AVForums Movies Podcast: Is boutique publishing the future of 4k physical media?

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
This week we discuss the 4K and Blu-ray publishing labels making cult classics available again. With streaming becoming monolithic, is this the only way we're going to get to see these movies again? We also find out your opinions on the best boutique releases. PLUS a podcast exclusive competition.

Presented by Tom Davies with Cas Harlow, Simon Crust and Mark Costello.

00:00:00 - Start
00:00:28 - Welcome
00:01:41 - Competitions
00:05:44 - What are 'boutique labels'?
00:07:23 - Steaming vs boutique Blu-ray releases
00:12:20 - Mark's favourite boutique label releases
00:21:43 - Simon's favourite boutique label releases
00:33:25 - Cas' favourite boutique label releases
00:40:17 - Tom's favourite boutique label releases
00:44:35 - Patreon poll results
00:50:05 - Are some Blu-rays an investment?
01:04:37 - Podcast competition

These links will be live following the live stream on Wednesday

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steviedr

Distinguished Member
Great podcast guys, really enjoyed that, nice to see real enthusiasm!

Thanks for the tip on Arrow streaming, might give that a shot.
I do the same, try it on the cheap and if I enjoy it, I purchase the physical.
Arrows True Romance was my last purchase and worth every penny!
 

Fasen

Active Member
Great podcast guys, really enjoyed that, nice to see real enthusiasm!

Thanks for the tip on Arrow streaming, might give that a shot.
I do the same, try it on the cheap and if I enjoy it, I purchase the physical.
Arrows True Romance was my last purchase and worth every penny!

I agree on the enthusiasm, nice to hear :)

Bladerunner briefcase is marvelous. Bought it in HD-DVD, but have replaced the discs with blu-ray.

One of my favorite sets are the Band of Brothers military bag DVD set from Korea i believe.


bob.jpg
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Ah, been waiting for this theme to crop up on the podcast! Great episode and good to hear the likes of Vinegar Syndrome and Blue Underground’s releases getting their due for their incredible work. I’d also throw in the BFI, who have been killing it, especially with their Flipside label exploring the margins of British film. Edgar Wright’s forthcoming Last Night in Soho seems to owe a debt to these kind of film.

Would you ever consider getting anyone from Arrow or Indicator on the podcast to talk about their process?

Here’s some of my favourite boutique releases.
 

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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
Ah, been waiting for this theme to crop up on the podcast! Great episode and good to hear the likes of Vinegar Syndrome and Blue Underground’s releases getting their due for their incredible work. I’d also throw in the BFI, who have been killing it, especially with their Flipside label exploring the margins of British film. Edgar Wright’s forthcoming Last Night in Soho seems to owe a debt to these kind of film.

Would you ever consider getting anyone from Arrow or Indicator on the podcast to talk about their process?

Here’s some of my favourite boutique releases.
That 4K Suspiria restoration is incredible. It's never looked so good. That's one of my favourite releases too. Synapse, I think, right? Following the CultFilms release from earlier. Neither of those got a namecheck in the podcast but both worth a shout.
 

Evinger

Distinguished Member
Thanks for this Podcast, Guys. I like the sets, of course, but often, I get a set & never look at the extra stuff again. So for me, perfect is a Boutique Issue for everyone that wants all the extra stuff, & a Basic 4K Disc from the Big Boys (That theoretically is much cheaper). Then everyone has a choice.

P.s. Re. Dune - I live in Germany! :D
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
That 4K Suspiria restoration is incredible. It's never looked so good. That's one of my favourite releases too. Synapse, I think, right? Following the CultFilms release from earlier. Neither of those got a namecheck in the podcast but both worth a shout.
In the ever complicated world of Euro-horror (because nothing is ever easy!) there are two 4K restorations of Suspiria. The CultFilms used an 4K master approved by Argento, and Synapse created their own with supervision by the film's DOP Luciano Tovoli. But like you say @Tom Davies, the Synapse release is jaw-dropping.

Does Martin Scorsese notes on the A24 Midsommar release just have "fudge Marvel!" written over and over again?
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Thanks for the Podcast. Just wondering how come Dune the board game is set as a video thumbnail? Are you guys promoting it as well?
 
