chapter  7
20 Pages

DVD Technologies and the Art of Control

WithJO T. SMITH

The technological make-up of the DVD invites us think across the gap between Film, Television and New Media Studies. The DVD is not strictly cinema, nor is it a computer, television or computer game. It is a complex combination of older media forms and new digital technologies that produce cinema as data that can be reconstituted in a multiplicity of social settings. This hybrid status contests traditional approaches to fi lm as a discrete object and encourages us to think about this multimedia phenomenon in more transversal and interconnected ways. Indeed, the material and discursive dimensions of the DVD point to its own conditions of production and consumption and reveal something about the dynamics of contemporary media cultures. The DVD references earlier industrial cinematic practices (visual spectacle and immersion) as well as new media practices (the DVD as a digital database). The DVD is an outcome of the practices of repurposing common to capitalist creative industries and, as such, demonstrates the endlessly extendable technological apparatus of contemporary media industries. Accordingly, contemporary media scholarship needs to chart the movements and shifts of new media forms in ways that address the speed with which contemporary audiovisual culture changes. We need methods of analysis that can adequately map the complex interactions between social, aesthetic, economic, and technological forces that the DVD embodies and produces.