The DVD player is the best technological advance since the CD and sales/take up of the devices show this. Obvious progressions brings us DVD recorders which many consumers have held off getting even a player for. Well the format wars have been underway for some time now just like the good old days of Betamax and VHS. The main contenders being DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW. Philips claim to be selling the most Recorders but more recently a recording Format known as DVD-BlueRay has been announced which is clearly heads above the rest. What is Blue Ray: Blue ray gets its name because instead of using the traditional Red Laser to write to and read from the discs it uses a blue one. As simple as that, well nearly it uses slightly different technology which enables it to cram an amazing 27GB of information onto one side of a standard 12cm disc. This means you can fit 2 - 3 hours of digital video on one side of a disc on its highest quality setting. Compatibility is too apparently not a problem as the will incorporate dual lasers to still read regular DVD's. When: This units will alledgedly hit the high street next year. (Early 2003 Japan - Late 2003 UK (Why are we always last)) Progress is taking place fast as Sony & Matsushita have agreed a definate format for Blue-Ray with other manufacturers to follow. Sum up: Although it won't matter as much this time if you get a format that isnt as adopted as one of the others because they all will "Alledgedly" play back DVD's that you would rent from Blockbuster e.t.c, I still feel it would be good to fit a large amount of storage on a disc. Currently on VHS you can fit the best part of 10 hours in long play and to suddenyl jump down to just over an hour on some DVD recording formats will be quite a shock. My opinion would be to wait. Especially as last time I ended up with the Betamax. Although better than VHS its n
ot good if you can't by the media for it. UPDATE: Since writing this I have found the following information... "Blue Laser, that's the future. The big electronic giants have agreed that the next generation DVD players and writers will be using a blue laser instead of the current red one. Also agreeing to the format were Japan's Hitachi, Pioneer and Sharp; South Korea's Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics; and France's Thomson Multimedia. Licensing of the new DVD format will begin in the spring. " So hold on. The current red laser models are officially old technology and already being replaced despite not even having taken off yet.
DVDs are pretty cool. Much better than VHS as a format, that's for sure, but I can't help but think we've gone a bit crazy for this new fangled technology. Sure, DVDs offer a better picture quality and a whole lot of other stuff, but are they good enough to warrant a £150 player, and then £20 a DVD, as opposed to £10 (or often less) for the VHS copy of the film. Are they really worth it? Or are they just a hot new technology that we all go for as fast as we can? The DVD players we buy at the moment don't even record, which means we need our normal VHS video anyway. DVDs are undeniably good technology, at least they were a few years ago. They are basically CDs which can hold more information, and one use they are put to is to hold films. The combination of their large size and the MPEG compression they use mean they can hold high quality video and sound, much better than your standard TV picture, and VHS tapes. Being digital the quality won't degrade over time (although does a DVD really last forever?) like VHS tapes do, so they sound rather good really. All it takes is a modest PC (approx. 300Mhz CPU) to decode the video held on DVD, or a dedicated DVD player. So a new movie format is born, and seems to be good for everyone. Quality is good for the viewer, and for the film companies, they get to control what is released where (the region thing, I'll explain later) and also stop piracy (they thought). As it turns out DVD does give the high quality videos we all wanted, but it can be copied using nothing more than your home PC, and then if you want to be really flashy recompressed using DIVx (a better compression) and reduced to CD size, with around 80% of the quality of the DVD on a CD 1/5 the size. First round to the hackers. The second security measure, region coding, was designed to keep DVDs in their correct part of the world. So you couldn't watch American DVDs in the UK. Why, I'm not really sure, it
could be to do with exports, or the fact movies are released much earlier in some places. But it isn't a problem, there are workarounds for the majority of DVD players, and even some multi-region players that will play discs from anywhere. So I guess that's round 2 to the hackers as well. While the systems set up to stop DVD piracy and stuff like that may have failed, people do like the word 'quality'. It's a buzz word or something. As long as your product is better quality, people will buy it. Regardless of the fact that they're gonna watch it on the same 21" TV with two tiny speakers as they watch movies. DVDs may look and sound great, but they look and sound really great only with some really great technology. Like Dolby surround sound, and a massive wide screen fancy TV. Anyway, before I get in to a rant on DVDs, there is one area that they haven't taken off all that much. The PC software side of things. DVD drives for your PC are common place now, but I really don't think they were made to watch DVDs on your home PC. No, they were made so your computer good read DVD's that contained software too. Just like normal CDs can hold audio and data, so DVDs can hold video and data (and audio too if you want to waste some money on the new DVD audio thing). DVDs may now be commonly known as Digital Video Discs, but their original name was Digital Versatile Discs. They were supposed to be the new PC software format, with their increased capacity and all. While the odd game or Linux release now comes on DVD, there is also a CD version, the DVD software market doesn't seem to be going anywhere near as fast as the video market. Oh, and of course you can now get re-writable DVD drives. For £200, then about £10 a shot for the discs. Reminds of writable CDs in the early days, but look at Cd-RW drives now, they're commonplace! DVD-RAM drives are definitely the future, I just wouldn't buy one yet! An
yway, rolling back to DVD movies, which is what I meant to talk about. I do like DVDs, and I'd rather watch one than watch a VHS movie. It's like the difference between audio tapes and CDs, everything sounds and looks better, and you have instant access to tracks (or in the case of DVDs, scenes). And of course, the infamous DVD extras. Extras seem to be something they bolt on to a DVD. At first they make you go wow. I really wanted the Fight Club DVD because it had a whole extra DVD (yes, a few gigabytes worth) of extras. And the only time I ever looked at it? When I reviewed the thing on Dooyoo. Extras seemed good when DVDs were new fangled things, and I do watch the odd documentary the odd time. But watch the whole movie with the director talking over it? Some 2-bit band playing some music that's in the film for two minutes. Oh, and how about some cheap biographies of the people in the film. They're useless. I don't read them, and I bet 95% of you don't read them. Yet they seem to be the reason why they charge £20 for a DVD and £10 for a video. Y'see, at the moment DVDs just don't seem economical. Most DVDs are £20, some cheapy ones are £10. All videos are about £10, cheapy ones just a few pounds. I don't use the extras, so why go for the DVD? The extra picture quality. Personally I'd rather buy two VHS 'lesser quality' movies than one all shining all singing DVD that may look a little better. Personal opinion perhaps, or perhaps I'm not a perfectionist. I don't care, they're practically giving videos away these days, and I'm more than happy to take them. DVDs are certainly the technology for the future, especially when recordable DVDs become cheap enough for the masses. But for now I see no point in rushing in, I'm going to enjoy the cheap twilight years of VHS!
