Docs and Indies in Blu-Ray: The Trickle Begins

Helvetica (Blu-Ray)

A few months back, I had an idea for a post. I wanted to know what the plans were for indie and documentary filmmakers to release their work in a high-definition format. I sent queries out to my list of contacts and got precisely ZERO responses. In hindsight, I realize why. Before the format war had been settled, it was simply too expensive for indies and docs to consider releasing on both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray format. It’s expensive enough to release just on one. But now that the dust has cleared in the Red vs. Blu(e) battle, it appears that a few brave souls are stepping up with some HD goodness for us. Though stuff like Planet Earth and Sharkwater have both come out in Blu-Ray already, those are backed by large studios and distributors. The first smaller film (to my knowledge) to appear in Blu-Ray is Gary Hustwit’s stunning font doc Helvetica (review). Released by Plexifilm (which Hustwit founded, by the way), the new Helvetica will feature the same bonus features as the SD (standard definition) release but will boast twice the resolution. All the better since the film was shot natively in high definition, which is actually true of quite a few documentaries and independent productions these days.

It’s probably not worth it to upgrade if you already have the film, but if not, I’m sure the gorgeous visuals will pop even more if you have a Blu-Ray player. Kudos to Plexifilm and here’s hoping this is just the beginning.

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