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Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
Further to the podcast, Vinegar Syndrome have announced a new sub-label dedicated to bringing films shot on 35mm film onto 4K and they are kicking off with deluxe editions of long lost kung fu trashterpiece New York Ninja and Prano Bailey-Bond’s terrific Censor!
 

davidf

Well-known Member
I do think boutique labels are the future for 4K, especially with less mainstream films that have become classics over the years. I’m sure most major studios are already well on their planned path towards phasing out physical media, after the majority of end users opting for the poorer quality option (again). It just seems counterproductive to me to buy a 4K TV, which is capable of more or less showing the same quality as the original source, and then use it to view highly compressed streams, equivalent to the picture and sound of a DVD from the 1990s, in relation to bitrates. And things are only going to get worse, as larger studios buy up smaller studios (or even larger ones like Disney with Fox).
It’s nice to see the prolific output of Kino Lorber at the moment for Bluray, including older, classic films.
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I do think boutique labels are the future for 4K, especially with less mainstream films that have become classics over the years. I’m sure most major studios are already well on their planned path towards phasing out physical media, after the majority of end users opting for the poorer quality option (again). It just seems counterproductive to me to buy a 4K TV, which is capable of more or less showing the same quality as the original source, and then use it to view highly compressed streams, equivalent to the picture and sound of a DVD from the 1990s, in relation to bitrates. And things are only going to get worse, as larger studios buy up smaller studios (or even larger ones like Disney with Fox).
It’s nice to see the prolific output of Kino Lorber at the moment for Bluray, including older, classic films.
Yet, the 4K TV sales go up every year.
Sadly no data from 2020 and 2021. Have you got any more recent statistics?

The video world is advancing quickly and 4K (3840 x 2160) streaming will be available on more streaming platforms for more people every year.
 

Garioch

Distinguished Member
I had to stop listening to this podcast very early on. Instead, I fired you guys up on the TV for the world's best show & tell session. Really on-topic discussion, thank you lads. I totally got the enthusiasm and love that everyone has for these small labels with big releases.

@Simon Crust , if you enjoyed Nosferatu, then I suspect you'll enjoy Häxan, which has been given a rare and gorgeous treatment by Criterion on blu-ray. It has scrubbed up well, contains some excellent literature plus some beautiful, haunting artwork. Good news is that it's not out of print so worth sourcing.

93790689_10163458855090381_2992876281508397056_o-jpg.1286492


In terms of my favourite boutique releases, there is Studio Canal's epic Dam Busters, which is so huge that it pretty much takes up space on the entire floor when I remove the contents.

20210906_182705.jpg

Similarly, there is Medium Rare's recent release of Waterloo.

20210906_182841.jpg

One treasured film I kept is still on DVD! Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2005 masterpiece Black about a deaf-blind woman (inspired by Helen Keller's life). Had it been a straight forward disc release, it'd be pretty unremarkable but Yash Raj provided gorgeous packaging and artwork, including braille on the front cover.

20210906_182958.jpg

20210906_183003.jpg

20210906_183030.jpg

I'm less keen on SteelBooks and usually sell the SteelBook itself but keep the discs. But I have a soft spot for unique 1-off releases like these.
 

Samv0808

Distinguished Member
I had to stop listening to this podcast very early on. Instead, I fired you guys up on the TV for the world's best show & tell session. Really on-topic discussion, thank you lads. I totally got the enthusiasm and love that everyone has for these small labels with big releases.

@Simon Crust , if you enjoyed Nosferatu, then I suspect you'll enjoy Häxan, which has been given a rare and gorgeous treatment by Criterion on blu-ray. It has scrubbed up well, contains some excellent literature plus some beautiful, haunting artwork. Good news is that it's not out of print so worth sourcing.

93790689_10163458855090381_2992876281508397056_o-jpg.1286492


In terms of my favourite boutique releases, there is Studio Canal's epic Dam Busters, which is so huge that it pretty much takes up space on the entire floor when I remove the contents.

View attachment 1566371

Similarly, there is Medium Rare's recent release of Waterloo.

