Site created 12/15/97.
page created: 9/27/99
Universal's David Shin
on Home Theater Forum
The following is a
complete transcript of the on-line chat with David Shin, Director of
Interactive Marketing for Universal Home Video. It was originally
held on September 24th on
Home Theater Forum. Thanks to Ron Epstein and Parker Clack (of
the HTF) for all their hard work, and for providing the transcript
for all to read. Enjoy!
[RonEpstein] Okay folks... I realize it's a Friday night and I
appreciate you all coming here tonight. Welcome. At this time...We
are proud to introduce Mr. David Shin...who is Director of
Interactive marketing for Universal Home video. David, welcome!
[davidshin] Thank you Ron. I am glad to be here and want to first
apologize for the last minute schedule change.
[RonEpstein] We understand
[davidshin] I am ready for the questions.
[RonEpstein] Okay, I just want to ask a first question of you...
What exactly does Director of Interactive marketing do at Universal?
[davidshin] Basically two areas of responsibility. The first is
overall marketing for DVDs and second is Internet related marketing
for our VHS and DVD titles. Done.
[RonEpstein] Okay, great. Just so we have a general idea of your
position. Okay, Gunner, you are first...
[Gunnar] David, what can we expect from the Fast Times at Ridgemont
High Special Editon that was recently announced.
[davidshin] Unfortunately we are still confirming the added value
features but I can tell you we will include: An audio commentary, "making
of" documentary with never before seen interviews, a special "map"
highlighting locations from the film...and other elements not
[RonEpstein] Next up is Greg...
[Greg] Good evening David. First off, congrats to all of you at
Universal. Many of my favorite DVDs have come out of your studio.
One of your first releases was BABE. Sadly, this one was released in
Pan and Scan. Are there plans to re-release this classic in
(hopefully anamorphic) widescreen?
[davidshin] No immediate plans but this is a title (like several
others) we are considering releasing an anamorphic widescreen
version in the future. Done.
[Greg] Thanks. I'll buy it in a heartbeat.
[RonEpstein] Next up is Richard A
[RichardAlbreather] ok when will we see the Spielberg titles and
[davidshin] American Pie will be released this December. I want to
add that our plans are to also release a special "Campus Comedy
Classics" gift set that includes American Pie, Fast Times, and
Animal House... American Pie features are still being worked out and
you should hear an annoucement soon... As for the Spielberg
titles...We have not confirmed our plans for any spielberg titles
but hope to release some in the near future...
[Gunnar] Can we expect a Backdraft SE anytime soon with the
additional network television footage?
[davidshin] We do plan to release a Backdraft Collector's Edition
sometime next year. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is RIC....
[RIC] As I am a French Canadian from Quebec, I am concerned with
French tracks. What's your plan on this for future release?..Done
[davidshin] French tracks are on a case by case basis. We try to
release titles with French tracks when they are available to us.
[RonEpstein] Next up is Steve Wiley
[SteveWiley] OK. Mr. Shin, I'd like to know if you could comment on
how the Back to the Future trilogy will be presented on DVD. Are
deleted scenes a possibilty? Thanks!
[davidshin] We are currently discussion several scenarios --
individually and/or a gift set. As for added
value...Never-before-seen documentary including interviews, and
other elements. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is KVIT....
[Kvit] Hello Mr. Shin, are there any eagerly anticipated, bigtime
movies in the works for DVD (i.e. Spielberg's Jurassic Park)?
[davidshin] Yes. Although I unfortunately can not be very specific.
We would like to release a Spielberg title but as you all know, this
involves Steven himself and we are currently in discussions...Done.
[RonEpstein] Gunnar is up...
[Gunnar] Can we expect a reissue of Scarface and Twins. The quality
of these dvds are not to the current Universal standards.
[davidshin] Not in the near future. These are titles that we would
consider re-releasing further in the future. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is Jerry
[Jerry] Will classic horror films like the invisible man &
dracula be released on DVD?
[davidshin] Yes. Dracula will be released in December. Three
versions of Dracula will be on the disk: the original unscored
version, the new scored version (by Phillip Glass and the Kronos
Quartet), and the original Spanish version. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is Greg...
