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Downloadable Film Commentaries Becoming Popular?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the love-your-nerd-fans dept.


FilmFan writes "Now that Kevin Smith is offering a downloadable commentary for Clerks 2, will other Directors follow in his footsteps? Some studios think so and are already offering similar content for shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Other websites offer fan-created content and even offer a free DVD player capable of playing these downloaded commentaries in sync with a DVD."

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Why? (1)

adamlazz (975798) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640860)

I've never really gotten just why fans want to disrupt movies by hearing the director's voice. The last time I did that, Mel Gibson just ruined 'The Passion of the Christ.' Never again.

You were asking: "Never again what? Never again: watching a Mel Gibson movie, or listening to the directors cut?"

Well, my answer is BOTH!

Re:Why? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640875)

I don't think this sort of thing is intended for your first viewing. It seems more like an effective way to communicate ideas about films, rather than a trick intended to increase the entertainment value of the film itself.

Re:Why? (1)

trevorgensch (185962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15653323)

Exactly... it always makes me laugh when I listen to a commentary and a hesitant, shy director will say something like "uh, don't listen to this if this is the first time you have watched the film, cause I am going to ruin it for you".

It really works well for some films (3, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641084)

I have the DVD of "Good Night and Good Luck [imdb.com] ." I really enjoyed the film (and I recommend it highly, especially around here, where its political sentiment will likely ring true with many readers). One of the coolest things about that DVD is that, after watching the film, I was able to watch it again and hear George Clooney and Grant Heslov's commentary dubbed over the movie. I'm not a big fan of George Clooney, but I didn't care; it was really insightful to hear anecdotes and scene descriptions from the writers themselves. You can gain a real understanding for the composition of the film.

You watch the film once and you interpret it in your own way. Then you can watch it again (and since you've already seen it, the voiceovers don't ruin anything) and you learn why certain scenes were included, why they contributed to the plot, why the actors were directed in a certain manner, etc. I think it's a cool feature. I'm not so sure about downloading a commentary, but having it on the DVD is a "value added" service that makes it worth owning, IMO...

Re:It really works well for some films (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641271)

My favourites are the LOTR Special Extended DVD editions. Not one, but *four* commentary tracks: director and writers, design team, production/post-production teams, and the cast. You have to wade through some crap (e.g. Orlando Bloom gushing about how wonderful everyone was), but the behind-the-scenes stuff gives interesting insight into the nuts and bolts of film-making.

The only thing that's missing is the outtakes and gag reels. There must be at least a DVD's worth - how 'bout it, Pete?

The extended editions were well worth the cost. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641438)

There IS a bit too much ass-kissing on the cast comentaries for my tastes, but I think I can forgive them since they spent so many years together. The technical and the directors commentaries were my favorites.

Maybe it's just because I'm such a LOTR freak.

Are there any other films that have such a depth of commentaries? I know I would LOVE to see a treatment of One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest...except it's far too late for the commentaries to be anything but Simpson Commentary-esque.

I suppose the money men need to know that the cult audience is there and waiting before they spend the cash...but really...you'd think that anyone who works on a movie in any aspect would jump at the chance to talk about how they contributed to it. How much extra could it cost to get a screening room and some recording equipment for a few hours?

Agreed. (0, Redundant)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641416)

I dunno if I'd want to pay to see a movie twice in the theaters, just to hear the commentary however. I mean, how loud do you need your earbuds so you can even hear over the theater sound? Still, it is a really cool idea and since I know plenty of people who would be seeing a beloved movie multiple times in a theater anyway, this idea definately has an audience.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15641566)

If it took hearing Mel Gibson's voice to ruin the Passion of the Christ for you, you have problems.

Oh, can't wait. (4, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640877)

The commentary for Enterprise must have been great.

"We really liked the way the "spreading the goo" scene... uh... brought out the... um..."


"Yeah! The characters, and their, um... personalities."

"Yeah. It really heightened the dramatic..."


"Or something."

Re:Oh, can't wait. (2, Funny)

MrPsycho (939714) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641549)

At least its not: "Here's a scene where we.. um, intended Leonard to show us some emotion" "Yeah, but Shatner stole it" "Again"

Re:Oh, can't wait. (5, Funny)

Russ Steffen (263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641571)

You think that's bad, check out some of the commentary from the DVD....

Director 1 : (snoring)

Director 2 : (snoring)

Recording Tech: Are you guys going to do some commentary, or just sleep out the rest of the episode?

D1: *wakes up* What?

D2: *wakes up" Where am I?

