What the future holds, perhaps?

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tiggy
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What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by tiggy » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:28 pm

I've had a bit of spare time this weekend so decided to have a run through some of the old posts on here. There's some fascinating stuff, particularly on the technology side of things - VHS was still in use and DVD players were still a bit pricey - this was causing arguments as to which format a legitimate Knightmare release should be on. Also, Knightmare clips were watched using Realplayer on dial-up modems, and YouTube didn't turn up on the scene until 2005...Contrast this with today:

- VHS is dead. Optical media is still thriving although there is a new competitor out there...
- Broadband speeds are fast enough to allow for fast download of files and even streaming of sound and video.
- YouTube is massive - I've been amazed at what is out there, especially the obscure stuff that turns up.
- Still no legal release of Knightmare :(

A reason given for not releasing Knightmare on DVD was that the demand wouldn't be there. Piracy was sited as one of the reasons, although I suspect that it was more of an excuse - getting commercial DVDs out on to the market was, and still is an expensive business with no guarantee of getting your money back let alone a decent return. This was years ago and things have moved on...

No one who has visited this site could fail to notice the new campaign to get legitimate copies of Knightmare episodes released. There are some big differences this time - fan-led, non-commercial, and looking to on-line distribution. Without the costs associated with DVDs and making a profit not the primary goal, the idea suddenly becomes viable. I can only hope that the time comes soon when Mystara decides to purchase the first episode. I believe that in turn would lead to demand for more given the decent audio and video quality compared to what you can find on YouTube. Please support it!
Even if this doesn't go far or doesn't happen at all, I think that sometime in the distant future there will be a chance of being able to download/watch episodes of Knightmare (and other programmes) quite legally. Before I explain, this would be years away so don't hold your breath or stop supporting the current campaign. It's also only a theory so may never happen:

Basically there's thousands of programmes out there languishing in the archives. All of the older stuff will be sitting on magnetic tape which will eventually degrade or may be destroyed for whatever reason (this has happened already with some programmes) and the machines that play them may break down beyond repair. The risk is that anything that wasn't considered viable for a commercial release could end up lost forever. A commercial release is no guarantee of quality, it is about what people will buy and thus make money. Just because a programme hasn't had a commercial release, it doesn't mean that it isn't important for whatever reason. Using Knightmare as an example, it could be considered important due to being the bringing in the highest viewing figures for a children's programme of it's time, the innovative techniques used in production, and also the unusually high production values. The solution is digital archiving, that is to say the transfer of all the old stuff on tape on to disc. This presents the following benefits:

- Preservation of television history. The archive will be electronic and if properly managed would allow for better record keeping, back-ups will be kept, etc.
- Raise revenue by opening up the archive so that people can watch what they want on demand - access could be charged for, although not necessarily by programme but by the day/week, etc. Adverts could be played at the start of programmes also.
- Selling or otherwise disposing of the original masters will save on physical storage space which is a lot more expensive than space on a server.

Obviously the above would be a massive undertaking in terms of time and cost but if there is any desire to keep recordings of old programmes then it has to be done, and if you are going to do it then at least try and recoup some of your costs. Ultimately I can see a time when I'll be able to go to the ITV or BBC websites and watch more or less anything in their archives on demand. Just to reiterate though, I can't see it happening for five, maybe ten years - don't hold your breath.
In the meantime though, the television companies are missing a trick - just go on to YouTube and check out the number of views that programmes like Knightmare or The Mary Whitehouse Experience are getting. DVD releases may be out of the question but downloads/streaming are now viable and are likely to be dominant way of distribution in the future. This leads to opportunities that never previously existed... :)

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by Rich » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:20 pm

All the episodes are on Youtube (albeit in Challenge repeat form), that's something I suppose.

And last year I found a 9 gig torrent of all 8 series', I of course downloaded it.

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by JamesA » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:30 am

Good points and some valid comments there - in fact (legally) downloading movies via the internet is starting to becoming a frequent occurance, and whilst many of us still hold out for a legal DVD release of Knightmare being able to download full length episodes could well be the next best thing....

One disadvantage of the Knightmare episodes on Youtube (will have been noticed by others though not often pointed out) is that due to the time restrictions imposed, the episodes get split up into three parts. Someone did set up a website some time back where you could watch full length uninterrupted episodes of Knightmare online, but they appeared to stop after just a few episodes and at the moment I can't find the episode where it was discussed.

In the meantime, one will probably look at getting Knightmare mentioned on the radio, magazines and other such media in order to continue getting an awareness of the show raised. If we can continue to push the show into the public perspective wherever possible then we could well make our main objectives finally happen.
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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by tiggy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:35 pm

Another big problem with YouTube is that the videos have a bad habit of disappearing. This can be through copyright claims, or as happened to me the other day, one of the users that I subscribed to closed their account, and along with that went all of their videos. Unfortunately a lot of them were rather rare and specialist and I haven't ever seen them anywhere else to either watch/listen, buy, or download. It looks as though they may be gone for ever. The lesson there is although YouTube is a pretty amazing resource, you can't rely on your favourite videos to be there next time you want to see it.

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by KaM » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:36 pm

Excellent thread. 8) I’m wary of repeating too much of what I’ve said recently in other threads, but perhaps it has more relevance here than elsewhere.

It is impossible to know what the future holds, but we do know that the present is shaped by everything that has come before it. As you have identified, Tiggy, there have been such considerable changes in technology over the last 10 years. It has been exciting, exhilarating, and yet frustrating.

