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Old 01-27-05, 06:59 PM   #1
gcasillo
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2005 ProTour Race DVD Group

This thread is for folks interested in sharing the cost for DVDs of 2005 ProTour races. According to a couple threads, it may be possible to purchase DVDs of this year's ProTour races.

Thread 1
Thread 2

Several folks have expressed interest in distributing copies among a group to share the cost of a single person (me) purchasing DVDs of these races. Here follows my plan to pull this off and share the fun of watch the peloton roll...

Single-layer DVDs are best for me. Cheaper media and quicker to burn to. I hope to hear from him soon, so I can figure out what it is going to cost me and what races I can get. That way I can begin to calculate how much it'll cost for materials and give everybody a number. The number will depend on how many we get to go in on this.

A single-layer DVD will hold two hours of video. I'm guessing each single day race will be 4-6 hours in length. So 2-3 DVDs per race. Grand tours (if available) are going to be another matter; twenty or so stages in the neighborhood of 80-100 hours of total coverage. Massive. That's around 50 DVDs for a grand tour. Again, I'm not sure if those are available yet. We'll worry about grand tours in time; I want the Giro as badly as anything save maybe Paris-Roubaix.

Some working numbers assuming twenty in the group and twenty single day races each lasting six hours (3 DVDs):

20 members X 20 races X 3 DVDs each = 1200 DVDs (got room for 60 DVDs of pure racing? )

Just a quick search for bulk DVD-R media (or DVD+R) shows me I can get 4X 500 Ritek G04 DVD-R for $200 shipped. That's $0.40 a DVD which is what I would expect; Ritek makes good media as well, very few coasters.

1200 DVDs X $0.40 = $480 DVDs

I'd prefer to put these in paper sleeves as it will be easier & cheaper to mail than a DVD jewel box and gives each of us a choice about how we want to store our DVDs 1200 paper sleeves will run $102 or roughly $0.085 per sleeve.

1200 sleeves X $0.085 = $102 sleeves

Next, mail. I assume folks want each race ASAP. I can get 60 DVDs burned in a day with some effort and two days with ease. 3 DVDs in sleeves plus envelope might weigh more than 1 lb, so I probably won't be able to send them via First Class mail (feel free to correct me, postmasters). I know Priority Mail would be $3.85 anywhere to the U.S. and get to most parts within 1-2 days. For the time being, I'll work with the $3.85 for Priority Mail, since that will definitely be a fixed number that allows me to turn around a race in under one week to 20 folks.

$3.85 X 20 people X 20 races = $1540 shipping via Priority Mail

I would like to get this number as low as possible, because over time, it adds up. If First Class is an option at even $2 per, then that total would be $800. That is worth it to me...see below.

If First Class mail is an option at an average of $2 per person, then it'll be:

$2 X 20 people X 20 races = $800 shipping via First Class mail

Finally, my cost to purchase the DVDs from William. If anyone knows how many DVDs each race spans, please let me know. I'm operating under the assumption that with about six hours for each single day race, each DVD holding two hours, that three DVDs will be needed. Please correct me if you know differently. I intend to purchase the gold membership from William at $160 which means each DVD costs me $10. That means $30 per race. Again, correct me if I am wrong about this.

20 races X 3 DVDs per race X $10 = $600

Seems high. But continuing and adding this all up...

$480 DVDs
$102 paper sleeves
$1540 shipping via Priority Mail
$600 my initial cost to buy DVDs
---------
$2722 subtotal
/ 20 group members
---------
---------
$136.10 total per person

If shipping via First Class Mail:
$480 DVDs
$102 paper sleeves
$800 shipping via First Class Mail
$600 my initial cost to buy DVDs
---------
$1982 subtotal
/ 20 group members
---------
---------
$99.10 total per person

I need to find out how much it is going to cost me to get twenty single day races from William before I commit to using $600. Just can't be right, but maybe it is. Anyone who has bought from him before, please clue me in where I'm wrong here.

