Dumb DVD authoring

Mike Blakesley

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This thread is for anyone who wants to gripe about the idiotic way DVDs are made these days. People are so busy whining about commercials in movie theatres, but I never see any complaints about DVDs.

I just bought the box set of "Dragnet 1967." Here's my list of gripes about that set. (Which comes in an exceptionally cool box, but that's where my compliments end.)

When you first fire up the disk, instead of getting the menu, you get "Previews." The previews are not chapterized, so you can't skip the ones you don't want to see. You can hit "Menu" to get out of the previews, but it's a pain to have to do that every time you put in the disk.

But the biggest annoyance of all, is EVERY SINGLE EPISODE begins with the Universal animated logo --- the same one you see in movie theatres. Now personally I like the Universal logo, in fact it's one of my favorite movie openers, but I don't need 17 copies of it in my house.

OK, so you might say, just hit the chapter-skip button to get to the beginning of the actual episode, right? WRONG.....hitting that button takes you to the first commercial break. Chapter 1 contains the logo, the opening of the show, and the opening credits.

Disk 1 is a two-sided disk, no problems there except you have to get a magnifying glass to see what side you're going to play.

Disk 2 is another two-sided disk but....surprise! There are only 3 episodes on that disk, as opposed to 14 on the first one. So the two-sidedness of the second disk is unnecessary.

Personally I think the people who author these things probablyl don't ever have to take them home and actually use them. They are so busy slapping on bells and whistles that they get carried away.

OK, your turn... What's your most frustrating DVD experience? (I've got a few more of my own cued up in case nobody else responds.)
 

Harry

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Those Universal TV on DVD sets have some strangeness to them. We've been buying up the QUANTUM LEAP sets as the've come out, and the biggest negative there has to be the music that's been replaced. It wouldn't be so bad if the music wasn't absolutely crucial to the episode, like in the episode M.I.A. In that one, Al's special song was "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles. Yet in the show, even though it's mentioned, some other crappy non-descript song plays in the background. I understand the whole music rights issue, and I can live with it. But it doesn't make it right.

Other sets that have bugged me are when two-part episodes are split over two sides or two discs. I understand that order is important, but surely a little pre-thought could keep two-part episodes on the same disc side.

Another thing that bugs me is the whole "anamorphic" thing. Widescreen movies should be authored in "anamorphic" format to take advantage of widescreen TVs, yet many are not. There are still cases of DVDs released this year that are widescreen but not anamorphic. It's almost as bad as the ones that come out cropped to "family friendly" full-screen. Those I steer clear of.

Harry
 

Rudy

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Being an old Laserdisc fanatic, it has always bugged me that you can't just put a movie into the DVD player, hit "Play", and have it go straight to the movie. No...now you have to go through a menu to get there.

That is also one of my pet peeves about DVD-Audio too...and add on the fact that you don't know if you are getting the 2 channel or 5.1 channel program off the bat either.

Some DVD-Video titles are worse than others. Some go straight to a menu, while others kick into previews, or require a couple of menu choices just to start the film.
 

Mike Blakesley

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That was the coolest thing about my "old" version of The Longest Yard. I just replaced it with the updated version (which contains a commentary by Burt Reynolds and Robert Aldrich, the movie's director). The old disk, it just started playing the movie. The new one, you have to go through a bunch of extra crap to get to the film.
 

seashorepiano

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My most frustrating experience to date with DVDs has to be the first season release of The Bob Newhart Show. The fools who put it together put eight episodes on three discs... but four episodes on each side. That's just stupid, and inconvenient if I want to switch episodes.
 

Rudy

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More screwy authoring can be found in the individual Spongebob DVDs. The season box sets are normal, but a few of the individual discs are strange. For the first one, they put each episode in a different *title*, not a *chapter*, so if you put it on repeat, it repeats the same episode over. For the Xmas DVD, They have five episodes normally, and the other five as "bonus" episodes that you have to select from a menu each time. So, you can't even play this one all the way through. The last one I bought was the one with all the trailers on the beginning of it...which fortunately I can advance through chapters to get to the menu. (Going directly to the menu is disabled. :mad: )

I just wish they'd be consistent... :shake:
 

seashorepiano

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Agreed, Rudy. Consistency with these DVDs coming out of our ears is a huge problem. I collected all the available seasons of All In the Family and was a little miffed at the layout of the menus. With some, if I hit "Menu," it would bring me back to the main screen instead of the episode guide. Frustrating all in all.
 

