2017 was a transitional year – both for our beloved home video and for reDVDit. As a crew, we journeyed together through many of the years largest releases, and dug into the catalogs of some of the industry’s most boutique labels. We persevered through lame April Fools’ Day jokes involving media formats that have been lost to history, staff changes, and enough 4K content to make any enthusiast’s head spin. As the names behind the reviews began to shift, we learned to embrace new means of presenting content – video reviews have now become a staple of our method of coverage thanks to our newest member, Andrew, allowing us to stay flexible and relevant in an ever changing landscape for media consumption.
Outside of the business end of things, we celebrated the birth of our founder Doug’s son, ensuring that there would be an heir to the Beav media empire for decades to come, and Chris graduated from college and accepted my first teaching position – as a result I’ve been in self-imposed hiatus to focus on that, but I figured I would stick my head out of the sand to celebrate the close of another largely successful year.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk 2017 – what happened, why it was important, and how it impacts us moving forwards:
3D Blu-ray is dead, long live 3D Blu-ray
The 3D gravy train has finally run out of steam, as television manufacturers announced early on in the year that they would no longer include 3D capabilities in their mainstream models or put a focus on improving 3D technology for the home environment. It comes as a surprise to no one who’s been keeping up with cinema technology – 4K rules the roost, and the standards for 4K in the cinema have no specifications or support for 3D presentation. It would make sense that home theater would follow suit, as 4K UHD Blu-ray is becoming more and more popular with consumers.
On our end, we only put out a single 3D Blu-ray review over the course of the year: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which reflects both our priorities, and the fact that there really has not been a lot of activity in the 3D world. In looking at the release calendar for the year, we really only got 1-2 major releases each month from all of the major studios. Some of these releases were retailer exclusives, such as the 3D release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, or released in scarce supplies, such as the Lego Ninjago 3D release. I’ll be honest in saying that I won’t miss 3D Blu-ray – I never owned many of them or took advantage of the capability all that often, but it is too bad for enthusiasts of the format that it’s going out with such a whimper.
4K UHD Blu-ray Finally Gets Its Act Together – Sorta…
And by that, I do NOT mean that all of the movie studios got together and agreed that 4K mastering was worth the expense, or that they could all agree on which audio format they were going to champion, or the HDR format that was going to be the ultimate standard for the format (here’s looking at you, Dolby Vision….IF that becomes a serious thing.)
I mean that in regards to two things, the first of which is Disney finally tossing their hat into the ring. Now the largest studio on the block, their absence was felt in a huge way during these formative years of the format; their hesitation did not bode well in terms of confidence in the format. Even now, they’ve yet to embrace it with the same energy that they did when Blu-ray finally toppled HD-DVD, trickling out new releases exclusively, with no dips into the back catalog coming our way anytime soon. It’s a small step in the right direction, but I’ll take a small one over no steps at all.
The second of the two things is the willingness for other studios, such as Warner and Sony, to step in and start releasing their older catalog titles. Not only just releasing them, but taking the time to properly utilize pre-existing 4K scans or generate new ones to properly present these films in 4K with HDR encoding. Before 2017, the 4K format was basically a 2K-tentpole blockbuster catalog, offering whatever studios had on hand with pre-existing digital masters that they could easily upscale and re-encode with HDR. Now we’re starting to get older titles and established classics from the pre-digital era: films like Bridge Over the River Kwai, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jumanji, and even the majority of Christopher Nolan’s photochemically finished catalog. While Disney and some of the other major studios are still holding back, the embrace that other studios have presented bodes well for the future of the format.
The transition from .com to .net
Earlier on into the year, some of you may recall an issue that came up with the website being completely inaccessible, resulting in about 2-weeks of downtime in both reviews and daily deals. Some people have inquired as to what exactly happened, and I figured that this would be a great opportunity to expand on those events.