I’m a big DVD fan and one of my favourite types of extras are the Commentaries. Commentaries are not really the sort of extra you can listen too willy nilly, you have to set time aside and commit to them if you want to get anything out of them. A few times I’ve listened to a commentary and they’ve bored the pants off me. Which gave me an idea on one of the DVD forums I visit to start a thread that could help people identify the good commentaries from the bad. I have taken my input from that thread and created one OP for all you DooYooers out there so that hopefully you can get some idea if a commentary you have on DVD might be worth listening too. You’ll notice that the first few are very brief but then they go into more detail for the other films. That’s partly because I was only summarising what I could remember from past commentaries I’d listened to (my memory is not that brilliant) but from now on I write down what I’ve learnt from newer commentaries and that is why some of the others are more in depth. I hope you get some use out of them and I’ll update when I have significantly more to add. Thankfully there are a lot of good as opposed to bad. Commentaries worth a listen: Armageddon: - Informative and Humorous, Affleck is very self depreciating and Bay and Bruckheimer insightful . Scream: Interesting facts about the cuts that were made From Dusk 'Till Dawn: Quentin's first and Rodriguez his usual best. Feels like your listening to them in a bar. Great stuff. Star Wars: TPM: I thought Lucas was a bit boring but McKallum and the editor were entertaining Bad Boys: I think this was Bay's first and he is both funny and open about the choices he made and the fact this was his first 'proper' movie and the troubles he had. El Mariachi/Desperado: Both films feature some of the best commentaries around. The fact that R
odriguez prepares before hand with notes is commendable. You want to know anything about film listen to a Rodriguez commentary. Toy Story 1 + 2: Entertaining to a certain degree. Great banter between the guys talking, but not one of my favourites. Swordfish: A funny one this one in that you think it's going to be director Dominic Sena pointing out every plot detail but it does actually become better towards the end as he describes certain effects and the troubles accomplishing them. Gladiator: I think Ridley Scott provides an informative and entertaining commentary on this. He can be quite dry but I think that is just Ridley's nature. Blair Witch Project: Been a while since i heard this but I remember some great lines about them in the woods and having to wear protection to stop them poking their eyes out. Good all round commentary. Out of Sight: Soderburgh gives an all round description of the movie, been a while since I’ve seen it but I remember it was a good one Fight Club: I've only heard the first 3 so far, the Fincher one is worth a listen if your a FC fan, the second with Fincher, Pitt and Norton is ( I think) a commentary everyone should listen to if they have the film. Classic. Pitt and Fincher work well together and they all come up with anecdotes and jokes. Very entertaining. The third one is more serious but nonetheless worthy of a listen. I'll update when I’ve heard the fourth. Se7en Only heard the first one on this, Freeman, Pitt and Fincher. I thought Freeman's input was a little dry but it bounced well off of Fincher and Pitt's reminiscing. A fun commentary. T2: This commentary is packed with people talking about all aspects of the film. But I have trouble remembering any of it. I think a Cameron only track would have been far better. Shrek: Not the best commentary by any stretch of the imagination but at least the three cont
ributors bounced off each other well. They did sound as though they were forced into doing it and as such they make snide remarks about who would listen to the commentary track. Still, worth a listen. Hollow Man: I finally got round to listening to my first Paul Verhoeven track. This is actually above par with an informative an insightful look at the production, effects and story of the 'invisible man' fable. There are three people gassing away so there is very rarely any pauses and they all sound like they got on really well. Worth listening to. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: This was another film I’ve been putting off the commentary. But having heard it I don't know why I did. Both Ang Lee and the other guy (soz, he's name escapes me) converse well and they seem quite honest about their views on the film. Another commentary worth listening to. Moulin Rouge: Firstly if you loved this movie as much as I did then I think you'll really appreciate what these guys and gal have to say. Both commentaries are interesting with very little pause. Commentary 1: This one concentrates mainly on the process of making the movie, how sets were accomplished, obstacles they overcame, general design and CGI work, what the actors brought to there roles etc. Baz also indicates the importance of keeping the comic/tragedy storyline so closely knitted. A good all round overview of the production of Moulin Rouge Commentary 2: This one is my favourite of the two. Baz and Craig Pearce are very animated in their discussions, they cover practically everything relating to the story of Moulin Rouge, for example the device of using popular songs to portray Christian as the greatest poet in the world and how it's important to compress story through montage. They also explain the different opening they were going to use which is very interesting. You get the feeling these guys really do know each other
