Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

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Richard M Roberts
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Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:41 am

Well, we've had our first whine about the Sprocket Vault's DVD of WHEN COMEDY WAS KING, and of course, guess the source:

http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=23256

Where else can the uninformed prattle on about the most minor and meaningless of things?

Someone had better inform Mr. Sethb, whatever the hell that is, that the "ghosting" that offends his virgin eyeballs is, in fact, the ghost of the matte balloon superimposed over the Chase film (which is MOVIE NIGHT BTW, not NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE) for the credit titles that run over the sequence, they can be seen in every print of the film I've ever seen, and actually, it is more visible when the master materials used are closer to the first generation, it is less visible in farther-down generations where it gets more lost in the grain.

The HD digital transferring actually does exacerbate such flaws in the original films, they were really never meant to be as sharp as they are being seen now, and it is an unfortunate tradeoff one gets for so-called "digital restoration". This is why on the same newsgroup, we also have another member of the internerd brain trust whining and wondering why someone couldn't digitally wipe away the "bug hits on the plexiglass" on the airplane in HOW THE WEST WAS WON or the wires that have become visible in shots now that sharpness is the end-all of every digital restorer who most likely has no idea how the projected film should look in the first place. In actuality, the folk who did the mastering on WHEN COMEDY WAS KING did try to tone down the ghost balloon in several parts of the opening credits by darkening the picture slightly, but this is now considered making the picture murky by Sethb's idiotic standards and the screaming voices in his head.

To show his further ignorance, he then suggests that this can and should be fixed in future pressings of the DVD, like we would go to the expense of calling back the master materials we were loaned at much expense to do the meticulous restoration in the first place, then spend again one of the major expenditures of the budget to do another restoration on a film that now looks better than it has anywhere since it's original release, all because Robert Youngson's original optical effects lab didn't do work acceptable to Sethb's standards (standards by someone who most likely couldn't do anything like it in the first place), and all for a film that will be lucky to break even in a modern DVD release to begin with?

I say Sethb, return the DVD and get your money back, you do not deserve to own it, and then stick your opinions back into that southern-most cavity from which they came. You spend barely a sentence saying the film looks much better than it has in ages, and that Kit Parker's hard work in bringing this film out should be appreciated, but then you waste a paragraph whining about the most minor, inconsequential, silly and meaningless nonsense that only one with a non-existent attention span would be bothered by. Not I, nor anyone else who worked on this project is making enough off of it to take any such uninformed stupidity from some anonymous member of Nitwitvile, so you get my words back at you.

I wish one had a brightness and sharpness knob for the internerds.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:06 pm

Now the jackass from Brazil, all dense or all dim, in the darc or something, is prattling on about how WCWK can't look that good because it is most likely several generations down from the original or some other nonsense he never has any clue about. These Nitwitvile denizens will argue picture quality on something they haven't even seen. Still carrying on the same low bar for standards of expertise they have held now for years.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Ed Watz
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Ed Watz » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:21 am

Image

I doubt it will help him, but perhaps the guy from Brazil would understand a visual analogy. Here Moe and Larry represent Logic. Curly is the Guy From Brazil.
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

William Ferry
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby William Ferry » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:28 pm

The caterwauling about any perceived faults in what undoubtedly a first-rate transfer would be funny if they weren't so irritating. For heaven's sake, when I first discovered the Youngson films, I had to wait until MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE showed them at 11:30pm. My take on remastering is this - does it look better than it did on VHS or on TV? Did they do as good a job as possible, given the limitations of what source material DOES survive? Yes? Swell, I'll buy it right now!

I have THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY from Image on DVD, and GOLDEN AGE... and WHEN COMEDY... looked wonderful on THAT release. I'm willing to put my money to work for more releases like this. 35MM source material - you couldn't hope for better.

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:47 pm

William Ferry wrote:The caterwauling about any perceived faults in what undoubtedly a first-rate transfer would be funny if they weren't so irritating. For heaven's sake, when I first discovered the Youngson films, I had to wait until MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE showed them at 11:30pm. My take on remastering is this - does it look better than it did on VHS or on TV? Did they do as good a job as possible, given the limitations of what source material DOES survive? Yes? Swell, I'll buy it right now!