Still, $100-$140 per person of a twenty member group for twenty single day races is a pretty damn good goal. Plus, each member of the group would expect to get their DVDs of the race within one week of my reception of the each race's DVD(s) from William.

I'll put together a web page for us to keep track of this stuff over the weekend. Hopefully, I'll hear back from William soon. Discuss/debate/ridicule/augment this plan freely. If possible, I'll try to formulate a plan for distributing DVDs of the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta as well.
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Old 01-27-05, 10:16 PM   #2
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you the man!! ... let me know how it goes.

-mark
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Old 01-27-05, 10:39 PM   #3
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very nice.. thanks for the legwork!
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Old 01-27-05, 10:42 PM   #4
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What are you using to burn the DVDs? DVD Shrink will allow you to re-author the original and strip out any unnecessary stuff so as to reduce the compression required for a single-layer DVD. Sorry if this is old news. Just curious.

BTW, count me in! I have about 30 blank Memorex 4x DVD-R discs that my Plextor suddenly refused to accept gathering dust. Yours if you need 'em!
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Old 01-27-05, 10:58 PM   #5
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I have four Sony DW-D22A-B2 DVD+/-RW drives that'll burn single or dual-layer discs. I have a script that will burn an image to each of the drives simultaneously at selected speeds. I can burn four DVDs in thirty minutes at 2X and about fifteen minutes at 4X. I usually burn at 2X out of paranoia, but I have burned plenty without fuss at 4X.

I'm familiar with DVD Shrink, and I have a script that will accomplish the same (burn a dual-layer 9GB DVD to a single-layer 5GB DVD). I'm running Gentoo Linux.

The problem with shrinking video down so much is that the quality will begin to suffer. Now, I'm not too picky about quality (relative to others I've dealt with), but DVDs that I've burned four hours of video to and shown to others, they've mentioned the grainy quality. FYI, four hours of video on a 5GB, single-layer DVD is encoded at 2Mbps; the DVDs you buy are usually encoded at 8Mbps and on dual-layer (read: twice the data on one disc).

I can encode a ten or twenty second sample and put it somewhere for you folks to review. I'm open to encoding the video to maximize quality, space savings, or a balance thereof. My experience tells me that two hours on a single-layer DVD+/-R is the best balance. Usually I can't tell much of a difference from a movie that I shrink from a dual-layer DVD to a single-layer DVD when I limit it to 4Mbps or two hours per single-layer.

No problem with suggestions. I want everybody to know what they're getting. Let me get a couple samples up somewhere and come back with some links...
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Old 01-27-05, 11:06 PM   #6
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Before you sign up, I would purchase one of the DVDs at regular price to check out the quality.
I did this and found that it was lower than I expected.
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Old 01-27-05, 11:09 PM   #7
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From experience (relatively limited I grant you), I'd like to stick with the 2hr mark per single layer. Every back-up I've done where I've pulled the previews, subtitles, etc. and reduced the total movie time to 2hrs or so has resulted in a pretty damn perfect burn in terms of image quality - the Matrix movies being a great example. I can't tell the difference on those. Lord of The Rings I can - and I'm a noob at this!

I should have got a Sony myself. The friggin' Plextor went south 3 days AFTER the 1 year warranty expired

I'll be shopping on NewEgg soon enough for a Sony!
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Old 01-27-05, 11:22 PM   #8
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Gustaf: good point and one I was considering. If he's cramming four or more hours on a DVD, then it's going to look grainy. Also, I hadn't mentioned resolution, because I always encode everything at 720x480 which is NTSC DVD full resolution (aka "D1" and actually 704x480). It is possible to encode at half this resolution or "half D1" at 352x480. The image gets stretched to fill the screen, so image quality suffers.