RT: You're recording comentary for "Enterprise", Season 4, Episode 11, titled "Observer Effect"

D2: Hey, are like one of those super-nerd fans that has every episode memorized?

RT: No. I've got it written on a fucking sticky-note so that there's at least a chance it will end up attached to the right episode on the DVD. No one - and I mean no one - has your show memorized.

D2: (Dejected) Oh

D1: Wait, so what was happening before we nodded off?

RT: Well, we got through the opening credits okay.

D1: Excellent.

RT: Then 3 minutes into act 1 you both got bored and wandered out to the parking lot and played hacky-sack for a while. Then you came back in here and slept for 20 minutes.

D1: Hmmm.

RT: I kept the audio track rolling the whole time.

D2: Really? Why?

RT: Frankly, the snoring was the most interesting thing I've heard come out of either of you.

D1: Can I have you fired?

RT: No. I don't work for you. And besides, I'm in The Union. I could piss in your coffee and all my boss could do is come in here and give me a stern look.

D1: Odd that he's standing right next to you, giving you a stern look right now...

D2: (distant slurp) Hey, does this coffee taste funny to anyone else?

RT: Okay guys, we've got 3 minutes left in this episode. Either of you want to share any of your "razor wit" before we put this one in the can?

D1: Yeah I got something to add.

(Clears throat)

At this point in the show I had the writing process nailed down to a science. It used to be that writers for Star Trek would use a little placeholder word, "tech," which would be filled in with other words, like "anomaly" or "photon torpedo", by the production staff.

I went one step further. I fired all the writers and replaced them chimps. Chimps chained to typewriters. And those typewriters, had just two keys - "dialog" and "tech".

And those chimps produced page after page of glorious manuscripts. They were like two-note symphonies of "dialog" and "tech". And those chimps did all of this for me out respect for my talent as a director. And fear of getting hit with a cattle prod. But mostly respect. And fear.

So I would take these manuscripts and I'd have them sent off to some third-world country where 8 year old children, who spoke not a word of English, would slave away 20 hours a day in squalid and dangerous conditions to replace those "dialog" and "tech" placeholders with the dialog you hear in the show.

D2: And the quality of that process really shows in the finished product.

RT: Why, exactly are child labor and "squalid and dangerous" conditions necessary for this?

D1: You have to suffer to produce great art!


Anyway, someone has to suffer for my art.

RT: Well, we are all suffering because of your art.

D1: Yes, well. The streamlining of this process really helped me manage my time. I'm a very busy man.

D2: Why don't you tell us all what keeps you so busy.

D1: Ah yes. You see, I'm destroying science fiction. I buy the original master prints of classic science fiction films, and then I burn them.

D2: You burn them?

D1: Yes. Sometimes I shit on them first. But mostly I just burn them.

In fact, while filming this episode I spent most of my time on the Paramount backlot burning the last master copy of "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Actually, I didn't burn the whole copy, though. The makeup for the alien in this episode is made from little fragments of the famous "Starchild" scene. It gives the eyebrow ridges a nice glittery appearance.

RT: Okay everybody, that's a wrap.

Gentlemen, it's been a horror working with you. I hope you're both hit by a bus on the way home.

But please, have some more coffee. I really, really need to make another pot.

Re:Oh, can't wait. (2, Funny)

HexRei (515117) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641732)

wow, did you steal this, write it previously in preparation, or just have THIS MUCH TIME on your hands?

In any case, its pretty fuckin funny :)

Re:Oh, can't wait. (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#15646335)

D1: Yes. Sometimes I shit on them first. But mostly I just burn them.

You nearly owed me a new laptop, sir.


Scrubs did this too (4, Interesting)

the_unknown_soldier (675161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640884)

Scrubs did this too, except while the show was on air. They released the commentary of a repeat and then you were meant to listen to the commentary while it was on NBC. It was a cool idea but I could never quite get it to sync up perfectly. The mp3's are still [nbc.com] online too.

Re:Scrubs did this too (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642463)

Battlestar Galactica did that as well. (Or more accurately, the director did.)

But I never heard of the Scrubs commentaries before, thanks for the link!

iPod + Movie (3, Interesting)

MassEnergySpaceTime (957330) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640899)

I guess having an iPod would drown out the noise from the crying babies, the ringing cell phones, and the talking loudmouth.

More seriously (and less grumpily) though, it's definitely a neat way for fans who really enjoyed the movie the first time to get more out of it the second time. I give them credit for coming up with a new *positive* experience for watching movies, instead of advertisements and commercials, and etc etc.

