DVD TALK SPECIAL GUEST, Michael Pace – EMA Multimedia Inc. live chat on 4/26/99


Michael Pace – EMA Multimedia Inc.

Michael will be joining DVD Talk for a live chat on 4/26/99 at 6:30 PST in the DVD Talk Chat Room
One of the most exciting and successful DVD companies around today is EMA Multimedia, founded in 1992 by CEO Michael Pace. Located in Los Angeles, CA, EMA owns a piece of DVD history in that they designed and produced the lion’s share of titles for the March 1997 international debut of DVD. Impressively, EMA’s DVD title development clients include Columbia TriStar (SONY), HBO Home Video, New Line Cinema, Universal Home Video, FOX Home Video, MGM Home Video and Warner Home Video.

EMA (which stands for Entertainment, Marketing and Advertising) has worked on more than a hundred DVD releases, including such titles as City of Angels, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Starship Troopers, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask. EMA also has a long track record of innovation, living up to their company slogan: “The easiest way to predict the future is to invent it.” EMA developed custom interactive interface design and navigation programming for such titles as Tomorrow Never Dies, Romeo and Juliet and upcoming The Full Monty among others. Some of EMA’s DVD firsts include introducing the “first-ever” motion graphics in the menu for The Player and the precedence setting (multiple-award winning) animated DVD menu for Spawn – this DVD set the industry standard for all DVD to follow.

Prior to starting EMA, Pace had an extensive background in feature film advertising and marketing for such prestigious companies as Carolco Pictures, Walt Disney, TriStar Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Warner Bros., Orion Pictures and others. Pace then signed on with Aspect Ratio as one of an elite movie marketing creative team where he was able to enhance his knowledge of digital technology, eventually paving the way for the formation of his own multimedia advertising agency.

EMA has been at the forefront of DVD technology since its introduction and consistently wins industry praise for its innovative interface designs. Recent awards include VSDA, IRMA, OVDA and a DVD Peoples Choice award. EMA provides a unique dual function for its clients by providing advertising and sales promotion services and the development of interactive DVD titles.

Seeking a “sane place to work” and an environment allowing total creative freedom, Pace started EMA in the second bedroom of his apartment. He prides himself on the continued realization of that original goal. “EMA’s working environment today, he says, “promotes freedom of the creative process, allowing compelling and innovative designs to be developed by our current staff of twenty-five people. Pushing the envelope with client products within the confines of the DVD technology is what we all strive to do.”

EMA staffers tend to come from a variety of artistic backgrounds. Pace demonstrates great sensitivity to the needs of his creative staff, and this is clearly a major reason for EMAss fantastic success. In a professional world of change, volatility and uncertainty, EMA has provided a stable operating platform for its employees. Many come right out of college, some from other organizations. Pace describes DVD design as the blending of technical prowess with artistic skills, creating a kind of “lunatic fringe” the edge from which independent spirit thrives and innovation is born.

Corporately, Pace believes EMAss most significant accomplishment to date was their early involvement in launching the DVD market with Warner Bros. From a product-line point of view, Pace asserts that the Four-Disc DVD series featuring HBOss From the Earth to the Moon is still “the must-have DVD collection.” This award-winning, 12-hour mini-series was developed by EMA and designed for both the MAC and the PC, with such special features as 3D Models of the Ships, a Virtual Tour of the Solar System, Apollo Mission Objectives, Kennedyss full speech, The ROM Side of the Moon as well as many others.

What turns Michael Pace on personally? He says he loves the independence and the creative freedom the studios give him to do his craft. What about the technology? “DVD is the best of everything, itss design, itss interactive and itss moviesall rolled into one,” he exclaims. “The growth of the DVD industry has been phenomenal. I’m very pleased with the way it is going. It is basically a natural evolution of the video business.”
Understanding the potential of DVD, Pace was a very early advocate for the development of DVD hybrid discs whose Web connectivity will provide enhanced user enjoyment and many new business possibilities. He firmly believes that all DVD movies should contain DVD-ROM features. Failure to include such hybrid features, he asserts “really negates the life span of the product.” EMA recently partnered with HyperLOCK Technologies to develop HyperDVD Web-enabled titles that will reap the benefits of pay-per-view interactivity.