Mike Blakesley

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And would it be too much to ask to just have a list of the episodes on the OUTSIDE of the packaging? I've passed over a set or two in stores because I have no idea what shows I'm getting....only "Season 2" or whatever.
 

Dave

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Welll, sorry, but, the whole DVD concept to me, is pretty dumb: I bought a 2-Disc DVD Set of Eight SANFORD & SON Episodes and I had to Fast-Forward from one episode to the next, or else it would repeat the one I just saw... It was a USED DVD set--and the discs were fairly DIRTY, but even after cleaning them, I was only able to watch ONE episode in its ENTIRETY--in my player or on my computer, at least... Luckily I was able to return them... Why can't they be as easy-to-use as Audio CD's?! :confused:


Dave

...quoting Fred Sanford: "Put 'em back in the mailbox...!!" :freak:
 

seashorepiano

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... and then Fred slips it under the door, or dumps it in the garbage... "These DVD makers are a bunch of big dummies."

I'd like to see a list of episodes on the back covers of DVD packages. Right on, Mike; it would make figuring out exactly what I'm buying a heck of a lot easier.
 

Brasil_Nut

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Harry said:
Those Universal TV on DVD sets have some strangeness to them. We've been buying up the QUANTUM LEAP sets as the've come out, and the biggest negative there has to be the music that's been replaced.
Very true. My gripe has nothing to do with a Universal TV DVD, but rather a made-for-television Christmas movie which has become a favorite of ours: "One Special Night" starring Julie Andrews and James Garner.

Mine is a strange story.

The year the movie was originally aired, there's a scene where Julie gets in her SUV, pops in a CD and you hear Sarah Vaughn singing "Misty." Unfortunately, there was something wrong with my VCR. The copy was unsatisfactory, so I figured I'd just go ahead and record it again the following year, which I did.

This is time, however, Julie gets in her SUV, pops in the CD and you hear a woman who sounds like Sarah Vaughn singing the title song to the movie! Very strange. Entirely different. What's more, there was extra dialog in a scene where James Garner gets the news that his wife has passed away.

Skip forward to last year. I located a copy of "One Special Night" in DVD format on the Internet and nabbed it. Sure enough, Julie's scene in the SUV features the title song, not "Misty." What's more, being a Canadian release, you are forced to manually turn off the subtitles by using the remote. Using the "subtitle" feature will not turn them off. Weird. Just plain weird.

Jon
 

Brasil_Nut

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Mike Blakesley said:
And would it be too much to ask to just have a list of the episodes on the OUTSIDE of the packaging? I've passed over a set or two in stores because I have no idea what shows I'm getting....only "Season 2" or whatever.
I'll second that. Can't tell you how many times I've failed to purchase a DVD because it's not labeled with a list of episodes. This can particularly irritating if you're looking for one episode in particular, such as the "Dark Shadows" or "Lost In Space" discs.

Speaking of Lost In Space, I don't think that 20 Century Fox could have made them any cheaper or cut corners any more if they tried. I mean, every season advertises "special features" which add up to nothing of interest. Radio interviews with June Lockhart and Guy Williams from 1966 where June spends the majority of the time talking about Lassie does not an interesting "Lost In Space" interview make.

However, they're all released in DVD format. I've collected the entire three seasons. They've been remastered, cleaned up and generally look pretty good, so I'm not complaining about the episodes per-se. It's the lure of "rare and interesting special features" that really ticks me off. Especially when they aren't there to begin with!

Jon
 

Rudy

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Brasil_Nut said:
Skip forward to last year. I located a copy of "One Special Night" in DVD format on the Internet and nabbed it. Sure enough, Julie's scene in the SUV features the title song, not "Misty."
That's most likely a music licensing issue, and I've heard of this happening with a lot of the TV series sets. One box set I passed up was the first season of "Crime Story". The series originally used a lot of popular 50s and 60s hits; in the box set, they substituted these with generic music. The series has since been reissued (both the first and second season) and I hear the original music is now back where it belongs. I'd gladly pay extra to have the episodes as I remember them (and which I have on tape).
 

