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Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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I'm often watching a film and an
actor turns up in a bit part, and
I've seen him or her before, but
I can't remember where or who the
actor actually is. Now, the IMDB
will tell me who all the actors
in a film are, and what they were
in, but that requires me to know
the name of the character they're
(tricky if it's a really
small part) - and I'm also
unlikely to be online when I'm
watching a film.
There's an easy way of doing this
in DVDs: use subtitles. As well
as English, French, German, and
English for the hearing impaired
(say), have Actor. If you have
Actor turned on, then whenever
someone speaks, rather than the
subtitles displaying what they
actually said, they'll display
who they are (and potentially
what else they were in).
Now, having this on all the time
would be annoying. But you
wouldn't do that. You'd think
"who the hell is that?", pause,
rewind, switch on subtitles,
play, realise it's Dan Hedaya (it
always is) and turn the subtitles
Another approach to matching characters with roles [Uncle Nutsy, Nov 17 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]
||Movies used to have pictures of the actors. This was back when there were only a few credits, though, and only the stars got named. Now every monkey who appears on the screen at all for even one frame gets a credit, not to mention the million and a half people who stand around and watch as the movie is being made. Does the CATERER really need a credit?
||I'd also like trailers to go back to TRAILING. I don't really want to watch 10 minutes of commercials when I go to see a movie, and I DEFINATELY don't want 10 minutes of commercials in a movie that I've bought.
||Ahem. Sorry about that...
||Similar to "Being There," the movie "Slacker" (check out above link. Also, check out movie.) has one of the more... entertaining... actor credit sequences.
||"The Naked Gun" and its sequels also used quotations instead of names for some of its bit parts, such as "You killed him!" and "Hey! It's Enrico Palazzo!".
||It would be a lot more fun just to hit a button on the remote and have the actor's name show up, or a short description of the location, etc.
||What do you do about characters without lines, like the thin man in "Charlie's Angels"? Or characters who show up and don't speak for a very long time, like Her Lover in "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and"?
||If you're just saying who the
actor speaking is, you don't
need a separate button - you
can just have this information
as a separate language for
subtitles. ("What were they in"
can be a second "special"
language, as well.)
||To identify someone who *isn't*
speaking, you need to be able
to point at them - and that
means that the DVD needs to be
encoded with outlines of all
the actors on every single
frame, like an image map on a
web page, and that would
quickly get a) expensive, b)
tedious to do, and c) take up
space. Unless, of course, you
have a menu of non-speaking
characters (but then you have
to be able to describe them in
a unique way, which can get
||Although if you *do* have the
ability to point at someone and
find out information, you have
yet another way of hiding
easter eggs in DVDs. Oh, and
porn DVDs could do interesting
things with that as well...
||Maybe this doesn't need modification of the DVDs.
By now, wouldn't we almost have the technology to do face recognition and look up the actor or actress based on a bitmap of their face, as in a rogue's gallery?
||You shoot a frame off the TV with a little camera, send the image to a remote server; the server looks up the picture and sends you a link to the IMDB (or a list of pictures and links to choose from, in case the match is fuzzy.)
||In your original summing up, sam, you said...
"You'd think "who the hell is that?", pause, rewind, switch on subtitles, play, realise it's Dan Hedaya (it always is) and turn the subtitles off."
Surely this answers your own question....you already know its always Dan Hedaya, therefore this is less than halfbaked, its still raw ingredients NEVER to get baked. !! (sarcasm is one fine thing)
||<offtopic>StarChaser: I'm reasonable certain that "trailers" never trailed the movie in the sense you're using. They're called "trailers" because they hang off the reel or platter, which is in turn because they are on the outer edge of the movie i.e. the beginning. This has the additional usefulness of protecting the actual film, which is ostensibly more valuable than the commercials.</offtopic>
||That was a 'leader'. It's the clear plastic that you see at the beginning/end of a cassette tape, or a film strip in school. Trailers were shown AFTER the movie, as 'upcoming attractions'. Hence the name.
||Ravenswood points out an important feature - this needs to work for TV commercials. While the IMDB works great for even fairly small roles, it doesn't list commercial work. I really need to know whether the guy in the M&M commercial is Kevin Conroy!
||Could it be worked into television as well, using closed captioning?