Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Just when you think it's easy...

It would be redundant to say that while making our second feature film, DIVINE MANIPULATION OF THE THREADS, we've learned a few important lessons of "how-to-do" and equally "what-not-to-do." You take these little tidbits of golden-nugget knowledge and try to apply them to the appropriate sized problematic holes so that our respective brains don't rattle around and fall out of our ears. From time to time -- it actually works. I would assume that we've learned from our episodes of misinformation while fumbling our way through a No-Budget Independent film. Hopefully it will be a little easier (and relatively quicker) on the "next go 'round." We will most likely purchase and/or make a few more items of equipment. There may be some relatively more complex shoots... but it will get done... with a little bitching and elbow grease. All of that seems a "million smiles" away in comparison to the "post-production hell" that Anthony and I have been wading through.
Digital technology is a wonderful thing. It's easy, it's fast, it's makes fascinating leaps of quality. However, it sinks you into an ass-deep sludge of "do-it-yourself" f#(k ups on a daily basis. Our newest conundrum deals with the majestic realms of DVD+R Dual Layer discs. Dual Layer technology has been used by Hollywood for years. When pushing out the twenty-dollar "gotta-have" DVD home movie with commentary tracks and little "peeks" behind-the-scene featurettes, the consumer never thinks about how they get all of that information on a single disk.
Here's a few things I've learned. When using dual layer technology, there can only be about 50 minutes of the film on one side of the disc when you have three audio (ac3) tracks, the visual portion of the film, and a featurette. The video and audio tracks are separate pieces of digital information that are played simultaneously, depending on which "Audio Option" you chose. If you chose stereo... the movie and the stereo track are played. If you chose Dolby 5.1... the movie and the surround track are played. When you chose commentary... the movie and the commentary track are played (the movie audio you here just under the "talking" is actually mixed on that track). With all of the menu information pre-writing and 94 minutes worth of movie, and a 31 minute "Making Of Documentary/Blooper segment" you're going to run into a problem with available disk size. Enter the Dual layer disc.
I've been told the way that this f-ing thing is supposed to work is that there is a calculated point in which the reading laser switches from the first layer (layer 0) to the second layer (layer 1) and continues on with the movie or allows the viewer to access the other entertaining features that were crammed onto the disc. There's a lot of binary number crunching, a turning of the laser, blah blah blah, technology is a wonderfully complex rash eating away at my ass. It's frustrating... because this consumer version of dual layer technology is new... Therefore, there hasn't been a sure fire way to burn a disc every time. There are programs that are used to burn these fantastic little pieces of shit. Unfortunately half of the programs tell you to go buy or download another program when it doesn't work the way you want it to. Then you have to guess your way through that mess of a binary shit storm. I'm not good with all of this sector value, division of 16, 10001100010101010111000101010 crack pot horseshit. Can you tell I'm frustrated? Good. Because this movie making thing isn't getting any easier this week. We cannot get the disc to make the switch from the first layer to the second. It locks up or kicks back out to the main menu. When it gets to the point in the film at which the disc is supposed to switch from layer to layer... it freezes, locks up, makes a terrible "whirring-chunk-whir-chunk" sound and makes me want to put my foot through the face of whoever put out this program without making sure that the thing works correctly. There's stuff on the disc. We just can't see what's on the "rumored" second layer. Bill Gates, we need to talk.
We're still trying to get the film out to the company that will ask a hefty price to replicate/duplicate a 1000 discs so that our wonderful fans can finally have a copy of our film with a few choice "extras" that are sure to entice a few more laughs. I don't know what the solution is right now. We're working on the solution... which translates to "We're working on the DVD." I don't have a date but I promise that before everyone loses interest in our local film we should have discs to sell. They will be sold at a reasonable price but because of the unreasonable price that we will have to pay to get these f#(king things made, we'll have to sell them (with an obvious exception to those that acted and helped in the production of the film-- since we couldn't pay them, they'll get a copy for all of their hard work-- least we can do, right?)
My plea for help would be that someone can assist in finding a solution. Any success with a dual layer disc? Tell us. Any access to a DLT machine? Please let us know. Any chance that we can get a cheap(er) price on having 1000 discs mastered and pressed? I would love to hear from you. That's where we are kids. Enjoy your week. I'll keep reading discussion forums and making phone calls until I can figure out how to get this movie out of the machine the way that we intended it.


Blogger Matt said...

Bevan, this is Matt from Old School Pictures. Are you still having troubles with your disc? We're actually on the verge of sending "Act One" off for replication. We just have to do some error checking. I have also had a sometimes frustrating journey on getting a DL disc burned correctly, so I may be able to help.

What brand of disc media and burner are you using?
What authoring software and version number?
What is the total project size? (in gigabytes, if you're using encore then check the disc tab)

Feel free to email me at

10:23 AM  
Blogger jamey tucker said...

I'm sure you've already checked with them, but in case y' haven' might want to check with discmakers. I believe they'll duplicate and then replicate your movie on dual layer dvds. Don't know what they'll charge or how you'd get the extras to them.

1:30 PM  

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