What is Scarecrow Video?
Scarecrow Video is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to the world’s largest publicly available film and television library, and contributes educational and culturally relevant programming to the community. Our mission and goals as a nonprofit is described in great detail on our mission page.
Who is behind Scarecrow Video?
Our team consists of 17 part time and full time staff, 20 volunteers, and 10 board members. A group of current Scarecrow employees transitioned the for-profit Scarecrow Video to the non-profit Scarecrow Video of today. They were quickly joined by other film lovers, including some Scarecrow alumni, who feel passionate about the need for Scarecrow’s library to live, grow, and be available to everyone. A full list of these impassioned cinephiles can be found on our board page, and you can read about some of their efforts on our press page.
Now that Scarecrow Video is a nonprofit, do I have to be a member to rent titles?
You can continue to enjoy access to our library with a free rental account. However, our paid annual memberships offer many perks and directly fund expanding our collection and programming unique and exciting events. Find out more on our membership page.
In the age of digital downloads and streaming services like Netflix, do we really need something like Scarecrow Video? Aren’t DVDs and Blu-Rays going to be obsolete?
No, not for a long time. As cinephiles, we love these services for their convenience but no matter how good they get, there are certain to be countless films that are left behind. Thousands of movies and TV shows may never make it to streaming services or even new formats like Blu-ray, but as long as the Scarecrow library has, say, a VHS copy, they can remain available. Our customers are able to watch virtually any movie they want, not the ones a megacorporation picks. In this way Scarecrow Video remains dedicated to making sure the community has access to the broadest possible collection of motion pictures in the best available format.
How can I donate to Scarecrow Video? Can I make a donation of DVDs/Blu-Rays/VHS tapes?
You can make a financial donation to Scarecrow Video on our donation page. We also accept donations of video discs/tapes and can provide you with a tax-deductible receipt.
I haven’t been in the store since the transition. Will I need to start a new account?
Since becoming a nonprofit, all account holders will be required to sign a new rental agreement with us. If you haven’t been in to the store since we transitioned back in October of 2014, your rental agreement is no longer valid as a different entity will have credit card authorization for your account.
Can I volunteer with Scarecrow?
Yes! We definitely need the help of a dedicated force of enthusiastic volunteers to keep things running smoothly. We have more information on how to volunteer here.
What does RBA (Rental by Approval) mean?
Titles labeled “Rental by Approval” are either extremely rare or out-of-print and require a cash or credit deposit to be rented. You’ll find the deposit amount either on the spine or on the back of the video. The typical deposit is about $200. By requiring deposits on these titles, we’re able to keep them in our inventory and available for customers.
What does PAL mean?
PAL is European format which does not play on standard US devices, which are formatted for NTSC. If it is Region 0 (not region restricted), it may play on a computer but not with your television.
What does Code 2/Code 3/etc mean?
The world of home video is divided up into 6 region codes for dvd and 3 region codes for blu-ray. (See map here) In our efforts to have as many titles as possible in our rental library, Scarecrow contains a number of movies and TV shows that have never received a release in Region 1, NTSC format (the standard North American encoding). If you want to watch one of these titles but do not have the proper equipment, we do rent region-free players at the rate of $4.00 per day.
Can I rent from you via the mail?
We do not rent videos or machines through the mail. However, you are welcome to mail us back video rentals. Please make sure to pack them well and opt for insurance if you decide to do so and don’t forget they still must be back by the due date.
Can I reserve a title?
You can reserve any catalog title or machine up to two months in advance. You can reserve rentals in person, through our online inventory or over the phone.
If you no longer need a rental you reserved, please call and cancel your reservation as soon as possible.
NOTE: We can not put reservations on New Releases or titles that have not yet been released for rent.
Can I purchase movies, or are they only available for rent?
You sure can! We have an eclectic selection of hundreds of new and used titles for sale in our store. We always price our new DVDs for sale below the suggested retail value.
Part of The Scarecrow Project’s mission is to make as many titles accessible to the public, and that includes being able to have titles in Scarecrow’s library available to take home and add to your own. We can special order most anything in print, and Scarecrow sources appropriately licensed copies so the filmmakers and artists receive their portion of the sale.
Who founded Scarecrow Video? How long has it operated?
George and Rebecca Latsios founded Scarecrow in 1986, when George rented about 200 of his personal VHS tapes out of the back of Backtrack Records and Video. A couple of years later, in 1988, they opened a store of their own on Latona Avenue, with about 600 titles. Five customers signed up that day and the store’s first $36 was made. Over the years Scarecrow Video has faced a lot of ups and downs, persevering through them all. For the whole story, go here.
Just how large is Scarecrow’s collection?
It’s the largest collection on Earth, with over 130,000 individual titles and counting! By comparison, most estimates put the number of titles offered by the largest streaming services at between 10,000 – 20,000 titles. Further, streaming services negotiate license fees with rights holders to deliver titles, and those contracts frequently expire or are re-negotiated, meaning that titles appear and disappear, seemingly at random. Scarecrow Video’s inventory is not going anywhere. If we have a title in our catalog, we will always have it.
What if I still haven’t found what I’m looking for/still have questions?
Alright, Bono. If you’re struggling to remember something you saw just snippets of twenty years ago and all your Internet keyword searches haven’t revealed the title, feel free to give us a call at (206) 524-8554 or email us at email@example.com. We’ll do our best to help you figure it out.