30 May 2006

- I'm so annoyed -

So I'm teaching this summer. Fun, fun, fun. Well, it wasn't supposed to be so bad. I'm slated to teach a course I rather like. But, no, life has to be difficult.

So the course I'm teaching deals a lot with film. Can I just say that I loathe macr0vsi0n and the entertainment industry that created it? It's not that I'm in favor of ripping, illegal copying and so forth. I have zero interest in that. I don't even want to make back-up copies of DVDs I own. I'm perfectly willing to buy a new copy if one of the ones I own stops working. No, all I want to do is extract two- to five-minute clips to be used in class; to help students appreciate aspects of film they wouldn't otherwise; really to encourage the students to go out and watch more films on their own. All the while, I'm buying loads and loads of DVDs myself (to go along with the loads and loads of video cassettes I purchased in years past). So I see little economic harm to the industry and some potential upside.

"Ah", the industry may say, "but why don't you just use all those DVDs you own."

"I'd love to," I respond, "if you didn't insist on loading the DVD with eight-minute menus and stupid FBI warnings that are impossible to skip. I mean do you realize just how much time it would take to wait for every fucking one of those DVDs to load?"

So now what? I have to search out a digitizer to work around the encryption. Finding one is proving exceptionally difficult. There are some hacks available (which apparently only work sometimes), but the best solution now seems to be to go to outside the country and buy a good digitizer.

I really wonder how folks teaching in film studies are handling the situation. I mean much of their life must be taken up with working around encryption technologies. If anyone out there does work in film studies, I'd be interested to hear how you deal with these problems. (Email me at the address in the sidebar if you prefer not to make your strategies public.)