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Actor's name subtitles

Subtitles for DVDs that tell you who that guy is
  [vote for,

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 playing (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 off.

sam, Nov 17 2000

"Slacker" http://us.imdb.com/Credits?0102943
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. </RANT>   

       Ahem. Sorry about that...
StarChaser, Nov 18 2000

       Similar to "Being There," the movie "Slacker" (check out above link. Also, check out movie.) has one of the more... entertaining... actor credit sequences.
Uncle Nutsy, Nov 18 2000

       "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.
BigThor, Nov 20 2000

       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"?
baf, Nov 20 2000

       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 tricky).   

       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...
sam, Nov 20 2000

       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.)
jutta, Nov 20 2000

       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)
ickledinkle, Jan 11 2001

       <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>
centauri, Jan 16 2001

       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.
StarChaser, Jan 18 2001

       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!
clynne, Apr 19 2001

       Could it be worked into television as well, using closed captioning?
Skyloo, Mar 06 2002


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