras, or even regularly placed chapter points. But it is a good step forward and probably the only way the company can see to get more obscure titles out to the people who are most likely to buy them.


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