Prepare for the next buzzword: Moviecasts!

Re:iPod + Movie (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642043)

Even that (as stupid as it sounds) is going to be better than what ends up as the "accepted" term, which clearly will be commentary podcast or codcast or something. Who idiot thought up "podcast" and how are we going to hold those responsible to account for spreading it? Dumbest-buzzword-ever.

Re:iPod + Movie (1)

dave1212 (652688) | more than 7 years ago | (#15644403)

They're still not getting rid of the half-hour of crap before the feature, so I'm much happier watching DVDs. What a waste of time.

I think most people will come to see it (downloadable commentaries) as a cash grab by the ever-faltering MPAA. Go see the same movie twice at the *shudder* theatre? Not a chance. Wait for the DVD commentary if I care that much.

It's already hard enough to enjoy a movie in a theatre. Apparently, the majority of parents have failed to raise respectful, considerate people.

Ah yes, fan art. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15640916)

Spotted a nifty tux in tails [tinyurl.com] artist trading card.

Who knew tux could look so cute in a tuxedo.

Re:Ah yes,I would like to do you in anus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15640996)

Please, metamod the *bastard* who -1'ed me.
You know the story was blank at the minute I posted.
If you don't, don't expect to see me again here.

Just so long as that's all they copy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15640924)

Sounds like a good idea, just so long as none of the other directors copy anything else Kevin Smith does. The guy is the most overrated moron ever to step behind a camera.

Agreed, except Daredevil is passable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15642394)

Like Barry Sonnenfeld, Kevin Smith is mostly incompetent yet had a moment of watchability (Daredevil). Barry's only moment for me was Out Of Sight.

Slightly more on topic, Sonnenfeld's commentary for Big Trouble was one of the worst I've ever heard.

Second Aduio Program (5, Interesting)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640969)

This would be an excellent use of Second Audio Program (SAP) for TV shows. It would always be in sync, it wouldn't require anything to download/play, and most modern TVs support it any way. Everyone speaks english, so what is the big deal?

Re:Second Aduio Program (0, Offtopic)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640977)

oh I am going to get so burned. ;)

The Burn (1)

RedNovember (887384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641108)

Bad offtopic mod there. Now then.

What makes you think that everyone in the United States speak English? It's absurd how little you have to know to become a citizen here. My grandmother recently took the citizenship test. You only have to answer six questions correctly in a oral exam, and much of their judgement of your English is based on that and some spelling/grammar things. Whether you can understand a conversation or not is barely a factor. Most people can pick up on key words and predict the questions, the answers to which they have already memorized. Go from there to being able to understand an entire movie, and you see why many people need SAP to watch movies and such.

Re:The Burn (0, Troll)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641126)

I imagine a good number of natural born citizens couldn't pass the citizenship test. I say we trade them for some better immigrants.

Re:The Burn (1)

NexFlamma (919608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641299)

But why should we have to set up a seperate TV audio stream in another language simply to appeal to people who haven't taken the time to learn the language of the country the moved to?

It seems to me that using the SAP for something like an additional commentary track would bring in many more viewers (ie: higher ratings, more money) than setting it to a language that only immigrants who don't know the native language require.

Then again, if the number of immigrants who can not speak English well enough to follow a TV program is high enough to prove my idea wrong, we've got a whole different set of problems.

Re:The Burn (1)

RedNovember (887384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641365)

Exactly. We haven't even gotten to the problem of illegal immigrants yet. There are parts of the southwest where you can walk the streets without hearing a word of English. (Not that that's bad, but it proves the need for SAP.)

Re:The Burn (1)

NexFlamma (919608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641386)

For that matter, there are parts of Mexico where you can walk around and not hear a word of Spanish.

Americans love to swim with dolphins, amigo.

Re:The Burn (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642793)

Or just move up here to Canada, where SAP is not used for anything, and sometimes completely screws up VCR recordings. (Yes, a lot of us poor souls stuck in this shithole country still use VCRs. TiVO has never been available here, and if you do get one in the states, you can't get the listings without some annoying hacking.)

Re:The Burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15641396)

Well considering that English is de facto business language, and that it is in the top 3
spoken languages on the planet (Which, if IIRC, is Chinese, English, Spanish), so
naturally a country where the offical language IS english you are going to be
expected to learn how to speak it. I'm not saying you'll have to be a master of
linguistics, but you need to at least know enough to conversate and get around

People who live here who DON'T at least speak the language on a basic level
are going to find it a lot harder to function in society. Yes there are places where
they can go to shop and work, if they move to the right area (Especially here in Phoenix,
dammed illegals), but if they want to have any sort of enjoyment, they are either going
to have to
A. Learn the language enough to be able to watch a movie
B. Only watch subtitled media which isn't always available.

