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Articles about cinema. Previews and trailers of forthcoming releases. On-the-spot reporting of film festivals.

Indicator switching from Dual Format to Blu Ray only releases

We have just received the following press release from Powerhouse Films:

Powerhouse Films' Indicator Label

As of October 2017, Powerhouse Films will cease publishing in Dual Format Editions in favour of releasing Blu-ray-only versions. This decision comes at the end of our first year of activity. While we are aware that there will be some who are unhappy with this decision, we would like to make it clear that it is not one which we have taken lightly.

We are dedicated to publishing films that we consider to be worthy of your time and interest. Some are well-known; others have enjoyed rather less attention or acclaim over the years. Regardless of how history has remembered them, though, our approach is to treat them as equals, and we strive to deliver editions which present the films in the best possible quality, accompanied by informative and entertaining extra features, insightful and (we hope) fascinating booklets, and well-proofed subtitles for the hard of hearing.

In its early days, DVD was truly a revelation. Compared to VHS, it was a film-lover’s dream. No more rewinding! No tape damage or tracking issues. No more dirty heads to ruin our enjoyment. And no more audio drop-outs. What’s more, those slimline DVD cases allowed more of our favourite titles to be stored on our packed shelves. And extras..!

But DVD wasn’t perfect. Its standard-definition image has never permitted adequate representation of detail. And, for those of us in Europe, the PAL DVD format’s 4% speed-up meant that we were forced to continue watching films at the wrong frame rate.

However, with the advent of Blu-ray, over a decade ago now, film fans were finally permitted to experience a richness of detail that was way beyond what DVD could offer. Now, depending on the quality of restoration work undertaken on a source master, and the skill of the encoder, viewers were permitted to experience the inherent filmic qualities of the moving image, all at the correct speed.

By the time that Powerhouse releases its September 2017 INDICATOR titles, we will have published 36 films in Dual Format Editions. In doing so, we hoped to achieve two things. First, we wanted to ensure that users of both DVD and Blu-ray would be able to enjoy our release. Secondly, and most of all, we hoped that the inclusion of a Blu-ray Disc would assist DVD users in making the transition to Blu-ray by ensuring that they would not need to upgrade their software purchases as and when they opted to upgrade their hardware. In short, we wanted to help DVD users build a Blu-ray library which would lend weight to their decision to invest in a machine that could play all of the discs in their collections.

As a publisher, Powerhouse has not been alone in adopting this strategy, but Dual Format Editions have been around for almost a decade now, and, rather than perpetuate the need for publishers to divert much-needed budgets into the production of two differing quality discs with the same content, we have decided to focus on the production of only the higher quality disc, and to improve the amount of available funds for the creation of extras and licensing film catalogues.

This decision has been taken with great consideration, and in the genuine hope that it will not alienate passionate viewers of extraordinary films.

Thank you, as ever, for your support,

The Powerhouse team

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