Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Celluloid Addiction

Flicks With Hicks Turning Tricks With Chicks That Got Dicks.

Y'know, truth be told, they ain't made a film on celluloid stock in probably 80 years.

Good thing, too.  The celluloid tends to break down over time, and what starts as an already flammable substance breaks down into a quivering pile of strike-anywhere match head material in linear form.

But I digress...  I come not to speak of the history of film, but of the present.

I get some minor grief from friends for maintaining a ridiculously well-stocked film library.  Some of the grief is deserved.  Replacing boxes and boxes of VHS tapes with DVDs was an expensive (and unfinished) task.  And, of course, the advent of cloud storage and hi-speed video streaming renders those DVDs superfluous.  Obsolete.  Like maintaining a buggy whip collection.

Unless, of course, the video tap gets shut off upstream.  With a shelf of DVDs, I don't worry about Netflix or iTunes TOS alterations, bandwidth throttling, squabbles between studio and provider suddenly removing a wide swath of movies from availability, and so forth.  I want to watch a movie?  I go pull it off the shelf.

Still, it can be hard to find some titles.  In the old days, you had specialty mail-order firms for the obscure shit.  If you were chasing down the back catalog of Truffaut, Losey, Eisenstein, or some other Eurotrash flickmeister, you'd have to pay some serious ducats and have it shipped to you.

One catalog had an average price per video of about $50.  Now, a rental store's gonna amortize that out over the course of several years of rental.  What's a fanboy gonna do for that ultra-rare copy of 'Wizards'?  Pay up, sucka!

Still, if I really like a film, I want to have a copy on hand.  And that led to some agita at times.

See, for a lot of foreign films, you just can't get 'em in the US of A.  Either they weren't released on DVD here, or if the DVD is available (F'rinstance, from, it's set to a different Region Code, and your DVD player won't recognize it.  I won't even get into the whole NTSC vs PAL/SECAM thing...

(Side note: If you gotta play a PAL-coded video, use your PC's DVD drive.  It's the TV that can't handle the signal, a PC monitor should be OK with it.)

Well, good news, film fans.  Here's your answer: Hacking DVD Players

After looking up the manufacturer and model # of my DVD player, it took all of a minute to reset the code from USA Region One to Read-Damn-Near-Anything Region ZERO.

On a bonus note, I found a seller on eBay that deals in hard-to-find titles.  The only snag?  They're Korean.  So, if you can live with not being able to read the back of the DVD cover, and can remember to turn off the Korean subtitles, it's a pretty sweet deal!  I got a copy of Hitchcock's 'Lifeboat', the Bogart war flick 'Sahara' and Errol Flynn's 'Captain Blood' for just a few bucks apiece!

Now, if you'll excuse me, the popcorn needs popping, and it's nearing showtime at Cinema Capitan!