Of course for SAP, its on most modern TVs so I agree with you there: Most people would
be able to watch the show in Spanish.

But that's the major languages, what if for some reason an immigrant from say... Sweden comes here
and can't watch many things because nothing is in Swedish? They would have to import the movies
from Sweden to appreciate them fully.

Re:The Burn (2, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641462)

Unfortunately, English is not the official language in the United States'. I'm surprised Congress hasn't brought up the idea of an amendment to make it official. If they're going after flags, gay marriage, and illegal immigration to hand-wave people away from the real issues, english as a national language would do a much better job in my opinion.

Re:Second Aduio Program (0, Offtopic)

painQuin (626852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641116)

Everyone speaks English

"Speak English when watching movie"

I don't know how far it got outside of philly, has anyone else heard about the sign requiring customers to speak english when ordering? It was pretty big in the news around here...

Re:Second Aduio Program (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641127)

"Everyone speaks english, so what is the big deal?" Except for, you know, those people who haven't learned English yet.

Re:Second Aduio Program (0, Offtopic)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641221)

Interesting concept....

Everyone speaks english, so what is the big deal?

Hmm... Does reading english and speaking english the same? If so, then only those that can read english will be offended and complain.. :) good news is that only those of us that can read english give a damn to complain...

Here is an ironic example that I should use to illistrate... A person perfering english will complain about all the spanish speakers around. And if a soft-hearted libral english understanding person hears/understands, then they complain about how insensative it is. Maybe try to pass laws for "diversity", etc...

BUT. (the irony) if you reverse the situation: A Spanish speaking person perfering spanish will complain about all the English speakers around. An if a soft-hearted libral Spanish understanding person hears/understands, then they WILL AGREE and be on their way. (Or just laugh and agree...)

Get it... It's a double standard. "THEY" can have their opinions, but we are pummled for ours. Why?
I personally feel it might be some type of inner guilt thing. They just feel tooo bad for thinking the same things at one time, but can't admit the feelings to their own inner soul because it goes against why they "THINK", they should be feeling/doing, etc. So they lash out at others for the very same thougths/feelings they are secretly guilty of.

Hmm... Once again I ponder: Interesting concept....

BTW, this is not a politics thing, just something I've observed. Take it for what you will.

Re:Second Aduio Program (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641259)

Ummm, SAP is not always Spanish. It's also sometimes used to provide descriptive audio
about events on the screen (increaaing the "watchability" of a show for the blind).
This use might be more prevalent on PBS though.

Poorly written joke (1)

redphive (175243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641511)

My apologies to those who, for obvious reasons, didn't appreciate my sense of humor, I should have put a bit more thought into it.

The thing about 'Everyone speaking english' was meant to be funny, and I suppose wasn't.

That said, it did raise a few interesting discussions. Most programs that I view do not have any SAP information, and rarely provide French programming.

My bad

Re:Second Aduio Program (2, Interesting)

Overloadplanetunreal (603019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641940)

Actually I experienced a creative use of SAP a couple years back. I was channel surfing and landed on some very young children's show. It was one of those ones where it was basically an adaptation of a kids book in to a 10 minute animated show.

Anyway, I can't remember why I switched on SAP, but when I did, I was surprised to find out that all it did was add narration to the whole thing. Whereas the normal show just has the dialog, the SAP added what I assume was the original text from whatever book this was a recreation of.

Like watching movies with smart people (2, Insightful)

yndrd (529288) | more than 7 years ago | (#15640981)

Maybe. Depending upon who does the recording.

I always thought it would be interesting to have different people commenting on movies than those involved with making them. Critics, sure, but maybe directors influenced by the film or historians or other knowledgeable folks.

It'd be like watching the movie in the company of someone interesting.

Wow. That is such a Slashdot comment. "Uh...I have a date with Natalie Portman tonight. We're watching...uh...Casablanca."

That said, I do sometimes prefer the "Pop-Up Video" style commentaries (formatted like a subtitle, maybe).

Sharecrow... (1)

kentrel (526003) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641034)

...is a really nifty player. I just tried it. I can't believe I never heard of this before. Anyone else like it? I was using Media Player Classic but that still makes things awkward: like reverse is simple to do on my set top DVD player yet a pain with MPC. It's a frickin' breeze with this program. It works more like a normal DVD player. The only problem is the skin is ugly, but I'm sure I can change that.

