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DVD Format Changing Movie-making 297

Posted by michael
from the mostly-for-the-worse dept.
rgmoore writes "The Los Angeles Times is running an interesting article on the impact of DVDs on the movie making process. They briefly mention the possibilities of end-users being able to re-edit the movie (with a veiled reference to The Phantom Edit) but focus more on the way that it's starting to influence directors and producers during the course of making the movie."
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DVD Format Changing Movie-making

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  • According to the article, it sounds like they are trying to make things better
    for the consumer, considering things like camera angles and music to make a
    more enjoyable home experience. I guess since we can more easily see what
    mistakes, or whatever go into the movie now, they are trying to take that into
    consideration.

    SealBeater
  • by Zuna (317219) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:29PM (#3301559)
    In case you're not familiar with it, you can read all about it here [salon.com].
    • I think it is interesting that the phantom edit was directly made possible by DeCSS, and the DVD format by itself would have actually prevented its creation because of the copy controls. (in the future when VHS is no longer used, this will become even more relevant.)
    • I saw Phantom Edit many months ago, and I've got to say that the movie still sucked. (EP1, not the editing!) There was only one time that I liked the movie, and that was at a Drive-In Movie (where you go park your car and watch it on a gigantic screen). The only reason that was good was because we turned off the sound and only watched the visuals. Try it, watch it on mute, it's much better!

  • by kwishot (453761)
    I don't know about any of you, but I predict that DVD as a form of data storage will soon become a LOT more popular. DVD movies have been out for a few years now, but DVD as a form of data storage hasn't had much of a chance because of availability. With DVD-Burners becoming much less expensive, it'll be easier to backup our data on to these. I'll also mention the fact that a HUGE portion of new "pre-built" computers, whether they be crappy name-brand or corner-computer-store generic, come with DVD drives as a standard.
    I'm also going to guess that movies will move on to something different. I haven't personally used a DVD-Burner yet, but I would assume that it's just as simple now to copy a DVD as it has been to copy a music CD for the past few years.
    The movie industry likes money..... I think they'll move on to something they can have a stronger grip on and get more out of (bigger is always better, anyways, right?).

    -kwishot
    • Pretty much every movie out there is made on a DVD-9 (9 gb), dual layer disc, while all burners you see DVD±R(W) are about 4.5gb, single layer disc. So, no, you can't copy them directly.
  • by sielwolf (246764) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:33PM (#3301572) Homepage Journal
    (since I am too lazy to read an article at 11:30 at night) but I remember reading that now actors are charging extra for all of the outtakes, deleted scenes, making-of footage, and commentary tracks that may or may not even be in the final DVD (and was, before this, basically all thrown away).

    Of course now the "commentary" track is being ruined. Take Eye of the Beholder: Ewan McGregor[sic], Ashley Judd, Nonsensical everything, Shittiest movie Ever. And IT has a director's commentary track. Wild Things. Battlefield Earth. WTF? Are they STILL trying to snowjob you? Not like they need to after you shelled out 24 bucks for the DVD. At least if they were fucking honest on them.

    Director: Now Ashley Judd starts crying here. [Puffs on cigarett] You know, I must have blacked out here 'cause I don't know what the hell I was thinking...

    Instead it's like this:

    Director: You can really see Denise Richards reach deep for that emotion. People say that she's just a hot piece of dumb ass but I really think she made a statement with this film...

    Goddamn and Goodfellas DOESN'T have a commentary track? AND it's on a two sided DVD?

    Kurosawa would never talk about his own movies. That wasn't his business. Let the scholars talk about them. What would he respond when people would as him what his favorite movie was? "The one I'm currently working on."

    Says a lot (... damn, Eye of the Beholder!!! Now I'm in a really bad mood. Damn, Slashdot...)
    • by instinctdesign (534196) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:19AM (#3301718) Homepage
      It really depends on a lot of factors whether a commentary track will be good or not. One the DVD of my favorite movies, Seven Samurai, has a commentary track by an "expert" on Kurosawa. Sounds interesting, no? Well... its just like the example you mentioned. "Here we see a scene with horses silhouetted against the sky." A minute or two later, "Kurosowa did that often." (obviously paraphrased) And it goes on and on like this for at least the first 30 minutes when I just turned it off and watched the film.

      Now, quite ironically, the best commentary track I've ever listened to was also on a Criterion DVD but of a vastly different caliber of film, Michael Bay's Armageddon. If you rent/buy it, (frankly I wouldn't recommend the film by itself but the extras make up for it) I highly suggest you listen to the commentary. Its got great tidbits from Bay about the making of such a huge scale feature, from an ex-NASA guy who talks about the "facts" of the film (one of the greatest lines, "now this just couldn't happen in real life"), and others.

