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Old 11-18-2009, 12:09 PM   #1
iceman iceman is offline
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Default Ask questions to Blu-ray Special Features Producer Cliff

This thread is dedicated to asking questions of industry insider Cliff (Special Features Producer) who has graciously taken the time to participate here. Cliff and all our insiders do this out of their free time and to try to keep us informed to their best abilities, and therefore are to be treated with respect and courtesy.

Before asking a question, please skim at least the last weeks worth of posts in order to make sure that the question hasn't already been asked or answered. Using the search function is also always a good idea. Please conduct your inquiries in a professional manner and avoid asking "chicken little" questions or asking when unannounced titles will come out.

Cliff - Special Features Producer - Track posts
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:38 PM   #2
Blu Titan Blu Titan is offline
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Hello Cliff, it is great to have you contributing in the forum. I have always wondered how the decisions regarding including an extended/unrated edition are made? Obviously, have profile releases will have a larger budget for the special features and additional consideration can be given to them. When considering the addition of an extended/uncut version what will be the role of the film's director? Under the same scenario what will determine the studio's decision to either use two discs (one disc for each version ala Blade Runner or Close Encounters of the Third Kind) or just one disc (seamless branching)? I appreciate your input.
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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Welcome again, Cliff

Pro-B
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
Penton-Man Penton-Man is offline
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A BIG hearty welcome Cliff.
Are you at liberty to reveal what Blu-ray title you are currently working on?
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:10 PM   #5
kpkelley kpkelley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penton-Man View Post
Are you at liberty to reveal what Blu-ray title you are currently working on?
Or the one's that you worked on in the past?

Welcome, glad to see that the site continues to grow and improve.

P.S> Is this you?
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:17 PM   #6
Jeff Kleist Jeff Kleist is offline
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Yes, that's him
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:29 AM   #7
Icemage Icemage is offline
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Glad to see you've got your own dedicated thread over here Cliff. Welcome (again!).

Have you ever seen a case where a studio has intentionally (to your knowledge) held off special features on a relatively barebones release in order to save them for a later edition?
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:29 AM   #8
Icemage Icemage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
Thanks Icemage.

I know there were a bunch of releases several years ago (from Fox) where the US releases were fairly featureless while the overseas discs (also from Fox) were loaded and in a couple cases (IIRC) even two discs sets. If you remember, titles like Fantastic Four and Alien Vs Predator were slim on the extras here in the US but had extensive docs and other goodies in places like Korea. I can't pretend to know why such decisions were always made (it could have been something as simple as the extra features not being completed in time for the US release), but in my titles I've never had a studio hold anything back intentionally.
Hm. I actually have that Fantastic Four (North American) Blu-ray disc, and yes, it definitely is pretty short of extras.

In some cases, the special features that existed on DVDs (and therefore should be complete, barring HD remastering) have been left off of releases, as was the case with Fantastic Four, which is why I was curious.

I had always assumed that the powers that be sometimes consider it worthwhile to hold special features for a later re-release - this was especially true in the early days of Blu-ray when the future of the format was relatively uncertain and the majority of purchasers were early adopters and collectors (who would obviously have a much higher chance of double dipping later if a "definitive" edition were to be released).

Thanks for the insight!
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:30 AM   #9
vegeta88 vegeta88 is offline
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Welcome Cliff and thank you for doing this; I am a huge fan of special features. Who usually makes the decision to do special features like documentaries and such? Is it the director, producers, etc? It seems like sometimes the director is in charge or guides them along like Jon Favreau for Iron Man and sometimes not so much.
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
I've dealt with two extended/unrated cuts (for Waiting... and Rambo) and the directors were as involved as they were when finishing the theatrical cut.
I know a Rambo director's cut was talked about at some point, but that never ended up coming out and I don't think it was really announced whether the cut had been finished or not. Did you work on this, and do you have any info about whether it's shelved or still pending?
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:40 AM   #11
Jeff Kleist Jeff Kleist is offline
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I think that it's a tossup between that and Tron that's Rob's best work. I hope people get to see the stuff that didn't make the disc at some point too
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
...
As to how a studio decides how to encode and present multiple cuts, it's interesting that you sited Blade Runner as an example because it actually does both. Generally seamless branching is done because it takes so much less space than doing two completely different encodes. But sometimes you just can't use branching because the new footage doesn't work with the old and makes branching impossible. With Blade Runner, the archive versions didn't visually match the quality of the completely restored Final Cut. Similarly, the workprint edition was of a slightly different aspect ratio (2:20 vs 2:35), so that wouldn't branch with the final cut or the archival versions. But the three archival versions (the US theatrical, the UK theatrical and the 1992 director's cut) do use seamless branching because they all mirror each other in their visual quality.