View attachment 1566370

One treasured film I kept is still on DVD! Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2005 masterpiece Black about a deaf-blind woman (inspired by Helen Keller's life). Had it been a straight forward disc release, it'd be pretty unremarkable but Yash Raj provided gorgeous packaging and artwork, including braille on the front cover.

View attachment 1566367

View attachment 1566368

View attachment 1566369

I'm less keen on SteelBooks and usually sell the SteelBook itself but keep the discs. But I have a soft spot for unique 1-off releases like these.
Oh I really like that Dambusters release…
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
I’ll need to get round to watching Waterloo, both Steve and Ed have previously commented on its “will be never made like this again” production, epic scale shot in film
 

Evinger

Distinguished Member
I’ll need to get round to watching Waterloo, both Steve and Ed have previously commented on its “will be never made like this again” production, epic scale shot in film
Regarding Waterloo, I can really recommend History Buffs video about it

 

terencejames

Active Member
The sad truth is that although 4K TV sales are on the up, most people have no idea what their TV is actually capable of. I'm pretty sure my wife would be happy with an old CRT. I've lost count of the times I've come in and she's watching something in SD. At which point, I'm like.....
platoon_3.jpg
 

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
The sad truth is that although 4K TV sales are on the up, most people have no idea what their TV is actually capable of. I'm pretty sure my wife would be happy with an old CRT. I've lost count of the times I've come in and she's watching something in SD. At which point, I'm like.....View attachment 1566893
CRTs are gonna be back, man. You wait and see. And they're bringing magnetic tape with them.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
Yet, the 4K TV sales go up every year.
Sadly no data from 2020 and 2021. Have you got any more recent statistics?

The video world is advancing quickly and 4K (3840 x 2160) streaming will be available on more streaming platforms for more people every year.
No info I’m afraid, but I don’t see the point in services and channels jumping on the 4K bandwagon when they’re going to compress it so much that it looks no better than a good 1080p Bluray! They’re just doing it for those I’ll educated people who have bought a 4K TV and have some 4K streaming source that know nothing about video and audio compression. I’m not touching 4K streaming until they can match a 4K disc - which will be quite some times, if ever.
 

Jessica Noir

Well-known Member
CRTs are gonna be back, man. You wait and see. And they're bringing magnetic tape with them.
You laugh Tom, but look at some of these nostalgic idiots.


There's a documentary called Rewind This! which looks into the cult of VHS collectors and one guy says that pan and scan IMPROVED films since you didn't need to look very hard in the shot to see the important stuff.😔

As much as I love boutique labels, streaming (especially iTunes and Apple TV+) is outstanding in terms of quality and price. A happy medium can exist between both.
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
No info I’m afraid, but I don’t see the point in services and channels jumping on the 4K bandwagon when they’re going to compress it so much that it looks no better than a good 1080p Bluray! They’re just doing it for those I’ll educated people who have bought a 4K TV and have some 4K streaming source that know nothing about video and audio compression. I’m not touching 4K streaming until they can match a 4K disc - which will be quite some times, if ever.
I can totally see where you are coming from, but the bandwidth is becoming cheaper, faster and more accessible. I agree with the statement that it will take some time before we reach the 4K disc quality/resolution, but we will get there at one point.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
You laugh Tom, but look at some of these nostalgic idiots.


There's a documentary called Rewind This! which looks into the cult of VHS collectors and one guy says that pan and scan IMPROVED films since you didn't need to look very hard in the shot to see the important stuff.😔

As much as I love boutique labels, streaming (especially iTunes and Apple TV+) is outstanding in terms of quality and price. A happy medium can exist between both.
I was (and still am) massively into horror films, with my teenage years starting during the early 80s at the time of the video nasty era. I have great memories renting horror films from local video libraries (first Betamax, then VHS), and the late 70s and the 80s were boom time for great horror films, most of which are still the best examples of their sub genre even today. As I still have my Panasonic VHS recorder, I’ve been wanting to go back and experience some of my favourite films (like John Carpenter’s The Thing) as I did back then. I think the low resolution and lack of detail helped make horror films look better, especially those with more budget special effects.

