DVD rant (author's name withheld on purpose)

yeah, DVD is a sticky issue. I do like the improvements it offers, especially in the area of surround sound. (I have been searching for a format that I could release surround mixes on for years and years). But you are more than correct in your identification of the evils of the eternal upgrade. For me, it's almost all about having a way to present my music. In addition, I feel sure that some quite inventive art, and some very effective documentation and a little bit of worthwhile entertainment will come out on DVD.... It's all up to us.

HOWEVER, There is no denying the "evil empire" aspects of DVD. The DVD-V specification was made by, for, and is completely and entirely the construction on the money mongers. On all levels this is true: Copy protection and regional coding are obvious examples. But there is also no denying that the actual FUNCTIONALITY, the feature set, of DVD-v is based around getting a big money entertainment PRODUCT out to market. The "advanced features" that get held up as being DVDs nod to creative use, (Such as the ability to branch the movie to create "interactive" movies where the audience decides twists and turns in the plot) or multiple angles, are actually simply inventive use of features necessary to save money for the studios: How does one release an "R" and "PG" version of the same film on one format? Simply allow jumping over scenes or inserting alternative scenes in. This same technique is what many artists/filmmakers I speak with say is what they are excited about.

I remember distinctly, VERY distinctly, going to a DVD confrence just before the format was solidified. This was to be a meeting of ALL the players: Those who designed the format, the hollywood studios, the distribution people, the player manufacturers, the people who would be authoring DVDs. I was so excited to learn more about this format, about the latest word on how surround would work, on who was making what titles..... what I got was what I feared the most. But I got it 10,000 times harder than I EVER imagined. I sat through lecture after lecture, sat through panel discussions, and listened to 100 conversations in the hallway. And I sware to all that is holy that I NEVER heard ANYONE speak of ANY issue other than how much money this format was going to make for those lucky people who where here on the ground floor. One panel member actually said, after giving some tepid non-answer to a psudo-technical question, ".... But all of us in this room understand the real issue here, and thats not about what DVD can do... it's the fact that it does SOMTHING that the public will buy, and BUY THEY WILL. They will buy the players, they will buy the titles, they will buy our authoring services. Face it, everyone in this room stands to make a GREAT deal of money off of this technology, even if the feature you mention is never used". This was horrible to an "art-tech" like myself. An aweful blow to what I believe is good and right... but his statements were just the beginning. The real kicker is that the entire audience STOOD UP and applauded loudly. I can remember feeling so ill, the only one sitting down in the huge room, applause mixing with the ringing rage in my head.... They weren't even covering it up. They had no shame about this. This, THIS is what happens behind those doors of major product developement and marketing. I was utterly disappointed and disgusted. It was odd, somehow I feared it was like this, but I never imagined how bad.

So that's my long story about the great satan.

Nonetheless, I actually believe in the artistic possibilities of surround sound, and now, perhaps, people will actually want to go out and, yes, BUY 5 speakers. Yeah, it costs more money. You do have to invest in some technology, (or go to a friends house or public place where someone else has) to enjoy some of my art the way I had intended.... but this is not so uncommon.

Use the internet! Use webpages! Serve movies off your own machine! Perhaps ALSO send it to a place like IFILM (but NOT necessarily). I would suggest at this time attempting to create a website which will allow the user to spend the time to download movies onto their local drives and then view them. Perhaps you could write some hooks in the HTML which would allow the user to download the films (so that they can get a decent playback rate and quality) but then the webpage interacts with the movie which now lives on their machine! It does work. Or, they could simply watch the movies with no "interactivity". My point is that DVD is not necessary. I would suggest not attempting to use streaming films unless you have T1 access and a hell of a server. Simply require that people download for an hour, or three. yeah, that MIGHT cost some people a small amount of money, but most folks have service where they can be online an unlimited time 9even thought it might be a pain).

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