HTF REVIEW: "Movie Night" - UPDATED FEATURES SEE PAGE 2 (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 22, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Movie Night: Custom Version

    Think about it. The movie-going experience doesn't
    just consist of the Feature Presentation. From the
    moment you walk into a theater auditorium and take
    your seat, there's a whole sort of pre-show with
    movie trivia that flashes across the screen, followed
    by cool theatrical introductions to Coming Attractions,
    Theater Policies, and of course, Feature Presentation.
    I think it has been the dream of just about
    everyone in this forum who owns a Home Theater
    to be able to truly replicate that theatrical
    experience in their own home by enhancing their
    Feature Presentation with customized video
    introductions that ultimately immerse family and
    friends into a true theatrical experience.
    Enter the folks at CinemaWise who have
    released Movie Night, a DVD that promises
    to add a movie-going atmosphere home to your own
    personal theater using state-of-the-art,
    highly-detailed 3D graphics that replicate the
    introductions you see before a film.
    Movie Night seems to be a dream come true --
    a near perfect Home Theater companion that turns
    your Home Theater presentation into a true movie
    theater experience.
    Movie Night comes in two flavors: a basic
    DVD that contains:
    * 16:9 Theater ratio presentation
    * Full 5.1 Dolby Digital sound
    * 10 minutes of amusing and challenging
    trivia questions
    * A dazzling movie introduction sequence
    taking you on a 3D fantasy ride
    The custom edition has all the elements of
    the basic edition, but adds:
    * Your name integrated into the intro logo
    screen to personalize the DVD for your theater.
    You choose one of 4 designs from the website.
    * DTS 5.1 sound encoding and Dolby Digital
    5.1 Dolby Digital trailers
    * 8 interactive trivia games, organized into
    genres from love stories to action films to
    Star Trek!
    For review purposes I was sent the Movie Night
    Custom version. Let's take a look at it.
    The show (or rather pre-show) starts upon you
    inserting the DVD as you are immediately greeted
    with a gold movie ticket (one of 4 designs you
    personally choose) that features your name
    across the front supplemented with a triumphant
    instrumental passage. This is the customized
    portion of your disc, lasting only a few seconds
    in length.
    Immediately following the customized introduction
    is a rather snazzy and beautifully rendered computer
    animated 3D sequence that takes viewers through
    a movie theater lobby, past the refreshment stand
    (where you can hear the popcorn popping in the rear
    channels) and through double doors that open to reveal
    a movie auditorium. Music builds as the camera pans
    across the red carpeted floor of the theater.
    Perspective changes to a personal remote control that
    pops out from the arm rest of one of the chairs as
    a front projector drops from the ceiling. The music
    continues to build as the lush red drapes slowly
    open revealing the white screen behind it. A film
    leader starts counting down, then slightly pauses.
    We immediately switch to a countdown to the
    Feature Presentation. This gives your viewers an
    allotted time to get up, go to the bathroom or get
    their refreshments. A clock located at the bottom
    portion of the screen counts down in real time as
    anxious movie watchers are treated to 10 minutes
    of trivia questions and answers -- just like those
    shown in theaters before the movie begins.
    The trivia questions are pretty difficult, which
    make them challenging. Once presented with a trivia
    question you are given a choice of 4 answers.
    Shortly thereafter, you get the answer to that trivia
    question supplemented with additional facts you
    may not have known about that film.
    As the final seconds count down, your viewers
    anticipate something big is going to happen next,
    and it does....
    The screen goes black. A title card fades in
    reminding people to turn off their cell phones and
    pagers. A very nice touch!
    It's the moment you have been waiting for! An
    absolutely dazzling animated 3D sequence begins,
    taking you on a roller coaster ride along a filmstrip
    traveling in outer space amongst a star field. As
    you sail across the filmstrip, you find yourself
    dodging popcorn buckets and beverage cups. The
    music builds to a crescendo. Two bolts of lasers
    shoot at a planet as it explodes into blue letters
    that announce the Feature Presentation.
    After your Feature Presentation is done, you can
    go back to the DVD and play 8 interactive trivia
    games, organized into genres from love stories to
    action films to Star Trek!
    An insert inside the DVD package is an essential
    read to everyone as you'll learn that the DVD's
    MAIN MENU does not automatically appear.
    The reason for this is simple....the creators of
    this package wanted the viewer to be immediately
    immersed in the theatrical experience without
    any menu interruption.
    At any time you can hit the MENU key on
    your DVD remote to access the Main Menu.
    From here you can you have access to the AUDIO
    SETUP (the DVD defaults to 5.1 DD), extended
    TRIVIA, all the included Dolby Digital
    Trailers as as a set of COLOR BARS.
    You can also switch back and forth between Dolby
    Digital and DTS channels by using your DVD player's
    Audio button, switching between channels.
    So what did I think?
    Without a doubt, this DVD has the potential of
    being a dream come true for anyone that wants to
    enhance their Home Theater by turning it into a
    total movie-going experience.
    I only have two minor gripes. The first is the
    fact that not everything is accessable from the
    Main Menu. To get to the Feature Presentation
    sequence you have to scan through 10 minutes of
    countdown trivia. Perhaps access to this sequence
    from the Main Menu would make this an easier DVD
    to navigate through.
    The second minor gripe is the price. The custom
    disc (which obviously is the one you'll want) is
    a steep $49.95. The company assures me that this
    cost is necessary as it is quite expensive for them
    to personally author and burn each individual DVD.
    Perhaps at the price being charged, the company
    could have at least personalized the box cover art.
    How is the transfer?
    I have no real complaints about the visual
    quality of the DVD. The spectacular computer
    animated 3D sequences come across beautifully
    with nice bold colors that show no oversaturation
    or hint of video noise.
    The DTS track adds slightly more punch than its
    Dolby Digital counterpart. It was kind of cool
    to be led through a theater lobby during the
    opening sequence and pass by the refreshment stand
    where you can hear the sound of popping corn in
    the rear channels. The Feature Presentation
    sequence truly is a roller coaster ride with
    sensational "whooshes" that can be heard in the
    rear channel as you dodge beverage and popcorn
    cops. All of this ends spectacularly with a planet
    exploding that sent deep thunderous rumbles through
    the LFE channel, resulting in subwoofer response
    that I could feel.
    Final Thoughts
    This is a product that truly belongs in every
    Home Theater.
    It is my dream one day to have a Home Theater
    built into my home that truly replicates an
    auditorium with red carpeting, plush seating and
    a silver screen that hides behind curtains that
    open and close.
    I would have a console smack in the center where
    I would have multiple DVD players and a small
    concealed monitor that would allow me to play the
    part of "Movie DJ", dimming the lights, cue-ing
    up trailers, and playing the kind of snazzy personal
    introductions found on the Movie Night DVD.
    This DVD equally compliments any Home Theater from
    novice to professional. It takes you one step closer
    into turning your home theater into a real cinema.
    All in all, this is a terrific concept and a
    DVD that I will be using repeatedly whenever I
    have friends over to watch a film. With a
    personalized cinematic supplement like this,
    I may just have to build a balcony in my Home
    For more information and ordering visit:
    CinemaWise Productions
  2. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

