DVD Engineer - Rick Dean
DVD Press Conference
September 7, 2001
JW - Jim Ward
VL - Van Ling
RM - Rick McCallum
PH - Pablo Helman
RD - Rick Dean
JS - Jon Shenk
JW: OK, the next person we'd like to have up here is Rick Dean, who is the
Supervising Engineer on the entire THX certification process. So, Rick,
there he is. So for all those technical questions I could not answer yesterday
is the man.
Q: Did you use a digital master for the DVD?
RD: A video master was created for the VHS. This was the same source
material that was used for the digital release as well. We simply went back
to that grand master and ensured that it was cleaned up and ready for DVD.
One of the differences between DVD and VHS of course is you've got much more
on the DVD format. So we did pay extra attention, but the same source
material was used.
JW: What is the average video bit rate on this?
RD: The bit rate is really a measure more of the type of content that's
throughout the movie. You know compression is a matter of being efficient
with the bits that you have to work with. And so with this type of title,
it's a scene by scene process to make sure that every scene was replicated
correctly using (?) compression. So it was a tedious task to make sure.
Actually if you just say what the average bit rate is it really doesn't
measure what the quality of the movie is.
JW: Since THX was involved step by step with Lucasfilm on this project will
that foretell the future for THX?
RD: I think the program as it started out with laserdisc it was rumored
we were simply a looking over the shoulder process. Very much now what we'
ve done over the last two years and with DVD becoming such a heavy implement
in the business now, is we're kind of much more of a post production service
as management group. And this is the first time that we've been able to
really spread our wings and practice. Lucasfilm was very, very receptive to
a lot of the things that we did. We had a lot of the heavy consultation
from Van Ling, folks at ILM, the creative folks up here at the Ranch, and it
was just a wonderful collaboration of effort.
JW: How did you decide to use Laser Pacific?
RD: The technology that we implemented with this, and again I'll go with
what was mentioned earlier, we did not develop technology because it's cool.
We use the technology in the best way to tell the story here. And to bring
the story out on DVD. Laser Pacific had certain experiences with
high-definition 24 frame, and because a lot of his post was done down in the
Burbank/Hollywood area they were the chosen facility for this.
JW: Were there any changes in the soundtrack in the Dolby Surround EX mix?
RD: No, there was not. We were very keen on keeping the original acoustic
design of Episode I that was used in the theatre for the home as well.
JW: Is there any sacrifice having EX mix on the DVD disc?
RD: Actually part of the beauty of what EX does is it simply adds
information that can be extracted in the rear surrounds. So really, you are
hearing this content. Even if you don't have the EX system. What you won't
do is you won't hear the added benefit of the rear channel. But this does
not take any more bits. The surround channels are stereo in a 5.1 mix
anyway. So this is just a more efficient use of that.
JW: What is THX's point of view on the dual air change, and then particular
on this disc.
RD: That's a very detailed selection. What you don't want to do is have
areas of the movie that will have a sustained music going between scenes or
any dissolves because inherent with DVD there is going to be an interruption
right at that point. So yes, this is a very often a difficult decision. At
one point it actually took quite a long time to come to agreement on.
JW: Alright any other question.How long was the process for your involvement in compression in particular?
RD: It's hard for me to even come to a number of days with that. After the
movie was finally approved we went right into this mode. Some of the best
facilities that we knew of were selected for this, and I can say that the
repeat of creating the movie was done again for the DVD. Certainly not a
matter of years but certainly a matter of a lot of time, a lot of hours
working in small, dark rooms and as I'm sure most of you know. And one of
the things that we focused on and were given the leverage to do is to
actually question each and every (time?). Rather than have this go through
in a factory stance, we were able to go through and tweak things. And this
often did not take more time. We were very efficient with the use of time,
use of manpower, but applying the technologies that we've been developing
for the last three years, and really putting them into practice with this.
These facilities who do DVD titles every day of the year are now using a lot
of these new techniques in their everyday work now too. So that's rewarding
JW: OK, that's great Rick.
Q: Is there an international education program to teach people about the
benefits of THX?
RD: I think the most efficient way to do that is through our website. We
are trying to come up with more of an education forum on this as well.
There has been an unfortunate misconception that we have not even told our
story as fully as we should as we go along. Again, we are not just a
(missing end of quote because of tape change from side A to side B)
JW: OK great, Rick thanks so much