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The Official "DC Animation Commentaries" Thread

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by Trevor Balena, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    [​IMG]



    What are “DC Animation Commentaries”?

    DC Animation Commentaries are unofficial audio commentary tracks made by me that can be downloaded and listened to while you watch the episode or movie in question.

    Who are you? Why do this?

    I’m not affiliated with Warner Bros. Animation, if that’s what you mean, nor did I ever work on the shows. I’m just a long-time fan of these shows dating way back to “On Leather Wings”, and a longtime member of the Toon Zone Forum. I’ve read just about every post made on these boards over the past few years, and since we’re lucky enough to attract dozens of intelligent, articulate posters here – not to mention celebrity posters like Bruce Timm – I’ve absorbed quite a bit of information about these shows, their production histories, and the fan response to them. And since I’ve been looking for an opportunity to do some voice recording as a supplement to some other projects I’m working on, these commentaries seemed like a perfect chance to have my cake and eat it too. I hope to impart some interesting information about the making of these shows that the average person – and the casual poster on these boards – might not be aware of, as well as discuss the origins of many of the concepts and storylines from the comic books, musical themes and motifs, character progression, etc. Not to mention have a bit of fun… these commentaries are first and foremost an excuse for me to gab about these shows for twenty minutes!

    How do you make the commentaries?

    It’s ridiculously simple, really, which amazed me. I pop in the DVD, mute my TV, and sit down in front of it with my laptop and a Logitech USB headset microphone. I press play on the DVD at the same time I hit record on my laptop, and after twenty minutes and change I’ve got a massive .wav file. I listen to it to make sure it’s at least semi-coherent, and remove any extraneous sounds (if possible). I then convert that into an .mp3 file (which takes up considerably less space), upload to my web site, and update my xml feed and this post. Ta-da!

    How can I get the commentaries?

    There are two main ways:

    1) Right-click and “Save As…” one of the files I’ve provided links to at the bottom of this post or go to dccommentaries.com. Or...
    2) Subscribe to my XML feed. I suggest copying the link and pasting it into a podcatcher program. Or, if you use iTunes, simply click here. Please use the feed; I worked hard on it!

    How can I listen to the commentaries?

    Once you have the commentary file, simply transfer it to a portable device such as an iPod (this is the preferred method), or leave it on your computer and turn up the volume on your computer’s speakers (if your computer is near your TV and DVD player, of course). Turn your TV volume down most of the way, press play on the episode you’re going to watch, and then immediately hit “Pause”. When you’re ready to begin, you can now hit “Play” on both your portable device (or computer) and DVD player. Basically, the important things are to make sure that the episode and commentary are in perfect synch – in other words, when you’re exactly five seconds into one, you should be exactly five seconds into the other – and that you can easily hear the commentary over the episode.

    Will there be more?

    Certainly! I’m doing this primarily because it’s fun for me, so even if no one else likes the commentaries I’ll keep doing them. I’ll probably aim for one new commentary every week or so, like most podcasts. But some weeks there might be two or even three, and other weeks there might be zero. As far as choosing which episodes to do commentaries for, I pick ones that I really enjoy and feel like I have something intelligent to say about them. Beyond that, there’s no rhyme or reason; right now, there are only Justice League commentaries, but I’ll eventually get to the other series, and even the movies (Mask of the Phantasm should be fun). The main event will come in October with the release of the first JLU box set – those seasons are so packed with characters and continuity that I could probably do one for every episode!

    Special thanks to:

    Toon Zone for providing such a great forum for the discussion of these shows; Karkull and his website The Watchtower for compiling all the quotes made by the production crew – an invaluable resource, and one I’ve spent far too many hours re-reading!; Warner Bros., Fox Kids, and Cartoon Network for financing and airing the shows; and finally, Bruce Timm, Dwayne McDuffie, Stan Berkowitz, Rick Fogel, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Alan Burnett, Eric Radomski, Kevin Conroy, and the rest of the production crew and voice cast that has gone above and beyond to make these shows so memorable for the past decade-and-a-half!