Good ploy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15641042)

This seems like a good ploy to get more people to see the movie twice.

Re:Good ploy... (1)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641070)

If you're sufficiently interested in a movie to want to watch a director's commentary, you probably enjoyed the movie enough to watch it again anyway.

Great for students (2, Interesting)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641063)

This is great for those studying filmography, animation, or acting; depending of course on the quality of the commentary. The director talking about what kind of doughnoughts were on the snack table the day they shot a certain scene is obviously no help, but commentaries where the director or other cast/crew talk about the process of making the film can be very insightful to students.

Re:Great for students (And for Teachers, Too) (1)

ArizonaJer (585786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15645332)

I can think of pegagogical uses, too. For instance, it sounds like a useful way for students to do their own critiques of films/TV shows.

I teach film/TV studies and I could see an assignment in which students create an audio version of an analysis of, say, Citizen Kane. They could talk about the film's visual and sound style right over the film itself.

I don't suppose Sharecrow (or another DVD player) allows you to program in pauses in the playback. That would make it even more useful for analytical purposes--e.g., Gregg Toland and Orson Welles helped to build interest in the use of deep focus with shots like THIS ONE. [pause]

The only problems I see with Sharecrow (and I haven't tried it yet) are the reliance upon a "directshow compatible DVD player" and the lack of any non-Windows versions. Still, I'm intrigued enough to give it a shot.

Shiny! (3, Informative)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641065)

Don't forget the downloadable commentaries for Firefly. [bigdamncommentaries.com]

Re:Shiny! (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641588)

Don't forget the downloadable commentaries for Firefly.

Pitty these have nothing to do with Firefly at all. I started listening to the first one and it sounds like a few guys doing a radio show on geek related topics.

Re:Shiny! (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641813)

No warranty expressed or implied, including warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Product may not actually be the smoothest ride from here to Boros for them that can pay, but is generally accepted as smooth enough. Caveat emptor. Offer void where prohibited. Your mileage may vary. See dealer for details.

Re:Shiny! (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642836)

Wow. I'm absolutely astonished. Imagine, something Joss Whedon was involved in being total shit! I can't imagine the kind of world where that's possible! Oh, wait, I can. It's called the real world we live in.

I like conmmentaries (3, Informative)

AdmNaismith (937672) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641069)

I generaly like commentaries on my DVDs so that after I watch it 'clean, I can listen to people talk about it while I watch it again. I find it adds a great deal of value to a DVD. Do I want to pay another $10 to watch a movie while I listen, no, I'll save it to buy the DVD. That said, commentaires to older movies are generally better then hearing what anyone has to say about a film that just came out. Especially when some commentaries are just love fests between all the actors and crew so they don't piss anyone off they are bound to work with again.

Re:I like conmmentaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15645387)

you hit the nail on the head. mod parent up!

Re:I like conmmentaries (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15648951)

It is almost like you have friends, who you can talk about the movie with. Although, of course, the ignore you.

Unlikely proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15641080)

This seems to be true even for games. Part of the reason, for instance, HL2 Episode 1 is replayable for many is because it comes with commentary. It seems people not only want the experience, they want to know what the creators thought as they brought forth that experience.

Good idea - gives insight (2, Interesting)

kyc (984418) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641106)

    I think this is a pretty cool idea. Most of the time, I am sure, most of us try (while watching a film we adore maybe for the 5th time ) to look through the glasses of the director(of an impressive film). I don't think that this will apply to mediocre action films or romantic comedies, however imagine that there is a thorough documentation by Kubrick ( with his lively and agressive style) while you are wathcing Clockwork Orange. OR imagine what Lynch had to say about the bizarre final of Mulholland Drive. And furthermore, imagine you have free access to these after you watch an amazing film, just as the ones described above.

and I am pretty sure that we all prefer DVDs to junky VCDs or poor quality records, not only regarding the quality but also the commentaries, deleted scenes and director's opinions.

I hope it works very well and we have that option for the movies we enjoy

They can be great (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641114)

I've downloaded a couple of commentaries for different things, and some of them are pretty well done. The Leaky Cauldron [google.com] did a commentary for the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DVD, which came with no commentary. It was nice to have a commentary by people who were actually on the set.
In general, I've found that some of them are really good, and add a lot to the experience- especially if the commentary is by people who have some clue as to what was going on during the filming. Other times unfortunately, it just seems like you are trying to watch a movie with a couple of people who won't shut up.

