Thursday, April 3, 2008

Skip, Skip, Skip to My Hell...

How many times have you watched a DVD and had it skip on you? I know that sounds like the cheesy intro to a bad infomercial, but stick with me. Suddenly, the DVD just freezes for a second, and then it continues along on its merry way. It only skips for a second, but it still skips. This happens ALL THE TIME when I watch DVDs, and it pisses me off. I frankly don't know why I've never written about it before.

So, I was watching The Talented Mr. Ripley tonight. I was just minding my own business and enjoying, devouring even, my Matt Damon and my Anthony Minghella, and of course, the dreaded skip happened. It drives me CRAZY. I'm so obsessive that I always freak out that maybe it skipped more than I thought it did and I might have missed something vital. So, I always make sure to go back over it a few times just to confirm that the counter matches up. It's the worst when it happens during dialogue. Usually it doesn't. I guess that's because it's easier to catch on dialogue. But you'd be amazed at how many errors DO go unnoticed during dialogue. Or, if you're bitter and jaded like I am now (the DVD companies, a.k.a. "The Man," made me this way!), perhaps you wouldn't be amazed or surprised. We've grown accustomed to mistakes (ooh, that was kind of a My Fair Lady riff). The number of non-dialogue mistakes is staggering. I'm just appalled that there are so many of these skipping slip-ups period. It makes me want to vomit.

For years, I've been so annoyed. I almost blissfully recall my naïve days when I thought it might just be on the one DVD and actually went back to Best Buy multiple times for replacements. Alas, the errors were universal. Fuck up one DVD...fuck up all of them. Pardon my language. I don't think I've ever seen it happen more than once during any given film, but big whoop. It shouldn't's see...oh yeah...EVER. Honestly, I don't generally think about it (until it happens, that is, which is why I suppose I haven't written about it yet). I don't let it eclipse the film. It's not like I pop it into the DVD player moaning and groaning and being all irrationally, blatantly paranoid and angry from the get-go. That being said, I know it's like a flashing neon sign in my subconscious. It's always there in my mind. I know there'll be a skip. I just expect it. And I'm usually, and unfortunately, right.

I'd say there's a skip on 80% of all DVDs, if not more. That's at least the percentage I'm getting from the ones I watch. I know this has happened to everyone. It has to have. Why does this occur? Who's watching these DVDs before they okay them? Seriously, who? I could do that job better! It's like proofreading for film. I know that it's someone's sole responsibility to watch and make sure everything is just right. There's probably even someone double-checking the work. When the attention is so focused like that, how can these egregious (yes, egregious) mistakes slip by? How hard can it be? All you have to do is open your eyes.

I'm not particularly technologically-saavy, but I see the skip, and I know it's WRONG. I know it's avoidable. There's no reason or excuse for it. It's called quality control. These mistakes are irritating and distracting. Sometimes I dream that I might make it all the way through a DVD skip-free, but that's a luxury so rarely afforded to consumers today. It seems like it's just getting worse, too. I don't remember it being such a big issue before. I'd approximate that my awareness of this phenomenon, my accompanying despair and disgust, and the overall spike in manufacturing inadequacy transpired about five years ago. I guess that's when I noticed it, or at least when I started hording DVDs, so I had more opportunities to notice.

I know this may seem like a big fuss about nothing, but it's NOT nothing! When I'm paying 20 bucks a film, I expect pristine quality. I demand perfection. Is that too much to ask? Stop the skips! Please! Just stop!

Oh, and then there's all this talk about Blu-Ray and other formats... How in the bloody hell can we move on to more advanced technology when we haven't even perfected the technology we've got?


Bill Treadway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa!

Are you talking about layer changes? Most (when encoded properly) DVD's are presented on dual-layered discs. This allows more data to be stored on a single disc, which usually means better picture, sound etc.

If it's not the dual layer thing, it might just mean you need a new player. Sara and I own 700+ DVD's and none, not even the scratched ones skip. Not even when our player changes disc layers. What kind of player do you have? Is this first comment I've made on your blog? Wierd.