PLEASE NOTE: We will be closed on Monday May 27 for Memorial Day.
PLEASE NOTE: We will be closed on Monday May 27 for Memorial Day.

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The Film Industry and DVDs: a 2023 Retrospective

10 Ways DVDs Changed the Film Industry, a 2023 Retrospective

list of movies for dvd rental

10. The VHS Revolution

When the VHS Tape format made movies readily accessible in the family home, movie studio executives in the film industry were worried. If people didn’t have to go to the cinema to watch a movie, where were the profits going to come from? They were wrong to be afraid though, and it turned out that in-home viewing of movies would generate profits that had previously been unthinkable. So, studios committed to bringing their movies into the average American Home. That pivot from focusing primarily on box office profits to profits made from the sale of VHS tapes paved the way for DVDs in the early 2000s, and the streaming services we know and love today. HBO named themselves the ‘Home Box Office’ for a reason!

9. Special Features

One of the best features of a DVD as opposed to VHS is the size. DVDs are small, but they can store the same amount of runtime as the bigger and clunkier VHS. In order to put special features like extra scenes, interviews with the director and actors, and behind-the-scenes footage in a VHS release, the studio would have to put out an extra video tape in the box, effectively doubling the size of the product. But one can store a second DVD in the same box as the first and have it take up no extra storage space. The film industry took the idea of special features that the DVD allowed them to have, ran with it, and never looked back.

8: (Re) Rise of the Popular Director

In a world of digital streaming and social media, we often take it for granted that any content creator anywhere can make it into our living rooms. The first step on the road to making that a reality was the rise of the DVD. A single VHS tape containing a movie in 1985 cost nearly $50 (in 1985 money!), while in 2000 a copy of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator would only set you back $30. As DVDs were easier to produce and sell than VHS Tapes, more filmmakers were able to enter more American homes than VHS had ever permitted. Writer-Directors thrived in a new landscape where they didn’t necessarily have to beat the massive studios at the box office in order to succeed, and the name in the chair became as important to audiences as the names on the poster.

7. Movie Piracy

One thing that the film industry definitely liked better about VHS was that it was much, much, much harder to duplicate and distribute illegally. DVDs, on the other hand, are easily hacked and duplicated using easy-to-find software. It didn’t only affect the film industry, either. Music Piracy became the norm in the early 2000s once we moved away from analog cassettes and towards CDs. Paid streaming services that were far more convenient than piracy more or less killed it off in the late 2000s (think Spotify and Netflix), but now piracy has also gone fully digital, and is very much back.

6. Behind the Scenes

One of the coolest things about the film industry is how the films in question get made. Seriously, this story about Christopher Lee explaining that director Peter Jackson’s plan for his death scene as Saruman was completely wrong is awesome. Plenty of stories like that made it out of the studio because there was room in the box for a second DVD containing Behind the Scenes footage. At the end of the day, having more stuff in the same sized box resulted in a win for everybody, as the audience got access to insight they previously didn’t have, and the studios could mark up the prices at very little extra cost for them.

5. Digital Editing and Multiple Releases

What’s the best version of Blade Runner? The Final Cut, right? According to Ridley Scott it’s the Final Cut, anyway. Ridley Scott was famously unhappy with previous versions of the film that had been released on VHS (he publicly disowned 1992’s Director’s Cut), in part due to the rough editing. Combined with the difficulty of re-producing and re-releasing a movie on VHS, it would have been hard to blame him for simply leaving it be after 1992. However, the 25th anniversary of the film came around in 2007, and Scott released the definitive Final Cut. Scott was able to make the film the way he wanted it because of digital editing, and the release was a triumph. Such directors as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg took advantage of how comparatively easy it became to re-release films with new edits as well.

4. Better Image Quality

Put simply, a movie that’s been burned to a DVD looks better than a movie on a VHS Tape. For a more in-depth technical explanation, check out this article. For the purposes of this list, though, the horizontal resolution on a DVD is functionally double what it would be on a VHS, and there’s a total lack of color-bleeding, among the other picture quality issues that defined the analog format. DVDs also degrade far, far, far less slowly with each play and rewind than tapes do, and they aren’t subject to the same deterioration that a VHS tape would be over a period of many years.

