HTF REVIEW: "DVD Discoveries" (with screenshots) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    Studio: DVD ANGLE
    Year: 2002
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: N/A
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1) and 16X9
    Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: None

    Everything you have always wanted to know about
    DVD but probably had no other way of knowing

    It had to be nearly a year ago that DVD ANGLE
    President Paul Russell contacted me via phone to
    tell me about a new DVD that they were working
    on that basically took a look at the inner-workings
    of the DVD industry.

    To be honest, didn't pay too much attention to
    what DVD ANGLE was doing despite the fact that they
    were sending me regular updates on the project over
    the past few months. I wasn't be reing rude mind
    you, but with all the work involved in running my
    own forum I find it difficult to concentrate on
    projects that other forums may be involved with.
    I'll also confess that I just sort of pawned off
    their project as being some cheap home-made video
    about the industry. When the disc arrived at my
    door last week, I just placed it out of the way
    thinking I'd eventually look at it.

    Well, I don't mind saying that I feel like someone
    with egg on their face. Having only a few minutes
    on my hands this morning to briefly look at DVD
    , I ended up spending more than an
    hour enthusiastically going through all the material
    of this disc. What surprised me the most was the
    fact that this was no home-made video but in fact
    a very professional, informative (and often humorous)
    look at what it takes to put together a DVD from
    every angle.

    Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to put
    together a DVD? Ever wonder how menus are created
    or how supplemental material is collected or what
    the function of a DVD producer is? Ever wonder how
    DVDs are manufactured? All of these questions are
    answered in one single DVD package and done so in
    such an entertaining manner so that none of the
    material comes across as "preachy."

    What made this really interesting for me is that
    many of the people who have taken their time to
    be interviewed are very familiar to Home Theater
    Forum members. From David Fein to Van Ling to
    Producer Charlie de Lauzirika (who participates
    regularly in forum threads), this DVD is full of
    names of individuals I have heard of over the years,
    but now only seeing their faces for the very first

    So how informative can one single DVD be and why
    do I feel that this DVD belongs in every single DVD
    enthusiast's collection? Let's take a look at the
    disc and perhaps you can sort out all the answers


    As you can see here, the MAIN MENU presents the
    three major segments of this DVD presentation:
    Content Production, Disc Production and
    Studio Segments.


    Let's begin with Content Production which
    consists of a series of unique featurettes that offer
    a look at content creator's point of view....


    First up a visit to 1K studios/Sparkhill
    . This is a company responsible for
    creating the navigational interfaces (known as menus)
    that you see on DVDs. We get a brief overview on
    how DVD menus came together, what they originally
    looked like, and how animated menus slowly became
    the standard in the industry. We talk directly to
    the animators and designers who have not only
    contributed to creating DVD menus, but many of
    the desktop games that are now appearing on discs.
    In one segment we watch how these designers shot
    various pieces of footage around LA that would
    eventually be integrated into the DVD menu of
    The Sopranos.
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)

    Next is my absolute favorite segment on this DVD,
    Automat Pictures, which is absolutely
    hilarious as it looks at the making of a fictional
    Tortoise and the Hare DVD and what it takes
    to turn it from a vanilla release to a content-filled
    Special Edition. It even makes fun of the fact that
    studios are most anxious to get you to buy their
    product twice. You'll see how the director gets
    involved in the DVD project from the beginning stages,
    and how added various pieces of supplemental material
    (such as deleted scenes and original storyboards) are
    tracked down and put together complete with added
    audio commentary. I was really impressed how this
    cleverly produced piece managed to be so funny yet
    at the same time extremely informative.
    (length: approx. 13 minutes)