Re:They can be great (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641211)

What the hell [google.com] did you just link to?

Re:They can be great (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641542)

Crap, sorry about that- went to copy and paste the URL, must have copied the wrong thing from a different tab. Guess that's what I get for not using preview. Anyone with mod points, please mod my post down so that it doesn't confuse others.
the page I intended to link to is here: http://the-leaky-cauldron.org/#static:filmcommenta ry [the-leaky-cauldron.org]

Depends on the audience (1)

rfernand79 (643913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641130)

Well, I guess it depends on the audience. The "American Beauty" commentary is an excellent insight as far as cinematography is concerned. It really appeals to potential moviemakers -- you pay attention to a lot of detail. It's like a free seminar. The commentary for Ghostbusters is excellent (including shadows). You appreciate the elements of writing and how they are translated into a good movie. I wish I had a commentary track for Eyes Wide Shut with Stanley, for instance.

They are not for everyone, I agree with that. But I don't think they're always a waste of time.

MST3K (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641156)

Now everyone can be a smartass and make fun of movies.

The views expressed in this commentary... (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642078)

How 'bout an over-under for the date the MPAA sues somebody who makes a wildly popular negative commentary that becomes more popular than the film? I'll also lay 3:2 they try to use copyright to enjoin the commentators.

Re:The views expressed in this commentary... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15651412)

If the software doesn't let you script a cross-fade between the commentary and the movie audio requiring the commentary to be premixed with the movie's soundtrack, then yes, it is very likely that the MPAA would sue, and the RIAA as well over any included music.

They'll have to buy some new laws though that prevent you from scripting a performance atop an existing performance.

How did that case about Clean Flicks go? I haven't seen anything new since [slashdot.org] 2002 [slashdot.org] .

Another related story [slashdot.org] .

Fantastic. (3, Interesting)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641163)

I don't know about the average man or slashdotter, but one of my favorite things in this world are commentaries on DVDs for good movies.... particularly for Kurosawa movies.

One wierd thing I've noticed on commentaries for movies that were released before the invention of DVDs is that they, too, were recorded years before the DVD came onto market... I've heard several introductions for commentaries mark that they were created in '92 or so. I've always wondered why film studios would go to the trouble of booking notable figures in the film industry as well as prominent actors for commentaries before they knew what the hell kind of format would support them. Just a thought.

One of the best ever... (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641185)

...The original (not the abomination of a remake that had no soul, no purpose, & no message) "Rollerball". I own the DVD for this and it comes with a fantastic commentary track, including all kinds of depth. I'd always loved the movie, and I found that what I loved about it dovetailed nicely with what the director had been trying to do.

Re:Fantastic. (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641376)

They did know: the commentaries were for Laserdisc [wikipedia.org] .

I was going to say the same thing... (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641516)

Yeah, LaserDisc. You know, that format that many people dump on as being a failure (sometimes saying BluRay or HD-DVD will be a failure like LaserDisc).

LaserDisc may not have been huge, but it lasted a long time and it was WAY ahead of its time. The industry learned a lot from LaserDisc, not the least of which was how to soak top videophiles for enormous amounts of dough. LaserDisc players were expensive, and the discs also. And top tier of LD people went from composite to component and from stereo to digital stereo to digital dolby surround to pro logic to Dolby Digital 5.1 to digital ES. And they were also the first to buy 16:9 TVs to display widescreen content with improved resolution ("squeeze LDs", which were anamorphic like DVDs).

Chasing Amy (1)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641763)

Of which my favourite is the commentary for (Kevin Smith movie) 'Chasing Amy' - recorded for the Criterion Laserdisc, and included on the Criterion DVD (which you should all buy, by the way)...

It's well summed up by the specially recorded new intro, in which Kevin Smith says 'and on the commentary you might hear someone who sounds a lot like me saying"fuck DVD" - I would like to go on the record as saying it wasn't me, I never said it, I love DVDs' in his usual dead-pan style.

Sure enough the commentary refers to the wonder that is Criterion Laserdisc, much better than DVD, etc :)

Nice he didn't retcon it!


Re:Chasing Amy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15645872)

The Amy commentary also had "welcome to side two" in the middle of the movie, making it's laserdisk roots obvious.

Re:Fantastic. (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642406)

recorded years before the DVD came onto market... I've heard several introductions for commentaries mark that they were created in '92 or so. I've always wondered why film studios would go to the trouble...