Pace could be described as a kind of hybrid himself, as he is equally active and successful in both the creative and business sides of his company. When pressed, if forced to choose one or the other to spur EMAss future growth even more, he confesses he would opt to wear the creative hat rather than perform a pure management function.

Pace is also a patented inventor, having developed DTC: Digital Trading Cardstm a computer-based “storage collection and retrieval system and method which is being developed internally as well having peaked the interest of comic genius Stan Lee and his first new venture outside of Marvel Comics called, Stan Lee Media, Inc. In terms of future technology developments, Pace looks forward to the proliferation of set top boxes with DVD drives and to designing full-featured interactive content for such platforms. Current DVD projects at EMA include HBOss Rock-a-doodle, a kids title with a couple of interactive games, The Mohammed Ali Boxing Collection, Cinema Paradiso and The Abyss.

Clearly, EMA is a unique company leading the edge of the DVD technology. With an excellent reputation among the studios, and widely known as the “Ferrari” of DVD designers, EMA consistently brings compelling designs into the digital world. EMA has laid the foundation for an exciting digital future, and with the combination of an unusually gifted creative team and enlightened leadership, they will continue to play a major role in the overall success of the DVD industry.

Transcript of chat from 4/27/99

SPECIAL GUEST CHAT – MIKE PACE CEO EMA MULTIMEDIA INC. gkleinman: Tonight we are fortunate to have Michael Pace, CEO EMA Multimedia Inc.. Mike is the creative force behind many of the top DVD’s out there, including From The Earth to The Moon, Austin Powers, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Starship Troopers and Spawn.

Tonight we are going to try to keep things moving with a chat protocol: to ask Mike a question type a “?” and wait until we call on you. We’ll try to get to as many questions tonight as we can.

BearFan: Mike, What process do you go through to determine extras to be on a DVD and commentaries
Michaelpace: at one point in time the studios wanted me to spur the interest of new user by putting things that could be chatted online, and we hadn’t decided, they came up with ideas and the studio would bless it or not, there’s not rhyme or reason for it the process would be sitting and having a creative meeting with my team to try to develop special features to enhance the title on the platform
BearFan: Mike, What process do you go through to determine extras to be on a DVD and commentaries
There is no rhyme or reason to placing Easter Eggz on a DVD – it’s all done to spur internet interest and get everyone talking about what they found.
magicfan: mike, how do you decide on Easter eggs on DVD and what is the purpose of them?