      Its really hard to make a great commentary track, and you can never really tell what movie will have a good one and what won't. Another example, both Mel Brooks commentaries/movies, Spaceballs: boring commentary track, like a voice track for the blind; Young Frankenstein: hilarious, like Armageddon, worth listening to.
      • Ah, it sounds like you have the Criterion version of the Seven Samurai. Listen to the commentary again: yes, at first, it sounds trivial. Now listen again: body drops into a perfectly framed triangle, deep focus on big sword, rain on the village.

        Of course it easy to provide good commentary on a bad film, the great ones (Seven Samurai, Seventh Seal, Dr. Strangelove) have no errors: all you can do is praise the technique.

        The Seven Samurai is one of the best movies ever made - could you annotate any scene with more than "this is perfect?"

        • "could you annotate any scene with more than 'this is perfect?'"
          I definitely see your point, and I agree that its probably easier to make a good commentary track for a bad film, yet I would have liked to learned more from the Seven Samurai commentary. Just reading some of the notes over at IMDB [imdb.com] on Seven Samurai [imdb.com] or the single on Rashomon [imdb.com] (which I had been waiting for the Criterion version to be released, haven't had a chance to peruse the special features though), there are all these juicy tidbits that made, what could have been a good film, in to the amazing films we see now.

          That said, I'll be going back and listening to the Seven Samurai commentary, its been awhile since I last listened to it and its probably worth another look.
          • The reason you can learn almost everything that a commentary track has to offer on IMDB is because a lot of the IMDB "trivia" is contributed by people who got their information from the commentary tracks. Sometimes comments about the movie are word-for-word what the comentator said, but not attributed. In fact, I have lately found it very rare that IMDB has any information which did not come from various special features on the DVD or Laser Disk.

            I thought the comentary on Seven Samurai was actually pretty good, although it did take a while for him to really get into it.

            For a good commentary of a bad film, I would reccomend the Kevin Smith flop, Mallrats. Smith clearly really loves that movie to this day, but he's brutally honest about some of the things that went wrong with that movie, and as I recall, called it a "1.2 million dollar casting audition for Chasing Amy."

      • I agree completely with you. A commentary track is really a brand new medium independent of the quality of the film. Often times I will get a brand new DVD home, having bought it just for the commentary since I have seen the movie and the track just isn't worthy listening to. It really demonstrates not all people are good orators.

        My favorite commentary is in the New Line "Lost In Space" movie. Like most movies with a member of the Friends cast, this one sucked big time. When I went to see it at the theater, I walked out about a half hour of the nonsense. Oddly enough, I received the DVD as a gift from a relative and before I tossed it, I thought I would actually watch the entire thing.

        It's not the worst film ever, in fact at points it's mildly entertaining. What I found interesting was the technical commentary by the director, art director, CG lead, and a few others who explained just what it took to do all the effects, what the movie was aiming for, etc. All these people in the same room talking about the film, you really get some interesting dynamics.

        At one point the writer admitted "Yeah, the script sucks as far as scripts go, but we never said we were doing anything revolutionary -- just entertainment,". This is followed by a speech about the current industry in what is art vs. disposable entertainment.

        There is also a quite good basic documentary with appearances by many experts on the science behind the movie (as far as faster than light travel, worm holes, space time, general relativity, etc.). Another feature is a CG documentary which really makes you appreciate things a little bit more and marvel at all the little hacks they had to do to get something silly to work right.
    • Sometimes they're really entertaining though. Like for Rush Hour, the director was a total nitwit, so listening to him talk about how people used to play practical jokes on him on the set, but he didn't think they were funny, was a riot.

      Also, the best commentary track, hands down: Ghostbusters. Every bit as funny as the movie. Three guys (one was Harold Ramis, don't remember who the other two were), talking MST3K style.

      • Also, the best commentary track, hands down: Ghostbusters. Every bit as funny as the movie. Three guys (one was Harold Ramis, don't remember who the other two were), talking MST3K style.

        The audio for This Is Spinal Tap is similarly hilarious, with Nigel, David and Derek commenting on the making of the film and the aftermath of it on their careers.

  • I know this aint exactly on the radar of geeks, but the question becomes if comsumers can change the content of the movie, what happens to the Director's Intent. What I mean is we all know of movies that seemed to suck when they first came out, but then everyone finally caught up withe Director's ideas in the movie and becomes a classic.

    Will this make Director just slap shit together and tell consumers to maek it better?

    What if a Director doesnt want You changeing his movie because he has an exact reason for every scene but you still change it? Are you still watching the same movie the Director made?
    • "Director's Intent?" Who cares? Capitalizing the phrase won't make it seem any more important. Why is there this reverence for the supposed genius of the auteur/artist, anyway? I'd say that "Director's Intent" is about as important as "Viewer's Critical Faculty." No, probably less important.