very well which goes some way in keeping this commentary from becoming boring. They also keep hinting that you should go out and check out their work in the early script drafts. (Which I haven't done, I think text based extras are the only thing I don't look at as it can be really hard on the ol' eyes). Crikey, you wouldn't think is was 22 would you!!? I've seen a lot of comments regarding MR from people who really dislike the comic elements to the film. In both commentaries Baz illustrates these parts are vital in keeping the tragic elements to the story so profound. It's interesting what he has to say about it. The second commentary also addressed an issue I had with the character Le Chocolat. I could understand his role as another saviour to Satine (always there to save her when Christian wasn't) but it always bugged me why he did it. Something I never picked up on when watching the film is the importance of the secondary characters. Lautrec, Le Chocolat etc, were always wanting what the main characters had. Rush Hour 2: This one is very much the same format as the original film except that the writer is now also involved. So you can expect the usual ' we tried to get to the action sequences ASAP' sort of banter. It's worthy of a listen if only to hear Brett Ratner discuss how out of his head Jackie Chan was on the boat fighting sequence. If only they could get Chan & Tucker to do a commentary. Still it's always informative and not boring. The Fast And The Furious - Rob Cohen is very interesting in this Comm. He ranges from the editing process, to story, character, actor, composition, lighting troubles and hints at his forthcoming Vin Diesel flick XXX. He also let's in that a couple of unanswered questions from this film will be answered in the sequel. So it looks like that could def be a possibility. Again, if you liked this movie (I know a lot of you didn't) y
ou will get a lot of info and enjoyment from this track. Always informative, he comes across as a big kid really. Se7en : Story Commentary; This is a very fascinating commentary that goes some way into detailing how this genre differed from most cop thrillers and in particular how the ending came about and at one point wasn't even considered by studio bosses as making the final film. To be honest I found the 'host' Richard Dyer; author of the BFI modern classics to be irritating and a little dull although he does provided a lot of background on thrillers and why he thinks this film differed from the usual fare and is regarded as a 'modern classic'. For me Fincher and writer Andrew Kevin Walker were the most interesting, obviously these guys know the film like the back of their hands and they describe all the elements they had getting away with what was written and how they went about pushing the conventions of traditional cop thrillers. Walker dominates most of the track and it's been a long time that I’ve listened to a commentary with such interest as what was being said came off almost like a documentary. Highly informative, easy to listen too and very entertaining. Almost Famous Bootleg: Finally got round to listening to this one and if you love the film it's a must listen too. A lot of reviews I’ve seen of commentaries compare them to having your favourite film/star sitting with you telling you the ins and outs, no more so is this true than with AF. Dominated by Crowe this commentary comes across as a trip down memory lane with a nice touch of including Camerons Mother who takes it all in her stride and comes off as a very nice and intellectual woman. She backs up all the stories that Crowe reminisces over which goes some way into believing this film is semi-autobiographical. At times both touching, Crowe finishes with a touching tribute, and is also frequently funny throughout, notably Crowe g
etting a bit irate over an extra in the graduation scene. There's little of the 'oh he/she is just fabulous' but not really enough to make you go 'give it a rest for crying out loud'. Crowe also makes numerous mentions of Vanilla Sky throughout the commentary which is insightful and rather clever, as I want to see it even more now. Great commentary just sit back and let it wash. Very entertaining and well worth a listen. Commentaries that are not really worth the time or effort: Mystery Men This is a real snoozer. Kinka Usher practically praises everyone involved in the film which can be soooooo boring. Go It's been a long time since I heard this one but I do remember being very bored. I think their was some choice moments especially when they're in Las Vegas but I would say listen to this if you don't have any of the ones listed above. Me, Myself and Irene My all time worst. This commentary gave me the idea to start up a thread like this. The Farrelly’s are so dull it's unbelievable. They name check EVERYONE in the film. It's like sitting with them whilst they're going through a photo album. Very dire. Hope they were of some use.
Everyone can understand the great benefits that DvD's hold over Videotapes, the sound and picture quality, and the amount of information that can be held on each DvD etc etc. Once you have purchased a DvD player there is no way going back. But it really upsets me that the people selling DVDs are taking advantage of us the consumer. Here are my concerns: 1) The Multi Region DvD players. They have introduced the different regions so film retailers can stagger the release of their films across the globe at different times. English DvD players are region 2 and cannot play other region DvD players unless you get them chipped (which usually costs around 50-100 pounds). Most people are put of with tampering/chipping their players so they stick with the region it was set to. This basically means you are restricted to playing/purchasing DvD's in England. This also prevents the purchasing of DvD?s from American that happen to be both cheaper and movies not even out at the cinema yet. 2) The cost of the DvD's is very high. How can they justify 20 pounds for the latest movies? They are 2 times cheaper to manufacture than tapes, smaller to package and distribute! 3) People may say that the added features justify the additional costs, but 80% of movies don?t have anything more than an actor bio list and a trailer to watch! Big thrills I think not. I will pay 20 pounds when the DvD has so much additional features that it is a must for a collector or someone who likes the film. Examples of films that really are worth looking at for the additional features include, Magnolia, Fight club, Chopper. The sad tendency for companies to straight port a film to DvD and add no features is worrying. This said, I pick up my DVDs from car boot's or the local market. Here I can buy the latest films for 10 pounds and less. There is no need for people to be purchasing DvD films for top wak prices, look around and try and get the best pr
ices. Second hand DVDs are a viable option, as the quality is not reduced through watching/playing the DvD many times. Thanks..