Michaelpace: Easter Eggz depend on the title and the studio willing to take theplunge of something new… to get people talking about something odd that they found on a title.
JeffieJ: That Rush Hour Easter Eggs was WEIRD
Michaelpace: I haven’t seen RUSH Hour
hamdysa: SP does anything else play a role in deciding which older movies get release except how much money they did in the past
Michaelpace: They release schedules are odd at best, it depends on the rights to the film that the studio has and also what else is being released at the same time. The release of a bare version may be due to the fact that there is nothing to add to the title at the time of its initial release.
hamdysa: so couldn’t they wait then its not like the stuff appears its either there or they can make it at any time
Michaelpace: Time is needed to gather special features for a SE edition but Tomorrow Never Dies was atypical
Shaown: Mike:I loved from Earth to the Moon, are you working on any other sets with large amounts of supplemental material..
Michaelpace: HBO titles ROCK!
Shaown: Mike: I loved from Earth to the Moon, are you working on any other sets with large amounts of supplemental material..
Michaelpace: Yes, look for the upcoming Ali Fights DVD – It’s gonna be killer!
Peat: Mike – Some people are beginning to find Easter Eggs meant for dvd-rom only users on their own…..for example Rush Hour and Ronin, why are some features being restricted to those with dvd rom drives?
Michaelpace: I don’t know about Ronin or Rush Hour because I had nothing to do with them. But the studios are getting keen on the addition of ROM features From the Earth to the moon is a prime example that they have followed.
M_AJ: Thank you…Is EMA going to be involved with the Babylon5 DVD’s? If so, what, if any, special features will they have? Is there a timeline?
Michaelpace: Future project include are with several studios – The Ali fights, Rock-aDoodle, A thin Red line, Gods and Monsters, Ravenous, Strange Days and Virus to name a few
_Trojan_: strange days! i have been waiting for that forever! (sorry, had to comment!)
Michaelpace: me too – I am the digital candy man
JasonN: How do you decide on a layout and design for a disk
Michaelpace: The design is unique to each and every EMA design – conceptualization
JasonN: who decides the design/layout?
Michaelpace:e originat the design – usually three looks and present these to the studios
JasonN: what about complications with dvd-18?
Michaelpace: they are trying to perfect the level
Qui-Gon: Mike, do you see web-connected DVDs as a trend of the future, and why don’t more titles have that feature?
Michaelpace: YES – I would like all DVD to be connected!
Qui-Gon: Thank you for your answer, Mike.
Qui-Gon: Mike, do you see web-connected DVDs as a trend of the future, and why don’t more titles have that feature?
Michaelpace: I’d like to talk about connected DVD’s more at another time YES I WANT ALL DVD’s to be connected.
Michaelpace: Many disc are not because of leagl issues pretaining to the ownership of the films
Michaelpace: Or that the studio doesn’t want to spend the added $ on a ROM disc
Michaelpace: But online DVD’s are a way to get you to web sites and avail Special Features… The upcoming Ali DVD will have a NEVER-BEFORE SEEN “Tyson Style” featurette from HBO – this will only be available once the disc has been put into a ROM drive with an active internet connection – Look for it in Sept.G
Jeton: Are you working on any DTS encoded titles with extras, or do you know of any in the future? (by the way, The Fifth Element, Air Force One and Starship Troopers are three of my favorite DVD’s Thank you for your work on them)
Michaelpace: I know of onlya handful of DTS titles
Michaelpace: Not ay that I am working on…
Michaelpace: Players w/DTS are still trying to catch up with the technology
_Trojan_: the fifth element is just about everyone’s reference dvd that they show off to friends, truely great, could have used extras though :)
Michaelpace: We planed on extras – It was our first DVD w/Sony – they took the ideas and may release an SE – we’ll see.
haibachi_: How hard is it to get the Stars.Director.Producers to do commentary? any dream DVD projects for you?
Michaelpace: The stars LOVE DVD and If time permits will gladly participate
Michaelpace: YES – My dream DVD’s are brewing
Michaelpace: Commentaries are now a way for the Director et all to voice thier opinions about thiewr project
BearFan: Mike, What challenges are there in releases very old films. I would love to see releases of many of Hitchcocks ’40s films (like LifeBoat) on DVD and a restoration of the earlier films that Madacy butchered. Also, what is the point where a film is too far gone to no be suited for DVD
Michaelpace: Challenges are that the masters are not pistine and need A LOT of time and money to prepare them for the medium
Michaelpace: We have numerous Samulel Goldwyn titles available through HBO – They are killer and my fav’s
blondeguy: I have heard that there is material already being gathered for the austin powers 2, the spy who shagged me on DVD; are you currently or going to be working on that project?
Michaelpace: Because i like to see movies preseved in the digital/optical fashiomn – many look fantastic thanks to the comression artists !
Michaelpace: I heard the same and unfortunately after laiunching NL and establishing thier Platimun Series – They have “no more collaborative titles available for me to work on…” go figure
gcc43: Mike: Have you used dvdtalk yet for any dvd bargins :) ? Also, what’s your favorite dvd so far and why?
Michaelpace: My favorite DVD is From The Earth to the Moon because I am a space freak!
Michaelpace: second would be hard to choose because – prolly SPAWN and Austin Powers
PetRock: Mike, how much creative input did Tom Hanks have with the DVD of FTETTM? I haven’t seen the DVD (it’s on my buy list) – did he have any input into any special features?
Michaelpace: Well Tom wasn’t available becasue of Savinng Private Ryan but when contacted he said that “it had better be good!” I haven’t heard from Tom though
JimTheFrog: Mike, how important is the Mac for your WebDVDs, and how do you include it (without QuickTime support)?
Michaelpace: VERY IMPORTANT – 99.9 percent of our product is made on Macs!
Michaelpace: I LOVE APPLE
Michaelpace: Because without them I would have the freeedom to express myself in such an arena
Michaelpace: My first was a Quad 700
Michaelpace: I still have it sitting aournd running an email program
guest57895: Odie loves your SPAWN DVD also. It’s one of the best we’ve seen!
Michaelpace: Thanks SPAWN won me three awards last year!
phantom: Mike: Are there any notable actors or actresses goinng to be contributing commentary to upcoming DVD’s and who are they?
Michaelpace: Up to the studios to decide that – dunno
subpar: Michael: with double-sided, dual-layered discs around the corner, what kinds of cool things do you envision doing with the extra capacity that you are not able to do now?
Michaelpace: more room to play with but the studios usualy decide what I can and cannot put on a disc – then BUDGET is the next hurdle – but HDTV, multi-angles, endings, interactivity etc… I would love nothing more than a HUGE Budget and time to make all discs speciallly packed with added value
Razz: Thank you, Michael, when will there be parity between the number of dvd releases and vhs releases?
Michaelpace: day and date releases are now on schedule
Michaelpace: meaning DVD and VHS will be release simul
Michaelpace: However, From the Earth to the Moon will come out on VHSthis year and was released ONLY ON DVD last year!
zilla: Whats your opion of the upcoming Ghostbusters dvd and do you see more use of the angle feature in the future for main stream dvd’s.
Michaelpace: nope, havne’t seen GB but we did the orginal menuing last year and I’m not certain if this is what Sony will use. Angel features are mostly found on music titles at this point – like Metallica
valkyrie: Are projects (movies currently filming) today starting to be “engineered” for DVD from the get-go? (Do you know of any?) What I’m saying is are todays directors/producers thinking DVD when they make a movie? Who gets to make that call, the directors/producers, or the studio only? BTW, thanks Mike. :)
Michaelpace: Yes, theya re and I beleive that Austin Powers is doing this now
valkyrie: Any others?
Michaelpace: None that I am aware of…
Peat: I’ve read in your bio that you were one of the early advocates of DVD Hybrid discs, is EMA involved in Warner’s upcoming dvd-rom packed You’ve Got Mail disc? 2) You’ve broken many goals in the industry in regard to groundbreaking menus, is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to? BTW, thanks for comin’ out!!
Michaelpace: The internet is where I find out a lot of what comingup!
Michaelpace: I have set the bar on many occasions and have won awards for it… Earth to the Moon is the fist and only that i know that is PC and MAC friendly!
Michaelpace: The origial DVD spec never had specification for a Motion menu – we set the standard with SPAWN

