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Seamless branching (1 Viewer)

JacobGunn

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How difficult is it to make seamless branching? The current reason for my question is the upcoming 2-disc release of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves which is extended by 12 minutes, but it might as well have been dozens of others discs.
Like everybody else, I want the best possible video and audio quality, along with the best extras. Usually this points to the inevitable second release (the perennial term "ultimate edition" jumps to mind here) a lot of movies receive.
But in ever so many cases, a second edition also means a bloated running time. Whether for "artistic" or marketing reasons, directors and/or producers feel compelled to add "exciting new scenes" over and over. But, quite frankly, I could have done without the added scenes of Superman, Blues Brothers, Star Trek II, and many other titles.
How difficult is it to offer both theatrical and extended version via seamless branching? (Given, of course, that the longer version isn't sequenced totally differently)

My apologies if this subject has been covered ad nauseam earlier.

Thanks for your replies,
Jacob
 

Michael Reuben

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Moving this to the Software forum.

This subject usually comes up in connection with specific titles. Points frequently noted are:

1. Every time there's a disc with seamless branching, some number of player models has a compatibility problem.

2. Many popular DVD authoring packages do not support seamless branching.

3. Not all longer versions are suitable for seamless branching treatment. If a director's cut involves a lot of short restorations or scene extensions (an example would be Oliver Stone's preferred cut of Natural Born Killers), seamless branching probably won't work.

But in ever so many cases, a second edition also means a bloated running time.
I couldn't agree more. There are very few "expanded" versions of films that I find preferable to their predecessors. Indeed, to me that's another argument against seamless branching. I generally prefer a deleted scenes section over the option to view a longer film (it's an option I usually decline).

M.
 

Jonathan Dagmar

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i tend to like extneded editions. I guess that may be because the only time I ever buy movies is when they are my favourties, and the rest are rentals. If it's a movie I love, I want to to go on forever.

I saw LR:FOTR in the theatre three times, and everytime I didn't want to to end.
 

ChadMcCallum

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Me too. I almost always perfer the extended or directors cut of a movie. Off the top of my head the only one I don't is Aliens. However, I do like having the option of choosing what version to watch. I think seamless branching should be used more often.
 

Jonathan Dagmar

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i don't think seamless branchin should be used. I just don't like the idea that there are DVDs that may or may not work on my player.

However, does anyone know those choose your own adventure books?
I have often thought it would be cool to do that in movie form. Seamless branching could be used for that purpose quite well I think.

Too bad it will never happen.
 

Dan Rudolph

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Jonathan, that's the player manufacturer's fault. No reason to abandon some very useful features just because some of the really early or really cheap players don't entirely follow the spec.
 

James Reader

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Jonathan, that's the player manufacturer's fault. No reason to abandon some very useful features just because some of the really early or really cheap players don't entirely follow the spec.
Why do you think so many early players and authoring tools don't support seamless branching - short answer there never was a 100% cast iron spec!

As I understand it, the DVD Forum created written specifications for seamless branching (which, many people report were somewhat loose and open to interpretation).

However, the Forums biggest mistake was not pressing and distributing any disc with seamless branching on for developers to use as a test. Therefore, many developers developed the software how they interpreted the spec, and when creating their test discs, did so based upon their understanding of the spec - therefore perpetuating their mistake.

Shortly after this problem was brought to light, the DVD Forum did issue their own test discs, and software developers have been using these to test their firmware on. But really, it should have been like this from the start.
 

Eugene Esterly

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Jonathan, that's the player manufacturer's fault. No reason to abandon some very useful features just because some of the really early or really cheap players don't entirely follow the spec.
I totally agree 100%. I like seamless branching &, IMO, I don't want to see seamless branching abandoned because of crappy DVD players.

The problem with seamless branching not working on certain DVD players is because certain DVD player manufacturer's don't program their DVD players to completely follow the DVD spec.

This is one reason why The Matrix has problems playing on certain DVD players. The Matrix follows the DVD spec but it had problems playing on certain DVD players because the DVD players manufacturers didn't completely follow the DVD spec.
 

James Reader

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This is one reason why The Matrix has problems playing on certain DVD players. The Matrix follows the DVD spec but it had problems playing on certain DVD players because the DVD players manufacturers didn't completely follow the DVD spec.
Obviously my previous post had no impact on you what-so-ever. :frowning:

Most of the problem players did program to the DVD spec as they understood it. It's not really their fault. The fault was with the DVD Forums licencing program and vague specifications. Obviously there were some dodgy Asian players who were cutting corners and were never licenced, but who's fault do you think it is when big name manufacturers also released fully licenced DVD players which had problems playing the Matrix disc?

Don't you think the DVD Forum who runs the licencing program should have had some form of quality control in place to make sure all licenced players confirmed 100% to their own specification? Don't you think they should have supplied all licencees with official test discs? Don't you think the specifications they initially sent out should have been more specific?

The simple fact of the matter is the DVD Forum botched the licencing of early DVD players, plain and simple. Don't blame reputable manufacturers and professionals for other people's mistakes.
 

Dan Rudolph

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But this only applies to really early players. They few that are still in service could be replaced with somethign just as good very cheaply.
 

James Reader

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I agree. And most cheap Asian players also can cope with Seamless branching nowadays (even though the licencing may be "dubious" in some cases). But there are still vast numbers of players which cannot do seamless branching, and its a hard job convincing an average guy on the street that he has to buy a new DVD player when he bought one less than 5 years ago.

I just get annoyed sometimes when people attack early players incompatabilities, and don't realise it was the responsibility of the DVD Forum who licenced the players to ensure compatability. Yes, these old "legacy" players cause a problem, but it really isn't the manufacturer's fault in most cases.
 

ZackR

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Well, I certainly agree with the extended cut point. It really annoys me. The Superman Extended Cut annoyed me as a lifetime fan. That film is one of my all-time favorites, and I was annoyed that I could not see it on DVD in its original format, without the extended scenes. The restoration job was beautiful, I just wish I could have had the theatrical cut as well.

Oh well, that is why I bought the laserdisc and had it professionally transfered to DVD - so now I CAN have the theatrical cut, though it would have been nice to have it the theatrical cut restored to the condition of the SE. :frowning:
 

Brian McHale

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I would like to see seemless brqanching used more often - instead of layer changes. I know some players handle layer changes transparently, but it sure can be annoying for those of us who don't have such a player.

As far as my feelings on Director's cuts vs. theatrical releases, I think there are good arguments for both. Take The Abyss, for instance. I liked the theatrical cut, but I could not have told you what the ending was supposed to mean. The extended version is really the intended story. Cameron was forced to make drastic cuts because the movie was simply too long for theatrical release. Seemless branching is the perfect solution for such a movie. I will probably never watch the theatrical cut again, but I like having the option.

There are plenty of movies where the longer cut doesn't really add anything. I guess I would vote for seemless branching wherever it's practical just to maximize the available options.

Now if they would only use pan & scan on-the-fly and do away with non-OAR releases...:D
 

Damin J Toell

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I would like to see seemless brqanching used more often - instead of layer changes.
It's not an either/or option. If the laser has to change layers, it has to change layers, whether seamless branching is involved or not. Branching won't allow more data to fit on the first layer such that changing to the second layer won't ever be necessary.

DJ
 

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