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Old November 21st, 2003, 09:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Arlington VA
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Authoring Jobs

Does anyone know of a good way to get jobs, either paid or unpaid (doesn't really matter to me at this point), authoring DVDs? Is there a community of indy filmmakers and the like to go to to offer such services? I enjoy doing it and would be happy to do an occasional project, either for fun or money, depending on the movie. What would anyone suggest? Thanks!
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Old November 24th, 2003, 08:59 AM   #2
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Location: Holland
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From what I know authoring is usually done by more then one
persone because it involves specialist in area's like:

1. finding and buying rights to certain footage etc.

2. graphics designs for (motion) menus

3. audio specialist to encode the audio in Dolby Digital / dts

4. video specialist to encode the video at the best quality

etc. etc.

Ofcourse this is for the bigger productions. Indy work might be
out there, but then probably only if it is cheap. Most indy's I've
seen figure it out themselves.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old November 24th, 2003, 10:21 AM   #3
Capt. Quirk
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Hey Peter- Show some patience! I am working on getting this thing shot as fast as I can ;)
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:19 AM   #4
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Hahah! Don't worry, Keith, I just want stuff to keep me occupied in the meantime. :)
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Old November 28th, 2003, 08:52 PM   #5
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I can't answer this exactly since I'm not there yet. But here's what I've been doing along those lines. I cut my teeth authoring wedding videos and the like, specifically shot and authored as DVD titles in my spare time. For example I shot my brother's wedding specificlly for DVD. On another occassion some bow hunters who had paid a bundle to go on a Caribou hunt on Hudson bay, contracted me to edit the digital video and photos they shot and then author them specifically as a DVD. There are all sorts of oppertunities to get experience from insurance to oral histories if you want to hang your shingle out. I do this on the side for cash and experience. I hope to eventually turn it over to my kids.

This knowledge paid off recently because I was allowed to author the DVD of the two hour documentary, The Legend of Charlie Birger (learn more at I produced for my real job (local PBS producer), rather than farming it out. We needed it in a hurry and couldn't wait while I learned how. Since I already knew how I was allowed to do it in house. Since I already use FCP, Photoshop, etc, the graphics and menu were no problem. I hardly think you need to be an audio specialist or video specialist to do good compression. I used the compression plug in that came with Final Cut 4 for video. The new VBR compressor plugin (2 hour widescreen high quality mode) worked great. . The AC 3 encoder that comes with DVDSP is also very good if you know the proper settings. But that's just a start.

What was scary for me was using an application, MPEG CC which I had never used before to mux .scc files into my Mpeg2 files. This got the closed caption data into the Mpeg 2 file and remarkably it all worked like magic. It's scary doing any new stuff like this under deadline. Anything involving scripting or complex navigation could be a problem if you don't know how to do it. You want to get as much of this under your belt as possible.

I would try and do some killer work on smaller projects, anything you can get. You need to learn how to author before you can get a big gig. Then try to get in on the ground floor of a production so that the DVD is not just an after thought. I'm trying to organize a company that does just that, creating niche DVD titles that are built from the ground up for DVD distribution. So I guess the anwser is to find other content creators to colaborate with. Instead of broadcast video or VHS video try thinking about DVD distribution in it's own right. As with most mediums, at first people use a new meduim like the ones that proceeded them. Start by thinking about how you can use the possiblities of multi angles, audio tracks, subtitling, scripting and navigation. While I might consider offering a broadcast version, it would be a striped downed featureless version. Offering it this way would be a means to market the full featured DVD. I guess I'm not looking to author DVDs, I'm looking to create DVD titles from the ground up.
Dave Kidd
Still working on
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 05:26 PM   #6
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Get dvd demystified by Jim Taylor, I think the 3rd edition just came out. Learn the 'spec'. With highend apps you need to know all about data structure as the highend apps are spec based. You are going to need to know it and there is a lot to know. It's more like an engerneering degree at first. If you can find a copy of Fusion LE and own a mac get it as it's around $500 but a cut down Creator kinda. TFDVDEdit 2 when released will be a great app to expose you to the spec and I'm sure will be like a dvd spec uni.

There are many ways to get in as mentioned but if you are a full-time author you're going to have to know Scenarist for sure with Sonics recent moves, Creator and knowing Maestro will help. If you know dvdsp 1-2.0.2 then getting up to speed in Maestro wouldn't take too long as it's basically a working, slightly more powerful version of dvdsp on Win.

There are many ways to get in as mentioned and knowledge of as many apps as poss is always a bonus. PS(always), AE, Combustion, a 3D app(Maya, 3DSMAX, Cinema 4d...) and so on...

"I hardly think you need to be an audio specialist or video specialist to do good compression."

Not totally true as compression can be an artform. I guess thats why there are compressionists :-) You can do segment re-encodes and many other things when you start spending money on highend hardware encoders.

Get dvd demystified by Jim Taylor and read it, read it, read it, I think I already said that,

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