I love watching films, they can make you cry, laugh, get angry, go insane, but most importantly they entertain. That was not supposed to rhyme, please excuse me! I have an Encore Dv450, which is a nice multi region machine, it's sleek, silver and has a superb range of features, excellent sound and wonderful clarity on the picture so combining this with a 'dodgy' (as in faulty, but the fault that is apparent, Empire Direct cannot accept responsibility for, grrr) Hitachi 24inch wide screen (not bragging, just setting the scene) with 3DS surround sound, I am able to watch DVD movies at a high quality, which is how they should be viewed. I suppose I have about 15 DVD movies, but for me, the extras, the film trailers and special features aren't really the reason I prefer DVD to VHS, and in many cases I haven't bothered looking at them because somehow it might spoil the film for me, but I can understand why this does add appeal. I want to recapture the cinema experience, with that good old 'Universal Studios' or 'Spyglass' start up sequence on my TV with perfect sound all around me, it's superb. So far my top five DVD movies (of all time, can I say of all time?) are the following. At number 5: Alien. At the time of release, I was too young to go and see Alien at the big screen but I know how it turned into a classic, and with the following 3 making it a superb series, and the prolonged endearment that people have to this film I’m able to realise how such a film could be considered the greatest Science Fiction film of all time, and I was able to watch and think 'yeah, not bad at all'! The suspense is incredible - the silences in the film, the whole atmosphere is something that I have never witnessed before, and although it's a very long film, it manages to captivate the audience throughout. A perfect film that still entertains today, sparking off one of the greatest ever sequels (games
firms take note) in the supreme 'Aliens'. I really should see that film again now I have it on DVD - it's not in my top 5, because Alien, in my view was more groundbreaking and a better film in general. Most will disagree. Sigourney Weaver and the rest were impeccable, with some real moments that made me shudder and jump! Superb film. I'd recommend to anyone. At number 4: Toy Story 2. I was quite pleased to win ‘a DVD of my choice’ in a competition about two months ago, actually, I was delighted with winning (jumping up and down and dancing round the room - in mind at least) and so I thought I'd get Toy Story 2 after seeing the original and being totally amazed! At first viewing I didn't think the storyline was as good as the first, but after many times watching it I have to say that it excels and is possibly a better film, especially after watching the hilarious and informative special features - the end of the movie 'the retakes' or something were funnier than the actual film, but overall it was, as Tom Hanks nicely puts it 'optical poptitude'! The 'effects' are astounding, with everything completely computer generated, but the voice acting really makes Toy Story 2 come alive. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer and more, keeping it an all-star cast. An enchanting movie, with great music, acting and lovable characters, so yet again a brilliant DVD encounter! At the bronze medal spot: The Exorcist. Oh my word. 28 years on and this is still something of a 5 star quality movie. At just £12.99 you can't really go wrong, no matter how much of the film was made up, the fact remains it can shock, disturb, but also make you think about life in a new, more positive light - it really can, and has done. Which is nice! If you want to read my full review on the film then just look around my profile pages – it still hasn’t got a crown despite other member’s
nominations!! The quality is very impressive, great engrossing story and something that can make you think - especially after the film. Some classic lines in the movie, that I just had to note down... “Turn down the lights, turn up the sound & enjoy the digitally re-mastered version of The Exorcist’! “The attack is psychological & powerful – do not listen, do not listen!” “Have you ever heard of exorcism?” I noted these down for some reason, so they must be significant in the film, and the process, although at times does get a bit tiresome, will definitely stir you up big time. Best music in a film without a doubt. Tubular Bells. Brilliant. Number 2: Blade. Ah yes. Wesley Snipes and Steven Dorff in their element. One of the most action filled thrillers you'll ever see, and something that you simply must watch again and again. Blade is a film that turns the ridiculous into something sublime. Vampires. Half Vampire, half human. All sounds daft doesn't it? Well, forget Buffy, Blade is everything and more. Astounding special effects, from blood and gore to lightning and so forth... I shan't go into too much, but it's an edge of your seat roller coaster of a ride that has the best opening to a film I have seen, and definitely the best ending. Roll on Blade 2! Blade rules, and is simply one of the greatest movies of all time, that you really must be mad not to want to watch this! Number 1: Gladiator. The best film I have ever seen, and the most impressive picture quality yet from a DVD. The movie is packaged in a 2 disc edition set, 1 with the film, and one with the extra features, however I haven't yet watched those as this is one film that I don't want to know about how they made it! It's a wonderful production, deservedly winning many awards and high critical acclaim. I didn't manage to watch it at the big screen, but mine's big enou
gh to appreciate how amazing it really is. RUSSELL CROWE, JOAQUIN PHOENIX, OLIVER REED, RICHARD HARRIS, DEREK JACOBI, CONNIE NIELSEN, DAVID SCHOFIELD, TOMAS ARANA are all superb and a real delight to watch, excellent acting. Really moving performances, with characters that you'll love and hate. RIDLEY SCOTT, a superb director (Also brilliant for Hannibal) making it a flawless movie. It's just so well done, with incredible costumes and with special effects that enrich, not hinder, the brilliant storyline. All the films are amazing, there are some absolutely fantastic DVDs to get, and for the few remaining sceptics - you really should get into DVD now. Thanks for reading my review! Dan
DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) is the future of watching films at home, with its high quality picture and great sound (you may not see too much difference when using an older T.V but its still better). DVD's boast many great qualities, which videos do not have, a great thing being that there is no need to rewind or fast forward anymore (you know how annoying that can be). Instead, you can choose the part of film you want to watch and there you go! On many DVD's, you are given interactive menus, where you can browse through a number of extra features, which you just don't get on videos. The extra things may consist of deleted or extended scenes, games, commentary, interviews with directors and cast, film trailers, and even music videos from the soundtrack. With DVD Players, you can change many things, such as subtitle language, audio language, zooming, bookmarking, and loads more. Imagine watching films in Hungarian!! It's really funny...unless of course, you are Hungarian :-) Another great thing is that DVD's are often released months before videos, for example, Charlies Angels is out to buy on DVD now, but to get the video, you have to wait until September! (September 3rd) Most DVD's are priced at around £16-20, (above the cost of the average video), but you pay for the extras and the fact that its probably out before the video will be, so its not so bad.
