Ashby served as project coordinator for
Remember That Night, overseeing every
aspect of the Blu-ray Disc authoring process.
We recently posed the following questions to
get her take on the many intricacies of working
on this High Definition title.
and authoring process is a bit different from
the standard process that has been in place
for DVDs for years. Can you explain how it differs?
The quality standard is greatly increased with
Blu-ray and HD-DVD. The wonderful viewing experience
that High Definition brings requires very high
technical and creative thresholds right from
the lighting at the show through to the editing,
grading, and video encode processes.
You are seeing that even Hollywood is spending
more on set design and make-up because the
home viewer can now see the flaws in what was
acceptable in the past, which is not good enough.
The footage we were working with for this disc
was of superb quality and will truly convey
that night to all who see it, both for those
who were able to be there and those who were
Producing HD-DVD and Blu-ray titles requires
lots more work and different skills to producing
a DVD. These new formats require a lot of hand-crafting
as the tools to create them are brand new and
have not been around for ten years, as they
have with DVD tools.
How much extra
time does it take to create (author) a Blu-ray
Disc or HD-DVD? What are the pieces that take
the most time, particularly compared to the
DVD authoring process?
The process takes dramatically longer that it
would have for DVD. Once post-production was
complete and we had a master of the very best
quality, which had the look that David Gilmour
and director David Mallett wanted, the initial
We looked at how the menus would work and how
the bit budget on the disc worked out.
Once these were decided the design work began,
in tandem with the video encoding. The video
encoding for live shows is demanding and it
has taken weeks of man hours and months of computer
rendering on a large render farm to get pictures
that meet the vision of the artist and the director,
as well as our own quality standards.
Was the same
master used for both the DVD and the Blu-ray
The same edit of the film was used. The HD master
had additional post production undertaken on
it to ensure the best playback on the high quality
devices that are now available in people's homes.
What is the
difference between the DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and
There are technical differences between what
is actually on each product but at the end of
the day the approach we have taken all the way
through this project is to deliver the very
best quality on each disc.
DVD is standard definition whereas Blu-ray and
HD-DVD are, of course, High Definition. As on
any disc the best possible video and audio bit
rates have been used to allow us to include
all of the superb bonus footage that we could.
David Gilmour felt strongly that all the discs
should function in a similar way, so the menu
interface is very similar with the beautiful
images being High Definition on the HD formats.
On Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats, behind the front-end
of the menus, there is a rich programming environment
which is different to how DVD works. Ultimately
it's about a disc that looks good, sounds great,
and meets the vision of David Gilmour and his
The details are listed here:
Video compression for the DVD is MPEG2 and
the audio is Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby
The additional capacity of the HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Discs allows us to use considerably
higher video compression bit rates and higher
quality audio encodes.
The video compression on the Blu-ray and
the HD-DVD is VC-1.
The audio for the Blu-ray is LPCM Stereo
and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.
The audio for the HD DVD is Dolby Digital
Plus Stereo and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround
Region encoding is also different in the new
formats. Blu-ray has three regions replacing
the regions in DVD. HD-DVD does not have any
What are the types
of things that the team ends up focused on
compared to DVD authoring?
We focus on much the same things as in a DVD
authoring project, underpinned throughout
by exacting quality though design, subtitling,
video, audio, authoring, and testing.
As we have said already, it's about making
a superb disc that delivers the vision of
the artist and those whom he surrounds himself
Each stage is really important and has to
have time built into the schedule. You should
never rush a job and our approach is to never
cut corners; if you need something done quicker,
use more bigger and better equipment and highly
The main focus through out our process is
the "right first time" approach, which means
having as few changes as possible once assets
are supplied to the authoring team.
Any video, audio or subtitle changes could
mean a new multiplex of all the content on
the entire disc and a complete watch through
of all video content and listen through to
all audio content, plus watching every single
subtitle language through in real time, as
corruptions can be introduced on each multiplex.
Even a resupply of a menu graphic means a
new multiplex of the menus, which requires
complete menu testing again.
In essence the goal is to deliver things 100%
correct 100% of the time.
What have been the
challenges posed by 'Remember That Night'
in particular compared to other HD titles
deluxe has authored?
For most of our HD-DVD and Blu-ray projects
all elements have been created from scratch
in-house. All departments are included from
the beginning and are familiar with the assets.
On Remember that Night we worked with
another company who created the fantastic
DVD version and we carried on their work to
create the HD-DVD and Blu-ray versions.
Working with graphics which have been created
externally has been a great learning experience.
What works for DVD doesn't necessarily work
for HD-DVD and Blu-ray without some modification,
and it has been fun making a square peg fit
into a round hole. We experienced some functional
issues with the graphics but overcame these
with some excellent creative authoring!
Encoding the feature has proven a challenge
as well. The higher resolution picture shows
the grain inherent in the master far more
clearly than in a Standard Definition DVD
encode, and we have worked really hard to
keep the look the director wanted to see.
This is why so much effort was put into creating
a optimized master and then doing minute frame
by frame edits on certain sections during
the video encoding process, to get the best
For the Blu-ray,
the two discs total almost 100 Gigabytes of
data (two 50 GB discs). That's enormous
basically the size of a standard personal
computer hard drive! The total run time for
'Remember That Night' is less than four hours.
Why does it take up so much space?
The total run time is about four-and-a-half
hours, once you include all of the bonus footage
and menus which are also video material on
At the outset David Gilmour insisted we achieve
the very best quality that we could and we pulled
out all the stops to make it look fabulous.
This is why we kept the format of the DVD
and had one disc for the main concert and
another for the extensive bonus footage. For
each disc we used the maximum space we could,
and both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray are pushed
to the limit with the best video and audio
that we could fit on.
On the DVD the average bit rates for the video
would probably be in the region of 5mbps; on
the Blu-ray Disc it is 30mbps, and on the HD-DVD 16mbps.
Having gone through
this process on several titles, what has been
the biggest surprise or lesson learned?
Every title brings its own lessons. Deluxe
has now produced hundreds of HD-DVD and Blu-ray
titles around the world, of all manner of
types, and without doubt we would say we learn
new lessons on each and every one.
Remember that Night has been no exception.
The overall lesson to learn is that to make
a disc that looks and sounds great you need
to start off with stunning footage and then
work hard to make sure that that is what the
consumer sees when they take the disc home,
remove the shrink wrap for the first time,
and get something more from the disc each
and every time they take it down off the shelf.