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The Potential Impact of DVDs on the Soundtrack Fan

By Jason Foster

1M1: 10/21/99

We all know by now what little treasures these things called DVDs can be. We've seen exactly what they can offer the movie fan in terms of supplements, but that about what they could potentially offer to the film score fan?

So far, the only things film score wise we've been able to have are isolated score, composer commentary, and the occasional composer profile as part of a short documentary. All of these are great, of course, but let's think about the full potential of the medium.

For instance, what if you could with one push of a remote button remove the score from the audio mix completely and view any segment of a film without the music? It's always interesting to see part of a movie without the score, as it often shows exactly what music can add to a film or scene. Imagine watching the opening crawl of STAR WARS with no music, or the climax of SEVEN sans the score. How about watching a scene in a film with an alternate musical cue written by the composer? Or even better, being able to access a film's rejected score and watch it with that music. Maybe someday we'll even be able to access footage from the scoring sessions. Perhaps there can be a CD-ROM feature where you can view sections of the composer's written score -- just as it's now possible to see a text version of a film's script at any point during your viewing. Who knows?

Of course, most of this is much easier said than done. But there have been a couple of DVDs to take small steps in this direction. The Special Edition DVD of the original PSYCHO allows you to view the famous shower scene with and without Bernard Herrmann's music. On the Special Edition DVD of SUICIDE KINGS, the viewer can watch a particular action sequence in the film with several audio options. One can select the scene with the complete final mix (including music and sound effects), with an alternate music cue, with no musical accompaniment at all, or without sound effects. Needless to say, this can offer a very interesting view of a film. Aside from the joys such supplements could give to fans, they could also surely be used as educational tools for young filmmakers.

However, as with all things like this, the biggest factor would be money. Not only for the people who put these DVDs together, but also for the consumer. Having said that, though, some recent DVD releases like THE MATRIX have included tons of supplements at an affordable price to "test the waters" in order to see if selling at a lower price will make enough money to continue allowing DVDs to all they can be. So far, things are looking good since THE MATRIX DVD is selling very well.

Did I leave anything out that would be cool to have on a DVD? Send your thoughts.

Feedback: jgfoster@ix.netcom.com

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