      Now go to a bookstore or library and read "Death of the Author."
  • by efuseekay (138418) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:36PM (#3301583)
    So they can insert their product placements into existing movies viz:

    Goon 1 : "Do you know what they call the Whopper in France?"

    Goon 2 : "No? What do they call it?"

    Goon 1 : "They call it 'Le Whopper'."

  • Phil Alden Robinson, director of "Field of Dreams" and the upcoming "The Sum of All Fears,"

    Could that be...Sum of All Fears based on Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears??

    • Umm... I'm not sure if your being sarcastic or not, but I'll assume your not. :) Read more about the film [upcomingmovies.com] at UpcomingMovies.com [upcomingmovies.com], the trailer is also over at Quicktime.com [quicktime.com] Shockingly enough, it doesn't look like it will be horrible, though I could think of other Clancy books I'd rather see made into movies (Cardinal of the Kremlin for instance, and the new Hunt for Red October thats supposed to be in the works).
    • I'm waiting for the version for mathophobes, The Fear of All Sums :)
  • DVDs of course (Score:2, Interesting)

    DVDs lend so many possibilities for extra content. As a person with close connections to the documentry film world, I know that there is a conflict between people wanting 2 hour specials, and people wanting FOX like 15 minute ADHD adapted summaries. The ability to include both is a real opportunity. Since so many people watch DVDs, they can watch what they want. Unfortunatly, people will start coming out with crap made just to fill up the 4.7 gigs of space. So film has found a new media, perhaps we should concentrate on making good use of it, instead of filling it with crap. How long until everyone will get Holiday DVDs with 4 hours a family footage? Sounds like the 7th level to me.
  • by Nathdot (465087) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:45PM (#3301617)
    The article mentioned something about homebrew SW:Ep 1 DVD edits and it got me to thinking:

    *If I could use this technology I'd be able to edit out Jake Lloyd from Star Wars. What Glee!

    *Oohh! Jar Jar has to go... I shoulda thought of him first.

    *Ooohh! And ALL of the freaking gungans!

    *And so on...

    until it became apparent that my new "movie" was nothing more than Natalie Portman footage and light saber duels.

    Alas, who was the cinematic Atlas that put DVD fire in our lowly mortal hands?!

    :)

    PS. I'm still not totally convinced that my home edit would be worse than SW: Ep 1.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Since when did Atlas give us fire?

      If I was prometheus I'd set you on fire.
    • Actually, I don't think I'd even eliminate Jar Jar. I think that if I just dubbed him over with, whatever, the Japanese language track, or some other language that I wouldn't understand at all, and subtitled him, he'd be tolerable. I really don't get why every single alien in the original three movies gets subtitled, but in Episode 1, they just speak with stupid accents. Bring back the subtitles, I say!


      You know, if someone with computer graphics or modeling talent were to redo the final space battle (without Anakin), we subtitled the aliens, and we cut the fart joke, the picking up apples with one's tongue, and anytime Anakin says "wizard," we could likely end up with a Star Wars movie we could be proud of!


      On a side note, where does one FIND this Phantom edit? I've seen plenty of news articles, but no links to the actual thing. Where have people been picking this up from?

      • Actually, I don't think I'd even eliminate Jar Jar. I think that if I just dubbed him over with, whatever, the Japanese language track, or some other language that I wouldn't understand at all, and subtitled him, he'd be tolerable.
        Actually, I heard that one of these "phantom edits" left some Jar-Jar in, but added synthetic alien sounds on sound track, and subtitled it with some Deep Wisdom. A relatively easy way to make an annoying character to sound smart =)

    • until it became apparent that my new "movie" was nothing more than Natalie Portman footage and light saber duels.

      Your point being...?
      • until it became apparent that my new "movie" was nothing more than Natalie Portman footage and light saber duels

      Hate to burst your bubble, but half of the fondly remembered Natalie scenes were actually Keira Knightley [yahoo.com], who also re-dubbed half of Natalie's lines when George realised that the whole thing wasn't confusing enough...

      But yeah, the light sabre stuff rocked. At least you could make a decent trailer out of it. ;-)

  • Amazing isn't it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dustpuppy (5260) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:46PM (#3301625) Homepage
    If you run a business and you provide what the customers are asking for, your sales go up and so does your profit!!

    Wow - what a concept!!

    To bad the movie and music industry still don't understand this.

  • Maybe more standard movies outside the adult film industry will start using this feature. Many movies are filmed using dozens of cameras and then only one shot is used in the movie. I think a lot of people would like to view certain key parts of a movie from diffrent angles (Again standard movies not adult movies)
  • by cscx (541332)
    Don't underestimate the contribution the adult film industry has contributed to all sorts of video formats. According to Ron Jeremy, [theonionavclub.com] "People in porno have always been the leaders in new eras and new things--on tape, on CD. [...] ...Adult films have always been leading the way when it comes to technology."