I love DVD. The Digital Versatile Disc format is becoming increasingly popular and it's easy to see why. DVD offers the ability to have a film in its correct widescreen aspect ratio, a much better sound and picture quality than videotape, chapter-stops that eliminate the need to rewind or fast-forward, and the added benefit that the picture and sound won't degrade with repeated viewings. DVD is pretty much perfect. But this opinion isn't really about the benefits of DVD. I'm going to go into the subject of SPECIAL FEATURES, and whether we should demand lots of extras on our DVDs. The major selling point of DVD is the special features that come with most films. This is what puts DVD on a higher level than videotape and becomes a reason to purchase the DVD version. After all, if a film is available on DVD for £19.99 and available on bargain-bin VHS for £5.99, the DVD version needs to offer more than just the film itself. DVD is capable of providing commentary tracks that play with the film, deleted scenes, trailers, documentaries, and much more. But I feel a rant coming on. Yeah, there's something I'm not happy with. My rant isn't about the DVD format. It's about DVD enthusiasts. I won't hide my feelings: many DVD enthusiasts bug me. There is a feeling of elitism and perfectionism within the DVD community. DVD enthusiasts demand the BEST of everything and feel cheated when things are less than perfect. One of their biggest demands is for SPECIAL FEATURES. On forums and newsgroups I often see DVD enthusiasts taking about their 'dream DVDs'. Their perfect DVD includes "At least two commentary tracks, a documentary totalling at least 60 minutes, featurettes totalling at least 12 minutes each, a stills gallery of at least 75 production photos..." and so on. This sounds ridiculous to me. They are clearly demanding a quota of extra features just for the sake of them being there, with no regard
to how appropriate they would be or whether they are really needed. I think it is pointless to demand a certain amount of extra features just because it is POSSIBLE for them to be there. It is silly to demand that special features should run for a set amount of time; that's like demanding a music CD should be 78 minutes long without caring what the music is like. It's dumb. Unfortunately, enthusiasts have built up the importance of special features to the point where they think a disc WITHOUT them is disappointing. Films with no features are called "bare bones" discs, and are pretty much held in contempt by the DVD community. They feel cheated if a disc contains ONLY the film. So my opinion should be common sense without the perfectionism: All I require from a £15 DVD is a perfect everlasting copy of the film. A version of the film with the intended aspect ratio, and the best possible picture and sound quality. That's ALL I ask for. Everything else really is "extra". The special features may give you the "value for money" feeling, but they are usually only worth watching once. Each subsequent time you pull a DVD off the shelf it will be to watch the FILM ITSELF. People don't sit there and think, "I'm bored. Oh I know, I'll listen to the commentary track on Godzilla again..." It just doesn't happen. The special features are usually forgotten and never watched again, in all but a few exceptional cases. --------------------------------------------------------- Of course I like extra features as much as anybody else, and I'm happy when a disc is loaded with them. However, I think many features are gimmicky and pointless, and are only there to provide the illusion of "value for money" rather than being a genuinely useful accompaniment to the film. I'm going to list the most common types of special feature, what the average snobby DVD per
fectionist might say about it, and then what I believe. COMMENTARY TRACKS DVD Perfectionist: "I demand a full director's commentary for any film, and preferably a second commentary from the special effects artists, and a third from the score composer. No DVD can be complete without these things". My view: Not every film needs a commentary track, you know. Only films where detailed analysis would work better in commentary than in documentary. Blockbuster special-effects films hardly ever need a commentary track. All the director says for special-effects films is, "That's real, that's real, that's CG, that's CG, that's real, that's real but with some CG..." There is no point listening to such a dull commentary! So I ask for one solid director-actor commentary on films that genuinely NEED it. DOCUMENTARIES DVD Perfectionist: "I demand a documentary lasting at least 60 minutes". My view: A good solid documentary is nearly always useful. I ask for the kind of documentary made for DETAIL and not promotion, with extensive behind-the-scenes stuff. I don't demand it should be "at least 60 minutes" in length, because then I'd be demanding a specific amount of time rather than details, and that is silly. So as long as there is some truly interesting detail in the documentary, it can be as long or short as it needs to be. PROMOTION MATERIALS DVD Perfectionist: "I demand trailers and TV spots, no DVD is complete without them. I also demand at least 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes". My view: Trailers and TV spots should only be included if they are unique and interesting, and/or they highlight the differences between American and British marketing. Otherwise they're pointless. Promotional featurettes should ALWAYS come under the heading of "promotional" rather than calling th
emselves documentaries, because they are nothing more than adverts for the film where the stars say the same banal things ("I loved the script, I loved working with the director, blah blah blah"). Trailers and featurettes are nearly always pointless, and DVD perfectionists only demand them because they are used to them. Once used to something, no matter how pointless, they complain if those things are missing. INTERACTIVE MENUS DVD Perfectionist: "Static menus are boring. They look cheap. They're *so* 1997. I'm not satisfied with a menu unless it has an amazing opening animation, then thrilling transition animations." My View: Some opening and transition animations are good, but NEVER at the expense of functionality. A lot of animated menus today are too flashy for their own good, taking up to 30 seconds before options are selectable. If it takes more than 10 seconds to get to the menu, it sucks, and I'd prefer static instant menus. At least the old static menus were fast and efficient, and didn't cost lost of money to make. STILLS GALLERIES DVD Perfectionist: "I demand at least 100 stills of production artwork and on-set photography, because other DVDs have this, so not having it would be rubbish." My view: Another case of demanding a pointless feature just because you're used to it. Really, do you care? You'll only look at them once. And how many of you know the feeling of only flicking through the gallery because it's THERE; even though you're bored and you don't want to bother, you look at the gallery because it's an extra, dammit, and you paid for it. MULTI-ANGLE GIMMICKS DVD Perfectionist: "I need a feature to show off what DVD can do. DVD can do multi-angle scenes where you can choose to flick between different versions of a scene, like the 'on-set' shot, the 'before computer effects were