I went right off pan and scan when I watched Unlawful Entry during the mid 90s on pan and scan VHS rental. At one point, there’s a fight scene between Ray Liotta and Kurt Russell in the hallway of a house - the whole scene was a mess becaise pan and scan has to track to follow the action, you couldn’t really tell when was going on. Some other examples at the time made me seek out widescreen to ensure I got to see everything the director intended me to see, and how he intended me to see it. Plus there’s the shot in Ghostbusters 2 on top of the apartment building with the whole team in a wide shot - the pan and scan version can’t fit them all in. Not for me.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
I can totally see where you are coming from, but the bandwidth is becoming cheaper, faster and more accessible. I agree with the statement that it will take some time before we reach the 4K disc quality/resolution, but we will get there at one point.
I don’t think we will. Even if our communications infrastructure could handle the majority of the country streaming disc quality 4K 24/7, I don’t think the hosting companies will increase quality. These companies are only interested in your £6-20 per month. And they’ll keep adding titles they think they need to to keep the majority interested. As long as end users lap it up, they keep it as it is because the money is still coming in. If movie studios and streaming services were only interested in providing the best quality, DVD would be discontinued by now, and we’d now be using a better encoding system for streaming. I honestly don’t see quality changing at all - I reckon they’ll provide 8K streaming with even greater compression before actual quality of 1080 films improves!

I temporarily subscribed to Mubi to see what it was like, and the compression is far too evident for me to watch. That’ll be going this month. Prime gives the biggest choice, but there’s way too much standard definition available, and if I start watching a film and it’s in standard definition, I’ll turn it off.

I’m at a point where I feel like using the monthly money I pay for (currently) three streaming services to subscribe to Cinema Paradiso to rent Blurays and 4K Blurays, and to buy films I’m interested in, and drop streaming altogether.
 

MrMrH

Active Member
No info I’m afraid, but I don’t see the point in services and channels jumping on the 4K bandwagon when they’re going to compress it so much that it looks no better than a good 1080p Bluray! They’re just doing it for those I’ll educated people who have bought a 4K TV and have some 4K streaming source that know nothing about video and audio compression. I’m not touching 4K streaming until they can match a 4K disc - which will be quite some times, if ever.
Don't underestimate streaming, the compression algorithms are getting better so saying they have the same bitrate as old DVDs is a bit disingenuous. Plus internet speeds are increasing to the point where it's just a matter of time before full quality is able to be provided, a year ago I had <20Mbps download, now I am up closer to a Gigabit.

I buy most of my content digitally as it's a simple matter of Convenience Vs Fidelity, just as I choose Spotify over Vinyl or CDs. Some people who own a movie would watch it on TV when they come across it rather than pull out their disc, but with Digital I'm able to pull up the same movie without leaving my seat (which is what I generally do when I hit the first ad break).

Streaming may not be as high a quality as 4K Disc, but the quality is at least on a par with BluRay with the added bonus of HDR on a lot of titles.
The review of the Moana 4K disc did point out that while it was superior to the copy streaming on Disney+, the streaming copy was still seriously good.
 

davidf

Well-known Member
@MrMrH
While animated films can be quite detailed nowadays, they don’t suffer compression as badly as live action films. Even though the Disney 4K discs aren’t native 4K, it hasn’t stopped me replacing my favourite ones with these 4K discs.

Films like comedies and drama which are shot in daylight look good streamed, and I can see how many would be happy with that, but darker films suffer badly from the compression system used for streaming services. I tried NowTV at one point (free trial), and went straight to JC’s The Thing to test out their quality - looked more like DVD, and it was stereo, so I stopped that free trial right there after mere minutes. And I’ll never watch a film on TV, haven’t done so for decades now, other than when I caught Halloween III one Halloween on TV and decided to give it a go after ignoring and disliking it for years, only to realise it was actually one of the best Halloween entries in the franchise, complete with the usual wonderful Dean Cundey cinematography that’s present in many Carpenter movies.

I’ll take notice when streaming reaches genuine disc quality, rather than the bit rates we were watching in the 1990s - TVs have moved on, massively, time for streaming to do the same.
 

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