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What makes for good DVD supplements? Here's what I think:

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew Chong, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

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    (as always, feel free to agree, disagree, or add what you feel makes for good DVD supplements)
    1. Audio commentaries that take it as a given that the viewer has seen the movie.
    Keeping in mind that the movie on the DVD is meant to be viewed and re-viewed, a commentary that assumes that the viewer has not yet seen the movie is (pardon me for being blunt) patently ridiculous and makes for a commentary that is not worth hearing more than once or at all.
    Prime offender: 'The Mummy: Ultimate Edition' Brendan Fraser commentary (granted he admitted he hadn't seen the movie in a long time and forgot a lot of it; shouldn't commentators have a good idea of what happens and what happened behind the scenes in the movie they are to comment about for permanent storage on disc?).
    Done the right way: 'Forrest Gump' Robert Zemeckis, Rick Carter, and Steve Starkey commentary (they didn't hesitate to mention so-called 'spoilers').
    Hand-in-hand with the first,
    2. Commentaries that are insightful.
    Prime example of an excellent commentary: Jodie Foster's commentary for 'Contact'.
    Prime example of a terrible commentary: Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's 'Independence Day' commentary (to be facetious, though fairly close to what was recorded) alternating between 'this is fake' and 'this is real' throughout the movie.
    3. Behind the scenes documentaries that *Do Not* have a narrator/voice-over or on-screen "host".
    I find that these work most effectively. Having a host (even though he or she may have been in the movie; in such a case, the host doesn't usually express his or her personal feelings/opinions/experiences anyway) reading script from a TelePrompter or cue cards isn't as engaging as letting multiple people involved express themselves. Let those involved in the making of the movie speak to an off-screen interviewer with no verbal contributions/interruptions by the interviewer. Of course, occasionally the DVD viewer must hear the interviewer interject to help clarify something for the viewer.
    The right way: 'The Fugitive', 'Magnolia', and 'Star Wars: Episode I' documentaries.
    The wrong way: The 'Mad Max' and the Heather Graham-hosted 'From Hell' documentaries.
    4. Behind the scenes documentaries that feature non-English speaking individuals speaking their natural/native tongue complemented with English subtitles at the most.
    As with the non-English feature, the included documentaries should not strive to obliterate an individual's voice and feelings/enthusiasm with an English over-dub.
    The right way: In the 'Matrix Revisited' interviews with Yuen Woo Ping, Woo Ping's voice was presented clearly with accompanying English subtitles.
    The wrong way: The 'Kiss of the Dragon' interview with Corey Yuen has an atrocious English over-dub.
     
  2. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Andrew- I certainly agree with you re: commentaries. I never watch (listen to) a commentary track before watching the movie, so I'm not going to be upset if there's a spoiler in the commentary. I also like the commentary track to be informative, not merely "This is John Doe, and he was wonderful to work with". I like to hear why the director made some of the decisions he did, from casting to special effects to camera angles. I found the commentary track for "Snow Falling On Cedars" to be one of the best I've listened to for this reason.

    As far as other features, I've never particularly cared for the EPK style of fluff. If I'm going to watch an extra, I want to LEARN something, or at least be entertained. Granted, it is sometimes informative to hear an actor's comments about his role, but not often.

    Deleted scenes? More often than not, it's easy to see why the scenes were deleted. But having the option of a commentary track on deleted scenes can also be helpful.

    Overall, I've been reasonably satisfied with most of the extras I've viewed or listened to. For the most part, I think studios are doing a reasonable job of providing informative, entertaining content in addition to the film itself. Let's face it, other than LD, the studios have had no real experience in providing extra features, as they're not exactly plentiful on VHS. So of course there is always room for improvement, but overall I think they're doing a reasonable job.

    Steve K.
     
  3. Eric Berger

    Eric Berger Agent

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    If I'm not sure I want to buy a film ... whether or not it has a commentary often will swing the decision in favor of buying or not buying. A commentary just adds so much value, in my opinion. The best commentaries are ones where the actors remain in character, a la Spinal Tap, but a thoughtful director commentary runs a close second. Please -- MORE commentaries!
    The second most important thing for me is deleted scenes.
    After that, pretty much everything else is window dressing. [​IMG]
     
  4. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Heres the supplements that I want every DVD to have:

    1. Original Aspect Ratio
    2. Maximum video bitrate with no DVD-related visual flaws
    3. Digitally remastered soundtrack consistent with the original amount of channels (ie 5.1 for newer movies, mono where applicable)

    Thats it. If every DVD contained these 3 requirements, I would be a happy man.
     
  5. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

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  6. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    i like seeing making-of docs that span the whole film-making process, especially the wheeling and dealing of the producers, casting sessions, and other stuff. they start right from when the movie is in the director's head to opening night. my two fave docs to date have been SW-Ep1 and Three Kings.
     
  7. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Supplements should inspire, enlighten and entertain - NOT simply be full of useless trivia and anecdotes, which 90% of supplements (especially those dire Laurent Bouzereau documentaries, but I've said my piece on them before).
     
  8. KlausWinkler

    KlausWinkler Agent

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    @Mike:
    None of those are supplements, they should be standard features (along with "4. anamorphic if applicable (AR>1,33:1)).
     

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