But the storage capacity allowed by the DVD format – and now Blu-ray discs and digital downloads – changed all of this. Movie fans are given the chance to see how their favorite films were created and many of the hard-working men and women behind the camera are given the opportunity to shine. The cinematographers, visual effects artists, stunt people, makeup artists, Foley artists, sound mixers and others can showcase their craft. Thus, the general public is made aware of just how large and collaborative an undertaking it is to make a movie.
Sure, these DVD extras are used as a marketing opportunity to entice us to buy the movies, but for me they are much more. Watching these behind-the-scenes vignettes makes me appreciate my favorite films even more. I want to know how the films were made, how certain effects were created, and I want to “meet” the people who did the work. This is why I buy DVDs; I want a greater understanding of the how the world’s best entertainment is made. I was amazed to learn that the red planet used in the opening scene of Star Trek Into Darkness was built from scratch and the plants and trees were hand-painted! And seeing how the final climactic scene came together for Skyfall, the latest film in the James Bond saga with Daniel Craig, was impressive to say the least.
With such knowledge, I enjoy my favorite movies even more, and I actively seek out the films of cinematographers, VFX artists and other professionals whose work I have appreciated. It’s nice to see these people – you people, our readers – get some well-deserved attention and respect. No longer are you just names scrolling through the end credits. You are the stars of making-of documentaries and behind-the-scenes footage of America’s vast DVD collection. Keep up the great work. We’ll see you at home.