How Do They Make Visual Commentaries

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TheoGB, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    I'm interested in two things:

    1) How do they make them - how can they watch the film yet not have the movie projection interfere with the 'outlines'.

    2) They appear to be subtitle tracks so why is it so difficult to produce two versions - one anamorphic for us widescreen users?

    I guess '2' might be about bandwidth but then I've only seen these produced as part of proper SE's with anamorphic transfers, hence it's a bit annoying for the average punter to just go around switching their player whenever they want to see this option...
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Theo, they do it the same way they did MST3K back in the day. You shoot your subjects up against a brightly lit white screen, and put the movie on a TV that won't be seen by the camera. Then they key out the white.

    Yes, they are subtitle tracks, and yes, they do take up a LOT of disc space. By my estimate they are running about 12 frames per second. So for a 2 hour movie, at 3-4K a frame= about 375MB of disc space. Most DVDs with visual commentaries are short on space due to extras, so they can't include 2 versions and default to their biggest audience
     
  3. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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    The reason why some video commentaries do not work on 16:9 displays is because unlike "burned-in" subtitles, the player generated subtitles do not move.

    If you turn on the subtitles on a 1.85:1, you might see the player generated subtitles in the non-picture area on a 4:3 display. View this same presentation on a 16:9 display and the player generated subtitles are now in the picture area.

    Since the video commentaries for Ghostbusters, Muppets in Space, and Men In Black need to have the silhouettes sitting under the picture(like Mystery Science Theater 3000), these subtitles would not be at the bottom of the picture frame when viewed on a 16:9 display. They also would not that greatly visable on a 4:3 display.
     
  4. Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Bjorn Olav Nyberg Supporting Actor

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    I guess also, it would not be impossible to place the subtitles so they appear correctly on a anamorphic widescreen transfer, but if so, how would 4:3 TV owner's watch the visual commentary? Obviously 4:3 owners can't switch to widescreen, or the image will be distorted, so having it for 4:3 is the lesser of two evils in this case (but this case only [​IMG] )
    By the way, does a subtitle track for a visual commentary really take up more space than an ordinary subtitle track? I always believed the subtitles was just a sort of image that overlayed the entire picture and took up the same amount of space, whether they are used for text or images?
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Bjorn, no, they don't take up more space PER SUBTITLE, but since there are 12 subs or so going off every second rather than 1 every few seconds that ads up to a LOT more space
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Note that all visual commentaries aren't done through subtitles... The visual commentary for Mallrats took advantage of alternate angles, while the visual commentary for Dogma took advantage of seamless branching.
     
  7. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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    Bjorn...

    Ghostbusters, Muppets In Space, and Men In Black are enhanced for 16:9 displays.

    The player-generated subtitles appear at the bottom left of the picture frame(on the top edge of the lower black bar). These commentaries do not appear for 16:9 displays since the silhouettes would not be in the right place when viewed on a 16:9 display. They would be in the middle of the picture and would look awkward.
     
  8. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Hmm. I think you're forgetting that the only reason these sorts of commentaries exist (as far as I can see) is for the commentators to specifically point out things on the screen to the viewer.

    This is why I asked how they can do it, since if they are watching a white screen it would seem hard for them to point accurately. Also this is why having the (non-anamorphic) visual commentary on the anamorphic version would presumably fail to be useful!!

    I understand perfectly why the one set of subs wouldn't work on both the anamorphic and non-anamorphic versions, but I see the bandwidth of both would make it hard to provide both...
     
  9. Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Bjorn Olav Nyberg Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, I see, makes perfect sense now.

    Rutger_s, I know they are anamorphic, I own most of these titles, and even switched my player to 4:3 to watch the visual commentary on Men in black. My point was that given that the subtitles have to match either the 4:3 or the 16:9 transfer, it makes more sense to make it match 4:3, since you can't expect 4:3 owner to watch with the players in widescreen mode. I'm probably missing something else that are elementary to you, but I think we made the same point.
     

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