    Commentaries currently available (right-click to “Save As…”):

    Justice League: Twilight, Part I
    Justice League: Only A Dream, Part II
    Justice League: A Better World, Part I
    Justice League: Maid Of Honor, Part II
    Justice League: Hereafter, Part I
    Justice League: Wild Cards, Part II
    Batman: Over The Edge
    Justice League Unlimited: Initiation
    Justice League Unlimited: For The Man Who Has Everything
    Epilogue: "Not Remotely What I Meant" ~ Intent
    Epilogue: "Did You See That?" ~ Interpretations
    Justice League Unlimited: Hawk And Dove
    Justice League Unlimited: Fearful Symmetry
    Superman: In Brightest Day
    Justice League: Comfort And Joy
    Justice League Unlimited: Kid Stuff
    Justice League Unlimited: This Little Piggy
    Justice League Unlimited: The Return
    Justice League Unlimited: The Greatest Story Never Told
    Justice League Unlimited: Ultimatum
    Justice League Unlimited: Dark Heart
    Justice League Unlimited: Wake The Dead
    Justice League Unlimited: The Once And Future Thing, Part I - Weird Western Tales
    Justice League Unlimited: The Once And Future Thing, Part II - Time, Warped
    Batman Beyond: The Call, Part I
    Batman Beyond: The Call, Part II
    Justice League Unlimited: The Cat And The Canary
    Justice League Unlimited: The Ties That Bind
    Justice League Unlimited: The Doomsday Sanction

    Or subscribe to my XML feed via iTunes.
     
    #1 Trevor Balena, Aug 31, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2007
  2. Simpler Simon

    Simpler Simon Always in Style

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    Ooo, I always wanted to do something like this myself, and I think Bird Boy mentioned it for WF too. Got to listen to the first half of Twilight (audio only, pretty much remember the ep in my head), and:

    -You've got a great voice...ever try doing any Darkseid impressions in your spare time? ;)

    -Did you really record this in one go? I did an audio commentary for one of my own short films once, and a 21-minute film took 4 hrs to record because I kept messing up, coughing, trailing off, etc. Pretty much lost my voice by the end of it.

    -I like your retrospective thoughts on how you felt when Twilight aired. Really explains why so many of us hold this ep in such high regard, despite, as you mentioned, it not technically being of the highest quality of the season.

    -Overall its a nice look at general fan reception to this episode, and you hit on a lot of points that come up on these boards (Batman's one-liners, Newbern's improved performance, etc). Short of having insider info to talk about which would fill some of the dead space, it's a very well put together fan commentary.
     
  3. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    Heh. Actually, I volunteer at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, where I record talking books for the visually impaired, and I've done a little acting and voice work for school projects and the like.

    Yeah, one take. I was worried I'd run out of things to say, but my scary knowledge of these shows just kicked in and I went into kind of a zen-like place. It was weird, but fun.

    Thanks. Man, that was one exciting night!

    With some episodes I'll be able to sprinkle in more behind-the-scenes stuff gleaned from obscure interviews and message board posts, but "Twilight" was been dissected so much that I didn't have much of that stuff to put in.

    Thanks for listening!

    P.S. How neurotic is it that I've been pacing myself for weeks to make this thread my 1,000th post?
     
  4. Michael24

    Michael24 Moderator
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    I'll check these out when I get the chance. I'm always on the lookout for good fan commentaries.

    I've done a handful of commentaries myself (for my own short films and those of a friend) and they're fun to do, but never have I been able to do one straight through in one take. I usually end up using the second or third take after using the first to get all my stumbling and other goofs worked out.
     
  5. DisneyBoy

    DisneyBoy Searchin' My Soul

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    Awesome! Love commentaries, and definately think you're knowledgable enough to keep them interesting.

    Can I make requests or are you going in episode order? I'd love to hear what you have to say about "Paradise Lost" or "Maid of Honor".
     
  6. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    Thanks!

    I'm cherry-picking Season Two episodes at first because I won't have access to my Season One set until next week, but both of those are strong contenders. I considered doing Maid of Honour next, but decided to go with "A Better World, Part I". Look for that around Monday.

    And you guys be sure to let me know what you think once you've actually listened to one in full!
     
  7. Redemption

    Redemption No one is beneath redemption..

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    Heh. Something to look forward to every week. Needed that. Excellent work. Just something I noticed, you seem to pause between words a little too much for too long. Just being picky. :sweat:
     
  8. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
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    It'd be cool if a bunch of fans got together and did group commentaries, in a mature manner, of course. Pretty sure it can be done with AIM or Skype. Good work, so far.
     
