Comic-Con 2010: Digital Bits – Blu-ray Producers 2010

The Blu-ray/DVD panel is a new fixture at the San Diego Comic-Con, annually hosted by Bill Hunt from TheDigitalBits.com.  The panelists include Cliff Stephenson, known for his work on the Rambo Blu-ray, Charles de Lauzirika, responsible for assembling content on the Transformer (films) Blu-rays, Brian Ward from Shout Factory, Javier Soto, who has worked with Guillermo del Toro, and finally Todd Doogan and Adam Jahnke.

Attendees at the discussion were privy to some great featurettes, such as that of the upcoming release of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, a title that de Lauzirika has been hard at work on along with his efforts on the Alien Anthology, which will include a whopping 65+ hours of extras.  If you are looking for content on Blu-rays, Alien Anthology is your answer, your grail and your Encyclopedia Britannica.  These aren’t necessarily quick clips of outtakes either.  Rather, you will find significant behind-the-scenes footage of the films’ creation and editing.  The resume’ of de Lauzirika continues to grow as he directed his first full-length film this past year, titled Crave, as well as his recent work on the Chicago set of the much anticipated Transformers 3.

Cliff Stephenson spent some time over the past year working on the Rambo Extended Cut Blu-ray, of which the film is now officially known as John Rambo.  While fielding questions from the audience, one attendee asked why studios release a film, then re-release it with more content and so on, ultimately forcing consumers to buy multiple versions of their favorite films, all on the same format.  Stephenson replied by saying this was not a pre-planned marketing ploy.  As the initial version of Rambo was about to be shipped, Sylvester Stallone made a last-minute decision to put an extended cut on disc, Blu-ray only to be exact, which some say is essentially a brand new film.

Brian Ward has recently wrapped up work on the 80’s cult classic Max Headroom as well as another underground hit, Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Both transfers are unfortunately for DVD only, but these can still serve as a nice little addition to any home library.  Both were dream projects of Ward who is proud of his efforts and eager to see them arrive in the hands of the public in the near future.

As for Javier Soto, the diligent professional half jokingly said that he has spent the better part of the last year working on a project with Guillermo del Toro that will not come to fruition (referencing the recent production squashing of The Hobbit).  Unfortunatley, he wasn’t kidding.  After the recent demise of the Tolkien story, Soto has regrouped and focused his attention elsewhere.  You will find he is not running idle as he begins work on the upcoming Predator motion comics.

With the great Blu-ray vs. DVD debate still ongoing as well as that of extras vs. no extras, I asked the panel if they monitor the financial activity of their creations once they hit stores.  Surprisingly, most do not.  They work hard on assembling these theater-to-home transfers and once they conclude their duties on one product, their attention is immediately focused on the next one in line.  Brian Ward did say his stability is structured a bit differently, so if his work sinks at the cash register, it could spell doom for him.  Fortunately, they all do high quality work that keeps fans happy as well as those consumer dollars circulating.

The Honorable Bill Hunt Presiding

L to R: Todd Doogan, Charles de Lauzirika, Cliff Stephenson, Dr. Adam Jahnke, Bill Hunt, Javier Soto and Brian Ward


4 Responses to “Comic-Con 2010: Digital Bits – Blu-ray Producers 2010”

  1. Brian White

    Good recap Gregg. I’m very sad I had to miss this panel. Comic-Con was just not the same without the annual Blu-ray panel in my life.

  2. Gregg

    Thanks. I’m not going to say this has the punch of, say, a Green Lantern panel, but it is probably the most educating and informative panel I’ve been to at Comic-Con…3 years running!

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I love The Digital Bits website and I’m not surprised they put on a good panel. Nice job recapping the panel. If it makes you feel better while other sites all had Green Lantern and Avengers info this is the only place (other than the Bits I’m sure) that has this info so nice job!

  4. Brian White

    Yeah Sean… this panel is usually always one of the highlights of my Comic-Con experience. Just getting the chance to meet these guys and pick their brains after the panel is worth the price of admission if you ask me.