Posts in Category: films

behold the tyger

Neil Gaiman’s Journal: Rabbits and Tygers and Butterflies oh my:

Oh, the Tyger ! Now that is a great 4m 30s film combining animation and theatre styles I would never have expected to coexist together into a most evocative story (worth having the music on too, as it does add to the film).

Update: More info about the film, as well as higher quality downloads from the authors site (from an update on Neil’s site).

Scary Mary

Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman’s Journal: By Request…:

Now that’s a film I wouldn’t mind watching…

(requires Flash)

Writers Block Live | Blog Archive | The HD Boycott Begins Now

Writers Block Live | Blog Archive | The HD Boycott Begins Now:

Well said that man, and what is interesting is that this isn’t from an uninformed teenager, but from Apple’s former director of video product marketing.

Again, I tend to sit a little more on the fence, and don’t, per-se, have an issue with the end of analogue content, but I do have a major issue with the idea that only big firms are legal content creators, and that the ‘little people’ are all out to rip them off: have a listen to almost any collection of independent artists online and see how many of them appeal to you more than commercial radio does, and it’s mind numbingly apparent that now more than ever it’s people who tinker in their spare time to satisfy their own creative urges than can create more satisfying content than big business does.

[from Macworld]

Tesco DVD Rental – review

Tesco DVD Rentals – the easiest way to rent DVDs:

This (like most of Tesco‘s offerings) is a rebranded service operated by a 3rd party – in this case Video Island who also operate Screen Select: both sites boast a library of over 37,500 titles, with the only difference being the price. At the most basic level, Tesco charge £7.97 per month for a single disc at a time although if you buy yourself a gift certificate it looks possible to get 12 months for the price of 10, albeit tying yourself to paying that amount rather than being able to cancel at any time.

So far the service has behaved exactly as advertised with postage taking one working day, and the turnaround being sameday – I can’t expect this to hold up over busy postal periods but it does show that their system is working very nicely. Until I have a dispute or another problem I can’t comment on the full service, but given that this is around the same monthly rental as the totally pointless TopUp TV[1] it gives far better value for money, and access to more content – e.g: 24 series 3 and 4 are available without having to wait for wrangles over the UK terrestrial rights to be concluded.

When browsing a page of thumbnails, clicking the Rent button will not only add the title to your selection but also removes the disc from the main list: a very nice touch. Another neat option is the ability to rent an entire TV series in episode order, but this does have one drawback: when the next disc is not available you will receive a totally different item from your list of titles, which is nice because there is something else to watch, and not-so-nice as it does interrupt the flow a little. Not that I can complain too much, as just the single disc of Stargate: Atlantis has put us 4 weeks ahead of the terrestrial broadcast, plus we got to watch it with DD 5.1 sound and no adverts…

One very useful feature is the ability to reserve films way in advance of their release: I was able to add Corpse Bride to my list even though it’s not hit UK cinema’s yet. Oh, and that film also has one of the coolest bits of trivia I’ve seen yet (the DSLR one).

[1] It wouldn’t be pointless if they let me choose from the full set of channels at £7.99, or pick and choose as many as I want at £1 per channel per month.

another bit of bad HHGTTG, and then some good

Emma Kennedy:

I think I’ll stop collecting these now, and go and get the BBC radio series instead. Speaking of which, the fourth part of the trilogy in five parts will start airing on the 3rd of May 2005:

BBC Radio 4:

The Tertiary Phase (same production company as the upcoming Quandry Phase) was well worth listening to, so I have high hopes that this version has not been brutalised.

short HHGTTG review

Short film review:

No spoliers in the short version but linked to a longer one with spoilage, both from MJ Simpson who seems to know a thing or two about DNA, as his short CV/Bio shows:

Oh dear.

making an unabridged audio album from a dvd in mac os x

I’m pretty sure this is covered by most ‘fair use’ clauses (do check your own laws: IANAL) but is intended for people with a DVD and a DVD-ROM drive who want the soundtrack to the film but don’t feel the need to pay twice for the same material on different media…

Pretty much all you need to know can be found at Shepmaster’s site, but there are only two pages that matter: how to turn the DVD into AAC files and then how to turn AAC files into stereo audio files.

Do Google for the most current sites, but at the time of writing you can find the 0SEx program here, and the mAC3dec project here. Download and expand both those binary files, shove in a DVD (in my case Koyaanisqatsi), quit any auto-launched DVD player app and start up 0SEx.

The only tricky part is figuring out which Title has the film – each Title can contain many Chapters, so choose the Title that has the same number of Chapter entries as the film inlay says it has scenes. Titles are used to contain menu items as well as the main feature, but in my case the film has 16 Chapters as so is easy to spot. Click on Ti and choose the correct title. If you don’t want all of the film chapters, click on Ch and choose the ones you want. Next, turn off the video decode (click on the Vid button, and click to turn off the tick mark), and then turn off the subtitle extraction (click on the Sub button, and click on each tick). There are menu items under Control that do this for you, if you are feeling more adventurous.

Change the format of the extracted files by clicking on Fmt and choosing Elementary Streams so that the audio comes out in it’s own file (and not in a VOB with no image data), and then click on Seg and choose Chapter, so that each scene is split into a separate file. Then click on BEGIN and choose a destination directory.

Wait a while and you should have a collection of .ac3 files in their own directory – the most useful thing to do is to convert them to .wav or .aiff files whilst downmixing from 5.1 to 2.0 and applying a global volume normalisation. Eh ? Ok: the AC3 files can have a much greater dynamic range than ‘normal’ 16-bit 44.1kHz WAV files, so the Normalising process means that the maximum and minimum volume of each track is noted and used to scale the final WAV/AIFF files so that the audio for the entire album fits comfortably into the range available. Still sounds odd ? Then trust me: without Normalising you will most likely find that the quiet bits are too quiet, and the loud bits too loud for comfortable music listening.

Start up mAC3dec. I’m aiming to playback the final result via iTunes, so choose AIFF from the Format menu, then 44.1kHz from the Sample rate options, tick Normalize and tick Globally, and check that Split Channels is left unticked. Now go to File->Add AC3 and select all of the files that make up your DVD audio. Once they’re loaded, click Start and wait: if you like to see graphical progress bars then make sure you’ve visited the mAC3dec->Preferences menu and unticked the Disable Progress Bar option.

The program will scan through all of the files once to record the volume highs and lows for each track, and then setabout converting them to plain 2.0 (stereo) AIFF files. Once this is complete, do with them what you will ! I opened up iTunes, added the AIFF files to the Library and then selected all of them and used Advanced->Convert Selection to MP3. After all had been converted I deleted the AIFF originals from the Library and added ID3 tags to taste.

Yes, you can skip a step and get mAC3dec to convert from AC3 directly to MP3, but I haven’t had chance to mess with the MP3 encoder in mAC3dec so I can’t vouch for what differences (if any) there are from the iTunes encoder. I quite liked the idea of having the AIFF files around for a while in case I wanted to burn a pure Audio CD from them, but so far haven’t taken that step.

the hitchhiker’s movie first unofficial website

The hitchhiker’s movie first unofficial website:

Now has a trailer for the film, and I have to approve of the opening music, the logo that is shown in the middle, and the final drifting starfield.

Oh, I do so hope that I’m not going to be dissapointed…