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October 2010 Update
It's been just a few months since I sent out an email to all of our customers, and in that time we've seen a lot change within the industry. With the economy slowly coming back to life, we've seen a big uptick in interest in Blu-ray, and have authored several feature films since last Spring. A report last week in Variety said that Blu-ray disc sales are up 80% since the beginning of the year. That seems about right - we're working on more Blu-ray projects than DVD projects for the first time. If you've got High Definition masters, you should start releasing films in Blu-ray now. Contact us for more information or a quote.
I also wanted to fill you in on a couple of new services we're offering:
Netflix Streaming Mezzanine File Creation:
Netflix has become a major player in the streaming media market, and they're adding tons of new titles every day. The quality of their HD streams is very good, and there's now a substantial ecosystem of set-top players that stream directly to televisions, including the Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Roku, AppleTV, TiVO and many others. Netflix Streaming is no longer about watching movies on your computer, and the selection of titles is much bigger than it used to be! If you're not distributing content on Netflix, you should seriously consider it. We think they're going to emerge as the winner in the online streaming video battle, and the cost to get your titles online is minimal.
A problem we've seen with a few films now is that our clients distributors have simply sent DVDs to Netflix, and the resulting stream looks terrible. Put simply, DVD is not a master format and should never be treated as such. Particularly when you're working with surround sound, captions or subtitles, it's critical to make sure Netflix gets everything in the right format at the highest quality.
Instead of leaving it up to your distributor, let us prepare your masters so that when they get to Netflix they'll look great to your viewers. The cost is modest, and is well worth it to guarantee the best possible streams and peace of mind.
You can read more about this here.
We now offer high quality PAL->24p standards conversions. A normal standards conversion from 25fps (PAL) to 29.97fps (NTSC) necessarily involves the creation of frames that didn't exist before - called interpolation. This can result in ghost frames and other motion artifacts even on the highest quality standards converters, such as the Snell & Wilcox Alchemist. For feature film work, it can also mean the difference between a good review and a bad one.
Our method is unique because we create a 24 frame per second progressive-scan intermediate from your PAL master. From that, we can make progressive scan DVDs and higher quality HD upconversions suitable for streaming or Blu-ray, all without the ghosting you get in a normal standards conversion. There are a couple things to keep in mind - the film's running time will be about 4% longer this way (for film that was transferred to PAL, our method actually restores the original running time of the film print), and if your film requires subtitles, you'll want to do this conversion first because the subtitle timing will change.
Read more about this service here.
If you have any questions about these or our other services, or if you'd like a quote, please feel free to email or call me directly. Also, check us out on Twitter and Facebook, where we post more frequent updates.