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1063

A likely answer to exactly what the non-Green availability means...
Topic by: Blumphf
Posted: July 20, 2013 - 7:09 PM PDT
Last Reply: November 9, 2013 - 11:55 AM PST

page  1  2  3      prev | next
author topic: A likely answer to exactly what the non-Green availability means...
Blumphf
post #1  on July 20, 2013 - 7:09 PM PDT  
Hey all,

I just happened to take a look at an old email response I got from Weezy, almost a year to the day now in 2012 (July 20th, 2012 to be precise) concerning an inquiry to her about availability of titles that were not Greens. I'm going to paste the the entire email below...see if you can pick out the most interesting part of her reply: ------------>

[quote]
Hi! Sorry for the late reply.

These I have on order:

INGA - The entire collection is being re-released in August.
DEEP CONTACT
Vice Academy

These are now unfortunately all either lost or damaged and there's not enough people queued up for us to buy more copies:
QUADROON
THE GUNFIGHTER
NO TELLING
SUMMER OF FEAR
GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE
WAR OF THE SATELLITES
SHORTS VOL. 2 - not sure what this is
THE SWINDLE
QUATERMASS II
EROTIC DREAMS OF JEANNIE
TRUCK STOP

This one I may be able to get, so keep it in your queue for now: STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING

Thanks and have a great weekend! [/quote]
________________________________

Did you spot what I consider to be the most telling part of her response? For the titles that would evidently remain unrentable, did you notice the phrase:

"...These are now unfortunately ALL EITHER LOST OR DAMAGED and and there's not enough people queued up for us to buy more copies."

That's pretty much an admission that it's probable most non-Green color titles are missing from Greencine's current inventory due to loss or damage, dontcha think? Probably about 97% of them, at least based on the number I've had in my queue for years and the ones that have actually been sent to me (maybe ten or so in 3 years time, out of about 300).

Some of those titles I've since managed to pick up copies of from trades with other collectors so I can't check their color status now, but the six that I have left in my queue are all Blues. This rings a bell because I remember at that time I specifically asked Weezy about Blue titles, figuring they'd be the most likely to be received eventually.

What's funny is that even after confirming that these specific title were NO LONGER IN GREENCINE'S INVENTORY, THEY WERE NOT REMOVED FROM THE "ADD TO QUEUE" OPTION. Maybe Weezy didn't have the authority to do that. Or it wasn't policy.

Whatever, but it's a strong bit of evidence that these titles SHOULD HAVE BEEN REMOVED from the current inventory and only been available for the "Request" option, especially since if they only way they'll become available again is if GC actually purchases them. And since this place is being run by a second set of owners now, that ain't gonna happen--they're gonna squeeze every last drop of blood from this body without putting too much more juice in the tank.

I just made a screenshot of my the titles I have in my queue. I dropped about a dozen Greens and readded them to my NF queue; I'm left with 14 Greens and that's it for me. I'll see what I get from those, then I'm done here.

The last meager vestige of hope I've had of ever getting non-Green titles is dead and buried. I figure about two months more and then Sayonara.

StealthJay
post #2  on July 20, 2013 - 7:56 PM PDT  
Any consolation I am already presumably saying bye bye my 1st week in before i get my first shipment. Shame no one had posted about problems recent enough on the board to save me the $20.
StealthJay
post #3  on July 21, 2013 - 2:36 PM PDT  
As of 5:30 pm EST 7/21 Greencine is still unreachable
kaream
post #4  on July 22, 2013 - 12:57 PM PDT  
How come nobody has ever mentioned Facets.org before? I knew they publish their own DVDs of more obscure films, but I never realized they're also a subscription rental service like Netflix and GreenCine, and have gobs of stuff available, not just their own releases.

(If you're more into streaming, today's Huffington Post has a slideshow at the bottom of an article about "Netflix makes history with 14 Emmy nominations"; the slideshow lists several streaming-only services.)