Originally, the .com domain was hosted through a company named A Small Orange out of Europe. They were originally providing the host and server space for us free of charge; well, we learned pretty quickly that free came with a hefty price as someone with a Turkish IP address (likely someone behind a series of VPNs) had gained unauthorized access to our hosting space and reset the permissions on all of the files for the site. As a result, the only information that was accessible was that of a backup that had been taken just prior to the malicious attack followed by the requirement of a quick script to pull every single public facing image for the site. With this method, we fired up our .net instance on a new host and immediately began recovery efforts. After 2-straight-weeks of manually importing all of the images, restoring database information and getting login issues squared away; we are happy to report that .net and .com both lead to the same site.
Security efforts have been implemented to not only help protect our site, but to constant updates to the back end work to ensure that no unauthorized access is gained and that things continue to operate as expected.
/r/dvdcollection Top Releases of 2017
Starting on December 11, we ran a poll on /r/dvdcollection to determine the Top 5 releases of the year for the subreddit. 116 votes were tallied and here are your selections.
1. Baby Driver (Warner Bros., Standard Blu-ray)
2. Suspiria (Synapse, Remastered Steelbook)
3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (Marvel Studios, Best Buy Steelbook)
4. Reanimator (Arrow, Limited Edition)
5. Stalker (Criterion Collection, #888)
A quick summary of things brought to the subreddit over the course of the past year
There have been a lot of huge changes that have come to the /r/dvdcollection subreddit over the past year. Various items that include the continued modifications to the programming of AutoModerator. We’ve implemented a system to help curb scammers from our monthly Digital Exchange and For Sale/Trade threads where if your account doesn’t meet our requirements, your posts won’t show up. We will obviously NOT publish these account requirements as it gives scammers a means of figuring out ways around the system, but once your account does in fact meet our predetermined requirements, your comments in those monthly threads will appear as expected.
There has also been an uptick where if someone shares their opinion of something, their comment often gets reported as “harassment”, “threatening”, or “inciting violence”. The majority of these reports have been completely unwarranted, false reports and were not found to be in violation of the subreddit rules. We ask that people use common sense as we’re a pretty simple community of people who share the same hobby. If it is in fact a violation of our rules, do let us know; but, if it’s someone’s opinion that you disagree with, why report it?
Things have been pretty business casual in terms that everything has been moving forward as expected, now with only the occasional adjustment to AutoModerator’s code, but we are always on the lookout for rule violations and certainly appreciate the continued reporting of violations.
We’re looking to expand!
Before you do send us an email, we do ask you include and understand the following:
- Your username on Reddit. This website is for the /r/dvdcollection community, from the /r/dvdcollection community.
- A quick note on previous writing experience
- A writing sample if you’ve written before
- If you’re interested in doing Video Reviews, definitely let us know
- We do not get paid to do these reviews. Right now, the website is breaking even with its hosting costs. There is no pay at this time. That doesn’t mean that the possibility for money doesn’t exist, but we need some help with continued growth. We typically review movies as we buy them since we’re buying them anyway.
- There will be the possibility for the occasional Review copy of a film to be sent to you. We are actively working on building extended relationships with not only film studios, but the major distribution companies. Should you decide to accept an invitation to join the team, we will let you know when review copies are available as we prefer to have them physically in-hand before making them available as there is absolutely no guarantee of a Review copy when it comes from distribution firms.
- We are also looking for someone to help out with VOD reviews. We get a decent amount of VOD review requests from firms and we’d like to extend the website out to include these as well.
- You must have the ability to maintain communication with the team. We’ve run into several issues with people that have been brought aboard and they’d simply abandoned the site. We completely understand that life can get busy, things come up, whatever. Don’t just disappear, give us a heads up that things are a bit hectic and we’ll definitely understand. We do provide a means of continuing communication with the team.
- Additional items will be covered should you choose to accept an invitation that’s been extended to join the team.
We obviously look forward to what 2018 has to bring for not only us here at the reviews section of ReDVDit, but all of us from /r/dvdcollection as well. There are not only a lot of movies coming out this next year, but we’ve got some big changes for the ReDVDit website planned to bring you even more content! We will make formal announcements as the new changes are brought in.
- The ReDVDit Team (Doug, Chris, Will, Jon, Andrew)