Thursday, October 14, 2010

Online (Flash Video) FLV into QT

I am quite proud of myself for figuring this one out - I needed to download a streaming flash video online and convert it into a Quicktime (QT).  Here is the break down on how to do it on a MAC (there are several free programs you can download for windows that I was not able to try).
1 - Using FIREFOX, download and instal a FLV (flash) downloader.  I believe there are two or three, but the one I used was KARBON and can be downloaded here
2 - Install PERIAN, you can download it herePerian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats.
3 - Regular quicktime probably won't open the FLV file, but Final Cut Pro (FCP) will.  You are all set, unless you don't have FCP.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Movie Posters to DVD Posters

While I am obsessed with movies, I am also obsessed with their posters.  A movie poster says a lot about a movie, just like how the facade or identity text/logo says a lot about a company or restaurant.  While I realize that the filmmakers who made the movie have nothing to do with both the posters and DVD covers, people are still making these decisions. And these people should be shot.

It's unbelievable that so many movies have amazing posters created for their cinematic release to then have them transformed into blood curdling, terrible, amateur DVD covers.  While this should be taken with a slight grain of salt since DVDs have to cater toward consumer purchases and how to market an in-store purchase (or on-line), it makes sense that they sometimes change, but now it's disgusting that all movie posters change for the DVD (and for the worse).

Think about it this way - lots of movie posters have fantastic artistic design and their cinematic poster can be seen as a work of art.  For a DVD, it transforms into a simple marketing gimmick.  Why have an artistic, conceptual poster when the DVD cover can just have peoples faces?  I mean, that's the selling point right?  A famous actor really isn't TRULY the best person for the part, but if they are talented and popular, it sells the movie! I find this concept of faces, as already mentioned, disgusting.  The studios take an amazing poster and chop it up.  They change the font of the film (often a new creation just for the film) and change it into something bland and boring (or a rip-off of something else - think how they change an "L" into a GUN like they did with Pulp Fiction) and take bad still of an actor's face, poorly photoshop it, and make a bad collage for the DVD cover.

The music execs truly screwed up their entire industry by not understanding what the internet was until it was too late.  One day they woke up and realized that there is this thing for computers that allows people to exchange any musical CD at no cost, and this had been going on for 15 years!  The movie industry did a little better, but it's still pretty bad.  You'd think that since the music industry lost the battle (that they should have easily won) against the internet, they would create hi-def CDs (much like the blu-rays for music).  You know the difference between VHS and bluray?  Well, music is still at VHS quality and the labels don't care for a reason I cannot comprehend.  The larger a file format is, the more difficult it is to steal!  That, and when something is at high quality, people will want to buy it so they can experience it (like a bluray disc vs. a bad rendering stolen from the internet).  It also necessitates more expensive electronics! (hi-def speakers, systems, ear phones, etc).

So my troubles with movie posters comes down to this.  Not only are the DVD renditions terrible, but now, more than ever, it is important that they stop doing this.  It looks terrible and ruins the incentive (one of them) to actually buying the physical bluray or DVD.  Like books, its fun to hold and own, placing the movies on my shelf as my own library and personal collection (trophies if you will, a lineup of what defines me as a film buff as it defines my taste and interests).  While legit downloading and renting is easy and will grow, storage can fail and is not as easy as a shelf of favorite films (just like how new video games are still bought).

But now, these DVD covers are worse than ever and are an embarrassment to the movies they represent.  While I am happy that Bluray sank HD-DVD and the hi-format war for home movies is over (albeit too late) people are buying discs instead of stealing them because they are great quality.  Why not make it the best and stop making these disgusting DVD covers?

Below are two classic examples of what goes wrong.  As with the departed (even though the two originals aren't anything great) they still made them worse as DVDs.  They took the actors faces and just made a "face collage" as done all the time.  Mr. Brooks is my main example.  Not only was it a good movie, the original poster was great and iconic!  Then the movie wasn't a hit so they needed to "re-brand" the cover, so they changed it up completely for the DVD.  Instead of using the original, they took some random Costner pic and turned it into a bad C-grade horror movie DVD cover!  Not only does this look terrible, but the 're-branding' is a terrible idea.  Yee-gads. (as always, click to enlarge)

While I could go through hundreds and hundreds of examples, below are two recent examples, both similar in style and destruction.

While the original and DVD look similar, I don't know why they changed it.  The background is now 100% white and the actors and posing separate from each other.  Instead of the group bonding it's now giving off the vibe as "yeah, look at me, I'm adam sandler!"  This is a similar take on just using peoples faces.  It's all marketing in their eyes - the bonding is too sappy and serious, but if you use a plain, boring pic of the actor, it's association.  I love adam sandler!  There he is!  OH, IM BUYING THIS MOVIE!  Not only is this a stupid method, but it makes the DVD look very amateurish.  It looks bad and is bad for so many reasons.  And why they did this red border?  Got me.

Just like with Funny People, CYRUS takes a group picture and turns it into something terrible.  Unlike Funny People, the original here was not a group starring at the camera - this is a great iconic image.  It's difficult to create a close-up of 2-3 people and make it iconic, but this one does it!  And what did they turn this poster into for the DVD?  First off, they want to capitalize on the JUNO font, as so many movies do, which is sick.  Second, they changed the photo!  WHY?  They ruined it completely - such a simple original and they managed to change it completely. The actors are now lined up starring at the camera (now poorly photoshoped).  This looks like a bad high-school flyer and makes me sick just looking at it.