I recently queued a three-disc set here, all shown as green, and was immediately sent the first disc (I'm on 1-out). Last Thursday I returned it but had to wait until Friday for an open slot to be able to post my quick-return. Nothing sent out Friday afternoon, or so far today - but it's still early in the day now, so maybe they'll still send another disc before 5:00 California time.

If not, how can you cancel when all emails are getting bounced? I'm coming up to my renewal date later this week.
StealthJay
post #5  on July 22, 2013 - 1:32 PM PDT  
> On July 22, 2013 - 12:57 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> How come nobody has ever mentioned Facets.org before? I knew they publish their own DVDs of more obscure films, but I never realized they're also a subscription rental service like Netflix and GreenCine, and have gobs of stuff available, not just their own releases.
>
> (If you're more into streaming, today's Huffington Post has a slideshow at the bottom of an article about "Netflix makes history with 14 Emmy nominations"; the slideshow lists several streaming-only services.)
>
>
> I recently queued a three-disc set here, all shown as green, and was immediately sent the first disc (I'm on 1-out). Last Thursday I returned it but had to wait until Friday for an open slot to be able to post my quick-return. Nothing sent out Friday afternoon, or so far today - but it's still early in the day now, so maybe they'll still send another disc before 5:00 California time.
>
> If not, how can you cancel when all emails are getting bounced? I'm coming up to my renewal date later this week.
> ---------------------------------

I just checked after 4 pm EST today and the billing from the 17th hadn't cleared my bank either.Low and behold I did get 4 movies today (even though the site says released to shipping still).

Also, fingeres crossed I just emailed Greencine and I didn't get an immediate ping back. Will update if i get a response or pingback though.
StealthJay
post #6  on July 22, 2013 - 1:36 PM PDT  
> On July 22, 2013 - 12:57 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> How come nobody has ever mentioned Facets.org before? I knew they publish their own DVDs of more obscure films, but I never realized they're also a subscription rental service like Netflix and GreenCine, and have gobs of stuff available, not just their own releases.
>
> (If you're more into streaming, today's Huffington Post has a slideshow at the bottom of an article about "Netflix makes history with 14 Emmy nominations"; the slideshow lists several streaming-only services.)
>
>
> I recently queued a three-disc set here, all shown as green, and was immediately sent the first disc (I'm on 1-out). Last Thursday I returned it but had to wait until Friday for an open slot to be able to post my quick-return. Nothing sent out Friday afternoon, or so far today - but it's still early in the day now, so maybe they'll still send another disc before 5:00 California time.
>
> If not, how can you cancel when all emails are getting bounced? I'm coming up to my renewal date later this week.
> ---------------------------------

If you give facets a try please let us know how it is speed/csr wise.
kaream
post #7  on July 22, 2013 - 1:41 PM PDT  
Very strange goings-on. I'd like to support GreenCine, if they can make a go of it, because at least their heart has always been in the right place, with committed staff - Weezy and Underdog, etc. They are really interested in good films.

Yeah, I'll post back here too. I'm still hoping they'll send out the next disc in the set I'm trying for.
StealthJay
post #8  on July 22, 2013 - 1:53 PM PDT  
> On July 22, 2013 - 1:41 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Very strange goings-on. I'd like to support GreenCine, if they can make a go of it, because at least their heart has always been in the right place, with committed staff - Weezy and Underdog, etc. They are really interested in good films.
>
> Yeah, I'll post back here too. I'm still hoping they'll send out the next disc in the set I'm trying for.
> ---------------------------------

As an aside about Facets looks like some stuff is VHS only, and it is more expensive than Greencine.
StealthJay
post #9  on July 22, 2013 - 2:04 PM PDT  
Still no bounce back.No response but no bounce back.

