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DVD projection tips

By Greg Pak
So I’ve finally learned how to make and burn DVDs on my Mac and am now screening with frequency at festivals on DVD.
A few tips for making DVD screenings run smoothly:

  • Don’t put labels on the DVDs used for the actual screening. Labels can cause some machines to stutter or fail — instead, write out your label information on the DVD directly with a Sharpie.
  • Send in your DVD early and exhort the festival folks to test the DVD on their machines. I haven’t had a single problem yet, but DVDs made on home computers may not be compatible with some DVD players out there. Verify!
  • Specify the aspect ratio of your DVD — generally, 16×9 widescreen or normal television aspect ratio. Our “Robot Stories” DVD screeners are letterboxed, meaning you see the entire film frame with black bars at the top and bottom of each screen. If the DVD is played on a projector set to 16×9 or widescreen rather than 1:1.33 or normal television aspect ratio, the image will appear stretched horizontally, as the machine squashes it vertically, adding MORE black bars on the top and bottom. Not a pretty sight. Write the aspect ratio on the DVD itself.
  • Politely request the return of your DVD after the screening. It’s generally not a good idea to let too many DVDs of your film float around in the world — no festival person would knowingly rip you off, but screeners tend to drift and you don’t want to get pirated.

One comment

  • 1
    2003/12/04 - 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Great advice. As a film programmer, I find exhibiting DVDs to be a total nightmare. I always bring the VHS screener as a backup because even when you test them, sometimes the homemade DVD’s fail. I’ve had them just freeze up halfway through the film. Betacam is still my favorite non-film format, but it’s hard to find venues that have it sometimes. Oh well!

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