    Charles de Lauzirika and David Prior are
    producers responsible for some of the most
    acclaimed Special Edition DVDs ever made. Their
    successes include: Fight Club, Gladiator, Legend,
    Pearl Harbor Vista Series
    and many more.
    Charles has been a frequent contributor to our
    forum, and it is certainly a major regret of mine
    that as many times as I have personally shook hands
    with him whilst out in LA, I have never had the
    opportunity to really get to know him. This
    wonderfully produced 15-minute anamorphic segment
    really helped me better understand what exactly
    Charlie and David do. Charlie shows us his work
    on the upcoming Black Hawk Down Special
    Edition DVD while explaining the very unique approach
    he gave to the disc's documentary. So what exactly
    does a DVD Producer do? Charlie and David can't
    really pinpoint it themselves but cite it as being
    a little of everything: directing, writing, editing
    and designing. There are a lot of people involved
    in this entire process and we get to meet some of
    them while taken on a tour of Sparkhill. You'll
    follow Charles as he goes to Morocco (of all places)
    to nab director Ridley Scott for an audio commentary.
    One of things that interested me most here was
    listening to David Prior tell us the frustrations
    of not only having to deal with short release windows
    but also the immense legalities involved in securing
    material for a DVD release. It will certainly make you
    wonder how any of this material ever makes it to
    DVD in the first place.
    (length: approx. 15 minutes)

    Meet Jason Rosenfeld. He helps studios
    go through their archives in order to bring out
    niche product to the DVD format. In this case, he
    helps analyze potential TV product by giving the
    studios some idea if a show will sell well on DVD or
    not. Take note on how he talks about Internet forums
    and how their petitions actually do help get product
    out that would not ordinarily have been considered.
    (length: approx. 11 minutes)


    Meet David Fein and Michael Matessino of Sharpline
    who talk about some of the great DVD releases
    they have done including The Alien Legacy, Star Trek:
    The Motion Picture: The Director's Edition, The Last
    and The Sound of Music. We
    learn how this company searches all over the world to
    garner interviews from every single person involved
    in a particular production in order to give the best
    DVD presentation they can. Realize, all these acquired
    interviews and material serve as preserved historical
    documents for future generations to enjoy.
    (length: approx. 21 minutes)


    I nearly fell off my chair when I watched our friend
    Van Ling starring in Confessions of a DVD
    . As many times as I have sat across a
    table with this wonderful man, I never pictured him
    in prisoner's garb being interrogated about his
    various DVD efforts. Van's hamming for the camera
    really paid off, adding to the overall entertainment
    value of this featurette that takes a look at how
    one man's unique vision leads to exciting DVD content.
    Van explains that he approaches DVD content very
    much in the same way he does film. His utmost
    concern is being able to bring the same artistry
    that went into the film directly to the DVD itself.
    Van emphasizes that what is most important in all
    the documentaries you watch on DVD is not how much
    content is presented, but the way it is edited in
    a manner that it most effectively gets its point
    across. Van's background in graphics and digital
    effects have enabled him to create some of the most
    memorable DVD menus to date. These are the first
    items you see on a DVD which properly set the mood
    of what you are about to watch. We have the
    opportunity to watch Van at work as he describes
    the intricate details that went into such huge
    projects as The Phantom Menace. You gotta
    love the fact that Van touches upon the feedback he
    receives from forums such as ours and how important
    such feedback is to both him and the studios as
    long as it is polite and constructive.
    (length: approx. 14 minutes)


    Abyss/ID4/T2: Exploring Menu Environments
    takes us through three of Van Ling's most renowned
    menu creations while having the option of hearing
    an optional commentary track from the Producer
    himself who guides us through his creative process.


    Now let us take a look at Disc Production,
    a series of featurettes that explore the creation of
    a physical DVD, both professionally and at home.


