Sign in to follow this  
bonyoldrajah

"The Art of Buster Keaton": KINO vs. Asian DVD Box Sets

5 posts in this topic

I am aware that the career-spanning 11-DVD box set entitled The Art of Buster Keaton is available in North America courtesy of KINO VIDEO. There is also out there a considerably less expensive region-free 11-DVD box set going by the same name and released by an Asian company (Goat?).

 

Would somebody with knowledge/experience of the two sets please compare/contrast them for me? I'm curious about the quality? That is, for picture and sound: which is better? which is worse? I'm also curious about the quantity: do both versions include the same films, shorts, and bonus material?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very good question, Northbreed. It's also important to know what music the Asian sets are using, especially as Kino itself is not always consistent (for example, an early release of 'The General' featuring an excellent Robert Israel score has now been replaced by the less-than-stellar Alloy Orchestra). My own solution is to collect multiple versions and try to appreciate the different scores on their own terms but this isn't necessarily a good solution when you're shelling out big bucks for a box set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have no first-hand knowledge of this particular Asian boxed set...but I do have experience with Asian boxed sets in general...and also with the Kino "Art of Buster Keaton" set, which I own.

 

The Kino set is very good - worth every penny, IMO. Great quality, and lots of extras & shorts. And further, I would purchase it again at whatever the premium over any boxed set from Asia.

 

The Asia markets are BRIMMING with pirated video materials - even sets which look fairly authentic are often comprised of pirated material. This in itself is illegal, of course. But in addition to the legal issues, there are also the quality issues. Substandard quality is quite frequent in these 'boxed sets' from Asia. Grainy pictures, terrible sound, endings of episodes/films cut off, etc.

 

As I said, I do not have experience with this PARTICULAR boxed set, but I do have substantial background when it comes to Asian video. First, because I've spent alot of time in Asia myself (China & Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan) and have seen all the pirating going on there as this stuff is sold right on the streets in all of those countries save Japan. And second, because in addition to being a classic film collector, I am also a scifi collector...and have heard TONS of stories from dissatisfied scifi customers who wish they had paid three times the price for a boxed set of scifi episodes, because the one that they got for cheap from Asia was substandard in quality. And not just mildly substandard. We are talking here about the last 5 minutes of an hour-long scifi TV show episode being completely missing.

 

And of course, there is little recourse in such situations - especially if a 'company' is...well...in Asia. ;)

 

In short, I would be VERY careful when purchasing Asian sets of any kind - especially ones that are supposedly 'region free'. Asia is R4, I believe...and anything that is sold as 'region free' out of Asia has a pretty high chance of being pirated, I suspect.

 

If the Asian set you speak of has the exact some stuff on it as the Kino set, I'd bet good money that they pirated the Kino set. Might be worth a call to Kino to see if they authorized this set - especially if it appears to be identical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had good experiences and I've saved a ton of money purchasing dvds from Asia. Most of what is available is NOT pirated, but licensed by the owner of the rights at a lower rate than American-made product, hence the savings. I am not Asian, by the way. As far as region coding, make sure items are in NTSC format, not PAL format (unless you have a universal dvd player). If it says "region-free", it usually is precisely that. Often even if it says Region 3 (Asia) on the box, the disc is actually region-free.

 

The only problem I've experienced with Asian discs is that they often don't have all or some of the extra features. The savings make it worth it for this guy on a budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you 100%, Orson. Finding the best buy is a consumer's prerogative AND ultimate incentive. A few weeks ago, I borrowed the ($100+)KINO Keaton 11-DVD set from my local library and took extensive notes on the content. I then purchased the region-free Asian Keaton DVD set on ebay for under $30USD and compared it with the KINO. The short film & feature film groupings per DVD were the same. The audio & video quality between the two sets was identical. The musical scoring by Israel, Muri, etc. was the same. The chapter selections for each short film and feature varied a bit, but so what. The Asian version of the Keaton Plus DVD left out a few bits from KINO's "Silent Echoes" documentary bonus, but otherwise it almost perfectly matched the KINO content.

 

I encourage Keaton fans and the Keaton curious to go to ebay and purchase the inexpensive region-free Asian DVD version of "The Art of Buster Keaton" instead of the expensive KINO Video version. It is not simply the better buy; it is the best buy. DAMFINO? Believe me, I know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us