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March 2005, Week 3


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Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 21 Mar 2005 10:27:55 +0000
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Lou Thompson writes:

>When I test my undergraduates, I like to show them brief clips of films 
>and ask them to comment on specific things (editing, lighting, 
>etc).  Cueing was easy enough to do with videotapes, but now that I'm 
>using DVDs almost exclusively it's becoming a problem.

When showing clips in lectures, I usually rip the appropriate chapter from 
the DVD, convert the IFO to a DVCAM format AVI, edit as necessary using 
Adobe Premiere (e.g. stick a fade in and out at either and and add a 
subtitle stating what the film is) and then render to an MPEG-2 IBP-frame 
program stream file, which is then dropped into my Powerpoint 
presentation.  By selecting the 'Expand to full screen' and 'start playing 
when clicked' attributes in Powerpoint, the video will just play at full 
screen at the appropriate moment and then disappear, leaving the previous 
slide in its place.  This is also useful because if I'm dealing with source 
material which has significant technical defects (e.g. a transfer from pink 
Eastmancolor or a silent film transferred at 25fps) I can correct this at 
the editing stage.

I've checked the legality of this out with my institution, and am told that 
it is legal for me to do this under the provisions of the Educational 
Recording Agency licence, which allows UK universities to screen material 
recorded off-air or from retail DVDs released in this country as part of 
scheduled classes.   Given that I'm screening the exact same material as if 
I'd shown it from the original DVD and the purpose of copying it is simply 
to make the presentation easier, that's OK (or so I'm told).  The only 
thing I can't do is to make the files available to students along with the 
Powerpoint slides - something which would be logistically difficult anyway, 
as most are several hundred megabytes (a lecture containing three or four 
3-minute clips is usually too big to go on a CD-ROM and needs a DVD).  I 
couldn't do (and have not done) that with material that does not fall 
within our ERA scheme, e.g. DVDs imported from or material recorded offair 
in another country.  Needless to say, I don't know if this would be legally 
possible in the US.  I would guess that you must also have a licensing 
scheme which enables copyright material to be shown in lectures and 
seminars: if so, it's a case of whether that allows it.


Leo Enticknap
Curator, Northern Region Film & Television Archive
Middlesbrough, UK

P.S.  Could I make a polite request for posters to please steer clear of 
using 'teaser' subject titles?  'A basic question' could mean anything from 
something about DVDs to 'Why does a cat's fur have holes in it where its 
eyes are?'.  I probably receive around 200 emails a day all told, and 
subject lines which accurately describe their content makes sifting through 
them a lot easier. 

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