added' shot, and the 'complete film' shot. I've seen it done on other discs, so I demand it here." My view: Oh sure, flick between three versions of the same shot. It's fun. It demonstrates the power of DVD. You get to use your angle button, when the only other type of DVD that uses the feature is hardcore porn! But it's just a gimmick. Nearly all multi-angle scenes I've watched would have been more effective if they were simply played three times in a normal documentary. Multi-angle gimmicks reduce functionality. DELETED SCENES DVD Perfectionist: "I demand a complete collection of all filmed scenes that didn't make it into the final cut of the film. Not only is it my right to see every deleted shot, I also want the deleted scenes to be seamlessly replaced in the film while I watch." My view: Deleted scenes are a very interesting feature. They are a great addition in the rare cases when the cut scenes are genuinely good and show an entire sub-plot that was cut from the film. But most of the time it is garbage swept from the cutting-room floor, or even worse, the rip-off of "alternate cuts". I only want cut-scenes if they are worthwhile and add something. I see no point in demanding every SHOT that didn't make it into the final cut. You know that HOURS of material is discarded, don't you? You wouldn't want to see it all. ----------------------------------------------------------- Conclusion All a DVD needs to have is the FILM, presented as perfectly as possible. Most special-effects blockbusters are so dumb that you don't need insightful special features about the process of making it. You already know how computer effects are made, and you already know the actors will just say the same old nonsense about how much they loved the script and respect each other. Why demand hours of extra material about it? However, for f
ilms with genuine artistic merit there is great opportunity for special features to compliment the film. If these special features are present, all I "demand" is the following: A COMMENTARY TRACK, if that is the best way to give insight into the film; a DOCUMENTARY that gives lots of great information; and DELETED SCENES if they are substantial cuts worth viewing. That's ALL I ask for. That is value for money. I don't need gimmicks to feel good about spending money, because I can see through gimmicks. Many discs fill your "expected quota" with boring commentaries and promotional junk. There's no point obsessively demanding things that would BORE you to death if you actually got them. My last word: Special features are called "extras", not "expected".
DVD as a home video format first came onto the UK market around late 1998. At first not much was known about the format by the general public with only those in the know on home cinema having any real idea of it's benefits. I was drawn to the format early on, working in a computer shop we were starting to hear about the format and I was enticed through my love of films but also by seeing that some film were available to buy on dvd way before VHS. So I bought my first player when they were still quite pricey. It was a Sony and at £450 it wasn't cheap. I had no clue about multi-region and DTS etc and it wasn't until I picked up a home cinema magazine that I saw what I was missing out on. Two weeks later I recieved a bitter sweet letter from Empire Magazine informing me that I had won a Pioneer 717 dvd player. This was a time when this player was the dogs bo****ks and I had to wait 4 months to get my hands on it. By that time I knew more about the format and had already started to buy R1 dvd's as my mind was made up to get the player chipped as soon as possible. SO WHAT'S THE BENEFIT OF DVD ? ------------------------------- Well there are many. Firstly it provides the opportunity to watch films in their best possible home video presentation. The picture resolution is far greater than VHS and the qauilty doesn't degrade with time. The discs can also store the best possible sound presentation for a normal TV or be improved with the addition of a digital decoder and speakers. Due to the storage capcity on the discs you can also have the opporunity to have extra's on the disc to supplement the film. These can include 'making of' features, directors commentaries, deleted scenes, music videos, interviews etc. WHAT IS MULTI-REGION ? ----------------------- The dvd format is worldwide and due to rights issues etc, the studios want to protect their product. As a result the world is split int
o 6 regions numbered 1-6. The UK is Region 2, USA-Region 1, Australia-Region 4 etc. Not so much of a problem you might think but it is. Most films get a theatrical release first in the USA with other countries getting it months later. As a result films are available months on dvd in the USA months before a UK release. In some cases you can get a film on Region 1 dvd before it's even on a UK cinema screen. Recent examples have been Stuart Little, Stallone's version of Get Carter and The Iron Giant. Also due to exchange rates you can normally save money by importing dvd's from other regions. The big advantage is that the R1 catalogue is huge and very varied with lots of small independant films being available. In many cases they also have a lot more extras and better presentations. One of my favourite films is Scream and it's sequals. Originally I had a collectors edition of the first film that had some good extras. This was nearly 2 years ago now, it's just came out on R2 ! Then a box set featuring all three films and an extras dvd was available. It has a new version of Scream 2 that was anamorphic which was a real bonus. This boxset arrives in the UK minus the 4th dvd, has worse packaging and Scream 2 isn't anamorphic. Why should we bother with inferior product ? The australian exchange rate has also made the R4 market a very nice alternative now the US exchange rate has dropped. You can pick up new dvd's for around £10-14 compared with the £20 you'd pay in the UK for the same product. So my advice is get your player chipped or buy one with multi-region already included. WHAT IS RCE ? -------------- Regional Coding Enhancement-some studios are now putting this on their dvd's to stop them playing on multi-region players. If you are able to select you region number manually then you should be ok but some players still have trouble. It's best to check with your retailer. Most of the che
aper multi-region players will have this problem. So far Columbia in the USA use this on all major releases. DOLBY DIGITAL Vs DTS --------------------- Dolby Digital is the sound standard that most dvd's have. The majority of titles are decoded in 5.1 which means a separate sound signal is sent to 2 front and rear speakers, a centre and a subwoofer. This creates a surround sound effect and really lets you get the best out of dvd. For this however you'll need a suitable amplifier. Some dvd's also contain DTS soundtracks, these work in exactly the same principle as Dolby Digital but have better compression rates. This means that even the most subtle sounds are highlighted in the soundtrack. It's generally makes for a fuller sound experience. Once again though your dvd player has to have the ability to decode this signal as well as a suitable amplifier. Only a handful of UK R2 dvd's have DTS soundtracks while in the USA there are a handful of studios that try to include DTS on all major releases. WHAT SORT OF PLAYER SHOULD I GET ? ----------------------------------- My advice would be too read through one of the latest home cinema magazines and get some ideas then shop around. You can get players for around £150 or under, these are ok but have been known to have problems with some dvd's. Some also have problems with RCE if they have multi-region. A good solid player will set you back about £250 upwards. If you love films then dvd is the way to go, the format is really starting to take off in a big way with prices coming down. To be honest whenever I watch a VHS tape now I get frustrated as the quality is so dull and lifeless compared to dvd.
