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Old 01-15-2021, 09:55 AM   #1
Takeshi666 Takeshi666 is offline
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Default DVDs with unconventional features?

The DVD standard had some features that were supported by nearly all the players at the time but were extremely uncommon and I honestly can't even remember what titles might've featured all of them.

One of these was Custom stop screens; The Platinum Collection Neon Genesis Evangelion DVDs were the only DVDs I remember coming across that actually featured these. If you pressed stop during playback, you would instead see a custom background graphic instead of the player default. Unfortunately I haven't had those discs in ages and I don't think any blu-ray player supports this anymore, but it's still something you can check for by just popping the disc in a DVD-ROM drive since they're stored in their own folder.

The other was the pan & scan option; even blu-ray players still seem to offer a pan & scan option in the TV aspect ratio settings but more often than not, it doesn't do anything different from the 4:3 letterbox setting, but I do remember coming across at least one disc that actually cropped the sides from the 1.78:1 picture to fill the screen.

Does anyone remember with certainy any titles that actually used these features?
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:32 PM   #2
meremortal meremortal is offline
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Commentary tracks featuring A and even B list actors seem to be much rarer these days compared to the dvd era. It seems like commentaries in general for major studio releases are becoming much less common and I'll admit I rarely listen to them.

Last edited by meremortal; 01-15-2021 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:37 PM   #3
Takeshi666 Takeshi666 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meremortal View Post
Commentary tracks featuring A and even B list actors seem to be much rarer these days compared to the dvd era. It seems like commentaries in general for major studio releases are becoming much less common and I'll admit I rarely listen to them.
That's not really what I meant...
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Old 01-15-2021, 08:14 PM   #4
chip75 chip75 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeshi666 View Post
The other was the pan & scan option; even blu-ray players still seem to offer a pan & scan option in the TV aspect ratio settings but more often than not, it doesn't do anything different from the 4:3 letterbox setting, but I do remember coming across at least one disc that actually cropped the sides from the 1.78:1 picture to fill the screen.
Not sure if any player actually panned and scanned, but most offered a center crop of some kind. Pan and Scan would imply that the player shifted the frame horizontally to focus on action as well as jumping back and forth within that image.

I can't recall that many Pan and Scan DVDs (in the UK we mostly had widescreen releases to the choice US customers were given), perhaps a few were ports of VHS releases, but I can't remember any offhand.

Couple of DVDs gave the option to recut scenes, that was an unusual feature (was Bad Boys one of those?).
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:02 PM   #5
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Dual angles? This used to be available on old FUNimation DVDs, specifically of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT that I'm aware of. It was a really cool feature as it gave fans the possibility to experience both versions — Credits in Japanese & Translated in English.
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Old 01-15-2021, 11:23 PM   #6
WBMakeVMarsMovieNOW WBMakeVMarsMovieNOW is offline
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not DVD, but a few blu-rays had this sort of picture in pciture thing where commentary might run on a mini-overlay while the movie ran or maybe various tidbits would pop up in an overlay

DVD used to have more hidden things like if you click on some part on a menu image it would be a hidden live menu option and trigger some special hidden feature or something, although this probably isn't quite what you are after either
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:37 AM   #7
Takeshi666 Takeshi666 is offline
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Oh yeah, I remember some DVD having a feature where an icon would appear on the screen and it would play a relevant clip from the documentary. I think it's one of those features that's fairly easy to reproduce on blu-ray so it's not really unique to DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chip75 View Post
Not sure if any player actually panned and scanned, but most offered a center crop of some kind. Pan and Scan would imply that the player shifted the frame horizontally to focus on action as well as jumping back and forth within that image.

I can't recall that many Pan and Scan DVDs (in the UK we mostly had widescreen releases to the choice US customers were given), perhaps a few were ports of VHS releases, but I can't remember any offhand.
Yeah I imagine it was a far less common feature in the PAL regions I guess. And I know it wasn't "true" pan & scan, but the point still is that enabling it actually did something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ps3bd_owner View Post
Dual angles? This used to be available on old FUNimation DVDs, specifically of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT that I'm aware of. It was a really cool feature as it gave fans the possibility to experience both versions — Credits in Japanese & Translated in English.
Yeah, I remember this being probably one of the few instances of the multiple angle feature being put to any sort of use. Wish more of them did that.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:45 AM   #8
Jay H. Jay H. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeshi666 View Post
The DVD standard had some features that were supported by nearly all the players at the time but were extremely uncommon and I honestly can't even remember what titles might've featured all of them.

One of these was Custom stop screens; The Platinum Collection Neon Genesis Evangelion DVDs were the only DVDs I remember coming across that actually featured these. If you pressed stop during playback, you would instead see a custom background graphic instead of the player default. Unfortunately I haven't had those discs in ages and I don't think any blu-ray player supports this anymore, but it's still something you can check for by just popping the disc in a DVD-ROM drive since they're stored in their own folder.
I had two Sony DVD players, and both of these would display the DVD cover on the screen when you pressed "STOP". However, this would only happen with DVDs released by Sony. Occasionally, the DVD cover that was displayed would have a different image than what was actually on the DVD cover. Initial cover art, perhaps? This feature didn't occur on my GE and Insignia players.

