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DVD hypercommentary

Provide director's commentary on scenes in response to user request
 
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Many DVD's today have a director's/actor's commentary track. Such tracks can often provide interesting bits of trivia and information which can enhance a person's understanding and enjoyment of a film. Unfortunately, the amount of stuff the director has to say about a scene or shot rarely fits with the duration of the scene or shot itself, so there will be times when the director either finishes talking about an interesting shot long after the shot has finished or has to cut short his discussion to keep up with the movie, while there will be other times when the director doesn't really have anything interesting to say about what's on screen at the time and will talk about other things which, while interesting, don't have much to do with what's on-screen at the time.

One DVD which manages to avoid this problem to some extent is _Ben Hur_. There, if one opts to watch the movie with commentary, the chapter stops will be moved to the parts of the movie that Charlton Heston comments upon and one can simply watch those while skipping the parts he has nothing to say. This is a considerable improvement over most DVD's, but I'd suggest still another approach.

I'd have a number of interesting 'comment points' (there could be anywhere a few dozen to a hundred or so, depending upon the movie and what the director/actors/whomever have to say). If the movie was watched in "comment point" mode, then any time the director or whomever wanted to say something about a particular scene, a "comment" icon would appear (either in an alternate "angle" track or "subtitle" track). Pressing enter at that point would suspend the movie and play the commentary for that scene, accompanied by either a still or by visuals which would help the commentary (e.g. if the director was commenting about something visible in frame, the DVD could show a close-up of the item of interest). Once the commentary was done, the movie would resume from where it was interrupted.

For people who were more interested in the commendaries than in watching the movie again, the individual commentaries could be selected via menu, or a user could opt to play all the commentaries without the movie.

There shouldn't be any difficulty implementing something like this; I have a disk which does something similar (it a program about Melies, along with 15 of his shorts; during the discussion of certain shorts, an icon will appear on screen; pressing enter at that time will show the short and then resume the picture). Technically almost exactly what I'm describing, but for a different purpose.

supercat, Dec 20 2003

New Line's infinifilm http://www.infinifilm.com
Comes somewhat close. Site requires Macromedia Flash player. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

[link]






       The "Pop Up Video" approach to DVD commentary? I like it.
hippo, Dec 20 2003
  

       I think "pop-up video" just shows on-screen commentary, doesn't it? I was thinking of something where clicking the icon would freeze the movie and go to the commentary, with the ability to resume the movie automatically.
supercat, Dec 20 2003
  

       /the amount of stuff the director has to say about a scene or shot rarely fits with the duration of the scene or shot itself/   

       With hypercommentary, I would expect the director to talk a lot faster.
bungston, Dec 20 2003
  

       //With hypercommentary, I would expect the director to talk a lot faster.//   

       Cute. Not what I meant (I was thinking of 'hypercommentary' as a parallel to 'hypertext') but cute nonetheless.
supercat, Dec 21 2003
  

       Like the 'follow the white rabbit' mode on the first matrix dvd (and similar features on other dvds)?
benjamin, Dec 21 2003
  

       //Like the 'follow the white rabbit' mode on the first matrix dvd (and similar features on other dvds)?//   

       Haven't seen that disk. Please clarify?
supercat, Dec 21 2003
  

       Follow The White Rabbit would put a rabbit icon up on the screen during key scenes. If you hit ENTER on your remote when the rabbit was visible, it would pause the movie and go off and show you some documentary stuff about how that scene was filmed. Then it would resume the movie.
krelnik, Dec 21 2003
  

       Okay, so I guess it has been done. Wonder why I've never seen it?
supercat, Dec 21 2003
  

       BTW, does the Matrix DVD have a mode which allows viewers to skip directly to the appropriate commentary bits without seeing the movie? Remember that was another part of the stated idea.
supercat, Dec 21 2003
  

       The matrix dvd doesn't have such a mode (unless you count manually selecting scenes from the chapter menu) so it's not yet quite baked there.
benjamin, Dec 21 2003
  

       Yeah, I agree what you are proposing is not yet baked.   

       Basically what this boils down to is: instead of using the "alternate audio track" feature of DVD to provide commentary, use the "seamless branching" feature, so comments can be arbitrary length.   

       NewLine's "infinifilm" disks come pretty close though. See link.
krelnik, Dec 22 2003
  

       There was a "follow the rabbit" feature on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, too.
gisho, Mar 17 2006
  
      
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