Posted: September 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: production | 19 Comments »

I’m pursuing a bunch of ideas for the distribution of GET LAMP. I thought I’d take a moment to ask people to write in with their own opinions. I’ve created a survey below. Feel free to answer, but don’t feel you’re committing to buy it. Thanks for your time.

More entries will be coming very soon, by the way.

UPDATE: The survey was closed on September 20th. Thanks, everyone.

19 Comments on “Survey”

  1. 1 kevin said at 2:23 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    can’t make the survey work from my phone but would happily pay $50 for dvd boxset of equal quality to the BBS doc. I am invested personally in the topic and trust you based on prev work.

  2. 2 Alan De Smet said at 2:34 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    I hope the implication behind these questions is that you’re getting ready to produce the master for reproduction!

    I’d live a high definition version, but there doesn’t seem to be solution that pleases me. Digital download puts the onus on me to back it up; I prefer nicely labeled media I can use as a backup. High definition on USB stick sounds appealing, but I don’t have a place for movies on USB. Blu-Ray: Bletch. Until it’s cracked as wide open as DVD so I can engage in legal*, personal use as I see fit, I’m not touching it. (*Legal, excepting the part where I use a crack.) So standard definition DVD works for me!

    I like extras, but I’m not willing to pay a lot for them. I have faith on your ability to pick the best stuff to show in the documentary, so I definitely don’t want to see “every single frame you make.” I’m thinking relatively short extras: funny stuff that didn’t fit into the documentary, perhaps some brief background and production. Short and sweet is ideal.

    Elaborate casing is worth nothing to me; my DVD collection is large enough that storing things in their cases ceased to be feasible. Everything lives in DVD binders, shorn of their pretty boxes. If you give me an elaborate case, I’ll feel bad about throwing it away. Thus, I prefer a standard DVD case with a slip-in cover and optionally a little booklet inside. I can pull out the cover and booklet to save and recycle the case. In the unlikely event I want to sell it or the slightly more likely event I want to loan it out, I keep a smaller supply of empty DVD cases I can reload standard inserts and DVDs into.

  3. 3 Krisjohn said at 3:59 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    First up, can you make it so the first question accepts multiple answers? While I’d prefer a high-def product, I’m happy with everything except digital downloads.

    I’ll give you my tech specs then my opinions. I recently purchased essentially the cheapest 1080p Blu-ray solution you can find; a BenQ 1920×1080 LCD monitor and an LG Blu-ray player. The player accepts DVDs, Blu-ray discs (obviously) and USB storage devices (I think they need to be Fat32). It’ll play the native disc formats, plus DivX/XviD, mkv and mp4. Therefore I’m happy with any solution that uses these.

    My preference, from a purely ease of sticking it in and pressing play point of view, is a Blu-ray disc, although I understand your objections. Probably the best compromise would be a DVD/USB hybrid package. If you put together a good DVD product, then just added the main features in high def on the USB stick, I can’t imagine I’d be upset with that. I do like my extras though, so shoe-horn as much cool stuff into whatever you do as possible.

    Once we start talking packaging, it gets even more interesting. I have bought some seriously over the top DVD editions, and I’ve seen ones even more insane. From where I’m sitting now I can see the ten-disc DVD edition of the Matrix with the Neo bust. A friend has the transforming Transformers 1 DVD pacakge. Have you seen the Alien head Quadrilogy set? I still have a soft spot for these, but on the flip side, I feel increasingly guilty if I purchase something with too much unnecessary bulk. There’s a card game I’d like to buy, but it’s shipped in a boardgame box that’s about 70% air. I just can’t bring myself to buy it. As such, I’d happily support a packaging solution that’s as small as you can make it. A USB stick would suit this very well. Or you could even do it with an SD card.

    Again though, probably the best overall compromise though is a mostly standard DVD case with DVDs and a spot at the top for a small USB stick that’s just large enough for a high-def version of the main feature in mp4 format. (Have a look at PS2 game packaging, with the spot for the memory card.) I imagine that everything else will blow out your costs pretty quickly.