If you are after a friendly site with the latest and best news then you need look no further than www.thedvdforums.com . I have been using this site for about a year now and I have to say that I am addicted to it. It is set as my home page on my browser at home. This forum currently has over 7800 member which is a huge amount. There are some rival forums about but this probably the best UK one. I used to sometimes use dvdtalk.com but found that too many of the bargains were for the US only. I was glad to find the UK version of dvdtalk. The site has lots of different forums where you can post messages and the things that make this site stick out from the others is that it has a massive user base. If you have a query you can guarantee that it will be answered quickly and accurately. The most useful forums in my opinion are the following: DVD hardware Forum: In this forum the members talk about the latest and greatest hardware that is available. Well actually that is a lie and they talk about all sorts of hardware issues. I recently benefitted from posting in this forum because I was after a widescreen Television. After getting information from members I managed to save about £100 - £150 on the TV and also get a 5 year warranty thrown in. If you are after a DVD player or any kind of electrical item then I would take a look in this forum. The members all know what they are talking about and are willing to help. Cinema and DVD Review Forum: This forum is used to give reviews about cinema and dvd releases. Most of the reviews are accuarate but obviously you get some people hating or loving a film when it is not justified. Region Comparisons: This forum is very useful if you are looking to buy a certain DVD but you don't know what region of the film is best. There are often comparisons between new releases and what is the best one to go for. This forum is really for the DVD guru who wants the best sound, audio and extras
for his money. It is amazing how dvds differ between regions so it is definitely worth checking this forum about before buying a release. General Forum: This as the title states is the forum which has all sorts of messages posted. There is no real guideline to what is posted here. You get things from " Aliens is on ITV tonight" to " What is the latest CD to you are listening too". If you are after some light hearted entertainment then this forum is worth reading. If you are after a general answer then you are likely to get a reply from members in this forum. Bargain Forum: This is my favourite forum on the site but also my worst. Let me explain that sentence. This forum is probably one of the busiest of the site and basically users post all the bargains that they find. I would recommend that you check this forum out regularly as bargains offers often run out before you get the chance to get them. I have saved so much money using this forum but at the same time I have probably spent more money then I would have normally. My wife certainly doesnt like this forum as she says that I often buy I lot of items for the sake of it! My answer is Well They are a bargain! There are some things that could be improved with this site. Some members often go off on a completely different topic in some threads and start getting annoyed about things. Some members are too critical and always willing to complain about something. However the Admins and Moderators are pretty good and often warn members if they are stepping out of line. You can also rely on the Admin and Moderators to close threads if they are not appropriate. This often save you time as some threads are useless or repeated. The DVDForums is also sometimes a victim of its own success and recently the website got hacked and lots of threads got lost. The forum was down for a few days and lots of people were left wondering where to get their bargains from. I don't
know what I would do without this site. My surfing time would certainly be reduced alot! As you see I really like this site. The members are very friendly and if you are after an answer there is always someone willing to help you. Beware though, you will end up finding your credit card bill increasing will all the so-called bargains that you buy! If you are after a source to find out about DVDs then this site is definitely worth checking out. It has been running for a long time now and is well established. You will find that members are very friendly and willing to help you.