3. Ending the Movie Rental Chain Industry

It’s a common misconception that digital streaming was what ended the reign of the movie rental store. While it’s true that chains like Blockbuster would have stuck around for much longer if digital streaming hadn’t happened, their profits actually peaked in 2004. 2004 was basically the end of VHS’s heyday. However, Blockbuster’s market share fell by 75% during 2003 to 2005, which coincides directly with the DVD becoming definitively more popular than the VHS. A fledgling competitor of Blockbuster’s called Netflix had introduced a DVD mailing rental service (which wouldn’t really have been practical with bulky VHS tapes), and Redbox made it possible to grab a DVD on your way out of the grocery store. The storefront model made sense when it was bulky VHS tapes changing hands for rental, but the DVD allowed for simpler, cheaper, and more convenient solutions that signaled the end of Blockbuster’s time atop the rental film industry.

2. Re-Releases of Classics

It’s true that modern writer-directors in the mold of Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott made a lot of hay out of releasing and re-releasing their movies on DVD. But the biggest film beneficiaries of DVDs have to be the old classics that had long since stopped being made on VHS. The Godfather, Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, Schindler’s List, Shadow of a Doubt, and more or less any great movie you care to name that was produced before 1980 enjoyed a massive revival in the early 2000s with the advent of the easy to produce and distribute DVD format. Can you spot the re-releases of The Godfather in this chart? Plenty of great and significant films would likely have been consigned to relative obscurity (the kind of obscurity, that is, where everyone’s heard of it but most people haven’t seen it) save a play on TV or a re-run at the theater had the DVD format not enabled them to be mass-produced and easily sold at an affordable cost.

1. Digital Streaming

Really, what else could be first? If DVDs were the original earthquake that shook up the film industry, the advent of digital streaming is the aftershock that made the original look small by comparison. How did DVDs bring about the digital streaming age, you may ask? The first (and most important thing) is that they forced studios to digitize all of their content. To sell a movie on a digital format, the movie has to be, well, digitized. Once the advent of YouTube happened from 2006 to 2009, it became clear that digital streaming was the future. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO had access to huge reserves of digital files of the movies they were licensed to rent out (or, in HBO’s case, the content they’d broadcast), so it didn’t take them long to set up internet streaming services. In Amazon’s case 2006, in Netflix’s 2007, and in HBO’s 2010. Finally, in 2023, Netflix has announced it’s shutting down the shrinking DVD rental arm of its business.

Wrapping Up

This list promised to deal with the film industry, and it does. The companies that got a jump start on the digital streaming age due to an early pivot to DVD rental are the film industry. Between a recent lack of “must-watch” movies, a global pandemic, and streaming at home simply being cheaper and more convenient, the film industry exists more in streaming services than any of the studio giants of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Back in 2003, that was an unthinkable reality. Can you imagine Blockbuster producing movies? Me neither. But in a world where a list of the Best TV Shows of the 2010s is dominated by Netflix, Amazon, and HBO – Blockbuster really is making movies. That, by far, is the biggest impact DVDs have had on the film industry as a whole.

The Business of Memory

“Oh…this picture here is from our first little store on the main strip in town.  This was when we were first getting started…”

We are in the business of memories.   My friend, the industrial designer Stuart Karten, once told me, “In your business you have to find a way to get as close to the memories as you can.” .

I’ve noticed over the years that some of our client’s fondest memories are from the very early years of their lives when they were first starting to get things figured out.  Often amongst the family photos, films, and videos of the Thanksgivings, birthdays, trips to Disneyland, and anniversaries, there are mixed in some items that show the early days of the family business:  the farm, the restaurant, the accounting office, the legal office, the retail store.  Everybody is so young and optimistic.  You can feel the energy in those images, and you can feel the energy in the owner of those images as they describe them and tell you the stories they contain.  The family business was often a center of gravity.  Something that not only provided a living, but also provided meaning beyond that living.   

Now I’m happy to say that we have a book about the founding of THIS business, DVD Your Memories, penned by our founder Chuck Temple.  His book is  Startup to Sold and it launches on March 7.  Not many small businesses have had Inc. Magazine publish a memoir regarding their early years, but Chuck’s story is a worthy one.

Startup to Sold relates the entire journey from Chuck’s early years earning money hustling for signatures on petitions, selling cars, tutoring autistic children, and eventually working in big box retail before recognizing an opportunity and a need in the market that he was uniquely suited for…all the way through the challenges and successes that came with rapid growth, and finally his successful sale of the business he built.

Chuck c. 2006 in the first office of DVD Your Memories

 

Rare for a business book, he writes with authentic honesty, humility, and vulnerability.

Chuck sold DVD Your Memories to me in 2012 after I retired from a 25 year career in the tech industry.  I looked at over 100 businesses before buying DVD Your Memories, and I can honestly tell you that the only one that was well run was this company Chuck built from the ground up.  

