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Bloodspell DVD + Supplements Coming Out Next Week

From director Hugh Hancock's "Bloodspell Development Updates" blog today:

OK, we've finally heard back from Bioware and EA.

Good news: we'll be releasing something you can burn as a DVD, next week.

Bad news: We won't be able to release a physical DVD.

EA have gotten back to us and refused our request to distribute via DVD. Obviously, this is one of the major problems with producing a Machinima film using someone else's Intellectual "Property", in today's rather screwed up legal system. I'll have some more detail on what our plans were and what happened next week.

But we have the ISOs (disk images) ready to go, so here's what we're going to do:

1) We'll upload both the ISOs, hopefully to both the Internet Archive and a Bittorrent server. You can burn these in a standard DVD writer as a DVD you can watch on television. We'll also upload disk and inlay artwork for you.
2) We'll also produce a DivX version of both DVDs, for those of you who want to listen to the commentaries but don't want to download 5 Gb of ISO.
3) Finally, we'll upload all the documentaries we produced to Blip.tv, for your streaming viewing pleasure. They'll also be on both the ISO and the DivX, but there's a lot less downloading involved in watching them on Blip.

So, it's coming, at last - the final chapter in the BloodSpell saga.

Bloodspell, if you don't already know, is a wonderful feature length film (adapted from the original 14 part series released in 2006), which premiered here at Machiniplex back in the Fall of 2007. Since then, Hugh and other members of Strange Company have been working hard to release a DVD of the film itself and a second DVD of supplemental material (four hours of documentaries, etc). In addition to all of the work involved in simply producing a high quality DVD (and believe me it's a lot of work), Hugh had his fingers crossed that Bioware and EA games would ok the release of the DVD under creative commons. Bioware, it seems, was very much for the idea, but EA Games (who recently acquired Bioware) apparently decided that they did not want Strange Company to release a physical DVD of Bloodspell (and the supplements disc).

Hugh's simple (and gracious) announcement probably hides enormous frustration with EA. I fail to understand their caution in not allowing an actual physical DVD. I don't have much empathy for giant corporate paranoia. EA has a pretty poor history as a company (claims of labor abuse, hostile takeovers, scorched earth acquisitions of smaller game companies, etc and etc) and their recent efforts re-make their corporate image (while gobbling up smaller companies) has had mixed success.

My question is this: when will a game company step up and set an example/precedent in supporting Machinima filmmakers like Hugh and his crew at Strange Company? I mean, come on, Hugh has a stellar reputation both as a filmmaker and a Machinima promoter. I'm hard-pressed to think of an a person and a company that would play fair with EA in any business dealings. What a missed opportunity for EA to promote their attempts to rehabilitate their business image. Certainly Hugh and Strange Company are going to abide by any legal contract that EA would create, why not seize the opportunity and negotiate something that would allow for a release of an actual physical DVD that would benefit both sides? It's disappointing that they would hold back on making a significant effort to support Hugh's efforts (and the Machinima community in turn).

If EA wants to shed their image as an indifferent and machiavellian company, now is certainly the time. By fully supporting filmmakers like Hugh Hancock and establishing a legal precedent for Machinima DVD distribution, EA could have gotten the corporate herd moving in the right direction. I think the community would applaud such an effort.

My congratulations to Hugh and Strange Company for all of their hard work in creating the DVDs and for sticking with it to release them to the Machinima community and the general public. Bravo!

Quick notes: I have one last article still in the can for our Bloodspell premiere at Machiniplex. I created a "Scene Breakdown" for one of the climactic scenes near the end of the film just before Jared confronts the Master for the last time. I hope to put the finishing touches on that article and release it in time for the DVD image release next week. Should be of interest as it features excellent directorial commentary by Hugh and Paul (who plays the Master) along with a comparison of the animatic for the scene.

Also, I'd like to recommend a free image burning software for use when you have the Bloodspell ISO and want to burn it to a DVD. I've been using Img Burn for several years and it's a stable program that works very well.

Note: This blog post was revised slightly from it's original version due to a misunderstanding about some of the facts surrounding the dvd release. Thanks to Hugh for setting me straight.

  1. Blogger Overman | March 4, 2008 at 2:39 PM |  

    "they managed to surface from their lake of corporate indifference"

    A vivid and apt metaphor. Unfortunately.

    I'm very disappointed with EA's decision here.

  2. Blogger Ricky Grove | March 4, 2008 at 10:58 PM |  

    Thanks for your thoughts, Phil. it seems that I read too much into Hugh's blog post today and had to revise my own post at his request. Sorry I had to cut that phrase (as poetic and apt as it is). Well, at least it's still in your quote. Perhaps I should revise it to read "...to surface from their OCEAN of indifference"?

  3. Blogger Evan | March 16, 2008 at 9:59 PM |  

    Amen, Ricky. Big mistake on EA's part. From a corporate standpoint, it's advertising for nothing. I think both sides could have benefited from this, as you said.

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