dvdguru: What is your opinion on disney and their resistance to do anamorphic transfers when 16×9 tvs are growing more and more popular by the day? (gotta love sony, warner,columbia, newline, etc)
Michaelpace: Disney
Michaelpace: Disney
Michaelpace: Disney
Michaelpace: don’t know much about them… or what they want – did anyone hear if Jeffery won his case?
Michaelpace: tee-hee
_Trojan_: michael: what dvd are you most looking forward to working on? also, how many dvd’s do you have in your collection?
Michaelpace: I am working an the Ali collection and LOVE the indepemdant spirit of HBO – buy their discs!
Jacko: Mike: What do you know about the Warner Bros. Hybrid DVD, Drive-on? Have you
Michaelpace: I own about three hundred or so last time I counted – and (usually aside from HBO) I don’t get them FREE from the studios Drive on is old news
Jacko: Have you heard of ?universal DVD? or ?DVD-i? players set for release towards the end of the year
Michaelpace: Check out HyperLOCK – using them we’re preparing some killer applications
Michaelpace: Haven’t heard anything about Uni hardware or software
anamorphic_lens: Do you think it’s wise from a business point-of-view to place both letterboxed and pan-and-scan versions of a film on a DVD, or do you feel it’s time to drag “Joe 6-pack” kicking and screaming into the age of widescreen home video?
Michaelpace: lettebox only
Michaelpace: widescreen baby
_Trojan_: yeah!
Shaown: ::
subpar: woohoo
PetRock: yeah baby
MrBean: Michael do you ever go to the studios and pitch certain movies that you want to see on DVD or do the studios just come to you, or is it a little of both?
Michaelpace: on a daily basis – I laptop dance all the time!
Jshueh: Mike: I own a DVD-ROM drive and wonder what possible features do you see in the future of DVD-ROM discs? Thanks in advance.
Michaelpace: any possiblilties sich as pay-per view (Divx killer) on-line gaiming, e-commerce for instananeous purchasing power etc
gamer: Mike Have you worked with dvd18 yet and what will it allow you to do?
Michaelpace: not yet – they are expense to produce and not many thatrical releases lend themselves to it
Zealot: Michael: How much money (on average) does it take to make a no-frills DVD movie vs. a Special Edition DVD?
Michaelpace: one million dollars
BearFan: How do you deal with layer changes, do you try to “time” them so they do not interrupt the flow of the movie?
Michaelpace: These are always hardbecause you guys try to find them and point them out
epski: Not so hard if you just put them on a blackout or something.
Michaelpace: “smirk” it never the same amount twice
Shaown: Mike:Do you know if the studios look at DVD web sites and newsgroups (for instance do our opinions on anamorphic enhancements and extras help decide how disks turn out?)
Michaelpace: OH YES! They look at everything
Michaelpace: Anybody here from a studio –
Michaelpace: I need a job – ha ha
magicfan: how do i use easter eggs on dvd movie for t.v? how do i use title and chapeter on remote?
Michaelpace: Easter eggs on the TV are hidden sub-layers and accesible via the remote. Accesssing title and chapter is programmed by thte authoring facitlity and not alway active on a gioven disc
Michaelpace: me too but it’s not always possible
Michaelpace: have you guys seen the hidden egg on SPAWN?
rick: Mike, I use a G3 for pro audio work. Which programs do you use for DVD work on the Mac?
Michaelpace: The adobe suite of products – PS, IL, AE, PR
Michaelpace: We have a Pro-Audio sytem on a g3 with Pro-tools and Q/base
circle228: Mike, What is the typical budget of a DVD production?
Michaelpace: nothing is typical about DVD
min: Where do I go to work for you and what computer languages do you require?
Michaelpace: Check out my web site www.emamultimedia.com and submit a job application for review – we have an opening for Web master and entery level designers

