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New series: DVDs for Editors

dvds-for-editors This post begins a new feature here on the Studio Daily blog (feature, topic, category) called DVDs for Editors. Like the Useful Tools for Editors topic DVDs for Editors will point out movies and programs currently out on DVD that might be of special interest to editors. These aren’t necessarily going to be flashy special effects extravaganzas with lots of behind the scenes footage and making of featurettes (those those might very well pop up from time to time) but discs that provide some type of insight into the art and craft of editing. The focus may be technical or the focus may be aesthetic but hopefully these recommended DVDs will highlight the craft that many readers of this blog know and love: editing. The columns will focus on DVDs rather than just the movies themselves. As many in the media business have predicted, DVDs might not be long for this world as video on demand and Internet streaming may negate the need to buy physical media for entertainment purposes. South Korea has seen this happening already but I have to say that I hope that’s not the case in this country. I still love to have a DVD collection on my shelf that I can browse, rearrange and lend to friends without the thought of losing movies to a hard drive crash or a reminder to back up in case of hard drive crash. Someday we may find that the big movie studios and those that sell digital downloadable movies will allow us to burn those movies to DVD but if that’s the case then why not just buy the real thing … provided that the price isn’t that much higher. But IMHO the best thing about physical DVDs is all the supplemental materials that can be included on the disc or on the other discs packaged with the movie. The supplements can include nearly anything and everything that has to do with making a movie. Alternate versions, screen tests, special effects tests … you name it and it has probably been included on a DVD supplement at some point in time. I remember once buying a laserdisc of Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi just to see his short film Bedhead. I didn’t have a laserdisc player so I had to watch it on a friend’s player but it was really a great hint into what the future of movies on a medium other than VHS might bring to the movie buff. I also once bought a special edition of The Usual Suspects that had a second VHS tape of the film with director’s commentary. I though that there must be a better way than this! Blu-ray is taking this even further with things like running commentary via picture-in-picture, special pop-up supplements throughout the movie and (best of all) amazing behind the scenes documentaries in high definition. If only Blu-ray discs weren’t so expensive they might be taking off a bit better than they are. I hope this series will give a few good suggestions for viewing. If you have any suggestions or ideas for good DVD’s for editors then email them to me at editblog [at] gmail [dot] com. Stay tuned for the first installment of DVDs for Editors.

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  • http://www.filmandvideomagazine.com Bryant Frazer

    I know a good one — the Criterion special edition DVD boxed set of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. It includes, in its entirety, the so-called “Love Conquers All” cut of the film that was created in-house at Universal as a potential U.S. release version. Every Brazil fan knows that this version is much shorter than Gilliam’s preferred cut (94 minutes compared to 142) and sports an incongruous happy ending. But until you sit down and actually watch it — with commentary by critic David Morgan, who points out where footage was cut and when alternate takes were substituted and what the effect of the changes is — it’s difficult to appreciate not only how dramatic the changes were but how effective each individual edit was in basically de-fanging the movie. It’s an amazing crash course in the power wielded by the film editor, especially when s/he’s working without the fear of a directorial veto.

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