However, since nothing is showing up on Greencine as mailed, I can't quick return anything.
kaream
post #10  on July 22, 2013 - 4:01 PM PDT  
> On July 22, 2013 - 12:57 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I recently queued a three-disc set here, all shown as green, and was immediately sent the first disc (I'm on 1-out). Last Thursday I returned it but had to wait until Friday for an open slot to be able to post my quick-return. Nothing sent out Friday afternoon, or so far today - but it's still early in the day now, so maybe they'll still send another disc before 5:00 California time.
> ---------------------------------

Well, something is happening - Disc 2 of my set has now been released to shipping. Hooray!
Blumphf
post #11  on July 22, 2013 - 5:01 PM PDT  

>
> Well, something is happening - Disc 2 of my set has now been released to shipping. Hooray!
> ---------------------------------

My disc that was only "released to shipping" on Friday (and all weekend) evidently shipped after all because I received it today!

I also got an email from GC that my last rental was received by them...

However, I can't use the quick return button now because my my latest rental--which is in my hands as I write this--is still in my queue as RELEASED TO SHIPPING! um guys...it's already here! Please get on the ball, ok?!

StealthJay
post #12  on July 22, 2013 - 5:26 PM PDT  
> On July 22, 2013 - 5:01 PM PDT Blumphf wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> >
> > Well, something is happening - Disc 2 of my set has now been released to shipping. Hooray!
> > ---------------------------------
>
> My disc that was only "released to shipping" on Friday (and all weekend) evidently shipped after all because I received it today!
>
> I also got an email from GC that my last rental was received by them...
>
> However, I can't use the quick return button now because my my latest rental--which is in my hands as I write this--is still in my queue as RELEASED TO SHIPPING! um guys...it's already here! Please get on the ball, ok?!
>
>
> ---------------------------------
Mine finally got moved to shipping this evening and i got emails.Unfortunately the site is saying the ship date is today.Meaning I have to wait until Wednesday before I can quick return anything, even though it was shipped last week.
kaream
post #13  on September 5, 2013 - 11:24 AM PDT  
A report from the trenches:

I've finally decided yesterday to sign up for a free two-week trial with Facets. With their service you create a queue just as with GC or NF. One difference here is that unlike NF (and unlike what GC pretends to do), Facets does not try to provide any information concerning the current availability of requested movies; their suggestion is that you keep at least 20 titles in your queue. The FAQ didn't specify how this initial free trial would work, but their email today shows they are sending me three discs at a time.

Essentially I just copied over my GreenCine queue, making some minor changes, with these results:
--Lumiere Brothers' First Films (skipped)
--Capitaine Conan (skipped)
--Marketa Lazarova (sent)
--Chronicle of a Summer (skipped)
--Single Girl, A (skipped)
--Germany in Autumn (sent)
--Street Without End (sent)

In addition to standard US-format NTSC DVDs, they also carry a number of titles on VHS, and some DVDs in PAL format, where DVDs in NTSC format are unavailable. I assume these PAL discs are all Region 0, but in any case they always warn that PAL may not work in your player. If these PALs are region-free (Region 0), they ought to play without problems in any computer optical drive, and may play in some stand-alone DVD players. VHS titles are always marked as such but do not carry a specific warning, so you do need to be careful not to queue any of these unless you have a tape player - and VHS also entails an extra shipping charge.

I've noticed that a title search may not always return a wanted title which they do in fact have, but will show up in a search by director. Searching is very fast, with none of GC's problems of delays. One thing that's very confusing at first is that a lot of titles are marked "N/A", which I took to mean "not available"; instead it turns out that "N/A" just means "not rated", and has nothing to do with availability.

The basic problem with Netflix is that they simply refuse to buy many Criterion releases and some more obscure publishers such as Lobster or Flicker Alley, even though these are in print. Apparently GreenCine does make an effort to buy these, but in insufficient quantities, so that they're very hard for subscribers to actually get. And Facets' stock of PAL discs means that if you are willing to watch a movie on your computer, many otherwise unavailable titles can be rented. A very minor nuisance is that the website requires a new logon with password for each visit.
kaream
post #14  on September 5, 2013 - 12:54 PM PDT  
> On September 5, 2013 - 11:24 AM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> In addition to standard US-format NTSC DVDs, they also carry a number of titles on VHS, and some DVDs in PAL format, where DVDs in NTSC format are unavailable. I assume these PAL discs are all Region 0, but in any case they always warn that PAL may not work in your player. If these PALs are region-free (Region 0), they ought to play without problems in any computer optical drive, and may play in some stand-alone DVD players. VHS titles are always marked as such but do not carry a specific warning, so you do need to be careful not to queue any of these unless you have a tape player - and VHS also entails an extra shipping charge.
> ---------------------------------