For the (Pioneer) laserdisc release. These were available from the late 70s; especially popular in Japan. Criterion did a lot of laserdiscs movies with exras like commentary tracks.

Re:Fantastic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15642924)

They were almost certainly originally recorded for laserdisc releases.

Re:Fantastic. (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642995)

The fact that someone posted this...and that it took several more comments before someone remembered laserdisc...makes me feel really, really ooooooold...

Need more commentaries for bad films (1)

Allen Varney (449382) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641234)

One of the most interesting DVD filmmaker commentaries I've ever heard was for a bad movie. On the Lost in Space movie DVD, the filmmakers went into detail about what they'd aimed for in a given scene, why it didn't work, and what they originally planned -- which always sounded more interesting than what made it onscreen. That commentary told as much about the realities of filmmaking as do the commentaries you hear on far better films.

I'm not talking about an MST3K-style lampoon of terrible films, but more an analysis and discussion of what went wrong and why. I see that the Sharecrows site links to a Gigli commentary, which I suspect must be played for laughs. But that's not the only way to bring utility to a bad film.

Re:Need more commentaries for bad films (2, Interesting)

01101101 (869973) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641337)

You jest about mst3k style commentaries, but with hi capacity DVD's there is no reason they couldn't use the extra room to do a number of commentary tracks, including one by the guys from MST3K. I'd buy more cruddy films on DVD if I knew it had an MST3K track built in. Could be a new revenue stream.

Re:Need more commentaries for bad films (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641685)

How about a commentary track of Highlander II? It'd be painful to spend 90 minutes seeing that turd and listening to Russell Mulcahy bitch about how the producers forced him to use that stupid bad sci-fi plot and pretty much ruined his career (though he's now doing the 3rd Resident Evil movie).

No (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15641255)

anybody who listens to film commentaries is wasting their time.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641363)

There are fans who do MST3K-style riffing, something like "commentaries". It would be cool to download some formatted overlays.

Tragically, it's never the same of course..... I miss that show.

TV Episodic Commentary via podcast - they're here! (1)

Sweeneybird (869387) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641367)

Petfly (Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo), the producers of "The Flash" and "The Sentinel", are providing episode commentary in the form of podcasts (http://www.dmgutierrez.com/podcasts.html). It's a pretty interesting concept - who wouldn't love to hear, say, Bob Newhart commenting on episodes of both "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Newhart", for example?

DIY Commentary Tracks (1)

djSpinMonkey (816614) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641368)

My first thought reading this was, "Hey... anybody could make one of those!" Just sit there with a microphone while you watch the movie (with the sound in headphones to avoid bleed in to the commentary track), and you too can explain why Matrix Reloaded was the best movie of the trilogy, scene by scene.

Ok, not so exciting. But, it might be more interesting to hear extra commentary from the actors or crew after the DVD release, or from other interesting people (like, say, Kevin Smith or Joss Whedon's take on the Star Wars prequels). Alternatively, if you gave several people microphones, and especially if you did multiple takes and spliced the best bits together later, you could probably get some pretty good MST3K style tracks (again, the Star Wars prequels seem ripe for this).

Re:DIY Commentary Tracks (1)

trevorgensch (185962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15653402)

Well yeah, anybody CAN make their own commentary tracks. As the original article said, sites like Sharecrow are doing a great job keeping track of the growing alternate commentary community out there.

We already have big groups like Renegade Commentaries, MMM Commentaries, DVD Podblast, Sonic Cinema et al all doing their own thing, with styles ranging from the serious (MMM Commentaries) to the totally irreverant (DVD Podblast).

Opportunity for shenanigans (1)

Bob_Geldof (887321) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641452)

This seems like the perfect opportunity for Kevin Smith to make a small portion of the audience laugh during a "serious" scene and ruin the movie for the people who haven't seen it yet. Great prank. Wish I thought of that. At least, that's what I would have done if I were Kevin Smith, but then again, I'm an asshole.

*shameless plug* (1)

aaron_pet (530223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641507)

http://www.buddytv.com/ [buddytv.com] A guy I met at church is working on this project.

I really enjoyed watching firefly and battlestar galactica with my friends.. our emotional responces built on eachothers. buddytv may allow friends to give commentaries to other friends? I haven't looked into it that much...

Track Zero is the Way To Go. (1)

zenrender (554261) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641626)

While I don't think just any random person should be making commentary on every movie they can think of (but if they want to, that's cool), I know a lot of people who know *way* more about film than I do, and would like to hear some of them rambling in a TrackZero style during some of my favourite movies.

http://www.trackzero.net/ [trackzero.net] has been doing this for a while, and sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's not, but hey, they're doing it.