    Just think. If it wasn't for porno, we might not have the DVD format today. Just like porn was the pioneering format for VHS when it was first introduced. Kinda the reverse of the article's direction when you think about it... porn has probably had more of an impact on video formats than video formats have had on the film industry.
    • by k_187 (61692)
      of course, this was also the porn industry that was throwing its weight behind Divx (circut city). If memory serves there was a /. article about it, but I'm too lazy to look for it.
      • Wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bnavarro (172692) on Monday April 08, 2002 @01:17AM (#3301820)
        The DIVX goons specifically did NOT allow porn, softcore or hardcore, on their format. In the post mortum analysis that followed, I remember that this prohibition was compared to a lack of porn (I don't know if it was actively blocked or not) on the Betamax format. Most people tend to believe that blocking porn was one (of many) reasons why DIVX failed.

        On the other hand, the porn industry threw their support completely behind Open DVD (just like they did for VHS), and you can see where the state of things are today... :-)
  • Yeah. The headline is correct... the directors, and producers are thinking about the DVD industry, specifically they are staring to forecast their revenues based on futures in the DVD market. In other words.. The producers are staring to budget in the DVD sales to the forecast profit to lure in investors. How do I know this, my uncle produced and directed his movie: "puppet master", a cheapo grade B movie. So anyways, my uncle tells me that future DVD sales can make of break a production in Hollywood. That is not so hard to believe, considering the fact that most movie productions don't recoup their cost of production. This is why the MPAA is so freakish about the CSS issue, and the cracking there of. I mean to say that DVD is a money making machine, and Producers would be negligent to not consider it when producing a movie.
  • Director's comments (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miahrogers (34176)
    I think one of the greatest things about dvds is that the director can show you multiple ways to watch the same movie. Once you're done with a movie, if you really like it, you can listen to the director talk about how he made it. I did this for American Beauty [imdb.com].

    Also more directors are able to put out the movie in wide screen, and I'm sure they love that. It's much more similar to the actual way we view things, and the film doesn't have to be "modified the film to fit your screen".

    Anyways. Hooray for DVD.
  • by Nathdot (465087) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:00AM (#3301662)
    I'm gonna edit the Memento DVD so that it plays in correct chronological order and my idiot roommate can work out just what the fuck is going on!

    ROOMMATE
    (perplexed)
    My head hurts! What just happened then??? Who's John G? What the?! Who the?!

    ME
    Here you go somewhere else and watch THIS version! Away with you!

    :)
    • Re:Memento edit! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Masem (1171) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:13AM (#3301703)
      I've heard that the R2 (or R4?) version of Memento does have an alternate chapter ordering as to run through the main plot in order (starting with the B&W calls in the hotel room, ending with the death of Teddy). Sure, it wrecks the way the narration and discussion of the problem and how it's built into Leonard's discoveries in the reverse order, and some of the revelations made in the movie (how not only were others using Leonard but he himself was), but there are thsoe that might want to see it that way to figure it out. And it wouldn't have taken up that much space on the current disc, so I'm surprised it's in an R2 edit but not R1.

      • I have the R1 dvd and it does NOT have this feature - it's moronic really that it doesn't - but of course you can always watch the scenes in reverse order by hand.
      • And it wouldn't have taken up that much space on the current disc, so I'm surprised it's in an R2 edit but not R1

        A few things:

        First, the Canadian release is nowhere near the picture and sound quality of the US release.

        Second, watching Memento in chronological order is an unbelievably boring and predictable experience. It's brilliant backwards, but it's also a very simple story: it had to be, or no one could follow it.

        Lastly, a 2-disc special edition, with director's commentary and other goodies, is on it's way May 21st. Check out the cover art here [misterorange.com], and go to the digital bits [thedigitalbits.com] for more info. I don't think it has the chronological order option, but it might be on there as an easter egg (for those desperate and/or bored enough to watch it that way).
        • Lastly, a 2-disc special edition, with director's commentary and other goodies, is on it's way May 21st. Check out the cover art here [misterorange.com], and go to the digital bits [thedigitalbits.com] for more info. I don't think it has the chronological order option, but it might be on there as an easter egg (for those desperate and/or bored enough to watch it that way).

          ARGH!

          I'm getting so sick of this.

          It happened with Fantasia - I go out and buy the new one and the old one. A week later, there's a special DVD set with an *extra* disk.

          The SAME thing happened with ToyStory 2.

          I did it again with Dogma.

          WHY CAN'T THEY JUST SAY THAT THEY'RE DOING A SPECIAL VERSION LATER SO I DON'T HAVE TO BUY IT UNTIL THAT ONE COMES OUT?

