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Dance in America: Choreography by Balanchine DVD

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I'm actually not sure about copyright in this case. While software programs often allow you to install one backup, I'm not sure about modifying purchased media programs. Anyways, to speak in the hypothetical, and we often have need to modify owner-generated media...

It's a bit of a headache to edit .VOB files on Mac OS X. I'll outline the steps below...

Handbrake is not desirable for the first step. Handbrake compresses any video that it extracts, which you don't want as it'll look horrible once burned back to DVD. Instead I'd recommend something like Mac the Ripper to extricate the uncompressed MPEG2 contents of the DVD to a folder.

Unfortunately iMovie HD (also known as '06) does not directly recognize VOB files for editing, so there's an intermediate step to take up more of your precious hard disk space. You'll need Quicktime's MPEG-2 playback component (20$, argh) for importing, or it's already available if you own DVD Studio Pro or Final Cut Pro.

Download MPEG Streamclip, then convert the desired VOB clip to DV. Then, import as usual into iMovie, split your source into audio and video tracks, and play "match the musical accent with the leg" as needed. You can then burn the resulting DV via iDVD to a new disk.

However, if you want a little more complication in your life...

Export the edited DV from iMovie and open it once again in Streamclip. The application should be able to convert the DV clip back to .VOB (or MPEG-2, as it's called). If everything is done correctly, then you can simply replace the original VOB file with the new VOB file, and then use LiquidCD to burn a copy of the complete modified DVD, complete with the original menus!

Well, now that I've said all that, I'll sit in this corner and wait patiently for my copper friends. smile.png

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All I need is a little more complication! But in the interim, thank you for disabusing me about Handbrake. Finding out the hard way, like I did with iMovie '08, that it compromises picture quality, is some complication you've saved me from. And I already seem to have MPEG Streamclip. I can hardly wait to try this, but there are those existing complications...

(Oh: "copper friends"?)

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Just came across this passage from Nancy Goldner's chapter on Chaconne from More Balanchine Variations: "The performance Farrell gave for the television program 'Dance in America' shows her, alas, as a dim reflection of her own self."

Anyone with first-hand knowledge here care to agree or disagree?

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More specifically focused memories may soon come, but at the moment I recall that in general, Farrell could be rather different on successive nights in the theater, for instance; and I also recall reading dancers testifying that the days in the television studio in Nashville were long and harder than usual, running until midnight some days. In her autobiography, she writes of those sessions

... I did not think the final results were a very fair representation of either me or the ballets. Any excitement of the moment was lost in the editing and splicing... I have often felt that if the choice were mine I would keep all filmed footage of my dancing under lock and key...

It's hard to disagree with both these ladies, and I won't, but I would offer that seeing even a dim reflection of a dancer of Farrell's rare caliber can still be a changing experience.

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Well, it took me longer than a few days, but it seems that all the ballets on my copy of Nonesuch 79839 are in synch, although in the female variation in Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux the synch looks a bit uncertain; I take this to be a characteristic of this particular McBride performance. I'm not complaining; considering what these performances still have the power to do for me, I'm grateful to have them.

On the other hand, in fairness to our community, it should be said that the sound on the VHS tape editions is not only in synch (in synch with a softer, fuzzier image, that is), it's sweeter and has more body than the thinner, piercing sound from the DVDs. *sigh* (If you haven't explored the audio controls on your TV for a while, this may be the time: For these DVDs, I move the treble setting down halfway from neutral, the bass setting up 2/3 of the way from neutral. As with any meal, season to your taste, and bon appetit!)

Edited by Jack Reed

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The free video player VLC has in it's advanced options the ability to speed up or slow down the timing of the audio to the video. I use this program to play all my video files and dvds. ...

Many thanks, cantdance, indeed it has, once you get into it. My version of VLC is a little different from 2008, but when I finally got to the Audio page on the Audio tab of the Preferences panel and entered "-1000" for Audio desynchronization compensation (and restarted playback), that took care of the timing problem for the whole disc!

Not only that, but selecting "Equalizer" on the Window menu and setting the sliders near maximum in the deep bass shading uniformly to minimum in the mid treble does a lot to give the sound body and take away much of the piercing quality I complained about above. To me, instruments in the orchestra become much more audible than before, and with what you hear now clarified and synchronized with what you see, the performances come into much better focus than I have previously experienced from this DVD (Nonesuch 79838, with Tzigane, excerpts from Divertimento No. 15 and Jewels, The Four Temperaments, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto).

(Remember to reset the Preferences to play the DVDs which don't require adjustments. If you're going to play the other Choreography by Balanchine one, though, you might want to reset only the desynchronization compensation, manually, and keep the Equalizer tone compensation settings.)

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