Adrian Martin's Ballad of an Audio Commentator

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A veteran of DVD and Blu-ray extras laments the decline of this particular form of cinephile expression, and calls out the current state of play.

As someone who has done 60 full-length audio commentaries for DVD and/or Blu-ray releases since 2006 – and a couple of those have stretched to three or four hours – I figure I can count myself as an expert in this field. Certainly, I have both observed and participated in the changes that have characterised this form of activity: from the early days at the Australian company Madman, sitting in their sound-proofed studio in front of a playback screen and uttering (sometimes in a single take!) my observations on a Jean-Luc Godard or Luis Buñuel film; to the 'outsourced' labour situation of today, recording and editing commentaries at home on my laptop and then sending them electronically to digital distributors in USA (Olive, Kino Lorber) or the UK (British Film Institute, Arrow, Indicator).

Adrian Martin

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