          *pop*

          Si
  • Big Deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr. Spork (142693) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:02AM (#3301671)
    It seems to me that these interactive features are there to apologize for how terrible most movies are these days. It's like the studios are saying "sure, our directors and scriptwriters suck shit, but hey, you can "re-edit" the movie yourself and make it suck less." Pretty soon, movies will be so "interactive" that we will just periodically mail $10 to the MPAA, get some cameras and friends, film some footage, and edit it to our liking.

    But seriously, I am happy that LOTR-FOTR is being released in a four-hour version. I really like the idea of DVD-directors cuts. I'm pretty confident FOTR would have made a lot more money if it had only been 2 hours long, because it could be shown five times a day per screen, rather than three. There is a lot of pressure on studios to avoid long movies. They want people to pay and free their seats as fast as possible. DVD releases are not under that same pressure, so I think we will see more "unshortened" versions of movies.

    I hope that enough people buy the FOTR DVD for the extra footage that movie studios actually learn to always shoot extra scences (character-development, background explanations, and cheap stuff like that) that don't appear in the theater release, but show up on the DVD to drive up sales/rentals for people who loved the movie in the theater and want to see more. FOTR is one movie that definitely needs another hour or so to make it seem less rushed.

    • Well, FOTR also had a lot more going on than they could possibly show on screen. Keep in mind that it's based on a very well-known and loved book, and Peter Jackson was very faithful to the book. They probably filmed a lot more than ended up in the final movie, just because there was so much material to work with. They just had to choose what condensed down to a reasonably long movie while still remaining faithful to the original story and vision of the movie.

      LOTR will suffer a lot of time-based editing, where the scenes are great and would add a lot to the movie, except they just don't have the screen time to use. I heard (don't quote me on this, I may be remembering incorrectly) that only about half of the scenes they shot for the LOTR movies will actually make it to the screen. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a 15 hour long LOTR DVD box set 3 years from now. The studio knows these movies deserve that kind of treatment (not to mention they'd be ecstatic to sell it to us again ;) so I don't think it'd be too much of a stretch (especially with so much quality footage ending up on the cutting room floor in the interest of time.) I know I'll buy it, along with the majority of the rest of you. : )
    • Re:Big Deal (Score:3, Funny)

      by squaretorus (459130)
      Producers are on to the fact that people are willing to pay more for outtakes, missing scenes, etc...

      Personally, a movie is a movie. If something didn't make it into the film then who needs it. If I trust the director enough to donate some cash and an evening of my time to his control - who am I to say I need the power to add extra scenes and stuff.

      And whats the best way to make the DVD sell more? "The scenes that couldn't make it into the theatre! All the chicks get NAKED!". So when your filming you just make sure that some crappy little scene thats a million miles from the plot has the leading lady flashing her ass. Cut it from the theatre release, 'leak' some crappy stills to some fan sites to hype up expectation, release the DVD without it, then release the widescreen or directors cut DVD which costs 40% more than the first version and has a bit of 'collectable' cardboard inside. Instantly you sell an additional 50%!
      • A good counterpoint would be the movie The Abyss (james cameron). In the theater release, it was just a fun movie that lacked any deep meaning. In the directors cut, 45 minutes of philosophical stuff was put back in which utterly changed the plot of the movie. In this case, the studios forced the director to remove all that because it wasn't as marketable in the theaters.

        So, remember that the theater version is designed to make as much money in the opening weekend as possible, which means that it's the studios calling the shots, not the director.
    • But seriously, I am happy that LOTR-FOTR is being released in a four-hour version. I really like the idea of DVD-directors cuts. I'm pretty confident FOTR would have made a lot more money if it had only been 2 hours long, because it could be shown five times a day per screen, rather than three. There is a lot of pressure on studios to avoid long movies. They want people to pay and free their seats as fast as possible. DVD releases are not under that same pressure, so I think we will see more "unshortened" versions of movies.


      As you pointed out, DVD releases aren't under the same pressure. The bulk of the money being made from movies is no longer ticket sales. It's video sales (VHS and DVD) and merchandising (get your Frodo Baggins(TM) Action Figure (TM) Today! Only from Hasbro(R)!) that make the big $$$ today, especially for high-budget summer blockbusters like LOTR: FOTR.

  • Phantom Edit 2001 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rufus211 (221883)
    According to the phantom edit forum [onecenter.com] (only thing I can get to right now, the site [onecenter.com] is down for "6 hours" right now) a new 2001 aka DC version (what's with the city names?) has been released. One person provided an ftp to download it from, but the ftp is dead. As someone who is just now hearing about this for the first time (and has too many SW-obsessed fans for friends) I'd be *very* interested in seeing this, or really any of the 3 (LA, NY, or DC) versions. Anyone out there have a mirror of any of them on a descent connection and be willing to share with the community or know of someplace we can get this from?
  • Watch a source invalidate himself: "Do you realize that in all of science-fiction literature they never predicted digital technology and how it would change our lives and our art?"

