This week we’re kicking off a new column written by Brian Felsen of Disc Makers, a leading independent media manufacturer, offering complete CD, DVD and cassette packages for indie artists. Brian leads you through the process of releasing your film on DVD, from the first glimmer of an idea through the authoring and production to the label artwork and packaging design. This column draws from his experience successfully marketing his award-winning documentary film and his experiences working for Disc Makers.

Why DVD?

There has never been a better time to be an independent filmmaker or producer. For the first time, rapidly declining costs and dramatically improving technology have combined to put the power to create beautiful moving images in the hands of the low-budget filmmaker. Audiences have accepted and embraced advances in digital media, making blockbusters out of low-budget (The Blair Witch Project) and high-budget (Star Wars, Episode II) digital productions alike.

Especially exciting is the rise of the DVD, which now gives filmmakers the ability to reach audiences never before possible. Although the entire history of home video players spans just a bit more than a few decades, within that time frame the basic medium of data exchange has shifted dramatically from the magnetic realm – the tape – to a world where messages are carried by reflected light – the optical disc. DVDs are replacing VHS tapes, just as CDs replaced vinyl records – but at a faster rate: DVD has become the fastest-growing and most-successful consumer electronics product of all time. By 2003, there were over a quarter-billion DVD playback devices worldwide. Film festivals, online retailers, video stores, and distributors all welcome, and have even come to expect, delivery on the new medium.

-The unqualified success of the DVD format is easy to understand. The DVD is far superior to the VHS tape in the following regards:

-Quality. DVD has the capability (with MPEG-2 encoding) of delivering higher video quality and better color fidelity than VHS. DVD digital audio often has sampling sizes and rates higher than audio CD, producing audio quality that is nothing short of astonishing.

-Interactivity.Unlike VHS, DVDs can include an on-screen menu where viewers can easily maneuver through various navigation points in the film to instantly search by title, chapter, or music track. Through a menu, the viewer can choose to watch a trailer, play games, take quizzes, hear alternate soundstreams, activate or deactivate subtitles, change the language interface, and even connect to a Web site where they can get more information online. DVDs also support multiple storylines, widescreen, multiple camera angles, and up to 8 tracks of digital audio (for multiple languages and commentaries). None of this is possible on videotape.

-Durability. DVDs do not wear from use, they are resistant to heat, and they are not susceptible to magnetic fields. Their expected longevity is anywhere from 40 to 250 years (compared to videotapes, which generally last only from 10 to 30 years, with noticeable degradation beginning after only 5 years). As data stored on replicated DVDs cannot be erased or overwritten, they are excellent for archival storage.

-Affordability. While DVD is an extremely appealing alternative for digital content developers who have outgrown the storage capacities of CD-ROM and filmmakers wanting the medium navigability and resolution superior to VHS, the exciting news is that DVDs have a fundamentally low technology cost for hardware and disc production. The software tools for producing DVD-Video titles are now easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Armed with the latest generation of digital video camcorders, developers can create surprisingly sophisticated films, documentaries, training videos, and similar content right on the desktop and then output to Digital Linear Tape or DVD-R.

For all of these reasons, DVD now enjoys widespread support from all major electronics companies, computer hardware companies, and movie studios. Not only is DVD the direction of the future, but the market is looking for DVDs now. End-users have switched to DVD in record numbers, and many households will not order or rent VHS tapes. With new low pricing for DVD, there is no reason not to release your film on DVD. It is now both easy and affordable to reach a large audience with your film or video production by duplicating or replicating it onto the DVD format. This guide leads you through the process of releasing your film on DVD, from the first glimmer of an idea through the authoring and production to the label artwork and packaging design. Join the revolution and see what you can create.

Get the Fundamentals in part two of this week’s JOIN THE DVD REVOLUTION>>>

Posted on February 11, 2004 in Features by


If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
Popular Stories from Around the Web

Tell us what you're thinking...

Comments are governed by the Terms of Use of this Site. Click on the "Report Comment" link if you feel a comment is in violation of the Terms of Use, and the comment will be reviewed appropriately.