Jeton: Thanks Geoff–Michael: Earlier you mentioned that you were working on “The Thin Red Line”. Since it’s a “must have” title for me I was wondering what kind of extras we might see??? Is there a directors commentary?
Michaelpace: nothing to mention as yet
rockerboy: Mike, will Warner ever get rid of the snapper cases and use the much better keep cases?
Michaelpace: No – Warner owns the flapper case
MrBean: What is the typical timeframe for producing a DVD title?
Michaelpace: three months
Michaelpace: if everything goes smoothly
MrBean: wow that’s pretty quick
Michaelpace: I KNOW
Sem: Mike,any chance for B. Berkley on dvd?
Michaelpace: Dunno – whos owns them?
gkleinman: michael, is there any way we can convince martin scorcesse to do a commentary track!
Michaelpace: depends on who owns the optical rights thourghout perpetuity in this universe and the next on all platforms known and unknow to man
Michaelpace: Dunno is Martin is available
gkleinman: He SHOULD be
Michaelpace: I agree – I would love to hear from him too
dvdguru: Any insider info on Alien Legacy DVDs or any other of the huge dvd releases this year? (ID4, The Abyss, T2:SE, etc)
Michaelpace: Sorry, I don’t know
BearFan: When a DVD’s release date continually gets pushed back, what are the general reasons for the delays. Studio problems, rights, technical, etc.
Michaelpace: All of the above and timing
rick: Mike, I’ve scored a few direct-to-video movies for the studio I’m with. Any thoughts on how I can get involved with motion picture audio?
Michaelpace: Congratulations, sorry I don’t know of any in roads but I am working on making Feature films myself
Shaown: Mike: You mentioned it took 3 months on avg to create a DVD, how much time was spent and how many people worked on FETTM?
Michaelpace: a team of abot 15 people and we did it in six weeks – authoring took anoother 4 weeks – replication about 4 weeks or so….
gkleinman: Before we do the special surprise I want to thank Micheak Pace for being so generous with his time tonight.
gkleinman: you can Get more info on EMA Multimedia Inc. at: http://www.emamulti.com/
gkleinman: So as promised EMA Mutlimedia Inc is giving a way a DVD
gkleinman: to one lucky person here tonight
gkleinman: I’ll let Michael Tell you all WHICH DVD :)
zilla: drum roll
fantasia: earth to the moon?
Michaelpace: YES
gkleinman: Michael please pick a number between 1 and 53…….
Michaelpace: 8
gkleinman: BearFan is our lucky winner!
gkleinman: Bearfan please e-mail me at talk@dvdtalk.com with your complete info
gkleinman: Copyright (C) 1999 DVD Talk, All Rights Reserved