It has been a great thing for all of us that KM, lost to most of us back in 2003 apart from a few copies that did the rounds, is now pretty much available to see for anybody who wants to see it. I celebrate that as a wonderful thing. And yet, what I think this has done is found market equilibrium for a different product – avi/YouTube Knightmare – and potentially broken the market for broadcast quality Knightmare. At the moment, the piracy argument is proving true.

Tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – have wanted to see Knightmare again. And now they have, in half-decent quality. Now, it seems, most do not see any worth in paying for better quality episodes. Free Knightmare has absorbed the demand and made it highly elastic; as soon as cost becomes involved, the interest dies.

As I understand it, it is a case of unfortunate timing with Knightmare’s popularity proving its undoing. Had Knightmare never been shown on Challenge, leading to captures, YouTube, and all, I am fairly confident that the legitimate episode distribution would be much closer to being realised than it is now. If we take CITV classic T-Bag as an example (several close friends of mine on the forum are bigger fans than I, and will be able to affirm or condemn its suitability better than I): that, to the best of my knowledge, has a lower profile than Knightmare, has never been shown again on TV, and yet apparently has a forthcoming release on DVD in early 2011. Surely, part of the reason for that is the lack of availability for the show on online channels, which has fuelled enough demand for the product as the only available way of seeing the show again.

Such was the demand for it, Knightmare was leapt upon and (for want of a better word) exploited to its fullest ends. I cannot complain; it has allowed me personally to enjoy my favourite thing for 5-6 years. What I would say, though, is that it is going to be a much harder job to build enough support for high quality Knightmare episode releases when the majority of fans have proven themselves (to date, at least) to be satisfied with YouTube. Finding the demand for a premium version of anything in this day and age when the basic is available free is always going to be really tough.

What I certainly agree with is digital archiving. It would be a travesty, for the research capacity in this country if nothing else, if digital archiving was not undertaken and some of the defining creations of an era were left to deteriorate and disintegrate. That does not have to mean that they don’t have a value. We here are proposing that there is a value to broadcast quality Knightmare, and I agree with you that television companies could be more co-operative with us here, not least because the methods of dissemination available today provide some measure of potential to both distributor and consumer.

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by hindleyite » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:54 pm

Ooh, I heard someone mention GamesMaster in a similar topic and had to bite. Now there's a show that could so easily be brought back for the modern market simply because there's nothing quite like it on terrestrial telly at the moment, plus there's a huge market for modern video (computer?) games. The only thing against it is the fact we have the internet to see previews of new games these days, but surely there's room on TV for what's become such a mainstream hobby?

KaM, I have to agree on the YouTube thing. If the Internet were never invented we'd have a KM DVD release by now, I'm sure, but there isn't any motivation for a re-release on the part of the guys that could really make it happen because it's all available online. I think, as you say, the casual Knightmare fan is always going to be satisfied with simply this, but I reckon if they saw a DVD box set in Tesco they'd say "Hey, I remember that show! It was really good..." But then there's always the stumbling block of profitability. Perhaps a 'Best of Knightmare' compilation, bringing together some of the better moments/quests from all eight series, would be more suited to public consumption and an easier, more cost-effective pitch? It ain't a 8-season box set but it would be better than nowt.

With regards to a comeback, perhaps going underground, a la Aegis Quest (which looks fantastic, by the way), is the way forward? Because unless someone with a whole wad of cash and an obsession with Knightmare comes along, sad to say I can't see any mainstream progress on that front.

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by Mystara » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:33 pm

With regards to the digital release...

Largely because of Tiggy's advertising money, there has actually been a slow trickle of people into the forums/thread. Of course, it's still waaaaay off what we had really wanted.

I've just started a new job, and my hope is that possibly in a year, I'll be able to invest enough money to buy an episode of Knightmare and the distribution rights. But I still haven't looked at all the costs. At present, I don't really have the money, and there's not enough interest to invest what little money I actually have.
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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by s4t8brett » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:22 am

I have just read 'The History of Knightmare' and here is my tongue-in-cheek initial response.

Oh dear. That's what we call the Demographic Descender, team. What a pity. It's a shame you didn't follow the path to an annual, live, multi-team contest. Things could have reached Olympic proportions. There's only one thing for it: R_E_F_O_R_M_A_T.

A vision: The team is mobile, travelling in a chariot - a vehicle, if you will, through the dungeons, mines and ... other landscapes.

Team members have specialist roles: the Navigator, steering the chariot but unable to go back; the Sage, curator of all knowledge and clues so that the team is ready with Good Answers; the Warrior, fleet-footed, alert and possessed of a charisma sufficient to engage with the Inhabitants; and finally

- we must be brief, for Forum Group-Think approaches -

the Decider, a co-ordinating genius adept at making effective choices and quickly, for the fuse is always running

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Re: What the future holds, perhaps?

Post by JamesA » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Some very good points there, Brett.

Looking back on episodes of Knightmare nowadays, how I could relate to your assignment of team members' roles:

The Warrior - essentially the dungeoneer who goes into Knightmare to redeem/rescue the quest object. (Also worth pointing out that in Knightmare Live, whenever the dungeoneer is asked to give their name the actor questioning them would then follow it up with "A Warrior's Name!")
The Decider - could be the vital component to the advisor designated as team captain. If their dungeoneer is in peril (i.e surrounded by an army of goblins) it would be down to them to make the all important decision in time to ensure that the dungeoneer escapes from the dungeoneer safely.
The Navigator - advisor who gives the directions to the dungeoneer, wary of any forthcoming pitfalls. It would be their task to give commands such as "walk forward" or "sidestep".
The Sage - lastly, the other advisor who has swotted up on any potential riddles and could also be the one who is assigned to cast any spells given to the team during their quest.
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