With many DVDs we get to see what went in to producing the movie. Between audio commentaries, making of featurettes, documentaries we are given a window into the world of movie magic. But have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at a DVD production facility? DVD Discoveries provides a glimpse into the process and companies involved with bringing your favorite movies on to DVD.
Presented in 3 separate sections: Content Production, Disc Production and a Studio Section, DVD Discoveries is a compendium of several short featurettes each focusing an aspect or company involved in the DVD production process. The quality of the featurette span a pretty wide range from extremely well done and interesting to just plain awful
Content Production - There are 6 separate features in the Content Production area, each focusing on a different company involved with the production of special features on DVDs.
1K Studios/Sparkhill Productions - This segment runs around 10 mins and gives a really good look into what makes up a DVD Content Production studio. There is a lot of focus on Menu design as well as what it's like to work at a company like 1K/Sparkhill. It's a very well produced and engaging segment.
Automat Pictures - After a real strong start, the DVD Discoveries disc really sputters with a truly awful feature. The Automat Pictures segment is a lampoon of the DVD Production process following a fictional special edition release for 'The Tortoise and The Hare'. It's supposed to be witty and funny but it just isn't.
Charles de Lauzirika/David Prior - technically one of the rougher segments on the disc this segment also happens to be one of the most interesting. Charles de Lauzirika and David Prior interview eachother about the creative and political process of creating a DVD. There's a lot of extremely interesting info including a discussion of a Black Hawk Down documentary and lots of goodies for Panic Room. This segment runs 14 mins, but I would have liked to seen it run longer, it seemed like there was more great info these two could discuss.
Jason Rosnefeld - best known for helping get My So Called Life on to DVD, Jason Rosenfeld spends the 11 or so minutes of the segment talking about ways studios can gage interest in some of the programs in their vault. The segment is fascinating and leaves you with a sense that consumers really can impact what studios release.
Sharpline Arts - while I have a great deal of respect for the work of Sharpline Arts, I really didn't like their segment on this DVD. It's long (22 mins about twice as long as the other segments) and there really isn't a lot to it. Most of the segment is one of 3 guys sitting and talking about how great the work of Sharpline Arts is. The guys from Sharpline Arts don't come off well at all and the piece ends up feeling a little egotistical.
Van Ling - by far the best things on the DVD. The Van Ling section has 2 features- the first is a narrated walk through of many of Van Ling's well known menus (about 10 mins). The menus we are walked through include The Abyss, ID4 and Terminator 2. Unfortunately Ling is reading from a script during the walk through so it feels a little stiff, but the information he presents (including showing several Easter eggs) is extremely interesting. The second segment 'Confessions of a DVD Producer' is a fascinating look at Van Ling and how he works. Van Ling is one of the foremost DVD Producers and it was a real thrill to get a peek at exactly how he works. This segment runs about 14 mins.
Disc Production - the disc production section has 2 sub sections, one which takes a look at CAV's DVD production and the other which is really an ad for Cyberlink and their products.
CAV - the segment starts with a warning that the segment was shot using only available light (so as not to effect the DVD Production Process) the result is a more rough look, which really is excusable considering how interesting what we're seeing on screen is. This segment has a pretty corny voice over but provides a glimpse into exactly how DVDs are manufactured something any DVD fan will want to check out!
Cyberlink - There are 2 segments on the disc from Cyberlink, one focused on playing DVDs on your PC and the other focused on creating your own DVDs. These two segments are simply awful, technically there are sound problems and the video is poor quality. What's worse is the content for both of them are simply thinly veiled commercials for Cyberlinks product. These segments represent the worst that this DVD has to offer.
Studio Section - The studio section has segments from THX and Warner Bros. Publications both of which are very promotional.
THX - An interesting all be it promotional look into what THX does with DVD, this short 4 minute segment gives a quick peek into what it means for a DVD to be THX certified. Unfortunately there isn't a ton of detail in this segment and so at the end it does feel quite promotional. The main segment is accompanied by 2 THX intros which are nice.
Warner Bros. Publications - Unlike the THX segment there's nothing interesting or insightful here. The segment is simply a promo for Warner Bros. Publications. Yep an Ad.
Easter Egg - a pretty clear easter egg on the DVD is a music video for an unknown band Stampeded Queen.
Video - The quality of the video on the DVD Discoveries DVD fluctuates wildly. It's sharp and clear for the Van Ling segment, but fuzzy and home video esque for the Cyberlink. Overall the video even at its worst doesn't get in the way of what's on screen.
Audio - Like the video, the audio is all over the map. The only segment where it was a real problem was in the Cyberlink section where the audio cuts in and out.
Final Thoughts - DVD Discoveries is a very interesting look into the 'Behind the Behind the Scenes' in DVD production. Of all the segments on the disc, I found the one on Van Ling to be the most compelling. There are enough good segments on the disc to out weigh the bad ones. Considering that the disc sells for $9.95, it's a low enough price point to recommend it for the Uber DVD fan who has always wanted to see how DVDs are made. If your not one of these Uber DVD fans, this DVD may not be for you.