Tuesday, April 26, 2005

IDD 300- Napoleon Dynamite

Writing a blog on DVD menus would not be complete without using Napoleon Dynamite. After watching the movie the first time, I was so confused. I just didn’t understand why people said it was so funny. I may have thought it was dumb but I also couldn’t stop repeating lines from the movie.

The main menu opens with a hand placing a retro style color tv on a hideously colored yellow brown velour couch. The TV is playing short clips of scenes from the film. There are four different options to choose from on the main page. Play movie is the most prominent option, at the top left hand side of the television. On the top right is ‘Flippin’ Features’. The bottom in the middle has 2 options, ‘Sweet Scenes’ and ‘Danged Languages’ these options appear to be in a smaller font and are also written in all caps. The top options are in a cursive typeface. The music in the background is an instrumental piece from Napoleon Dynamite.

The ‘Flippin’ Features’ page starts out similarly to the main menu. A hand is shown placing a fresh package of meat on to a wood surface. The stickers of information on the meat are different options to chose from. The options include trailers and promos as well as the option to have commentary be turned on or off. There is a button in the middle of the meat that resembles an orange PAID sticker and it reads Resume Film.

Sweet Scenes opens with the familiar hand placing an image down as a menu option. This menu is modeled after the time machine that one of the main characters buys through the internet.

Danged Languages is also a creative menu format. The hand appears and shows the top side of a cassette tape with the title Danged Languages. The cassette is then turned over and handwritten are the options to choose from. The familiar music is once again playing in the background.

I thought the menus used were creative and well done. They incorporated a lot of aspects from the movie. The navigation was also easy to use.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

IDD 300 - American Idol: The Search for A Superstar

Last week I received a package from my mom with my new DVD I “won” on ebay
American Idol: The Search for a Superstar had finally arrived. I got the “exclusive” 2 disc set which included a bonus disc, “The Making of American Idol.”

The first DVD opens with a short motion graphic of the AI icon with a verse of the theme song playing in the background. The main menu is then shown. It is a blue background with images of the top four contestants on the left side of the screen. The Idol model is shown on the right hand side with the American Idol logo on top. There are five menu options to choose from on this disc. They are; Play all, Scene selection, Extras which include American Idol Finalists, The Idol Makers, and Behind the Scenes. A yellow overlay appears over play all and scene selections and a blue overlay is highlighted when a bonus feature is selected.

When I clicked American Idol Finalists, it first brought me to Ryan Seacrest who was explaining that before Kelly Clarkson won, there were many other hopefuls who had tried out. When he was done with his monologue, a new menu appeared. It had a similar feel to the main menu in the sense that it was done in blue tones, however this page has a full color picture of winner Kelly Clarkson. This page a 3 menu options plus play all and return to main menu.

In fact, when ever an option is clicked from the main page Ryan is the first to show up and he says roughly the same speech (if not the same one) for each option before a new menu appears with new options and a full color picture of a contestant.

The bonus disc has the same menu lay out as the main disc. There are four options to choose from on the main menu this time; A day in the life of Justin, Judges Profiles, and The executive producers are options on the bonus disc.

Over all I enjoyed the layout of the DVDs. It was something different. All of the segments were ten minutes or less so there was a lot of time viewing the menu, unlike a normal two hour movie DVD where for the most part the movie viewing takes up the most time. The new AI DVD was just released so it will be interesting to see how it has changed if it has.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

IDD 300 Calendar Girls

Over the weekend, I watched Calendar Girls with my roommates. The opening starts out with the last scene from the movie. The women are on top of a mountain doing Tai Chi. The camera then pans skyward and into the clouds where there are loose leaf calendar pages falling from the sky. The camera is then panned down again to the main menu page.

The main menu page consists of a monotone colored background that looks like flowered wallpaper. The title, as well as the menu options of Play, Bonus Material, Scene Selection, Sneak Peaks are in the lower middle part of the screen. They are written in a brown serif font while the title is larger and white. There is also a large sunflower to the right of the titles. There is a repetitive instrumental piece in the background of the main menu.

When I clicked the Bonus Material button I noticed that the transition was something I have never seen on a DVD (at least I think), the sunflower faded to a solid yellowish and then blurred and then showed up a bit to the left before it faded completely with the background before it went to the menu page with was a stack of calendar pages with the top picture continuously changing. This page also has a “hidden” information page. There is a small red flower to the lower right of the menu when it is clicked it has information about the United Kingdom’s Leukemia Research since the movie is about raising money for this organization.

The other submenu options do not have such elaborate transitions; they just change to the submenu with a still picture and more options to chose from. I liked this movie as well as the menu layouts. I though they were effective and easy to use.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

IDD 300- Austin Powers: Goldmember

This week I chose to blog about the menu interface to the Austin Powers movie, Goldmember. I have not seen this movie, but having seen the other two I can tell that the interface corresponds well with the theme of the movie. The background is make up of swirling psychedelic female symbols. These symbols seem to morph from a fox like object into the female icon.

The title, Austin Powers in Goldmember is shown prominently across the screen in the middle. It is written in a golden color with a black stroke around it.

There are five different menu options to choose from. Play movie, InfiniFilm, Set up screen and Sound Options, Select a Scene and Need Help? Are options which the viewer can choose from. When the option is highlighted a gold star shows up to the left of the title.

To the left of menu options are pictures of Austin Powers and Foxy Cleopatra portrayed by Mike Myers and Beyonce Knowles. The pictures alternate at quick intervals to occasionally give the feel of movement of the characters.

The menus are similar to the main menu. The psychedelic theme is evident throughout. The backgrounds are different icons but are still full of movement. Different characters are shown on every page, also at alternating pictures. The most obvious link between the submenus and the main menu is the star that is highlighted next to the selected menu button.