Re: How is commentary recorded

From: David P. Hayes
Date: 1997/10/07

In article , (Michele Harvey) wrote:
> In article , jason  wrote:
> >On 5 Oct 1997, KCallas188 wrote:
> >
> >> Heres my question, some a/c on laserdiscs seem to be recorded in a room with
> >>  either one or a few people just watching the flick and talking about it. for
> >>  example Clerks, Scream, Albino Alligator. Now I recently rented the 25th
> >>  anniversary of Pink Flamingos that Criterion put out and the first thing on
> >>  the commentary states that "this interview was recorded on" such and such a
> >>  date. So does Criterion just do an interview and then put it on the film.
> >
> >basically.  i don't know if they actually have the people watching the
> >film or not, or if they do that and then do an interview with them and
> >edit it all together.  on some of the older discs where there is only one
> >person commenting, usually a historian or film scholar, it seems that it's
> >a continuous running track while the person watched the film.
> I think it's pretty obvious that John Waters was watching the movie whilst
> commenting on it, esp when he points out certain items in a shot that you
> might have overlooked.  For example, when the camera focuses on a woman's b&w
> picture in a frame, JW reminds you that it's a picture of a Manson girl
> (Leslie Van Houten, I believe).  As much as I really like "Pink Flamingos" I
> liked it even better with the running commentary.
> Michele

Commentary tracks are sometimes done in one shot and sometimes are edited together.  On the Criterion James Bond films, several participants involved in the making of the movie were taped separately and a narrator links their remarks.  Sometimes it seems that a comment would have been better placed 30 seconds sooner but that that would have meant cutting short another participant's remark, so the commentary editor probably made the best decision.  On one of the tracks, it is remarked that one of the participants died two days after the comments were recorded, so obviously the narration was not done at the same time as the interview because otherwise the narrator would not have known about the death at the time.

I know for fact that in at least some instances, the commentary is recorded on a VHS tape at the home of the historian supplying the narration.  This was reported to me by Miles Kreuger, who recorded for Criterion's "Show Boat."  He was supplied with a VHS tape and used his home deck to do the recording.  He returned again and again to the job.


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