I have THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY from Image on DVD, and GOLDEN AGE... and WHEN COMEDY... looked wonderful on THAT release. I'm willing to put my money to work for more releases like this. 35MM source material - you couldn't hope for better.



That FIRST KINGS OF COMEDY DVD was very admirable in it's day, in fact, they did a good transfer from 35mm on THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY, but sadly, they only had a 16mm print of WHEN COMEDY WAS KING to work with, which is why when the opportunity arose, Kit Parker jumped at the chance to do WCWK, but we were sticklers to having to have good 35mm printing materials to work with. We definitely had unexpected good fortune to get original neg materials to work with, and only a fool would have problems with the way it looks now.

We really wanted Robert Youngson to get his due credit in hooking our whole generation on this stuff, and the scattered rights situation to his compilations pretty much guarantees that there will be no comprehensive complete collection of his entire output anywhere in the future. Ironically, as it is with Kevin Brownlow's documentaries, today the complete original films are in many cases more accessible than either of Youngson or Brownlow's work that started so much of the interest. Sad because, it is easier to get the unitiated to watch these compilations and learn to appreciate what they're seeing than it is to get them to watch a whole silent film.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Louie Despres
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Louie Despres » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:09 pm

Seriously, that website has turned into a circle-jerk of complainers.

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:19 pm

So Totally Dim or whatever the Brazillian OCD'er's name is still refuses to let the screaming voices in his head go today as he finally grasps the concept that WHEN COMEDY WAS KING looks great on the new DVD, but still has to ponder if we went to the ridiculous lengths of digging up the original camera negs of any of the films so compiled in the Youngson film to restore and recut them to Youngson's specs in the remote possibility that they would then look one one-zillionth sharper than the pictorial lovliness we have already achieved in the current restoration......

No, we bleedin' well didn't.

To begin with, we weren't restoring those films, we were restoring WHEN COMEDY WAS KING, which frankly, is a different film, we restored THAT film from it's original materials, and the Producers of THAT film had already gone to the hard work of making what was seen in THAT film look incredible.

Secondly, it is absolutely most likely that at this point NO camera negatives survive on ANY of the material used in that compilation, the last ones that might have survived would be the one for Laurel and Hardy's BIG BUSINESS and much of that material was actually destroyed by improper storage several decades ago. At this point, what footage is preserved in WCWK and the other Youngson compilations is unique.

That should send this particular Nitwitvile denizen into a tailspin, what in the hell does he think he's entitled to for his fifteen bucks? The DVD won't ship to Brazil anyway, so screw him, he ain't gonna see it. Does anyone actually watch these films anymore, or is all their miniscule attention spans looking at is general picture sharpness? Jackasses!

Then again, another nameless one over there got it right today, commenting how the correct speed and the sound effects in WCWK actually make the films laugh-out-loud funny. That should annoy the hell out of David Shepard.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:25 pm

Of course, the idiocy continues at Nitwitvile, even as some of the few smarter folk still there like Jim Reid actually hit the nail on the head, some sharpness-obsessive nameless one called bigshit or something has to pull the "why is there no Blu-Ray" whine and thinks he knows what he's talking about. "The cost per unit is pretty much the same between Blu-Ray and DVD" he moans (it isn't, and the authoring is still more expensive) "and the collectors who still buy physical media want the best quality".

Well bugshot, I actually work with the real professionals in this business and you're wrong, actually the Blu-Ray market has never made the big inroads you think it has, especially in this niche' area of interest. A lot of the older collectors said screw-it, we're not going to buy everything over again in one more media and have stuck with DVD, whose sales have actually picked up in the last few years as some of streaming's has dropped as people discovered the pain-in the-ass side of it (limited selection, less than perfect or quick transmission and quality) and realized it is still easier to own physical media. Also, one of the producers I work with who will remain nameless made the mistake of asking the internerds which media they'd rather have a certain major release in, they all cried "Blu-Ray of course!" and said release only came out on Blu-Ray......and it has yet to break even in sales.

Jim Reid nailed it, you put out a quality DVD release, and EVERYONE buys it, including the sharpness-obsessives who will whine, but still get and watch it on their Blu-Ray players and it looks just fine. The Producers at The Sprocket Vault are working to put out some quality releases into a very niche' market and not go broke doing it, the options were looked thoroughly into and the decision has been to produce DVD's only on all the current product being released.

