April 19, 2007

The Class This Week


Assignment for Next Week

Additional Material

556 Students cut better

DVD Studio ProThe time has come to finish SHUT UP AND SING and get ready to distribute it. Last week we talked briefly about finishing the film in the traditional way. Tonight we are going to talk about creating a DVD of our product. Of necessity, the amount of instruction that you will get tonight will be limited -- it is, after all, only half of a class. What I hope our guest tonight will give us is the ability to get over the fear of this new technology (DVD Studio Pro 2 helps as well -- it's pretty easy to understand) and get us to start working with the program. Your exercise this week will be all about building a simple menu. Once that is done, you will (with the purchase of the application -- available only for the Mac -- at a much reduced rate) be able to delve deeper.

Bruce NazarianOur guest today is Bruce Nazarian who started out years ago as a sound editor but has since morphed himself into one of the most knowledgeable users and teachers of DVD Studio Pro (and this goes back before the present version -- DVDSP2 -- when the program was much more difficult to use). He is a member of the Apple Consultants Network, an award-winning DVD Producer and Author, and a Member of the DVD Association’s Advisory Board. He specializes in digital media production for video, broadcast, DVD and the web, and is President of Gnome Digital Media, his digital media production company in Los Angeles, CA. He runs a website called Recipe 4 DVD, which is a great source for tutorials, links, and products designed to help you with DVD Studio Pro. He is also the author of the phenomenal book DVD Studio Pro 2, which gives a very good overview and set of tutorials (with a disk of material) on the program, as well as a good discussion of DVDs in general. Do you know what types of DVDs are out there and what the difference is between the DVD-5s that we will use and the DVD-9s that you buy in a store? You should and you will. You should also learn about Bit Budgeting -- so you can make sure that you fit your material onto your DVD.

We are also going to be discussing trailers today. Some of you will have already been working on a trailer for SHUT UP AND SING. Today we will look at trailers for a number of films (if there is time) -- THUMBSUCKER, LOST IN TRANSLATION and CREMASTER. How do they tell a story (and remember that it doesn't necessarily have to be the same story that the film tells)? How fast is the cutting -- that is, what is the style of the story that is told? Whose story is told? Where are the lean-forward moments in the trailer?

Notice that these are all of the same issues that we discuss in regards to a film as a whole -- logline, scene analysis, character analysis and lean forward moments. There is no difference, except that the stories may differ. We are also taking into account who the audience will be for the trailer -- in a much more specific way than in the film. Sure, we want to figure out who SHUT UP AND SING will appeal to to make sure that they are getting the jokes, empathizing with the characters, and in tune with the style. But a marketing campaign for the film will get much more specific -- where will its spots run, what films are compatible that the company could run the trailer with, etc. etc.

We'll talk about some of these things today.

Using an Avid to Make DVDs
This article, from the Editors Guild magazine, describes several procedures for outputting a sequence from an Avid to make it available for DVD Authoring. Bruce will discuss proper procedures at tonight's class but, for for our needs, what I will be doing is using the final option -- exporting as MPEG-2 with WAV files. DVD Studio Pro can recognize pairs of sound and video files ("assets") which are named the same, so this option will create the assets without building the DVD files. DVD Studio Pro will then do most of the work of transcoding and building the file structure.
DVD Plan (PDF File)
Here is a schematic of the projected flow of our DVD. Assuming we get all of the pieces, there will be one main menu which will branch out in several directions: each of you will get one page to design and put whatever text you'd like onto, that page will link to your chapter/sequence in the full cut. There will also be a link to an Extras page where, if we get them, we can have links to the trailers and deleted scenes.
Editing Trailers (PDF File)
This is a New York Times interview with Art Mondrala, who is one of the biggest trailer editors here in Los Angeles. With our emphasis this week and last on trailers, this is a good added bonus, for those of you who want to know how it works.

Finish with the sound and music work
We will be discussing the finishing process for sound and music tonight. You will need to smooth out all of your sound and finalize the music this week. I will be getting notes to you this weekend if there are any things we need to change before next week.
Edit the trailer
Some of you are editing the trailer for the film. Your job is to finish that by next week to present it to the class.
Begin thinking about what you would like your moving menu to look like
We will be putting together the entire film and creating a DVD beginning next week (in time for the final class week on May 4). We will be doing the simplest of menus, which you will be able to start experimenting with as early as this weekend. Start thinking about what you would like your menu item to look like. It should represent the section of the film that you edited. The plan for the DVD will be given out next week. Here it is now for you to look at (it's a PDF file).
Do the Main Title Sequence
One of you is designing the Main Title sequence. We want to see it next week.

So, You Want To Make DVDs, Huh?
This article, from Creative Cow, a fantastic site for articles on all manner of digital video topics, is a look at how DVD creation is deceptively simple. The link above takes you to the article, within the Creative Cow site.
All About Menus
This three part series of articles by Alex Alexzander, is also from the Creative Cow site, and is a great blow-by-blow description of some of the things that we may be working on when we get to our DVD Studio Pro work in the class. And while that day is several weeks away, this article is long enough that I wanted to give it to you tonight, while DVD creation is fresh in your mind.