    Yeah, I mean, it's not like William Gibson, Neal Stephenson or John Brunner wrote about digital technology. No, they just wrote about... er, computers changing society.

    • Yeah, I mean, it's not like William Gibson, Neal Stephenson or John Brunner wrote about digital technology. No, they just wrote about... er, computers changing society.

      Or Star Trek for that matter ... or 2001 a space oddyssee ... or,

      Oh wait, he means the Luddite inspired tripe Hollywood thinks of as Sci Fi. He's right, Hollywood Sci Fi isn't in a position to predict the Microwave prior to its being on the market and demanding some product placement, much less something as significant as computers and the internet.

      Which is why those of us who are true Sci Fi fans have such disdain for the dreck Hollywood markets and labels as such. When I see Greg Egan's "Diaspora" in an unadulterated film format, maybe I'll gain some shred of respect for the media moghuls. In the meantime, most of 'em wouldn't know SciFi if it kicked them in the face.
  • by halo8 (445515) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:23AM (#3301726)
    DVD Format Changing Movie-making

    Its changed the Movie Buying experiance all right.

    THEN: I just went to blockbuster and grabbed a movie on VHS and bought it.

    NOW: go on internet.. search sites.. Collecters Edition has X amount of footage, Directors Cut has Y amount of Footage and comments. the SuperBit version has Better footage but no Z and no Y. and of course finding a review that says EXACTLY what one has over the other is hard to find.
    and obvisoly i go to the store and they dont have that version i wanted.
  • Hmmm. RIAA is currently unhappy that digital technology
    (particularly broadband and P2P software) will soon make
    it feasible to copy and download movies.

    Solution: keep expanding the content of a typical movie
    so the average viewer feels it's cheaper and easier to
    just go buy it, rather than spend 10 hours downloading.
    To quote an old MTV ad, "Too much is never enough".

    So, a typical "movie" in 2010 might include 32 different
    camera angle choices for each scene, dubs for most major
    languages spoken on earth (complete with CG airbrushing
    to resync the actors lips), etc. etc. etc.

    >;K

  • From the article:

    "Sales of DVDs last year reached $4.6 billion, 21/2 times their 2000 revenue, according to the L.A.-based DVD Entertainment Group, a consortium of the major studios and distributors."

    Isn't this just another reason why we don't need digital controls on hardware and yet another reason why we don't need the sssca?

    - I think so.
  • Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jchawk (127686) on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:46AM (#3301770) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    "New low-cost digital technology gives enthusiasts the chance to be desktop filmmakers, shooting new footage and combining it with existing movies. While DVDs are encoded to safeguard against piracy and copying, and the studios vigorously pursue civil and criminal proceedings against people they catch, more sophisticated computer users still find ways around that. With DVD-writing software, and illegal but fairly easy to find encryption decoders, not only can adventurous viewers reedit movies like "Star Wars" on their computers--removing "characters from a movie that they don't like," as Coppola suggests--but there's the possibility of creating entirely new movies from existing ones."

    Couple interesting things here. In this article we are not criminals, we are sophisticated computer users.

    And number two, it seems to me that there is support for this behavior by the directors of these films.

    Maybe they realize that this is not a crime, it is simply our fair use right when we buy the dvd.

    - Just my 2 cents.
  • Why I buy DVDs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08, 2002 @12:53AM (#3301779)
    The article went a bit too far in casting DVDs as a heroic art form. What was most irksome was it failed to mention the single biggest reason I was an early adopter of the DVD format. Yes, the directors' commentaries are fascinating. Yes, the deleted scenes, making-of documentaries, bios, trailers, and other assorted doo-dads are keen. Yes, the improved picture and sound quality are wonderful. However, even if DVDs were missing all that, I would still be buying them at a voracious rate for one simple reason -- they don't degrade.

    The back end of my twenty year old VHS collection is crumbling away. In another twenty years the front half will be gone too. But in 100 years all my DVDs will play with the same quality they do today. You never really own a VHS tape. You're renting it from a decaying universe, and every 15 or 20 years you have to make the rent payment again or you lose your lease.
    • Re:Why I buy DVDs (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bitrate (460396)
      I'm inclined to agree.

      I'm a former VHS collector turned DVD collector now, and I have over 200 VHS tapes that are crumbling away into nothing as the years (not many) slip away since I've purchased them.

      However, I have over 100 DVDs now (and purchased that number in the last two years) and each and every one is just as pristine and enjoyable as the minute I brought it home.