  9. Garada

    Garada Mechanical Monster

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    I listened to both of these tonight and they were excellent! If nothing else, they gave me an excuse to watch 2 great episodes yet again, but they were so much better than that. I must confess, there wasn't a whole lot of info I didn't already know, but presentation is everything. You have a voice that is well suited to this sort of thing, and you sound intelligent when you speak... much better than many OFFICIAL commentaries I've heard, where the contributors are heard to say "uhhhh...", not speak for extended periods and just laugh at their own jokes [ahem... Family Guy].

    Can't wait for more of these, please keep them coming. I hope you branch out from JL and do some BTAS, STAS and BB episodes. I especially liked your elaboration on the Kirby 4th World Flavor, so if you're a big nerd for that, perhaps you could do more commentary in that vein?

    My #1 vote would be for you to do commentary for your 'GUILTY PLEASURE' episode of the DCAU, whatever it may be... tell us all why said much-maligned episode tickles your fancy, or defend its honor.
     
  10. Alex Weitzman

    Alex Weitzman Got Opinions?

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    Much to my shame, I must admit that I've already done one of these and I failed to tell you guys about it. In my defense, I was hoping to get a few more done before introducing the topic.

    Until then, you guys can enjoy the one commentary I have done: Beware the Grey Ghost.

    Alex's Commentary on Grey Ghost
     
  11. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    Great commentary, Alex! You had a lot of interesting stuff to say about about the episode, but you squeezed it all in there -- even, as you pointed out, if it meant you didn't get a chance to comment on what was happening on-screen at the time. I'll keep listening to yours if you keep listening to mine! ;)

    Also, a new commentary is available: "A Better World, Part I". You can grab it from the link at the bottom of the first post, or, if you've subscribed to the feed... well, then you probably already have it!
     
  12. Redemption

    Redemption No one is beneath redemption..

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    Would be pretty cool. Though for me, I'd feel like "duuuuuuuh". ;)

    And I guess I'll listen to ABW commentary tonight.
     
  13. Bird Boy

    Bird Boy WF Admin
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    Maxie and I actually had the idea of recording commentaries via Skype, but I couldn't ever get it to record right. There needs to be a built in "record" function for Skype, all this virtual audio cable / dual PC crap was annoying to work with.

    As an aside, I think Maxie may have recorded a few of his own commentaries back at the beginning of the year. Not sure if he still has those online though!

    -BB
     
  14. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
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    That's a major hang up for me, as well.

    That's also valid.
    Example:"Darkseid's animation looks off in this scene. It must have been Koko's reserve team."
    Reaction:DERRRRRRRR. roflamo.
     
  15. S.C.B

    S.C.B Too close.

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    These are pretty good! Plenty of little tidbits here and there I enjoyed, particularly in the 'Only a Dream' commentary. Y'see, now I actually know what J'onn's theme sounds like now that it's been pointed out to me. I also liked your comments on the Flash's characterisation, which was an angle that had never occured to me, being so different from the comics representation as it is.

    And I finally, finally know how to pronounce Rene Auberjonois.
     
  16. Maxie Zeus

    Maxie Zeus Upside Down
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    Yeah, I've still got it online, a commentary on "Perchance to Dream." Just pop the DVD in your computer, sync it up to the episode, count along with Maxie on the mp3 countdown, then hit play on your DVD controller.

    I never did any more of these. Like Alex said in his wonderful commentary--wow, you've got a lot of energy, Alex!--you never like your own voice. I've got a face for radio, and a voice for silent movies, apparently. It sounds like I suffer from dry mouth, shortness of breath, and good God, but I like the word "interesting" when trying to speak extemporaneously. I need to just write a script and let Trevor use his Orson Wellesian pipes on it. :sweat:
     
  17. Alex Weitzman

    Alex Weitzman Got Opinions?

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    I would have thought meeting me in person and hearing me switch between seven voices in three minutes would've made that clear.
     
  18. Maxie Zeus

    Maxie Zeus Upside Down
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    Yeah, but your stamina, man ... You keep that energy level up for twenty minutes without flagging.

    If we ever do get a group commentary done, you can be Timm, Zach can be Dini, and I'll be Murakami. :p
     
  19. Alex Weitzman

    Alex Weitzman Got Opinions?

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    Oh, that. Comes with the stage-training territory, methinks. :)

    You think that's something? I've done a couple of fan commentaries for feature films.

    Maybe I should work on my Ted Dymer impression. :D
     
  20. Jordo

    Jordo Member

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    Oh man, I didn't know this was something fans DO. I totally gotta do this. Hmmm what episode...hmmm..

    Be posting it soon.


    -Jordan
     

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