My Sony Blu-ray players don't do this. I kinda miss it.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay H. View Post
I had two Sony DVD players, and both of these would display the DVD cover on the screen when you pressed "STOP". However, this would only happen with DVDs released by Sony. Occasionally, the DVD cover that was displayed would have a different image than what was actually on the DVD cover. Initial cover art, perhaps? This feature didn't occur on my GE and Insignia players.

My Sony Blu-ray players don't do this. I kinda miss it.
Oh yeah, my player back in the day was a Sony too. I have an old Pioneer player lying around as well now but I don't have the NGE DVDs anymore to see if they work on that.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chip75 View Post
Couple of DVDs gave the option to recut scenes, that was an unusual feature (was Bad Boys one of those?).
Die Hard

Some others:

Text based extras - production notes, biographies, article reprints, screenplays

Hyperlinks

Multi-angle options

Branching extended cuts (not edited in but triggering playback of a video at a certain point)

DVD-ROM content e.g. PDFs

Animated menus with a unique not uniform design

Easter eggs
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:02 PM   #11
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One very cool extra I remember that I never saw duplicated was on the original Ghostbusters DVD. The audio commentary had MST3K-style silhouettes, which could be turned off or on. The silhouettes were recorded on a special subtitle track, not through branching video.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeshi666 View Post
One of these was Custom stop screens; The Platinum Collection Neon Genesis Evangelion DVDs were the only DVDs I remember coming across that actually featured these. If you pressed stop during playback, you would instead see a custom background graphic instead of the player default.
A couple of Sony releases also had custom stop screens as well. One example is with the DVD release of Surf's Up.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattmanAlpha View Post
One very cool extra I remember that I never saw duplicated was on the original Ghostbusters DVD. The audio commentary had MST3K-style silhouettes, which could be turned off or on. The silhouettes were recorded on a special subtitle track, not through branching video.
Men in Black had this as well.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:05 PM   #14
BillieCassin BillieCassin is online now
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The original Nightmare on Elm Street box set had an extensive bonus disc "encyclopedia" that contained a "maze" minigame that unlocked various special features. Personally, I found it a pain in the butt, but a lot of folks look fondly back at it.

Reading some of the other posts here, I am reminded of the late '90s infomercial they used to sell DVD players and explain DVD technology. They so hyped up the "interactive" features, specifically multi-angle.

If I recall correctly, they had a whole segment demonstrating it using a fake "detective/crime" scene they made just for the infomercial, showing how different angles could be used to tell the story and reveal new things.

It's funny in retrospect, as the feature was barely used - it was one of those classic "cool features in search of content". It reminds me a bit of what then happened with BD-Live and the such.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:26 PM   #15
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I still have "The Labyrinth" NOES disc. It's so COOL.

Muppets from Space also had a MST3K-style commentary. What's weird is, you can only see the silhouettes on these 3 DVDs if your player is hooked up with component cables. I would have kept the discs otherwise.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:58 PM   #16
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Probably the most fun DVD I own is Something Weird's release of Monsters Crash the Pajama Party: Spook Show Spectacular. Everything is a easter egg. Hidden little buttons all over various menu screens. Some of them would play a little documentary about spookshows, some of them would play a silly jump scare, some played classic horror trailers, one played a entire movie, but you wouldn't know until you clicked one. I spent hours just clicking all over the menu trying to find every thing possible. The perfect disc for Halloween night.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:11 PM   #17
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I liked the Final Destination 3 feature on DVD called "Choose Their Fate" which allowed the viewer to decide the outcome of several different characters thus changing the content of the film which would allow for several different versions.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeshi666 View Post
The other was the pan & scan option; even blu-ray players still seem to offer a pan & scan option in the TV aspect ratio settings but more often than not, it doesn't do anything different from the 4:3 letterbox setting, but I do remember coming across at least one disc that actually cropped the sides from the 1.78:1 picture to fill the screen.

Does anyone remember with certainy any titles that actually used these features?
There is a way to do variable pan and scan on DVD, I'm sure some discs used it. I'm 99% sure you could somehow embed positioning data in the video that would re-center the picture instead of just having the player do a center cutout.

Wipe and scroll effects on subtitles are almost never used. Karaoke titles perhaps?

I seem to remember you can technically do animated button highlights, but I haven't seen a disc that does.

Probably the best example is real seamless branching. The most recent DVD of The Iron Giant has it, the director's cut and the original cut are interleaved together. For a long time, the only way to do it was with a Toshiba DVD authoring system, but that's no longer the case.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:43 AM   #19
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Some Disney releases had DVD games

Plenty of interactive releases for trivia/quizzes too
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Old 01-19-2021, 02:45 AM   #20
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A lot of DVD's back in the day and even some Blu-Rays have "full" behind the scenes. I love when they would show access behinds the scenes, they would show sometimes in full detail how they did certain scenes, how they did the stunts, and sometimes how they applied makeup or how they prepared the actors for different scenes. I miss those days.
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