Mildly Off Topic

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Thu Apr 29 01:34:25 UTC 1999

Bethany K. Dumas wrote:
} I've just spent four hours
} >trying to get a custom-burned DVD of an agency real to play (and
} Could we have a translation, please?

I'm not sure what you're asking about, so I'll fill anything that looks
like a hole.

First, "real" should have been "reel." A reel is the best of an
advertising agency's television work (commercials to the layman, "spots" to people
in the business) on one video tape, or, in this case, one DVD disk. A reel
is used to present the material to potential clients, or to submit it to
award shows (there are a lot of advertising award shows; the only other
industry that is as self-congratulatory is journalism). We've got a new
business trade show on the QE2 starting Friday, and we plant to impress our
clients with our technological savvy (as opposed to savvyiness which I've
heard and don't care for).

Second, DVD stands for Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk,
depending on who you're talking to. (I prefer "disk" to "disc", although I
recognize a vague distinction that says a "disc" is flat and round, and a
"disk" is flat but any shape. The DVD trade group may prefer "disc."). DVD's
look like CDs but hold five to ten times as much data, enough for a
full-length movie and then some. In three years or less they'll have the lion's
share of the home video rental market, replacing video tapes. I rent them
at BlockBuster all the time and watch them on my PowerBook, as I don't
have a television (I was going to say "since I don't have a television," but

Three, "custom-burned" means that we took the reel from video tape (which
is analog) and using computer equipment that you can buy easily via mail
order, created our own DVD disk (which is digital). I can't prove it, but
I suspect "to burn a CD or DVD" comes from the fact that these disks are
created (and read) using lasers, which evokes in the minds of some the ray
guns of Fifties B movies, and the cutting lasers from the James Bond movie
"Moonraker." The only thing in common between those types of lasers is
their coherency. The "custom" comes in because if you are burning a large
run of disks, say in the thousands, you would burn one master and then have
the rest pressed off that one master. That's not custom, it's
mass-produced. A custom-burned DVD is a one-off, in this case, in a series of
individualized one-offs.

Hope this helps.

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