    Jul 17, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Nice review, Ron. I would love to get something like this but can't justify spending $50 on it (or even $40 for the basic), especially with all the stuff coming out before the end of the year. Maybe I'll get it early next year, since that's usually a slow time for DVD releases.
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I love the concept...but I have a few suggestions:

    1. Why not have a few different aspect ratios for the intro? Perhaps one 1.33:1 intro (for Academy Ratio films), a 1.78:1 intro for 1.66:1 to 2:1, and a 2.35:1 one for 2.21:1 to 2.55:1. This way, the intro can blend seamlessly with the video.

    2. Perhaps more than one style of intro. Being a classic movie buff, I'd like a theater styled after a classic movie palace. I understand that CGI rendering takes a LOT of effort and time, but it's just an idea.

    3. Like the aspect ratio deal, how about having 2 extra tracks? One 1.0 mono track and a 2.0 stereo track for movies using those formats.

    I really like the presentation overall of the custom DVD......I hope CinemaWise is sucessful with this new product!
  4. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

    Jul 27, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Sorry if this sounds a little dense but how the heck to you get your movie to play after the "Feature Presentation" screen comes up?. Do people with single disk players remove the Movie night disk and replace it with the actual movie DVD?.

    After glancing casually over the website I could not see an explanation of the process. IMHO for customizing introductions (with trailers and wonderful presentations such as is found on this DVD) it seems that an HTPC is still the most desirable choice.

  5. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

    Jul 30, 2001
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    Well I just ordered this. I tried making one on my own rich wasn't half bad but I couldn't do any of the audio authoring that I really wanted. This is alot cheaper than another company who does the same thing.

    I asked for some other custom stuff like having it spelled 'theatre' instead of 'theater' so I'll see if they do that.

    Thanks for the review Ron.
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

    Jan 18, 1999
    Likes Received:
    This is a really neat DVD, I have a friend who owns one, and it really does add some atmosphere.

    Of course, many of us running HTPC have been doing this for a while. I have a slideshow presentation I did in a photshop and a video editor, exported to MPG with completely custom everything (including theater name, ever rotating trivia, and themed content and look! Complete custom background music and even voiceover...)

    But for those still running set-top DVD players, this disc is excellent! Highly recommended!