    As for price, well, I’m part of your Adventurers’ Club, so I hadn’t really thought about that ;)

    One last thought. I know you’re against Blu-ray, but does BD-Live offer you anything of value? While I’m against digital downloads for the feature (and as a collector, I like to have a physical product to fondle) I would be *very* interested in a Blu-ray disc that then connects to your BD-Live server and lets me, as you say, “see every single frame you make”. I have a 320Gig hard drive for my BD-Live downloads, so I’d love to slowly collect extra stuff as you sort through it and make it available.

  4. 4 Josh Renaud said at 5:01 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    I don’t know how representative I am, but I still live in the non-HD world, TV-wise. So I’d prefer a DVD format to be available.

    I suppose I could watch the HD/USB thing on the computer, but that’s not the place I prefer to see movies.

    I love the extras, and I love the packaging. Something along the lines of the BBS Doc would be fine, but if it went beyond that and had feelies, or invisiclues, or whatever, I’d love that.

  5. 5 Krisjohn said at 7:51 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    I’ve been thinking since I posted my first comment that it’s silly to involve USB sticks. Just toss the high def content you want onto a DVD. Most players that will play mp4s from USB will just as happily play them from a DVD. I’m sure it’s cheaper to print a 9Gig DVD than it is to buy an 8Gig USB stick.

  6. 6 Jason Scott said at 9:20 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    For the record, I specifically chose not to have multiple answers for the first question because I want people to tell me what they most want for a format.

    I’ll address the awesome discussion going down here in the comments when the survey’s done.

  7. 7 me said at 11:24 pm on September 11th, 2009:

    I ticked the “digital download” option because of the probably lower cost/price. DVD or USB with nice case would be amazing though.

  8. 8 Ewen McNeill said at 12:00 am on September 12th, 2009:

    At this point for all their limitations DVD sets still seem the most marketable combination. It’s a shame that the HD recordings have to be reduced to SD, but you do end up with high quality SD as a result of starting with a clean HD recording.

    HD on a USB stick is an intriguing idea (and vastly better than the idea of Blu-Ray, or something that is “download only”), and may even be The Future of Media ™, but it’d not be as convenient to play as a DVD for most people (including me). I’d rather have more content in a good SD encoding on a DVD set than less content in super high quality on something else though.

    If you do want to consider a “special edition” version then a DVD set with USB stick with the HD version plus more extras (eg, computer viewable ones) might be interesting bonus feature. It’d probably be worth another $10-$20 over a multi-DVD set.


  9. 9 Richard Harman said at 8:37 am on September 12th, 2009:

    I grew up on BBSes, text adventures, and thus I enjoyed the BBS documentary because of the subject material. I also enjoyed the BBS documentary due to the hard work put into it.

    I have an HDTV and multiple things that can play High Definition content, so I would appreciate the “main feature” of GET LAMP being high-definition. The extras (things that hit the editing room floor) don’t particularly need to be high definition, because I expect them to be lower quality, essentially an “unfinished work”.

    It’s neat to see the behind the scenes aspect of movies/documentaries. Take the Mind Candy DemoDVD(s) for example, and how much work Trixter went into getting various old PCs to capture video correctly and sync with the audio.

  10. 10 Steve McCrea said at 12:33 pm on September 12th, 2009:

    I voted for blu-ray, but if you’re planning to only produce one format, I think DVD is the way to get it into the most hands.

    I also thought it would be good to have the interviews available as audio downloads.

    Good luck finishing this up!

  11. 11 Christian Jørgensen said at 12:43 pm on September 12th, 2009:

    Hi Jason,

    I would pay $50 for a download with a full set of physical extras such as booklet, poster, T-shirt, autograph, stickers, badges, etc. The download would preferably be distributed under a free license and use *our* codecs/formats, i.e., Theora/Dirac, Vorbis, and Matroska, to avoid the whole H.264/MPEG-4 AVC bait-and-switch fraud ( If you distribute the download under a free license then your customers don’t need a physical medium, at least for backup purposes, because an online copy will always be available, e.g., via the Internet Archive.