Update:

Looking around a bit further, I find that queuing a VHS does in fact carry a pop-up warning - I hadn't tried doing that before. However, in experimenting with queuing some discs that I know are R0 PAL, most but not all of these similarly carried the "may not play" pop-up. So it seems that their cataloging may have some kinks. I also did notice, though, that a few foreign-language films were marked as "(no EST)", meaning "no English subtitles". I didn't try queuing any of these, and don't know if these may also pop up with a warning.

I have the impression that they may be relying on clamshell information to determine whether a disc may be only Region 2 (Britain & Europe), or may in fact be region-free. This happens very frequently, where an R0 disc is labeled as R2 only. But in any case these will all be in PAL format, probably playable only on your computer.
Cinenaut
post #15  on September 6, 2013 - 8:52 AM PDT  
I was wondering if anybody had tried Facets.
kaream
post #16  on September 6, 2013 - 10:52 AM PDT  
I'll post back with a report when I receive my first shipment - should be tomorrow or more likely Monday.
kaream
post #17  on September 6, 2013 - 11:30 AM PDT  
It's of no consequence, but like CafeDVD and unlike both GC and NF, they send a single email listing all discs shipped out that day, rather than separate emails for each title.

(CafeDVD does not work on a subscription basis like these other three services. Instead you rent wanted discs, I think up to a maximum of four at a time, for a $3 rental fee per disc, plus shipping - to you, return is COD - of $1.99 for the first disc plus $0.50 for each additional disc. Thus an order of three discs costs a total of $11.99. They have a pretty slim catalog, but it includes some surprising out-of-print titles. And if a title has a "Rent" button, that means they definitely have it in stock and can send it right away, so there's no guessing. Don't bother with queuing anything with a "Wait" status; I've never yet seen one of these become available.)
kaream
post #18  on September 7, 2013 - 2:10 PM PDT  
Okay, girls and boys, here's the scoop:

Today I received in the mail three mailers, shipped from Chicago, containing Marketa Lazarova, Germany in Autumn, and Street Without End.

I had specifically wondered how they would handle Marketa Lazarova, because from the descriptions I've seen, this film is split between two separate DVDs. In fact it turns out that the entire film is contained on Disc 1, and Disc 2 contains only the extras as described at the Criterion website. NF does not have this title currently available; queuing it puts it into their teaser "Saved" section, which means they may or may not decide to buy some copies. GC lists both discs, but only Disc 1 can be queued (unless they've fixed it in the meantime); I emailed Support asking about Disc 2, and Paul replied that he wasn't able to queue Disc 2 either - he didn't know what the problem was. What Facets did, to my surprise, was to send me both discs, not only together in the same mailer, but together inside a single sleeve! They put the label sides face-to-face, with the playable sides facing against the tyvek sleeve, which makes sense for protecting against scratches. (There was no note requesting the user to return the discs the same way. They seem to have a lot of faith in their subscribers.)

And unlike nearly all such mail I receive recently, these mailers had stick-on labels showing both the date mailed (Sept 5), and the amount of 1st-class postage ($0.46 for a single disc, $0.86 for the double).

The mailers are essentially the same side-opening design as those used by NF, but better - paper weight is the same (heavier stock than GC uses); no open hole like NF that frequently tears; and round stickers on both top and bottom so that all four edges are sealed (NF uses a single sticker, leaving one edge unsealed).

Unlike both GC and NF, the tyvek sleeves were left completely plain, with no identifying labels, which I found a little surprising. And the discs themselves have "Facets" and their stock numbers handwritten in permanent Sharpie on the front.

