Modified from cc licensed flickr photo shared by One Thousand Words

A few weeks ago I got a redemption code from Apple for a free move rental from iTunes– I chose to use it to watch Inception (I’m still resonating or reverberating with this movie, so this is not a review). It’s that “rental” in the sense you have 30 days to watch it, and once you start, you have 24 hours to finish.

Those are conditions I’ve not tried on before- mostly for movies I go to the little library in Pine, Arizona, where I get to hold the disks for like 3 weeks, and I can watch them whenever the heck I want.

But this is the taste of the new future of movie watching, where you do not get discs, just the flickr form the cloud. While utterly conveniently, I am struck by the absence of what I crave in getting a DVD- all the Extras on the disc. I see these are going the way of VHS and 8-tracks.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by NightRPStar

You see, once I watch a movie, if it was not entirely a stinker, I look to see what else they have added to the disc. Saddest are the ones where all you get are “Scene Selections”, “Trailers”, or “Photo Albums”.

No I crave for the commentary track, where you can get the perspective on the movie preferably from a director or producer. I liked those in the series like The Wire or Six Feet Under, you got a variety of perspectives, sometimes writers, sometimes actors (Probably the worst was the bits by Arnold Schwarzenegger on Terminator 2, where all he did was gloat about his presence or how he lobbied to keep his action scene in- totally self serving).

I will literally watch the movie again, just to get the “making of” or insight into the ideas behind the movie. I live for that. I dig the out-takes, the deleted scenes, the documentaries about set location, special effects, musical score development…

I’d guess we get these on DVDs as an inducement to buy the package. Or the recognition that there is a lot of room on a normal disc to beef up the content. Or maybe it builds more buy-in to come back for more?

So my worry is now once movie shifts to online distribution, wither go the Extras? Will it be something we have to pay extra for? Or will it fall by the way side?

Or the other way to look at is that the “extras” a reno longer a movie studio carefully picks out and controls- maybe it is all the user commentary generated in distributed places, the videos people upload to YouTube, the mashups, the discussions in IMDb?

Am I the only one worried about losing this stuff?

The post "The End of Extras as We Knew Them" was originally squeezed out of the bottom of an old rusted tube of toothpaste at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2010/12/end-of-extras/) on December 26, 2010.

4 Comments

  • Dean Shareski ideasandthoughts.org

    I’m with you and think of the extra as the added value that hopefully will keep discs alive. With music, CDs, cassettes and 8 track and vinyl offered no added value outside of liner notes and album art which are pretty easily digitized.
    I think if the industry were smart they’d protect the added value stuff such as extras and continue to sell the movie as streams and downloads.

    I can’t see this ever going away as it’s pretty easy to capture and package and nerds like us like that behind the scene stuff. The danger I see is that, much like my own kids, they don’t always think about the behind the scenes stuff because they’re so used to using things like NetFlix and Video on Demand that never off that in the first place.

  • The new extras will probably involve paid services where you can communicate with others watching the movie at the same time, close to the same point in the movie. Maybe that already happens with xbox. I imagine they will still make extras like you enjoy, but put them in a place where people can socialize around them as they’re served ads.

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