    I am certain that many of you will be interested in
    learning how DVDs are physically created. In CAV
    DVD Replication
    you'll see how "glass masters"
    are coated with a light sensitive material, imprinted
    with laser pulses and then sent through an
    "electroforming" process that ultimately creates a
    "father" disc. From there we look at replication,
    printing and packaging. Some of you who have taken
    a tour of the Technicolor plant on past Home
    Theater Forum meets will immediately recognize much
    of the material presented here. For those of you
    who have never seen how DVDs are created, I promise
    you that this will be an eye-opener and certainly
    something you never expected.
    (length: approx. 6 minutes)


    Cyberlink provides two separate featurettes
    on DVD and your PC. The first, DVD Playback on the
    explores what hardware and software is
    necessary for playing DVD product on your home
    computer. It's also a plug for their POWER DVD
    program (which I personally love). Technically-minded
    individuals will be more interested in watching
    Home DVD Movie Creation which walks you through
    the process of creating your own DVD movie title
    using their Cyberlink PowerProducer software.
    (approx. 8 minutes each)


    Now let's look at the Studio Segments portion
    of this disc which brings us face-to-face with two
    companies that have been huge contributors to the
    DVD format....


    THX Studio introduces us to Richard Dean,
    Director of digital services at THX, who talks to
    us about what it takes to earn the THX seal of
    approval on DVD releases. Though this plays out
    more as a promotional effort, it is still of
    interest to those that have no idea what the THX
    label signifies. Also included are THX's Broadway
    and Cavalcade trailers that you find on
    most THX certified releases.

    In Warner Bros. Publications we are shown a
    simple montage of their interactive educational
    products. Not very impressive for the fact that
    it is simply advertisement for the company.

    Finally, a music video is included for the group
    Stampede Queen.

    Final Thoughts

    Ultimately, this Limited Edition DVD Discoveries
    is a mixed-bag of material. On the one hand, its
    professionally produced segments on DVD production
    are highly educational and alone well worth the cost
    of this DVD. On the other hand, some of the material
    comes off as being nothing but self-promotion ads by
    companies like Warner Publishing and even THX. And
    why a video by Stampede Queen is even included
    on this DVD, I'll never know.

    Still, I was so impressed with what I saw here that
    I am giving this my HIGHLY RECOMMENDED seal of
    approval. Never before has one DVD given so much
    insight into what goes into those shiny 5" discs
    that give us so much entertainment pleasure. Not
    only is this an invaluable DVD for newbies, but I
    am certain it will equally please veterans of the
    format as well.

    Best of all, it can be had at a $10 price tag (plus
    $2 shipping) by clicking on this link.

    Release Date: NOW

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. TyC

    TyC Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Great review! [​IMG] I love my two copies!
  3. Brendon

    Brendon Second Unit

    Jun 15, 1999
    Likes Received:
    And they'll only ship to North America [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Oh well...

  4. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

    Dec 30, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Brendon, I can get one to you. E-mail me and we'll arrange something.
  5. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

    Jul 1, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Brian Dobbs
    I got mine and it kicks.
  6. Florian B

    Florian B Agent

    Jun 20, 2002
    Likes Received:
  7. JeffMuller

    JeffMuller Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 18, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I really enjoyed this DVD ... although, I found the Tortoise and Hare segment to be a little irritating (I couldn't watch the whole thing).

    I found the inclusion of the video "interesting" too.

    The DVD manufacturing segment was very interesting. Van Ling rules!

    Otherwise, a must-have! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

    Oct 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I'm a sucker for these things! [​IMG]

    Thanks, Ron, I wasn't even aware this disc existed. I just placed an order.
  9. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

    Sep 13, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I got it free from better Cables - was going to mention it earlier.

    fantastic insights!

    Now I know how DVDs fail and fall apart, lol.
  10. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Probably order it later on, as I have no money at the moment.
  11. Darren D

    Darren D Stunt Coordinator

    May 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Ron, I have to this disk closed captioned or subtitled in English?

    I'll buy it in a heartbeat if it is.

  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    I don't believe it is.
  13. Darren D

    Darren D Stunt Coordinator

    May 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    [​IMG] Oh, well...c'est la vie.

    Thanks for the answer, Ron.

  14. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

    Mar 7, 2002
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