  7. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

    Jun 25, 2002
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    Anyone else notice that the number on the golden ticket (113877) has 1138, a number used by George Lucas in Star Wars: Episode IV that came from the title of his film THX 1138 as well as 77, the year Star Wars: Episode IV was first released?
  8. Dan Kaplan

    Dan Kaplan Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 17, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I hesitate to jump in here as the lone dissenting voice, but I just can't see how this would be anything but incredibly annoying. Maybe a fun novelty the first time, but why would you want to sit through it more than once? Wouldn't guests tire of it quickly? I may be mistaken, but I thought most people view all the previews, commercials, reminders, and trivia as the part of theater-going that must be put up with in order to see the movie and get a seat...
  9. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

    Mar 16, 1999
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    Well, Dan, If you've ever hosted (or been to) any kind of party, you ought to know that not everyone arrives at the staring time, people could be very early or very late - it's a novel means to entertain while you wait for all of you guests to arrive...
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

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

    It seems that you guys are demanding a lot
    more of this DVD than what it was intended
    for, but I am sure the authors of this disc
    appreciate the suggestions.

    The ratio differences don't bother me. You
    know how many times in a theater I watch
    screen masks automatically adjust themselves
    between trailers and feature?

    Obviously the best way to get use out of
    this disc beside a HTPC setup would be to
    use two DVD players to effectively edit
    together the entire show. While I realize
    many of you don't have such an elaborate
    setup like this, I still feel this disc will
    come in handy one day if and when you do.
  11. Aaron Croft

    Aaron Croft Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 2, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Pointless, absurd, geeky. That's probably how I would begin MY review of a product like this [​IMG]
    But having said that, I can't help but smile seeing your excitement for this product. I'm happy to know that this DVD fulfills your dreams. But, I still can't help but think how not practical this sounds.
    Even if I WERE to have the desire to sit through trivia and cheap CGI to fulfill my dream of replicating a "theater experience", I certainly don't think that a DVD like this is going to give me that immersive quality that I'm looking for. Even if you did have 2 DVD players plugged in to your AV source it would obviously require some setup before hand and some remote control action to get this to play like your actually in a theater. I couldn't immagine ever going through this effort maybe more than once.
    "COOL! I get to see the trivia again! GEE Willikers, I ALMOST forgot the answer to that question I see every time I watch a DVD."
    Also, it sounds like Ron has this idea in his head that this would be cool at parties. I can just hear the mocking my freinds would give me if I ever tried to play a "customized" movie night DVD before a movie we watched [​IMG] As soon as they saw my name on the screen and realized they were about to watch some trivia and theater intros before the movie it would be a moment that would be forever burned into their minds.. because they would NEVER let me live that moment down.
    OK, despite my harsh sarcastic tone I really do get a kick out of you guys liking this. It really does make me smile,and I would never laugh at anyone for liking this... My post is not meant as any direct attack on any of your opinions [​IMG]... My tone might be of a mocking variety, but I really do mean no offense, it's all in fun.
    I would hope to be poked fun at for my "geeky" fantasies about having a PC gaming LAN setup in my basement [​IMG]
  12. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

    Apr 18, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Cool product. Ive seen another company that sells stuff like this and its pretty nice. If i had a big home theater in my house where i can recreate that big theater experience like some people do i would buy this sucker in a heart beat

  13. Walter Smailus

    Jan 25, 1999
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    For my situation it wouldn't be practical right now since I only have the single tray DVD player and it would mean wandering back to the DVD player in the dark (who doesn't turn the lights down to watch a movie??) to put in the feature movie.

    I think it would be more practical for a DVD manufacturer to integrate this into the DVD player as an option at power on.

    For those who have the setup to handle this wouthout the hastle and who have the spare bucks, it could be a fun thing to have.
  14. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

    Jul 27, 2000
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    I think the price is very reasonable. I was looking at a similar product last year and it was over $250. I don't think it even had 5.1 sound!
  15. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

    Aug 5, 2001
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  16. Dan Kaplan

    Dan Kaplan Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 17, 2002
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  17. wally

    wally Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2001
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    Hi Vince,

    Do you have any details on your HTPC anywhere? I've got experience with Lightwave and After Effects and might like to give something like this a try on my own. I also have access to a DVD burner.

  18. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

    Jun 30, 1997
    Likes Received:
    I would pay 50 bucks extra for this to be installed as part of the OS of a DVD player. It is way cool! That is a great idea!
  19. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

    Nov 15, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Interesting product but way to "geeky". The fact that you have to change discs reminds me of flipping the disc on m old LD player.

    The idea that others suggested to have this as part of the OS of a DVD player would be a much better idea. The manufacturer of this should concentrate on selling this to the electronics companies for that purpose ... he would make a lot more money this way.

    Sounds like a half-brewed idea at best ...
  20. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

    Jul 2, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    If Warner Bros would just put some Looney Toons out on DVD, that would make this product redundant...
    Cartoons are the only thing that should go before a movie, and in my home theater, I will not be trying to replicate the movie experience as it is, but the way I think it should be.

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