DVD @ SMU (longish)

M. Dew (mdew@post.cis.smu.edu)
Fri, 7 Jan 2000 08:00:29 -0800 (PST)

Still DVD-wary?

We jumped on the DVD bandwagon about a year ago. First we did an
informal survey among the faculty about their willingness to use DVD
in the classroom. The Cinema faculty went wild over it, the other
faculty who use feature films (aka, English, Rhetoric, History,
Languages) were a bit more reticent at first, but they were won over
after a demonstration. Then we made sure that we had enough
equipment to support the DVD collection. We've already "worn out/
broken" one player and currently have 4 DVD players on order to
supplement our inventory of 3.

We are also fortunate to have a very DVD-savvy techhead on staff
here, (man, you should see HIS home theatre set-up), and he handles
spec-ing out all the players and their special features for our

As far as building the DVD collection, I first bought titles that
already had a track record of usage across academic disciplines.
Films such as Bladerunner, Rebel W/O a Cause, The Searchers, The
Zapruder film (this is Dallas, you know), Glory, etc. I can find
many of the feature film titles I want in high quality Criterion or
Image or comparable editions. It's harder to find high quality DVD
transfers of some of the silents, but now that KINO is
beginning to rock on those, I am happier. I bought a somewhat
disappointing DVD transfer of Metropolis (Madacy), but with DVD
features like instant chapter search, perfect still-frame and such,
its still more useful to some of the cinephiles than the VHS format.
(It's a backup to our superb KINO 1989 VHS copy)

I look forward to the day when the DVD manufacturers exhaust
themselves churning out all the "B" and "C" level crap action (pardon
my Texan) films and start doing good transfers of older material,
both feature film and documentaries.

And maybe it's because of the nature of our student population here
at SMU (aka, Southern Moneyed University), but I've been buying DVDs
furiously for the last couple of months and the patrons have been
checking them out for home use more and more. High quality sound in
film is my own personal crusade and digitized stereo -- even
digitized mono -- beats the competition hands down.

Can't really blame them, I took our new disc of Battleship
Potemkin (Image) home last weekend loaded it in my DVD player,
watched it on my old 20" JVC monitor hooked up to the stereo, and
was entranced. High quality sound reproduction in film is my own
personal crusade and digitized stereo --- even digitized mono -- beats
the competition hands down.

Bring it on!

Southern Methodist University
Center for Media and IT
103C Fondren Library West
Dallas, TX 75275

"My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits
with my net income."
-Errol Flynn