Cue the Peanut Gallery! (no, REALLY! ... read on!) (2, Interesting)

thedbp (443047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15641725)

Shameless plug for a great piece of software for Mac OS X called Peanut Gallery [kaisakura.com] from RONIN NO SAKURA KAI SOFTRONICS.

Basically, it makes inventive use of some Mac OS X video technologies to allow people to do running MST3K-style commentary in real time over a LAN or the internet, complete w/ shadow avatars and a theatre-like presentation. It even comes with a bunch of public domain movies like Night of the Living Dead and Refer Madness so you can start heckling right away. Unfortunately, my Mac isn't powerful enough to use this software (my old ass 1999 vintage B&W is finally starting to get long in the tooth) but I've seen it demoed and it is KILLER. Tons of fun.

From the site:
"You and up to 7 guests can enjoy video or audio from local files, your .Mac iDisk, or the World Wide web, complete with pre-rolls, intermission and Core Video-Powered theater-like visual effects.
Interact with each other via Maya-rendered 30fps* animated characters, inline real-time text chat, and voice.
Peanut Gallery isn't just a video player - it's a Shared Media Experience!"

Check it out! Its quite a lot of fun.

Sharecrow... free DVD player? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642075)

Err, no it isn't.

Requirements: ...
A directshow compatible DVD player installed

It's a free add-on to an existing DVD player. It can't play DVDs by itself.

(This is an important correction, as I've been looking for a free DVD player for windows other than Media Player Classic for a while, and don't have a directshow DVD player installed)

Re:Sharecrow... free DVD player? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642343)

I've been looking for a free DVD player for windows other than Media Player Classic for a while, and don't have a directshow DVD player installed

Have you tried VLC? I use it on OS X and FreeBSD to play DVDs, and it works on Windows too.

DVD players should be free... (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642594)

The ability to play DVDs should be free. If you buy a DVD, why should you have to buy the right to view it? Shouldn't it be implied that you're going to view it when you buy the disc? So why should you have to pay extra to "license" the DVD decryption scheme to play the DVD you already bought? This whole "pay to buy protected media and then pay for a player that can get past the protection so you can play it" thing is bullshit.

Re:DVD players should be free... (1)

trevorgensch (185962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15653414)

Well, that doesn't make sense at all. Are you saying they should hand you a free DVD player each time you purchase a DVD movie? Give you a free car when you attain your licence?

Re:DVD players should be free... (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15657543)

No, I'm saying they shouldn't charge you for the ability. For example, if you have a DVD player on Linux such as Totem, you should be able to play DVDs without having to pay for the ability to decrypt them. Right now, distros don't include libdvdcss because you have to pay to do this. The DVD player itself is free software, and you paid for a DVD, but you allegedly have to pay a second time, for the use of the IP in libdvdcss presumably (or something in its place), to play the DVD you already paid for. This shouldn't be.

I am not saying that they should provide you with the hardware to play DVDs, but I'm saying they shouldn't stop you from using your own player that they haven't blessed themselves.

Yes, it could truly achieve the impossible... (1)

ofcourseyouare (965770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642367)

So I'm watching the movie the first time and I'm sitting next to someone listening to the commentary on their ipod? Yes, it could truly achieve the impossible - and make me hate Clerks II even than I hated Clerks I...

Sharecrow just links (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#15642988)

Just to note, the blurb suggests that Sharecrow's site is providing the commentaries. While it does aggregate links to a bunch of different commentary sites, the main place where aspiring commentators can have their commentaries hosted (first one is hosted free, others have a small fee--or you can link to files hosted elsewhere for free) is Commentary Central [commentarycentral.co.uk] . This replaces the defunct DVDTracks site that Slashdot covered previously, which went defunct several years ago.

I'd also like to plug the commentary track that I myself recorded [terrania.us] , for the Hayao Miyazaki film Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro (which is getting a new special-edition DVD release [amazon.com] from Mangled Video via Anchor Bay in just a couple of months, by the way--too bad it won't include my commentary!). I've continued to update and correct this commentary over the last few months, and it's grown into something I'm really proud of. Any comments on my commentary would be well-received...

Anything posted on the Internet is "Temporary" (1)

RassilonInc (976962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15647073)

Yes, it's nice to get something for free, and the commentaries may be fun, but remember - anything on the internet is temporary. The url is bound to be moved at some point, so these commentaries are nothing on having a commentary on the disc itself.
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