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DVD Terminology

Additional Language
The DVD contains a separate audio track containing the dialogue dubbed into another language as some DVDs come with additional languages other than the main (English) language

Aspect Ratio
This term refers to the length of a movie’s horizontal image to the length of its vertical image. Thus, a film with a very wide horizontal image, more than twice the size of its vertical height, has an aspect ratio of "2.35:1." A television set has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, so any film presented with a longer horizontal length is in the "widescreen" format. Many European and Canadian films have an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, which means only slight black bars are necessary to present the entire film image. 1.85:1 is the most common aspect ratio found in theaters and on video, as it adapts easily to all formats. In some extreme cases, particularly movies filmed in processes called CinemaScope or Cinerama, the aspect ratio may be as wide as 2.55:1.

Audio Format
The sound recorded on a DVD may be in a number of different formats ranging from mono to Dolby Digital 5.1. The addition of more audio channels (separate streams of sound) often increases the realism and dynamic impact of a program.

Box Set
DVDs may be packaged with more than one disc in a "box set," which contains similar titles or one lengthy title too long to include on one disc, such as a miniseries.

Cast/crew Biographies
Background information about the actors, directors, and other crew members on a film is often included on a DVD to provide a more complete picture of the people involved.

Closed Caption
Most television sets are now designed to include closed captioning, an option which allows dialogue and sound effects to be printed out at the bottom of the screen so the program may also be enjoyed by hearing impaired viewers.

Deleted Scenes
Scenes are sometimes cut out of a film before its release, either to tighten the pacing of the story or to avoid an undesired MPAA rating. Many DVDs feature unused sequences which the makers feel are worthy of preserving, and sometimes they even include "outtakes," better known as "bloopers," with the cast and crew making humorous mistakes on the set.

Dolby Digital
This audio encoding format can apply to any number of audio channels on a DVD, ranging from five discrete channels of sound plus an effects channel for the subwoofer (Dolby Digital 5.1) all the way to simple one-channel mono sound (Dolby Digital 1.0). A number of variations exist in between, such as standard Dolby Surround (2.0 or 3.0), which supplies the same audio signal to both of the rear speakers in a home theater set up. Dolby Digital 5.0 is the same as 5.1 in that separate signals are channeled to the rear speakers, but there is no extra channel for the subwoofer.

DTS
An audio format similar to Dolby Digital 5.1, Digital Theater Systems Digital Surround (DTS) was developed to use a lower compression level for the greatest possible fidelity to the separate audio channels of a DVD. A decoder is required either externally or in the player. Some DVDs include both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, allowing the consumers to choose for themselves. Discs only produced in DTS will play on any regular DVD players but will not play back the DTS signal unless a decoder is present.

DVD
Alternately referred to as "Digital Video Disc" or "Digital Versatile Disc," this video format records information on a disc the size of a compact disc. This format utilizes digital video and audio compression to store as much as 140 minutes of information on each side of a standard DVD, or twice the amount on a dual layered DVD. This format allows for a number of special features, such as multiple audio tracks and interactive video options.

DVD-ROM Content
A DVD may contain material accessible only through a DVD-ROM drive on a computer. These extra features may include written material (such as a screenplay), web links, or additional amounts of video information.

Easter Eggs
Some discs contain hidden extra features which are not advertised on the packaging. Many of these features may be accessible directly from the main or supplementary menu screens, while others are deliberately difficult to find and for many have become a sport to locate.

Filmography
A reference list of the films by a particular actor or director.

Full Frame
A film presented with all visual information available but not requiring letterboxing is "full frame." This can either refer to films made prior to the ’50s which were filmed in a regular square shape and therefore adapt perfectly to the TV format, or to films which are shot with an extra "safety area" at the top and bottom of the image. The latter kind of "full frame" presentation, also referred to as "open matte," will contain extra but unimportant picture information compared to a letterboxed version of the same title, which is usually a more accurate portrayal of the filmmakers’ intentions.

Full Screen
The movie image fills up the entire television screen. This film could have been modified (usually cropped) to fill the screen. We list a film as full screen when we are not sure about its original filmed aspect ratio but when we know that the video is presented as 1.33:1.

Genre Listing
Motion pictures and other programs each fall under different categories, or "genres." Some films may be classified under two or more genres, such as an "action/adventure" and a "comedy."

Letterboxed
See definition for "Widescreen."

Making of
A behind-the-scenes film or production journal provides a look at the circumstances going on behind the camera during the production of a program.

Mono
The program audio is contained within one central channel.