      VHS stretches over time and quality degrades to the point where a movie is no longer even enjoyable (at least, once you've seen the DVD of it, the VHS version is sub-par). As well, the MPAA trying to squeeze every last dollar out of VHS consumers by tacking on extra footage and other stuff at the END of the tapes, so you have to fast forward to the end. I think one of the other main selling points for DVD was the instant chapter access.

      How many times have you wanted to see one part of a film and couldn't remember the exact HH:MM:SS of the spot? It will only get better with director edited cuts on DVD too (perhaps even a guide that shows certain extra things you might not notice on the disc - but with timecodes so you can actually LOOK for yourself)

      Bravo to those who have championed DVD in the past and who will in the future - just make the next format's player backwards compatible - or I'm going to be really pissed.

  • Man, the film industry is going to get *killed* by the games industry in a few years, and it seems they don't see it coming.

    Seriously, 'interactivity' is not about downloading a flick and laboriously re-editing it (a process of questionable legality in the curent political climate), it's about the viewer/audience being able to influence the content at 'run-time'.

    DVD offers minimal interactivity, and everyone who has ever tried to 'interact' with a DVD knows this.

    The moviemakers are just trying to talk up their pathetic 'interactivity' to make it seem like they aren't still just rehashing the same old shit and ripping off the viewing public over and over again.

    • I want to be entertained by my films and told a story. I want to be presented with a work of art.

      When I play games, I want things left nice and open, so I can do what I want, but with films I want to see the directors vision up there on the screen.
  • by Technician (215283) on Monday April 08, 2002 @01:55AM (#3301869)
    The original.

    Too many movies are chopped and edited for home release. I liked Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I loved the tearing up of the garden. The obsession of enhancing the train layout is missing. The finished hill looks nice and all, but they needed to keep in driving the wife crazy getting all that dirt into the living room. Too bad they chopped it up for home release to add the extra footage at the end.

    Disney is doing this way too much. I loved the scene in Pete's Dragon with the song Candle on the Water sung at the top of the lighthouse. Don't look for it in the home tape version, it was chopped. They cut the beautiful sensitive moment. I think the song ran in the closing credits, not in the movie. Some Disney movies are even released with a new title for home release. The Unidentified flying Oddball and A Spaceman in King Arthurs Court is one example of one movie with two titles.

    I am not buying these on DVD just to see if these scenes are back in the movie. When you buy a home verion of a movie, It's like a box of chocolates, you just don't know what you are gonna get.
    • I'd really like to see the DVD laid out so you can pick and choose which edition you want to see. This would be perfect for something like Star Wars. Wanna see the original? Great. Press "Play Original Version" and you get just that, no Special Edition footage. Wanna see the special edition? Great, press that button instead. And if you let me program the scene order myself, I can keep in the cool scene where the Millenium Falcon takes off out of Mos Eisle but take out the lame Jabba scene just before it.

      This was one of the promises of DVD that I haven't seen used in any title yet. I remember hearing it touted that you'd be able to switch between, say, an R-rated original or the PG-rated cut-for-TV release. Or maybe I'd like to see the deleted scenes in the context of the movie rather than as snippets to be viewed separately. *sigh*

  • An idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CarbonJackson (540580)
    Here's an idea that's been dancing around in my head. Let me see if I can make sense of it. Basically, I'm thinking of a program that would allow people to produce custom edits of DVD's. It would depend on someone owning the actual DVD for the video, but could import audio tracks (for commentary) and tracking scenes (for custom edits).

    In essence, you end up with a little script that tells the end user which audio track to play when and where to "drop the laser" on the video. No explicit IP problems that I can think of.
  • Blockquoth the article:

    As audiences became acclimated to music videos' jump-cutting and nonlinear storytelling techniques, they were able to absorb information more rapidly and in different ways, allowing filmmakers to short-cut exposition and action without necessarily sacrificing clarity.


    I suppose. Or maybe audiences just got desensitized to mishmash logic and gaping plot holes, because their attention spans were shrunken past the Schwarschild radius... I happen to believe that the influence of music video directors on mainstream media has been a disaster that's consigned nearly a whole generation of films to the dustbin of failed art.


    And don't even get me started about the influence of advertisement directors....

  • Ironic truth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilroy (155262) on Monday April 08, 2002 @04:22AM (#3302136) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:

    Those developments, and video on demand in particular, had the potential of endangering the lucrative retail home video market in much the same way that the free downloading of songs eventually hurt the music business.

    You mean, by empowering end users and thus driving further sales of things they would otherwise not buy? Oh, yeah, I guess it's true. Exactly the same way the VCR "killed" Hollywood.


    It disturbs me to see such a misreading of the actual trends (hmmm: Napster peaks, CD sales soars; Napster shut down, CD sales contract) slipped so quietly into an article about something else.