[Greg] You've recently revisited some of your earlier releases with
special editions. Any titles currently planned that you can
[davidshin] We just announced Liar Liar Collect Ed for October. We
are working on Backdraft and Conan The Barbarian. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is StevenA
[StevenA] I applaud Universal for the classic horroe SEs (Dracula
sounds wonderful!). Will lesser known films like Frankenstein meets
the Wolf Man and, especially, The Old Dark House get the same
special treatment? Done.
[davidshin] Yes, when they are released. We have not scheduled
their releases at this time, however. Done.
[guest91971] Are Universal and Amblin in discussions to release
catalog titles such as Jaws?
[davidshin] Yes. Although plans are not confirmed. Done.
[JeffUlmer] I asked a question a bout Legend did that get through?
[davidshin] Legend is currently not on our schedule. Done.
[RIC] Again of french track...Why most of them are available only
in stereo 2, not in 5.1?
[davidshin] We usually release the french tracks in the audio
tracks that are available to us. When they are available in 5.1, we
will use it. Done.
[Kvit] Hello again, I'd like to ask who determines which titles can
be THX certified...or which titles deserve to be THX certified?
[davidshin] This is a question for our Technical Ops group which
unfortunately am unable to answer for you...Done.
[Greg] I've been eagerly pre-ordering all of the Universal Classic
Horror. But I'd also love to buy some of Universal's classic film
noir. Though you've released some titles through image (notably
Double Indemnity), any plans for additional noir releases?
[davidshin] We have a number of film noir titles we are currently
reviewing but at the moment, we have not confirmed our plans. We
undoubtedly will release some in the future. Done.
[Holden] "Any plans for the other Eastwood titles in your
catalogue, specifically PLAY MISTY FOR ME and COOGAN'S BLUFF? "(BTW,thanks
for THE BEGUILED!)
[davidshin] Both titles are under consideration and will be
released in the future. Unfortunately I don't have a timeframe for
[AshleyWooten] Can you give us an update on Touch of Evil? Is there
work being done for a CE release?
[davidshin] We have not scheduled the release at this time. When we
do, we will consider a CE version of the title. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is SID....
[Sid] Any plans to use the same multi-angle thingy on the Mallrats
commentary so future titles?
[davidshin] I would hope so. We really liked this feature and hope
to enhance it for future titles. Done.
[PeterMFitzgerald] ...classic cartoons & TV show compilations
on DVD...Walter Lantz
[davidshin] These titles are being considered but have not been
Kvit] My last question for you Mr. Shin: Recently, Dreamworks'
Prince of Egypt contains sneak preview trailers in the special
features of their dvd, will we be seeing sneak preview trailers from
[davidshin] Yes. Beginning with The Mummy (Sept 28 street), we will
be placing sneak previews of upcoming theatrical releases on many of
our titles. Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is RIC...
[RIC] What's the best selling DVD title released until now by
[davidshin] If you combine the two versions of Patch Adams, it
would be this title. Next is Meet Joe Black with Mercury Rising
[RonEpstein] Next up is STEPHEN A
[StephenAnsley] Thanks for joining us David. The current DVD
release of Dune is not anamorphic and has few features... Are there
any plans for a SE or rerelease that is anamorphic? Done.
[davidshin] This is a title we will most likely revisit for a
future release (new version). As to any specifics, nothing has been
[PeterMFitzgerald] David, what determines which Universal films are
released on DVD by Universal, and which go to Anchor Bay &
Criterion? Who should I request lesser-known titles like MURDER HE
SAYS (1945), GAMBIT (1966), ARABESQUE (1966)?
[davidshin] We constantly evaluate which titles we decide to
license to these companies, but generally speaking, we are moving
toward releasing more of our own titles (rather than licensing them
[RonEpstein] Next up is RICHARD A
[RichardAlbreather] Will we be seeing more examples of 2 different
versions of a movie released at the same time like the mummy if so
[davidshin] Possibly. The title will have to really warrant two
versions but no immediate plans are in the works for future title.
We will also consider DVD18 as an alternative...Done.
[RonEpstein] Next up is RobbieRyan
[robbieryan] on the subject of double disc releases, can we expect
to see most a-list Universal titles released in both a DD and a DTS
version? What percentage does DTS amount to in the whole Universal
[davidshin] Yes. We will be releasing our first DD/DTS version in
December -- The Red Violin. As for the future, we are moving toward
releasing both audio tracks on the same disk for many of our titles
but as you know, it is difficult due to capacity issues. We will try
to do this whenever possible...