It is a tribute to Chuck and to the values he espouses in his book that many of the key employees he put in place over 10 years ago are still employed at DVD Your Memories today.  It is a further tribute to his process-building skills that many of the processes and systems he put in place to keep things under control are still in place as well.

The DVD Your Memories team, c. 2011 (with perhaps a little help from Photoshop!)

 

If you are thinking about starting a business (or thinking about what to do with a business you already own) you should read this book.  If you are a college age student getting ready to be launched out into the world (or if you know such a person) you should read this book or give that person a copy.  

Chuck’s lens is focussed sharply. He  writes in such a personal and specific way about recognizing and confronting obstacles, the value and necessity of hard work, the keys to personal and professional success, the importance of kindness and empathy, and the rewards of persistence.  I guarantee you will learn something, and I guarantee you will be inspired.

More info at: startuptosold.com

BREAKING:  We’re back on Saturdays!

Saturday Hours for Pick Up and Drop Off Now Available!!

WE are pleased to let you know that in order to better and more conveniently serve you our offices in West LA, Irvine, and San Diego will be open for business with new hours on Saturdays starting on Jul 16, 2022.  Many of you have been asking for drop off and pick up availability on Saturdays, and now we are happy to be able to go back to our pre-COVID schedule of Saturday openings.

 Please note the following:

  1. Hours on Saturday will be from 10:00am to 2:00pm for order drop off and pick up.
  2. Appointments are strongly encouraged on Saturdays.  It is extremely helpful to us if you book your drop-off or pick-up appointment in advance.  You can often do that same day.  You can book your appointment by clicking here
  3. Hours on Monday – Friday remain the same:  9:00am – 6:00pm.
  4. Appointments are no longer required Mon – Fri.
  5. Hours in our Torrance processing center are unchanged, and we are not open on Saturday in Torrance.

Thank you for all of your support over the years…especially the last two!  It has been and continues to be our privilege.  We look forward to seeing you once again on Saturdays.

Service changes due to COVID-19

In order to be compliant with local guidelines to limit the spread of Coronavirus, we are currently closed to the public at all of our four locations in California and Colorado. 

While we will not be able to greet drop-in customers in our friendly offices during this outbreak, our senior-level team is making sure that all of the orders currently in-house will be completed and back to you as soon as possible. Select staff members are deployed, either working from home-office spaces or in our labs, using social-distancing and sanitizing requirements at all times.

Current procedures for our valued customers:

We will only be able to service pick ups of completed orders and drop offs of new orders by appointment.  We will be maintaining social distance by communicating through a Ring intercom device and will handle all payments through our online portal and over the phone.

We can ship completed orders to you after taking payment over the phone or through our web payment portal.

In addition, you have the option to pay over the phone or online without leaving your home and we will provide you with a download link for your completed files.  You can then pick up your original media when we are back open to the public.  It will be safe with us until then.

If you’d like an update on your order, or you’d like to make an appointment to pick up your order or drop off a new order, please call 1-877-388-6093, text 310-620-6645 or email info@dvdyourmemories.com.

We understand that you have entrusted us with some of your most treasured possessions. Please know that your media is safe and will be here for you when we are finished processing. If your order is running a little behind schedule, we will get caught up as fast as we can.

Thank you for your support and understanding.  We’re still here for you!

Best Way to Ship Videotapes & Vinyl Records

When shipping important media like video tapes and vinyl records, it is vital that you pack them safely and securely. The last thing you want is to break or otherwise damage your recordings!

shipping-vhs

The first step is to acquire a sturdy box. Heavy duty cardboard is prefered, as often times packages are thrown around during transit. Heavy duty boxes will help keep the box intact during the rough travel ahead. If you need to find a box, they are usually sold at post offices, FedEx offices and Kinkos. Alternatively, you can ask your local grocery store hold onto some boxes for you, but the quality of these boxes can greatly differ, depending on the product.

lp-shipping-boxNOTE: For vinyl records, you can purchase boxes specifically designed for shipping them safely. Here is an example found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Record-Mailing-Boxes-Mailers-FingerPop/dp/B0034PU6Y8

Once your box is in hand, the next step is to make sure that you have some packing peanuts or other material to keep the contents from slamming around inside. Providing no packing material at all is generally a bad idea, even if your media is stuffed tightly in the box. Newspaper or other recycleable paper material work great for this. Make sure it is packed fairly tight so that none of the tapes or records can be jostled when the package is moved.

If you’re shipping to DVD Your Memories, make sure to include the packing slip that is generated when you complete the shipping form. Looking to ship your order to us? We have a fast, easy, friendly method through our partners at FedEx.

Ship Your Order Now!

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