MPAA ratings
The Motion Picture Association of America often assigns a rating to designate the appropriate age group for a film. The ratings are as follows: "G" - suitable for all audiences; "PG" - parental guidance suggested; "PG-13" - may be inappropriate for viewers under 13; "R" - not recommended for viewers under 17 without an adult or guardian present; "NC-17" - not suitable for viewers under 17. A film designated as "not rated" has not been submitted to the MPAA for a rating. A film referred to as "unrated" usually contains material which was not present in a previous MPAA-approved edition or contains material which is stronger than an "R" rating and may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Multi angle
Some DVDs feature the option to change "angles" during playback of a program. These multiple angles may be different versions of the same scene, behind-the-scenes footage, or a number of other variations.

Multi-audio/commentary
A "commentary" or "multi-audio" track is an audio option which allows the viewer to hear relevant participants in a film (or critics, in some cases) share their thoughts and observations on a program. This alternate audio may include other features as well, such as radio programs or audio books.

Music Video
This program contains "music videos," visual programs designed to accompany a song or other musical composition. These videos often include the performer and may or may not contain a plotline.

Outtakes
This title contains scenes, such as bloopers, which may not have been included in the original release of the movie.

Pan & Scan
When a widescreen film is presented on TV, one option is to fill the frame from top to bottom with the image and then "pan" back and forth across to reveal any necessary information not visible within the square dimensions of the TV set.

Parental Lock
The DVD contains an option to prevent children from viewing certain scenes on a disc. The owner can select the age level they wish to block, ensuring that only audiences of a certain age and with access to the code can view the entire film.

PCM
An uncompressed digital soundtrack offers the capacity for either standard left and right stereo playback or a mono soundtrack.

Production Notes
The "Production Notes" feature on a DVD provides a series of screens containing text which details the history of a particular program. Often these notes are supplemented with details about the cast and crew, as well as anecdotes concerning events during production.

Production Stills
"Production stills" are photographs taken during the making of a motion picture or other program. Often these stills highlight the interaction between the stars and directors or the creation of sets or costumes.

Region Code
The different areas of the globe have been divided into eight separate regions to accommodate the varying release patterns of movies by the major studios. Therefore, each DVD player is compatible with a certain region: Region 1 for the United States and Canada, for example, and Region 2 for Japan and Europe. A DVD designated as "Not Regionally Coded" or "All Region" can be played on any player regardless of its nationality.

Stereo
The program audio is contained in two channels, one for the left and one for the right.

Studio
The company releasing the film may be either a large recognizable Hollywood studio or a smaller independent entity; often, a film may pass from one studio to another for various reasons (contractual, financial, etc.), resulting in different studios releasing their own versions of a particular movie.

Subtitles
Text of the dialogue in a program appears at the bottom of the screen when the "subtitle" option is activated on the remote control. Usually these subtitles are translations into languages other than the one in which the program was originally recorded (e.g., English subtitles for a French language film, or vice versa).

Surround
The program audio is contained in four channels: a center channel for primary dialogue and effects, left and right front channels for music and additional effects, and a monophonic sound channel sent to two rear speakers for dimensional sound effects. Surround playback requires a decoder in your audio receiver equipped at the minimum for surround output, often referred to as "Dolby Pro-Logic."

THX certified
THX, a company and process developed by George Lucas, originally began as a certification system for movie theaters to ensure the finest and most accurate audio quality. However, it now also refers to a video transfer system by which THX maximizes the optimum visual and audio quality from the available materials and then offers its approval on the final product.

Trailer
A preview containing scenes from an upcoming film is referred to as a "trailer" (currently they are shown before a feature in theaters but used to "trail" after them back in the ’40s). An "original theatrical trailer" is the one originally shown to promote the film; a "rerelease trailer" is one shown during a film’s return engagement in theaters; and a "video trailer" has been designed to promote the film’s release on home video. Some DVDs also include "TV spots," brief coming attractions designed to be shown as television commercials.

Widescreen
Since the 1950s, motion pictures shown in movie theaters usually feature an image whose width is greater than its height (a rectangle shape). Movies filmed in Panavision or Cinemascope are much wider, and this process is often referred to as "anamorphic" (due to the type of lens used) or "scope." To be viewed on television, movies must be formatted one of two ways: (1) "Pan and scan," in which the picture information is chopped off the sides to fit the square shape of a TV and the movie "scans" back and forth when necessary to catch important information, or (2) "Letterboxing," which preserves the original "widescreen" appearance of the film by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. When these black bars are present, you are therefore seeing more of the film’s image, not less. (See definition of "Aspect Ratio" for different types of letterboxing.

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