Short answer would be money and it's not just Facets since New Yorker is notorious for dodgy quality DVDs and even Kino has often been questioned for using PAL transfers & then not even getting those completely right. Finding proper elements, doing NTSC transfers, reliable authoring, etc all run up costs. At some point it's a question of not having the films available at all or doing less than ideal presentations which is always going to be a case-by-case or even viewer-by-viewer call. I have seen a couple of Facets' Czech releases and they did acceptable jobs but certainly nothing more. And if nothing else Facets really shouldn't be compared to Brentwood and Alpha since the latter are of dubious legality.
A new R2 disc of Valerie is due in August.
>From: Scott Andrew Hutchins <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Jun 18, 2008 2:23 PM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: [SCREEN-L] Facets Video
>I was wondering if anyone knows the reasoning why Facets is such a great store and such a horrible DVD label? VHS source material, usually cropped with burned-in subtitles. Is it their fault? Or is it a matter that Criterion or Kino is unable to get better quality copies from the copyright holders and reject them, leaving Facets to release the best that they can, that wasn't good enough for other art film labels? That seems to be the only reason Facets should suck so bad. They must have to pay an enormous licensing fee, since they charge ten times what similar quality DVDs often cost (Brentwood's early releases, Westlake, Digiview, Front Row, Alpha, etc.). I'm thinking of, for example Czech New Wave releases and for forth. Is it the film owners' faults? Apparently the only way to see Valerie and Her Week of Wonders better(and uncropped) is to get a flickery PAL release. As it is, the Facets release is mastered from a PAL VHS, so it runs slightly too fast.
>Even films with electonic subtitles like their Bela Tarr collection generally have the subtitles burned in, so that's a strike that can't be chalked up to the film owners.
>Scott Andrew Hutchins
>http://web.archive.org/web/20050304105837/mywebpages.comcast.net/scottandrewh/ [archive site; not currently active]
>"Those who had been successful adapted themselves to the world around them, had bent their greater mental powers into the pattern of acceptable action. And this dulled their usefulness, limited their capacity, hedged their ability with restrictions set up to fit less extraordinary people." -- Clifford D. Simak, "Census" (1944)
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