When i first got my DVD player, most of the websites i used to visit were very plain and dull and were not really updated too often. I then stumbled across DVD Times and through them, the DVD Forums. This was back in the latter part of last year, and since then, i think i can safely say that i have not visited a web site as much as i have this one. It's a daily thing now. It's like i LIVE there... :) If you have not already visited the Forums then get on over there. As i was new to both DVD and to online Forums, it took a bit of getting used to, and there was so much info to take in at first. It is all things DVD, and lots more. There is a real friendly community spirit there with so many regular users, and it really does feel like a second home... :) Registering with them takes a few minutes, as does the addiction to them. There is just so much info there, you'll need to make it your home page!!! If you have any Hardware or Software problems, post a message and you will be sorted out quite possibly within a few hours. I had some technical problems with my player, and posted a message. Within a few hours... problem solved thanks to some fellow Forum members. Check out all the latest movie and DVD reviews, as posted by Forum members. Pop into the Bargain Forum and pick up some info regarding all the latest bargains on the high street or online. Then there's the Classifieds Forum where you can buy, sell or trade just about anything, not just DVD's. And with it being such a friendly Forum, you have the piece of mind that you will get some good deals there, from good reliable people. Share your thoughts and opinions with well over 7000 other DVD enthusiasts. In fact i really cannot say enough good things about The DVD Forums, best thing is for you to go check it out for yourself... www.thedvdforums.com
Video is almost dead. Well in our house anyway! We have got rid a huge batch of our original films through QXL, and we now only have those few films that are near impossible to find, or we just couldn't bear to be parted with. We have also kept only 3 or 4 blank tapes for normal TV recording when we are out or watching another channel. Our reason - DVD!! The advatages of this format are well known, and VHS is slowly going to die out. Apart from the massively better quality of sound and picture, extra features, sub-titles (useful when you have a noisey 18 month old daughter!), and language selection (not everyone likes their foreign films dubbed, and would prefer the original language with sub-titles), bit also they take up far less shelf/cupboard space, and are far less dominant in a room. So with the exception of our few VHS movie tapes, and the occasional TV taping, our VHS is left idle, and our Samsung DVD-709 is serving well until re-writable DVDs are within the reach of us common folk!
I run a video library and the quality of DVD's is so much better than video that they are bound to take over the market from video tapes within the next two - five years. Now that the price of players has dropped to just over £100 and most new computers have DVD drives, the number of rentals of DVD movies is growing fast. For people who have bought a DVD player they now have the chance of buying a movie at less cost than taking a family to the cinema to see it. Movies are released on DVD at less than £20 at the same time as they are released on video at £50 and as they are virtually indestructable and give extra languages and features than the video, they are well worth buying. As most movies are released onto DVD within three to six months of the cinema release, up to date movies can be bought at a reasonable price. By now, l hope you are thinking whats the catch? Because there is one. Film companies are not usually generous, or even sensible. Their idea is to encourage people to buy DVD players by providing up to date movies, at sell through prices of £15 - £20, while the video version will not be available at that price for another three to four months. Now that the market for DVD's has grown to a reasonable size, this attitude on release price is starting to change. Film companies such as Buena Vista and Fox are starting to increase the price of DVD's to £50 + vat when they first release them and then re-releasing them between four and twelve weeks later at a lower price. You may not be aware of this because no sensible shop would consider stocking DVD's for sale at that price. Especially when imports from another region are available at less than £20. At the moment, film companies earn more in the UK from the video market than they do from the cinema and want to protect that income. They would like to see DVD as extra income, but it is not going to happen. Why
rent a video when you can buy or borrow a better quality DVD? Also, l suspect that it will not be long before DVD re-recorders start appearing, which will help lower the cost of DVD's. The only solution that l can see, is that film companies lower DVD prices to £9.99 - £14.99 to make them worth buying in the mass market. The approach they are trying to take of raising prices is unlikely to work, due to the ease of obtaining imports. The film companies will of course try to milk every penny from the video market, that they can! I see video going the way of Beta over the next five years and DVD releases being available at a higher rental price (aprox £30) for four - eight weeks, before the retail price release. Whatever happens, it will see the end of movie rental on video, although DVD rental may take its place. Anyone want to buy a video library?
It was only a few years ago that the advent of the video recorder had a huge impact on cinema attendances. Although cinema attendances have recovered this recovery has been put in doubt by the emergence of region one DVD's. At least in the past once a film left the cinema you faced a long wait before you had the opportunity to hire it on video. It was then a further long wait before you could own the film. This position has now gone full circle if you own a region one or a multi-region DVD player. If we look at a current example "Men of Honour" which has just been in the UK cinemas for a couple of weeks. To go and see this movie at the cinema you would pay £5 per person, £x for any refreshments and £x for travel. Or you can order the Region One DVD for £17.99 with free delivery from www.play247.co.uk. Although you are taking a gamble buying the film when you may hate it the costs involved are very similar and if it does turn out to be a good movie there can only be one choice. So where does this leave the video shops? In truth I do not see a future for video shops. I don't think it's any coincidence that they now stock all kinds of video games in addition to the video and DVD supplies. Only a few years ago a video shop was just that. The changes may be an attempt to move with the times but I feel it may be a futile effort. At least with a cinema it is a night out. The video shop doesn’t have that defence and you have the hassle of returning the video. In the past video shops paid £80 for a new release (they may still do?) which allowed them to make a nice profit once it had been hired 50 times or so. However, with brand new DVD’s being available for a quarter of that price how can video suppliers continue to justify that price? I see 2 options, 1 being the video shops getting the videos much cheaper which they will have to pass on to the customers or the cost of DVD’s rising ma
ssively for say the first 2 years of their release. At the moment we are getting the best of both worlds and the fact the consumer never seems to get a great deal for very long leads me to believe some action will be taken. I hope I am wrong but time will tell.
I was recently given a DVD player. They ofer a much higher standard of sound and viewing and the directors cuts are some of the most interesting pieces of film i have ever seen but with prices as they are is it really worth it. The DVD's are twice as expensive as video but are also twice as smal. Trying to store videos is a nightmere but DVD's are tiny in comparision. Choosing camera angles on music DVD's is great fun. For the first few weeks you are forever pressing buttons and halfway through a movie when you think you are pressing pause you end up at the begining. This can be annoying but with skip to scene you can go straight back to where you were. You cannot record with any hope of a half decent picture at the momment so the video is still needed. Until prices come down everyone has a widescreen TV and recording is up to standard stick with the video. The DVD player has promise but not quite yet.