I need to get a hold of him first, and secure a DVD. There's no point in encoding at a high resolution or bitrate if the video I get from the DVD is grainy.
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Old 01-28-05, 01:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcasillo
Gustaf: good point and one I was considering.
DO this, especially before you invest a bunch of money.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:42 AM   #10
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Greg,
You have the correct email address: bicivideo@yahoo.com

He has gotten back to me right away on the two occasions I have emailed him. Just yesterday I wrote to ask about the Verona 2004 World Championships Promo offer, 2 DVD set for $25. In fact I just ordered it via PayPal precisely to check the quality.
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Old 01-28-05, 06:23 AM   #11
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ever thought about ripping them to divx and running some torrents? Would be a cheaper way of distributing...
just a thought
- Ben
we could possibly even post in newsgroups to help seed it, I'm sure a bunch of people here have access...
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Old 01-28-05, 07:22 AM   #12
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I got all of last year's TdF stages as divx files from torrents. I was a little disappointed with the quality of a few of the files. It's an option, but how do I limit access to only those who have compensated me for a share of my cost to purchase the DVDs? Plus, I have a decent broadband connection but nothing business class. I've never hosted a torrent.

Christ, I need to move to Europe.
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Old 01-28-05, 07:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcasillo
I got all of last year's TdF stages as divx files from torrents. I was a little disappointed with the quality of a few of the files. It's an option, but how do I limit access to only those who have compensated me for a share of my cost to purchase the DVDs? Plus, I have a decent broadband connection but nothing business class. I've never hosted a torrent.

Christ, I need to move to Europe.
I have no idea what a "torrent" is, but you could always distribute by FTP and leave it up to us to put the videos on media (granted you'd probably do a better job).

-mark
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Old 01-28-05, 08:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustaf
Before you sign up, I would purchase one of the DVDs at regular price to check out the quality.
I did this and found that it was lower than I expected.
Yeah, I did the same thing. I got the 2004 Verona Championships and two stages of the Vuelta. It's great to have the races, but the quality is *not* DVD, or really even broadcast. It is more in the range of VHS quality. I'm still debating what to do next. It's a tough decision.
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Old 01-28-05, 04:56 PM   #15
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Once upon a time there lived an old woman who had a number of hens,
ducks, and geese. She used to send her little daughter to the meadow every
day to take care of the ducks and geese. But she had one goose that she
never allowed with the others. This one had a little house and yard of its
own. It was such a wonderful goose that the old woman was afraid of losing
it. Each day this goose laid a large golden egg. The woman could hardly
wait for the new day to come, she was so eager to get the golden egg. At
last she said to herself, "I will kill the goose and get the gold all at once." But
when she had killed the goose she found that it was just like all the other
geese. In her haste to become rich, she had become poor.

You guys all seem willing to kill a goose to get a few eggs really
cheap. A wiser choice would have been to FEED a goose so the
goose could lay more eggs.
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Old 01-28-05, 05:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaco
I'm still debating what to do next. It's a tough decision.
Actually, it's not, Jaco. Hope you enjoy watching OLN this year!
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Old 01-28-05, 05:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcasillo
This thread is for folks interested in sharing the cost for DVDs of 2005 ProTour races. According to a couple threads, it may be possible to purchase DVDs of this year's ProTour races.
.
.
You all might benefit from todays "word of the day":

circumspect sūrkm-spkt) adj.

Definition: Heedful of circumstances and potential consequences; prudent.
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Old 01-28-05, 07:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuricGoose
You guys all seem willing to kill a goose to get a few eggs really
cheap. A wiser choice would have been to FEED a goose so the
goose could lay more eggs.
I'm not sure what you were trying to say over the last three posts, but we're open to ideas & suggestions here. Television/video coverage of elite men's cycling from Europe does not exist in the USA, and we want it. If you have ideas how we can get it and pass it along amongst ourselves, then share.