  12. 12 phuzz said at 1:44 am on September 13th, 2009:

    Generally, I watch most of my digital media through an Xbox360 connected to a HDTV, so if the digital release was in one of the handful of formats that the 360 plays natively that would be great for me. (plus anything that the 360 will play, I think the PS3 will, and certainly and PC running VLC will work as well)

  13. 13 Felix said at 9:20 am on September 13th, 2009:

    I would really like to see it as DVD box which includes a digital download coupon. Make that download HQ, DRM-free xvid and sell the box in your shop, instantly submitting the coupon via email, and I’ll by it for sure.
    Keep seeing that at smaller CD labels, where you buy a CD and instantly get a download coupon, so you don’t have to wait for the CD to arrive. Especially handy if you live overseas like me and it takes weeks for it to arrive in the mail.

  14. 14 Rex Rhino said at 5:45 am on September 14th, 2009:

    This is what I would say is your best bet, marketing wise:

    1. Standard Def DVD edition
    2. High Def BluRay

    Downloads are cool, but I definitely will pay less for a download that physical media, because I will have to store it on my hard drive and most likely do some sort of conversion to stream it to my ps3 in the living room… and a thumb drive is all the problems of download with all the problems of physical media.

  15. 15 Eric said at 10:46 am on September 14th, 2009:

    It’s quite a jump from “I don’t care about extras” (2 options) to “every frame you make”. I selected the latter because I do want extras, but obviously a huge portion of the value that a documentary maker adds to his content is in selecting the bits that are important or interesting.

    So extras that are interesting but wouldn’t fit well in the structure of the documentary (either too much of a digression, even if on an interesting topic, or just extremely good content that had to be cut for the length and flow of the overall work) would be enthusiastically received. Unedited full-length interviews would likely just be tedious unless it was the rare interview in which every word was gold.

    As for format, I’ve not yet jumped into the high-def pool, so my selfish preference is for DVD. Nice packaging makes it more desirable to buy and give to fellow IF-geeks as gifts, but depending on how much it impacts price “simple and professional but reasonably priced” could win out over “awe inspiring but pricey”.

    While a high-def version on USB stick would be of limited interest to me (seeing triple the detail in, say, Lord of the Rings, is a big selling point to me, while seeing Steve Meretzsky’s face (handsome devil though he is) in triple detail is less so), the idea of bundling a cheap small USB stick could have some brilliant applications. If you scored a crate of dirt cheap 256MB USB sticks, you could (or one of us could) work up a reasonable multi-platform package that launched a front-end to select any of a dozen or so well-chosen, superb free pieces of modern interactive fiction and then start them up in a platform-appropriate free interpreter. Especially coupled with some text commentary from the corresponding authors, that could be a killer extra. (Though I guess you could maybe do it on a data segment of one of the DVDs instead).

  16. 16 Sean Fahey said at 12:40 pm on September 14th, 2009:

    How about some scratch and sniff? If you’re going to get eaten by the Grue, wouldn’t you want to know if it’s breath is foul or fresh and minty? =)

  17. 17 RossH said at 8:32 am on September 16th, 2009:

    I favour one of the digital options- either direct download or if it came on a cool USB drive.

    Is there any reason you wouldn’t do a digital download by default, and are only asking us on a possible physical media option?

    DVD would be fine too, but not if it meant losing extras. Then again a DVD/DataDVD combination may be another option.

    Anything but blu-ray works for me; I’m more interested in watching the documentary than how it’s ultimately packaged at this point. ;-)

  18. 18 Rich H said at 6:09 pm on September 16th, 2009:

    I think a great special feature for a DVD release would be some amazing pictures like the colossal caves map, Infocom feelies, Box art, etc.

  19. 19 VA said at 1:11 pm on October 5th, 2009:

    I voted for blu-ray, but if you’re planning to only produce one format, I think DVD is the way to get it into the most hands.

    I also thought it would be good to have the interviews available as audio downloads.

    Good luck finishing this up!

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