    • You mean, by empowering end users and thus driving further sales of things they would otherwise not buy? Oh, yeah, I guess it's true. Exactly the same way the VCR "killed" Hollywood.
      They went to court to stop the home video trade, and nowadays, it's the only thing that makes some major titles even profitable. Hey, MPAA, guess what! If you put out a product that's worth buying, people buy it. I don't go to theaters; too much damn hassle. I think I've seen five theatrical movies in as many years. But I've got over 200 DVDs. It averages out, in my case, to something like a DVD every four days. That's a DAMN GOOD business model. Don't screw it up for yourselves.
  • Um, why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilroy (155262) on Monday April 08, 2002 @04:31AM (#3302149) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the article:

    "There is a risk of completely demystifying the [filmmaking] process," producer Bouzereau says, "which is why it [DVD production] needs to be controlled by the filmmaker."

    Aah, the usual argument from an elite that feels the ground slipping out from under it. (Believe me, I don't despise elites... just ones that can't provide enough extra value to maintain their survival). "Demystification" is a tired rallying cry used by people defending the status quo... It boils down to, "I can't tell you why I am an expert and you are an uninformed boob, but it's just so. Now listen to me!"


    Again, we see that a major concern of the Content Cartel is not preventing illegitimate copying or even maximizing profit. It's about maintaining control. It boggles my mind that in a culture that purports to embrace individuality and democracy in politics, we suffer the arrogance of people who despise that impulse in art. If art is about universal human truths, maybe actual humans should have a say.


    Coppola points out the impetus behind things like CSS and the proposed CBDTPA:


    "Once computers become married with film, the form becomes promiscuous," Coppola says, "and that can bring about new ways of making movies that the studios can't control."

    'Cause as my man Cosmo said, "It's about who controls the information... what we see and think".
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday April 08, 2002 @08:21AM (#3302409) Homepage

    Where have we already seen these groundbreaking developments?

    • Handheld cameras?
    • Straight to video releases?
    • Online releases?
    • Mock-amateur participant observers (aka gonzo filmaking), as used in the "innovative" Blair Witch?
    • Multiple POV scenes on DVD?

    Porn, that's where. Where the porn industry (and niche market filmmakers in general) innovates, Hollywood trails along, years afterwards.

    Want the know the Next Big Thing? Real time audience generated scripts. I'm thinking ho cams chat sessions, I'm thinking Troma and their script contests [ncsu.edu], especially the one where each scene was written by a different fan. Throw some budget at it, put a film crew and some Semi Big Names in a shiny van with a satellite uplink, webcast the filming and solicit "what happens next?" in real time from viewers. Zoom around Hollywood (or Toronto, more likely) with a lawyer and a light meter, spending bushels of money to shoot a quick scene in this cafe or that warehouse among real honest Joe Public, then edit it up and release a movie/DVD of the final version, complete with various alternative scenes, "the making of" documentary, and some stuff about the scene submitters. Cinema verite on steroids: "Yeah, my aunt's boyfriend's dog walker wrote this scene! Look, that's him in the credits, telling Harvey Keitel what to say!"

  • Those developments, and video on demand in particular, had the potential of endangering the lucrative retail home video market in much the same way that the free downloading of songs eventually hurt the music business.
    Somehow, the recording industry has tricked the media into believing the bygone conclusion that "downloading hurt the music business." Will they realize that it's just the dying gasp of a dinosaur business model before it's actually extinct? The record companies think they're entitled to stay in business with the same ridiculous profits, and they're trying hard to convince the media and legislators to help them.

    "There is a risk of completely demystifying the [filmmaking] process," producer Bouzereau says, "which is why it [DVD production] needs to be controlled by the filmmaker."
    What's risky? Why is the filmmaking process "mystical" and what's the big deal if it's demystified? I must be missing something since I didn't realize it was "mystical" in the first place.
  • If you fool around with the DVD Edition of Made [imdb.com] (by Jon Favreau of Swingers [imdb.com] fame), you'll see an example of in-DVD editing.

    You're allowed to 'edit' a few scenes. The tone and feel of one scene in particular, the 'pottery painting' scene, can be completely changed by your editing. Basically, the DVD splices the scene up into three or four shots, and gives you three or four options for each of these shots. These shots include the one used in the movie and some that were left on the cutting room floor. Once you've finished selecting your shots, the DVD shows you your completed splice. Granted, the splice is a little rough on the edges, but, man, what a cool-ass feature.

    The editing feature not only gives you an insight into what an editor's job is like (having such control over the tone of a scene is really amazing), its just a fun toy. It also neatly showcases the incredible power of DVD.

    If you haven't rented it, the DVD is worth a rent - packed full of special features, and just a good movie to boot. Highly recommended.

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