Sorry, but a number of recent "restorations" I've seen on blu-ray look more like videogames than actual film, and we are getting to the point where a lot of digital "restorers" have no idea what the projected film would and should actually look like, digital restoration just gives us another new level of issues and problems, then exacerbated by the internerds who's non-existent attention spans are demolished by a scratch, blemish, or cue mark which sends them off into a typing tizzy.

The sales so far of WHEN COMEDY WAS KING have actually exceeded our own expectations and the reviews, apart from the Nitwitvile Ninnies, have been extremely good. Let the Nitwitvillains natter, it keeps attention on the DVD, and with that newsgroups actual reputation, the more they whine, the more people buy the disc.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:01 pm

Well, it's nice to think that it's been....what?.........nearly four years since Gebert banned me from Nitwitvile and still he has to do the thought police edits to his wonky little newsgroup when I speak my mind, kinda pointless wasn't it Gebert, and I speak my mind so much more freely over here. All he can do is grumble about wordiness, time for the 140 character thinkers to learn, words are what you use when you discuss complex and complicated ideas, and back them up with facts, something that happens ever so seldom over at Nitwitvile that of course it seems alien to them.

I see Bugnuts tried to post some sales statistics regarding Blu-Ray to DVD sales to make his arguement, probably after his first rant and rave response to my words got deleted, but he should look at those sales figures a bit more carefully before he thinks he has won the arguement. I'm sure he's starting at the top, where indeed the last STAR WARS movie sells an impressive five million and some units on BD, but he needs to start heading down that list and compare the general sales numbers, number two BD drops in numbers by half, by the time we're to number 12, the numbers for BD's are dropping below DVD's, and soon are not even keeping close, by number 50, BD's are down from DVD's by a hundred thousand, by 100, BD units have dropped to five digits, where number 100 DVD is selling two and a half time more units.

What does this say: that buyers will spring for a BD of a blockbuster like a STAR WARS movie, which will also be a heavily discounted item due to mass market promotion and sales, but will more likely buy a DVD of a less-discounted product. Add up all the unit sales on both, DVD still beats Blu-Ray hands-down.

That said, the other fact is that these stats have bugger-all to do with our little area of a niche' market, the oldest films on those lists come from the 1970's, and few and far between even there. In the silent/early sound film home video markets, where high-end sales still barely translate into four digits at best and usually three, Blu-Ray sales can barely take up ten percent of the market (Kit Parker checked with comparable producers of this material and found this to be so, no I will not be naming names). This is why the major studios have gone the MOD route in making available so much of this stuff, it's a low-cost, low inventory way of extracting revenue from material whose interest to the general population become more marginal every day.

So sorry Bugnuts, you're still wrong and don't know what in hell you are talking about, big surprise, because you and a few more obsessives spend more time measuring the fuzziness of the black lines of a digital film transfer rather than laughing at the wonderful pleasures to be seen in something like WHEN COMEDY WAS KING means nothing more than you are not someone we who actually like to have fun want to hang out with, even if you'd actually leave your hovels and attempt to. Better they populate the shrinking number of "experts" who populate Gebert's pathetic little newsgroup.

I wonder if Gebert wil start counting my words again, he's another one who knows how to have fun.


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Paul E. Gierucki
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Re: Nitrateville Nitwittery: WHEN COMEDY WAS KING

Postby Paul E. Gierucki » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:00 pm

I personally think that Kit and Richard were absolutely correct in their choice to release WHEN COMEDY WAS KING as a DVD only. Publishing niche market titles in the BD format is a risky proposition under the best of circumstances -- and WCWK is probably a micro niche release at this point. The numbers (read: people buying the more obscure vintage film releases on BD) are not always there.

Why?

Many of the old guard film folks, the target audience for this sort of release, simply opted out of BD. They had already purchased all of the classic film collections on VHS, bought them again on laser disc, and again on DVD, and yet again when they were being reissued in newer versions. That was where many drew the line. They never made the leap to Blu-ray, believing DVD was good enough. There they stayed.

Sprocket Vault's choice to release in the DVD format ensures that the title can be purchased and played by everyone who might be interested -- a move which almost guarantees that the set will turn a profit, or at the very least break even, and allow the company to continue moving forward with additional titles. It seems the more practical choice for this set.


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