Show #018c – Our View on Fansubs, Part 2

Show #018c Direct Download:

  • Many Japanese music fans are finding away around the Japanese iTunes store restrictions by buying giftcards from j-list, or similar importers . (Exporters?)
  • “The script is available before production even occurs, so the subtitles tracks and everything will be ready as soon as the show is completed to air in Japan.” – Noah

    This is false from an animation production standpoint – the script changes many times over the course of editing in pre and post production. It’s my understanding that in anime, the vocal tracks are recorded after much of the animation has been completed. On the show I work on, we make a final script based on the final cut that we send to the client – but that script isn’t ready until the final version of the show ships out, or sometimes even after the fact, because I think they just use this script for archival purposes, and a different company entirely does the closed captioning.

    The point here is, what Noah is saying in this brief sentence that I missed during the recording is patently false.

  • Furthermore, Noah’s idea that the Japanese could produce their own subs cheaply is also way off. Chi from the Tokyo Anime Insider vidcast told us that one Japanese company subbed one episode of their own show and it cost $10,000. The typical budget of one episode of anime is about 5 to 10 million yen, or $42,800 to $85,000. So adding $10,000 is equal to one fourth of the entire budget of a low budget show!

    Why would any Japanese company spend $10,000 when they could earn more than that by doing nothing and waiting for U.S. companies to just give them some money instead?

  • Mr. Answerman on the “quality” of fansubs.:

    “…I’m going to go ahead and trust the professional, experienced, paid translators anime companies hire instead of GOKU_83474 or whoever decided to do a rush job on this week’s Naruto episode. Most of the fan translations I see are rife with grammar and spelling mistakes, excessive swearing and way too many untranslated words. There are some that are just fine, but honestly, I’m always going to prefer the professional product. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; to me, it’s the same thing as preferring your doctor’s medical advice over whatever self-diagnosis you can perform using Wikipedia. Yeah, the information MIGHT be right, but you know, better to trust the professionals.

  • My assertion that the internet is “the future of television”, might also be somewhat off-base. Check out this article by PBS guy Robert X. Cringely:

    “Twenty million viewers, on average, watch “Desperate Housewives” each week in about 10 million U.S. households. That’s 210 megabytes times 10 million downloads, or 2.1 petabytes of data to be downloaded per episode. Fortunately for the download business model, not everyone is trying to watch the show at the same time or in real time, so iTunes, in this example, has some time to do all those downloads. Let’s give them three days. The question on the table is what size Internet pipe would it take to transfer 2.1 petabytes in 72 hours? I did the math, and it requires 64 gigabits-per-second, which would require an OC-768 fiber link and two OC-256s to fulfill.”

    “There isn’t an Internet backbone provider with that much capacity, much less excess capacity.”

  • As for “original rights holders” asking fansubbers to stop, “That one company” who recently (2004) wanted School Rumble, Genshiken, and a half dozen other shows to stop being distributed is Media Factory. You can read the much longer statement on animesuki here.
  • IGPX is funded in part by Cartoon Network.
  • Totally free and legal anime downloads from ADV and CPM.

We’ll probably have a part 3, or 18d, for corrections and retractions, like how to pronounce “asaharakun” and what grade he’s in, or indeed, how to pronounce “Naruto”. In the meantime, you need to watch Tokyo Anime Insider (formerly “Anime for the Lazy Man”) here’s the iTunes link.

Yesteryday I saw a dog that looked like Mugi!

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12 Responses to Show #018c – Our View on Fansubs, Part 2

  1. I think that distributing TV shows over the internet is not as insane as the expert makes it sound, especially if you allow for the wonders of bit torrent.

    Sharing by each peer therefore begins when the first complete segment is downloaded and can begin to be uploaded if another peer requests it. This scheme is particularly useful for trading large files such as videos and operating systems. This is contrasted with conventional file serving where high demand can lead to saturation of the host’s resources as the consumption of bandwidth to transfer the file to many requesting downloaders surges. With BitTorrent, high demand can actually increase throughput as more bandwidth and additional “seeds” of the file become available to the group. Cohen claims that for very popular files, BitTorrent can support about a thousand times as many downloads as HTTP

    • cchan5000 says:

      I also think that the internet should not be discounted when thinking of television show distro. The argument that current providers can’t handle the bandwidth is an argument that doesn’t hold too much water when talking about possible futures in tech since the capacity and processing power of computers has progressed so far in a limited amount of time. They may not be able to hold that much data now, but in 10 or 20 years who really knows.

      For example, my first computer was an Apple IIGS and I thought it was a waste to spend the money to upgrade it from 756K of RAM to 1 Meg…I mean, who would ever want a program that requires that much memory? Heh…

      Plus, as was stated before, they could use programs like BT to distribute the shows, or come up with some other fancy program.