Hope that makes sense.
Yes, I wanted to ask about seamless branching in exactly this context, but you beat me to it.

Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:50 PM   #13
cjamescook cjamescook is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
...
There was a studio that had pretty much dropped trailers on new releases and catalogs (can you tell I'm a trailer fan?) until I went to the head of the home video department and asked why they weren't including them. I argued that they were essentially a free extra and an additional bullet-point for the packaging. From that conversation on, trailers returned on both their DVD and Blu-ray releases. He just didn't get it because he wasn't a trailer fan...
I find trailers to be a mini-art form. It can be very interesting to see how thte trailer for a movie evolves. So, actually, I enjoy seeing all the trailers for a movie.

An example that comes to mind is Lost in Space. Say what you will about the movie or the script, but there were three different, but evolutionary trailers.

Last edited by cjamescook; 11-19-2009 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:02 PM   #14
cjamescook cjamescook is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
Generally it's the special features producer who drives the boat on what gets produced. ... While I'll certainly use pre-existing interviews, every major title I've worked on has been primarily comprised of new interviews created for and tailored to the DVD/Blu-ray ...

When that gets ramped up is when you have filmmakers who are involved and excited by the process and allow the producers access to the filmmaking process outside of the norm. ...
Another take is the amount of effort devoted in the release of older titles that are long in the can, in release, and now in the vault. To paraphrase something you previously stated, it is sometimes a miracle to find anything.

One recent title that impressed me was the Blu-ray release of Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1.

The number of people they dug up in 2009 just to appear in pop-ups for commentary tracks of a show from 1966 really impressed me. Writers, actors, supporting cast, hair dressers, home movies, ... wow. That also takes dedication.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:49 PM   #15
aramis109 aramis109 is offline
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Just wanted to chime in and say welcome! Glad to have another amazing resource here at the site!
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:41 PM   #16
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Hi Cliff. Welcome and thanks for your contribution to the forum!

My question is this: how do special features producers such as yourself view the PiP and BD-Live capabilities that Blu-ray offers? Do you find them to be compelling tools to offer unique special features or are they relatively uninspiring for those in your profession?

(My take as a consumer: I believe they offer a lot of potential for some interesting and innovative extras, but creative use of them seems to be few and far between up to this point).
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:15 PM   #17
DMC86X DMC86X is offline
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Hey Cliff, I was wondering if you could give me some info. on Iron Man 2. Do you know if any scenes were filmed with Imax cameras that would lead to shifting aspect ratios on the Blu Ray like Dark Knight and Transformers 2?? I think it would be awesome to have the screen open up in full Imax glory in an Iron Man movie. Thanks man.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:22 PM   #18
DMC86X DMC86X is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
Sorry, I don't know where things with IM2 are at this point. My guess would be that if any of the scenes were shot in IMAX, you'll get a shifting aspect ratio release (maybe even a retailer exclusive, like Transformers 2).
Cool man. thanks for the reply
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:11 PM   #19
PeterTHX PeterTHX is offline
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Hey Cliff! Welcome to the forum.

Ever work on something so godawful that it made you sick to your stomach? I'm sure it's easier (mentally) working on "good" films vs. the terrible ones. Of course like any professional you have to give full effort to the bad ones too.

And thanks for getting the trailers back.
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:27 PM   #20
Alan Gordon Alan Gordon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
I sort of feel about them the way I do about all special features... If you can make them good and interesting, they are absolutely worthwhile. But I had/have a major problem with PIP features and when it came time to do Crank 2, I created the PIP differently. I've never been able to understand why someone would want to watch the film full screen while viewing the interviews and behind-the-scenes in a small window. To me, it seems like you'd want it to be the opposite. So that's what we did with Crank 2. The interviews and all the interesting b-roll was large with the feature film in a small window just as reference. Seemed to make more sense to me that way.
That's the way I've always felt about it as well. I'll have "Crank 2" eventually, and I'll be sure to check that out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX View Post
And thanks for getting the trailers back.
Seconded! Bless you! Now go talk to other home video department heads!

Welcome Cliff!

~Alan
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