============= FEEDBACK TIME ============
[davidshin] I would like to go back to the question Richard
asked... Can I get some feedback as to everyone's opinion of
releasing two versions -- full frame and widescreen -- positive or
[robbieryan] negitive (done)
[Jonathan] Anamorphic or nothing.
[PeterMFitzgerald] Positive, but always err to widescreen.
[Parker] only original aspect ratio
[Sid] 16X9 Widescreen always
[RonEpstein] I think both versions are attractive to all audiances,
but widescreen is the true format
[MikeVoigt] definitely widescreen, understand full frame (market
[TimWinders] positive, prefer widescreen (or original aspect ratio)
[robbieryan] i meant to say widescreen.
[StephenAnsley] Would be better to do both on one disk (DVD18), but
always anamorphic. Done
[RichardAlbreather] both versions on one disc
[AshleyWooten] Same disc is fine, two are confusing.
[RichardAlbreather] it will help the market go
[RonEpstein] Yes, two discs are unecessary and I am sure not cost
[StephenAnsley] Same disk, but not if it compromises quality or
[TimRaffey] negative because vid. stores might want to carry the P&S
version for regular joes.
[StephenAnsley] Two versions lead to a lot of confusion when
ordering on the 'net.
[PeterMFitzgerald] My response was referring to both formats on the
same disc. No Full-Frame-Only DVDs for me.
[RichardAlbreather] if big titles such as american pie have both
versions with good extras and a good price it will sell great
[Parker] full frame if it was shot full frame widescreen if it was
shot full frame. Original directors intent.
[davidshin] Thanks for the feedback. Rest assured, our direction is
Anamorphic W/S at a minimum...Done.
========== BACK TO QUESTIONS ============
[robbieryan] Back to the whole DTS thing. How come when DTS LDS
came out we had great Universal titles like Jurassic Park and now it
seems that we are waiting for Spielberg. Is that the case?
[davidshin] Yes. Spielberg is very involved with deciding which of
his titles are released on DVD. We hope to release one or more
sometime next year. At this moment, however, nothing has been
[RonEpstein] Okay, STEPHENA is next...
[StephenAnsley] Thanks for staying so late, David. Any concrete
plans for a release of The Birds on DVD? And might it get special
treatment like Psycho (1960) did? Done
[davidshin] Absolutely. Birds should be released sometime next
[PeterMFitzgerald] David, how about double features of older,
compatible, under-90-minute films on one DVD? I'm thinking of the
W.C. Fields films, film noirs, or the contents of Universal's two
GOLDEN AGE OF SCI-FI THRILLERS laserdisc box sets on two DVD-18s,
etc. Thank you & good evening to you.
[davidshin] We will be releasing our first double-feature this
December -- Holiday Inn/Going My Way -- and will be releasing future
double-features. The titles you listed are under consideration.
[RonEpstein] Next up is JONATHAN...
[Jonathan] Thanks. I am not sure if this has been covered but what
position do you and others take on 6.1 audio and will you release
title's in this audio format even if the equipment for home users
isn't there yet?
[davidshin] There are no immediate plans to release 6.1 audio. As
it becomes more prevalent, we will consider for the future.
============= MORE FEEDBACK ===============
[davidshin] Ron, if it's okay, I would like to ask a couple of
questions to the group. Can I assume since we are online, most of
you buy your DVDs online? If not, where?
[RichardAlbreather] i buy them in stores
[Parker] I buy mine online or Best Buy
[Ned_V] i buy mostly online, better pricing
[StephenAnsley] I have 105 DVDs, 104 were purchased online...
[Ryan] Yes most buy them online with coupons for a very good prices
[RonEpstein] Online exclusively
[Jonathan] Yes, DVDExpress, 800.com, and occasionally Wal-Mart.
[StuRosen] Online only
[PeterMFitzgerald] Online, Ken Crane's & Amazon.com, others.
[RIC] In stores...Wal-Mart and Future Shop
[MikeVoigt] online more and more - digital eyes - but also at best
[TimRaffey] street prices are good in Canada so I buy many from
stores, Online if it's a good deal (shipping and customs stings
[davidshin] Great. What bonus features do you like most?