      • The Robert Cringely article addresses this sort of thing:

        Ah, but remember Moore’s Law, which is going to increase our bandwidth dramatically over time! It doesn’t matter. Throw 250 million viewers watching 180 channels up on the Net, raise the resolution to full broadcast then raise it again to HDTV, and even Moore’s Law won’t catch up. Just carrying all the viewers of “Desperate Housewives” at the current iTunes resolution won’t be economically viable for another decade according to Moore’s Law.

        But I also agree that stuff like BT is the future, and the article also comes to that conclusion.

        • cchan5000 says:

          Well, that is what I get for not actually reading the article. Only time will really tell what the people in charge will finally settle on. We’re starting to see them embrace podcasting (esp. KCRW and the like), but that is just audio and not full video.

    • The Cringely article goes on to say more or less that bittorrent is the future… Peer to Peer networks are very much condemned by the media, and hated and feared by corporate bigwigs. Bittorrent can eat a lot of bandwidth and is the bane of college networks – many colleges simply block it entirely, and I can see why, since college students who don’t own televisions are probably the biggest downloaders and bittorrent users.

      Bittorrent probably needs to be embraced on a massive scale. I think the technology is improving and some legitimate companies are offering up torrents, so that’s a good sign.

      • stormsweeper says:

        Probably the most widespread “legit” use of BitTorrent right now is World of Warcraft, which uses it for updates. It’s a custom client integrated with the game, but it’s BT nonetheless.

        Many ISPs and such hate peer-to-peer mainly as they have oversold their bandwidth on the assumption that their customers won’t use all that bandwidth (especially upstream) all the time.

        • See… another thing I’m not sure about is Noah’s assertion that bandwidth will only become cheaper. I’ve heard rumors here and there about companies thinking of more ways to charge for bandwidth. Technology might get cheaper but it seems like my cable/internet, and phone service bills are on the rise.

          • stormsweeper says:

            There’s a few issues at play here, none of them pretty.

            The most egregious is the “tiered internet” debate where essentially the largest ISPs are arguing that they should be able to charge both ends of a data transaction. So you’d pay for your access, and they’d hit up Google for the same data. Never mind that Google already pays for its own bandwidth, and no one in fact is not getting paid for their bandwidth.

            Another big one is the half-assed way out telecom industry has been “deregulated” which has left essentially big local monopolies which are quickly becoming big regional monopolies. Your cable company has zero incentive to price competively when you have no other option for service.

            It’s a huge mess.

          • Hey kids,

            I know this thread is super-old but I’m poking through archives and I have specific knowledge of this area.

            The “huge” bandwidth that Cringely mentions is actually not that big of a deal. Sure, you personally can’t afford it. But you could probably get it for around half a million a year. I used to work for a lab in Chicago where we had an experimental 8 Gbps network set up at four sites in the metropolitan area. The model was definitely out there for large organizations to make an investment and have seriously huge network capacity over long distances.

            Distribution companies that make it their business to buy distribution rights to titles and then sell them to people online will invest in the serious network connection needed to anchor the BitTorrent-like system they’ll probably need to keep it going for multiple titles at a time.

            And I can also note that even on a personal level internet access seems to be getting better and cheaper. We have Cablevision here and they just upgraded our local loop to 15 Mbps for the same $50/month. Verizon DSL went down to $15 or $30/month. Even independent DSL companies like Cloud 9 went down to $50 instead of $60/month like last year.

  2. naniwa says:

    Chi from the Tokyo Anime Insider vidcast told us that one Japanese company subbed one episode of their own show and it cost $10,000.

    $10,000 per episode?

    When I was a part of IFFCom (International Film Funding Committee), a non-profit that would collect money through film fests and indie film screenings to get indie internationl films screened across the globe, we would specifically work on subtitling costs. When I was last with them three years ago $10,000 could be starting rate for a feature length film in practically any language (even Urdu). Short film subbing was extremely expensive definitely starting in the $1000’s, but I don’t think they were near $10,000. Have costs gone up that much? I am not doubting subbing is expensive. I had a project on an Indian film (Throne of Death) whose subtitling was more costly than the entire film production ($15,000). I am just surprised that they couldn’t find something cheaper when they already put japanese subs on a good number their DVDs.

  3. naniwa says:

    Wow just listened to this and I might have to call you on your Ninja Hotline one of these days to put my thoughts up (too long to type it all out).

    I a agree that no one can stop them, as long as its being made and that is becoming a problem (and few people outside of Japan and licensing groups American/Austrailian/etc realize that).

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