At this point, I think the best course of action is to ask someone who lives in Europe and gets cycling via a satellite or cable TV packages (Eurosport, Eurosport 2, ?) to record them, preferrably to MPEG-2 files and make those files available to me so I can download, burn to DVD, and distribute. If they have Tivo or MythTv or some other sort of PVR, then it wouldn't be hard. I'd pay someone to do that.
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Old 01-28-05, 07:20 PM   #19
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I think Mr. Goose might be hinting at potential illegalities involved in the activities suggested in this thread. TV/broadcast rights do exist, and while this would be a relatively small operation that is unlikely to attract anyones attention, I think Mr. Goose is suggesting that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.
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Old 01-28-05, 07:22 PM   #20
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Do they have Tivo in Europe?

I thought that Eurosport only does 2 hours of cycling, no matter how long the race is? When I was in Europe, that's how Eurosport did it, but that was when I was in Switzerland.

Koffee
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Old 01-28-05, 10:14 PM   #21
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don d.: point taken. I'm sensitive to the illegalities and rights with all of this. I'm not interested in breaking laws, and I understand watching cycling is a priviledge and not a right. But...

There is virtually nothing available to us in the States. Zero. I want my cycling heroes to be more than paper tigers I read about. I understand bass fishing is more popular than watching people cycle competitively. This has been discussed at length before. There just has to be some compromise that can be reached, not just for folks who want to watch & follow cycling in the USA, but other niches as well. Maybe my work in television and streaming video is making me see things through rose colored glasses, but I want to believe!

koffee: two hours would be a guilty pleasure for single day races or for each stage of a six-day event or stages of a grand tour, though I have to believe grand tours get a bigger production setup.

As for Tivo, there's all sorts of PVR software and set-top boxes available the world over. If my forays into open-source software are any indication, folks in Europe are quite at home with Linux and by proxy a program called MythTV, which is a free, open-source PVR that does what Tivo does and more.

It's the curse of the shareholder. If a company can't make a killing by selling, licensing, or God forbid, making something, then they won't take a risk.
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Old 01-28-05, 10:23 PM   #22
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I don't know personally about Eurosport in Europe, but I spoke with my buddies at length about it after complaining about the OLN coverage. They said they only got 2 hours a day of coverage, regardless of the event. I watched the Tour de Suisse in Switzerland, and it was true- 2 hours a day, with a summary of what was missed so far, and some cutting stuff out so they could show the finish.

This was while I was in Switzerland. It would be nice if Europeans on the boards could comment on how much coverage Eurosport gives them in their respective countries, and also comment as to what other channels they have that offer cycling, and how many hours they get for each event.

When I was in Italy, it was like the Giro was on every day all day. Not like I minded, but I have no idea what channel(s) were broadcasting the Giro.

Koffee
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Old 02-01-05, 01:58 PM   #23
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Well just so folks don't get their hopes up, it does not look like this idea is going to take off. Getting race coverage in any form from across the Atlantic is non-trivial. Twenty races is near impossible. At this point, I'm just praying I can get one or two single day races from somewhere, anywhere. If Jesus loves me, I'll find some or all of this year's Giro stages. Likely from torrents.

Sorry. My optimism got the better of me. I still maintain that there should be a way to do this. Legal issues are of no concern. When someone in the States starts covering and airing these races on a regular basis, then I'd back off. As it is now, there is no market for this (relatively speaking), so I have no guilt or belief that I'd be stealing anything. Just my philosophy.

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Old 02-01-05, 02:13 PM   #24
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I'm a little unclear as to AuricGoose's meaning, also. I have cable and pay extra for the package that includes OLN. If they would just have decent coverage I would be thrilled. If Eurosport was available in the US I would subscribe to it. A consistent 2 hrs of race coverage of more races would be great. I don't necessarily want 5-7 hours as I could never watch it all anyway.

A long distance group for the original DVD membership is still an option.
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Old 02-01-05, 04:08 PM   #25
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I'm not giving up yet. I've put out an APB to a couple forums I follow that have Europeans in them asking for someone who can record races to contact me. Not holding my breath, but we'll see...
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