[RichardAlbreather] commentaries, trailers, featurettes
[Ned_V] commentaries, *real* making-of commentaries, trailers and
[TimWinders] trailers, director's commentaries
[RonEpstein] commentaries, trailers, behind-the-scenes
[Ryan] commentary tracks, music videos, trailers, deleted scenes
[Jonathan] Trailers, Commentaries, multi-angle
[RonEpstein] yes, deleted scenes
[StephenAnsley] Anamorphic transfers first and foremost! Though not
really a feature...
[RIC] More trailers...please
[PeterMFitzgerald] Trailers, commentaries, featurettes, deleted
scenes, good documentaries.
[MikeVoigt] audio racks, behind scenes, picture galleries, deleted
scenes - and cool menus ;)
[StephenAnsley] Audio commentaries are always wonderful!
[Jonathan] Animated Menus is a plus
[Ryan] animated menus (like Babe pig in the city) are great too,
but not the most important part
[StephenAnsley] I also enjoy deleted scenes...
[TimRaffey] commentaries, deleted scenes, more great documeantaries
(which Universal exels at)
[davidshin] Great. What features would you like to see on future
Universal titles (that you haven't seen...)?
[RichardAlbreather] deleted scenes definately
[Parker] trailers and deleted scenes added back in
[PeterMFitzgerald] I dislike 'Entertainment Tonight'-type fluff
[StuRosen] Reviews of the film
[TimRaffey] alternate angles
[RonEpstein] I think most all features have been utilized
[StephenAnsley] How about multi angle?
[StuRosen] Chapter selection (only kidding...)
[Ryan] I would really really like to see your movies such as Babe
and Babe pig in the city have special editions with commentary
tracks and widescreen anamorphic
[Parker] running commentaries with the movie ala laserdisc.
[RIC] Future release...
[RichardAlbreather] both aspect ratios
[davidshin] Next question: how many of you are planning to buy The
[Ned_V] already ordered it
[Ryan] not me
[StuRosen] Bought it.
[Jonathan] Already got it on pre-order!
[StephenAnsley] I already pre-ordered it a few weeks ago.
[Gunnar] preorder widescreen.
[TimRaffey] if I can find it for $25 CAN
[davidshin] Thanks for the feedback!
========= BACK TO QUESTIONS ===========
[RonEpstein] I have the last question... Getting back to the all
important SPIELBERG. How cooperative is Spielberg becoming to
UNIVERSAL in releasing his best films, and, in your opinion, are we
close to seeing his films being released by UHV?
[davidshin] With the release of Saving Private Ryan on DVD (Nov.
2), Spielberg is definitely supportive of the format. This is
probably the most frequently asked question (next to the Back To the
Future trilogy...) and is difficult to answer b/c there are numerous
factors in deciding what and when to release these special titles...
Even if Spielberg agrees to release a title, other factors come in
to play such as: the right time of the year, special anniversaries,
special joint-programs with our VHS counterpart, available added
value features, availability of cast and crew for special
interviews, etc....as for whether we are close...like I mentioned
earlier, I hope to see something next year...Done.
[RonEpstein] That was a great answer. Why has Spielberg been so
reluctant to release his titles to DVD up until now?
[davidshin] Depending on who you ask, you will get 100 different
answers... I really can't speak for him but it is obvious that every
studio have certain titles that they have decided (for whatever
reason) not to release on DVD. I think as the consumer base
continues to grow you will see more studios releasing these "big"
[RonEpstein] David... On behalf of all of us here... We wish to
thank you for your time. This is absolutely great that UHV cares
about us, the consumers. We would love to have you back again --
[davidshin] Thanks to all and great feedback!
[StephenAnsley] Thank you, David. Have a wonderful weekend.
[Ryan] Thanks Ron Parker and David!!!!!
[Parker] Thanks for taking the time out of your evening to join us.
Have a great weekend.
[TimWinders] Thanks for your time, David!
[Jonathan] Thank you.
[PeterMFitzgerald] Night, David! Thanks!
[RichardAlbreather] cant wait for american pie dave
[Doug] Thanks David!
[Ned_V] good night david... and thanks
Session Close: Fri Sep 24 23:45:50 1999