Brasil_Nut

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Yeah, I figured it might be a licensing issue. However, why the change on Network TV from one year to another? I mean, I could see a licensing situation with the DVD, but fail to understand the change from one year to the next on TV. Maybe, given the fact that Sarah passed away not too long ago, her estate wasn't in the clear when the movie was originally released. In other words, her estate could have demanded the vocal be removed from subsequent airings since it was no longer in probate.

Who knows?

Jon
 

Mike Blakesley

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Amazing that song licensing is such a thorny issue. ISn't that what BMI and ASCAP are supposed to take care of? One of my favorite TV shows was "WKRP," but you'll probably never see the unedited versions of that again because of the idiotic music licensing thing. Why can't there just be a "flat rate" for songs used as incidental music in TV shows? I could see if the group was performing onscreen, or if entire songs were used, but other than that ....
 

Mr Bill

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There is a "flat rate" but it is priced based on market and type of product. A local TV station in your neck of the woods up there in Montana probably pays a few hundred bucks a year for an ASCAP & BMI blanket for news purposes. This usually means a one-time airing of a piece using a particular song. In Los Angeles the rate would be much higher because it is nont only a larger market but has more people who will see/hear a product (theoretically).

News purposes and local area market productions (single airing) have the lowest rates. The highest rates are to theatrical film purposes, often between 20 and 50 times the onetime local use rate. There are rates in between for cable productions (one-time) and series and broadcast products (with limited airings) and syndicated programming. After a show has accumulated more than about 30-40 episodes it goes into syndication (the daily showings on your local stations or cable outside of prime-time) which requires a separate negotiation. This is most likely the case with WKRP. Movies have similar issues -- Fast Times At Ridgemont High lost nearly half its songs between the theatrical version and the home video version. THe Mask (the Cher movie -- not the Jim Carrey one) used Bob Seger songs (Rusty's favorite artist), but Seger only agreed for the theatrical release. Someone else was substituted for the TV broadcast and home video versions...

Even in the Navy we have licensing issues. If some schmo uses a song from a CD in a product and the artist hears it the government will catch hell and so will the unit that produced the product. It happened a few years back -- the guy insisted it was for internal use but it only takes one person to make a copy of a video for themselves and it's all over the net...

--Mr Bill
 

Mike Blakesley

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What's dumb about it is.... let's say I hear an Eagles song as background music in a movie. I say, "Hey, good song!" and I wait for the credits to see what the song is, and then I go out and buy the album. So the Eagles got a sale off of me. So why should the producers of the movie have to pay to essentially advertise that song? The difference would be if it was a concert film, and I was going to SEE and HEAR the Eagles do the song -- that'd be a case for the payment.

Nobody would buy an episode of, say, WKRP just to hear the music. But they MIGHT go out and buy the music if they heard it in the episode.
 

Mr Bill

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You're absolutely right, Mike... The record comapnies have it backwards. Just like they shut down our Online Radio because we didn't pay to run the songs when the real matter was that someone hearing something on our site meant increased potential sales for them...

--Mr Bill
of course, it may have been so they could avoid complaints demanding that certain items be released on CD...Ah, a conspiracy!
 

Brasil_Nut

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Talk about hypocrisy.

The record companies are so bowled over with illegal downloading and hacking (so are the musicians -- Sergio being quite outspoken about this particular issue), they can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to movies and music.

I say, if it appeared in the original release, keep it there. To me, it's something that should be a done deal when the movie is originally produced, therefore giving the home video/DVD market free reign of their own product and the release of said product intact (original music included).

Ugh! The world of music publishing is complicated at best!!

Jon
 

Rudy

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Mike Blakesley said:
Nobody would buy an episode of, say, WKRP just to hear the music. But they MIGHT go out and buy the music if they heard it in the episode.
WKRP is definitely held up for music licensing. I wouldn't watch WKRP for the music, but a lot of the time, the music was a pivotal part of the episode. And IMHO, if they do ever get this on DVD, I'd like to see music credits as well...like you say, if I hear it but don't recognize the artist or song, I'd like to be able to find that song myself and buy it.

In fact, I've heard that the syndicated reruns of WKRP even used substituted music, for the same reason. But I'd gladly pay extra for WKRP, not only because it was a big favorite of mine, but because I'd like to hear the original shows as aired with the original music.
 