I have no idea whether this specific shipment to me from Chicago was an unusual exception, but all three mailers that I received today had clearly been machine-handled in USPS, leaving long rub marks across the addressee portion of the mailers; and the single disc Street Without End was damaged by the sorting machine - but fwiw the two Marketa Lazarova discs, as well as the single Germany in Autumn, survived fine. This was the first time I've ever received DVDs from anywhere that had been machine-sorted. I have emailed them to bring attention to this problem.

I'm still in my two-week free trial, but since they're sending me stuff I want that NF doesn't have, and GC won't send, I'm going to stick around with them. I still would like to support GreenCine (to the extent of 1-out), at least for a while, because I'm sympathetic to their mission. But I'm afraid this can't last, the way things are going - or rather, not going - with them.
kaream
post #19  on September 8, 2013 - 5:02 PM PDT  
> On September 5, 2013 - 12:54 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I have the impression that they may be relying on clamshell information to determine whether a disc may be only Region 2 (Britain & Europe), or may in fact be region-free. This happens very frequently, where an R0 disc is labeled as R2 only. But in any case these will all be in PAL format, probably playable only on your computer.
> ---------------------------------

Rummaging around some more today, I'm finding a couple of movies that are specified as being R2 PAL. Unlike R0 PAL, these will definitely not play in your computer drive (unless they are actually R0 but labeled as R2, which happens fairly frequently). It's true that you can reset your drive's region, but then you won't be able to play R1 (American) movies.

I've mentioned elsewhere that buying the software program AnyDVD from SlySoft.com will override region codes, allowing you to play any DVD, regardless of where it's from. I do worry about malware, but I've used this program for years and can vouch for its safety. However, this seems to be written only for Windows; there must be similar programs for Mac, but I'm not familiar with them.
kaream
post #20  on September 11, 2013 - 8:31 PM PDT  
> On September 7, 2013 - 2:10 PM PDT kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>...
> I have no idea whether this specific shipment to me from Chicago was an unusual exception, but all three mailers that I received today had clearly been machine-handled in USPS, leaving long rub marks across the addressee portion of the mailers; and the single disc Street Without End was damaged by the sorting machine - but fwiw the two Marketa Lazarova discs, as well as the single Germany in Autumn, survived fine. This was the first time I've ever received DVDs from anywhere that had been machine-sorted. I have emailed them to bring attention to this problem.
>
> ---------------------------------

When I first signed up for a free 2-week trial at Facets, I emailed them asking about the confusing "N/A" designation, which logically would mean "not available". Within just a few hours I received a reply email from Chris Damen, Facets Rental Manager, welcoming me, and explaining "Our website was developed by an Australian company and culturally they used "N/A" for that empty [rating] space for the rating. The not rated means no one has put the appropriate rating of the film in the description."

I didn't question this, but I did wonder if Facets accepts subscribers' MPAA ratings, rather than getting them from IMDb, where they would be accurate and consistent. There are a very few movies indicated as "R" or "PG". (And "ratings" in this context does mean MPAA, rather than whether you think it's a good movie - for that they use the same 1-through-5-star method used by Amazon.)

Anyway, I was pleased to receive a prompt email response, that actually answered my question.

My initial shipment of three titles went out the day after joining, as described above, and all were received after two days in transit. As I've mentioned earlier, all three mailers had been run through a mail-sorting machine - the first time I've ever seen this happen from any subscription service - and one of the discs was ruined by the machine.

Buoyed by the quick reply to my first email, I sent Chris Damen a second email telling him what happened - and have never yet received any response to that email. One would think they would want to know their discs were being torn up in mail-sorting equipment. (It's very obvious when a DVD mailer has been machined; it leaves an impression of the disc on the mailer, and badly smears the addressee label. I have NEVER seen any NF or GC discs machined before.)

Two days from Chicago to me, but then a full four days for my returns to be checked in. I don't know whether this is USPS, or warehouse check-in procedure.

What they are sending me tomorrow are my #4 and #7 requests, and one from way down near the bottom of my list. This is not a good sign. We'll see how it goes after this. I'll stick with them for a while, but also maintain my GreenCine 1-out, at least for a while.
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