Rudy

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Sorry for puking up a 15 year old thread...

Looks like things have changed. WKRP now comes with most of the original music, as does Quantum Leap (which is also on BluRay), as long as you get the most recent 2017 release.

When you first fire up the disk, instead of getting the menu, you get "Previews." The previews are not chapterized, so you can't skip the ones you don't want to see. You can hit "Menu" to get out of the previews, but it's a pain to have to do that every time you put in the disk.
Since I've ripped everything to a server, the nice part is that you can save each title on a DVD/BluRay in an individual file and, when ripping the disc, you can have it ignore chapters that are shorter than a set amount of time you specify, and/or you can choose which titles/chapters to rip. So when I go to play one of these, I hop right to the movie or TV episode with none of the extra garbage the studios put on these discs. I haven't seen trailers, previews, advertising, etc. in years.

Ripping is done with MakeMKV, which will extract the original video quality to a file. But for BluRay, sometimes we need to cut down on the file size and tweak things, and this is where Handbrake comes in handy. It is not as simple to use as MakeMKV but it's good for a specific purpose.

Can't do anything about the studio logos at the beginning of each episode of a TV series, other than put them into a video editor and lop them off. But I'm thinking with the right video editor, there might be freeware out there that would do it properly without damaging the video quality. And it would be a one-time thing.

It's so nice having everything in files now, though. Movies can be watched on a tablet or laptop, and with the NVidia SHIELD (plus a Nexus Player and a couple of WDTV Live boxes), they can be watched on any TV in the house as well.
 

Bobberman

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Sorry for puking up a 15 year old thread...

Looks like things have changed. WKRP now comes with most of the original music, as does Quantum Leap (which is also on BluRay), as long as you get the most recent 2017 release.


Since I've ripped everything to a server, the nice part is that you can save each title on a DVD/BluRay in an individual file and, when ripping the disc, you can have it ignore chapters that are shorter than a set amount of time you specify, and/or you can choose which titles/chapters to rip. So when I go to play one of these, I hop right to the movie or TV episode with none of the extra garbage the studios put on these discs. I haven't seen trailers, previews, advertising, etc. in years.

Ripping is done with MakeMKV, which will extract the original video quality to a file. But for BluRay, sometimes we need to cut down on the file size and tweak things, and this is where Handbrake comes in handy. It is not as simple to use as MakeMKV but it's good for a specific purpose.

Can't do anything about the studio logos at the beginning of each episode of a TV series, other than put them into a video editor and lop them off. But I'm thinking with the right video editor, there might be freeware out there that would do it properly without damaging the video quality. And it would be a one-time thing.

It's so nice having everything in files now, though. Movies can be watched on a tablet or laptop, and with the NVidia SHIELD (plus a Nexus Player and a couple of WDTV Live boxes), they can be watched on any TV in the house as well.
I agree Rudy I have my complete WKRP DVD set when it came out a couple years back after reading the comments on this Thread I have to say the music labels and the Movie companies really in a way appeared to have either overreacted or just plain had an agenda which to me would partly explain why the industries are in shambles today in my opinion
 

Rudy

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I don't mind the artist getting paid for their work. But I've read a bit where the artists are at the mercy of what the labels decide, and they get only a small portion of what the labels rake in. With very few exceptions, artists don't mind if their music is used appropriately, although most don't have control over their own masters except in recent years, as the big labels have burned the artists one too many times.
 

Bobberman

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I don't mind the artist getting paid for their work. But I've read a bit where the artists are at the mercy of what the labels decide, and they get only a small portion of what the labels rake in. With very few exceptions, artists don't mind if their music is used appropriately, although most don't have control over their own masters except in recent years, as the big labels have burned the artists one too many times.
I totally agree these are radically different times compared to decades past
 

Mike Blakesley

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I bought that WKRP set when it came out a couple of years ago, too. It is a joy to behold in most cases. There are a couple of small gripes with it, but they got something like 85 or 90% of the original music... not bad considering some licensers are uber-greedy these days.

Another set I picked up was a full-series version of "All in the Family." I had the whole series previously, but it was a mash-up of different styles of packages, different authoring on the disks, and so forth... the new set has every episode the same.

Someday I'll get around to ripping everything onto some form of disk drive but I just don't have the time.
 
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