M+E Daily

Collaborative Quality-Assurance for Content Providers Being Offered by 3rd i QC

By Mel Lambert

Culver City, Calif.-based 3rd i QC says that its collaborative approach to quality assurance for major motion-picture studios and independent content producers helps to streamline the development of intricate menus for Blu-ray and DVD titles.

“With many years of experience in providing quality control of digital masters and optical media,” says CEO/co-founder Al Limón, “we are in a unique position to partner with studios and content providers to offer a first set of eyes on new product. We can provide an objective point of view and advise on what we have seen to be successful menu structures and interactivity options, and consult with vendors regarding design and content.

“In essence,” Limón says, “we provide an experienced idea of what works and what doesn’t work.”

Al Limón, 3rd i QC

The firm’s Culver City location puts it close to Hollywood as well as the Westside film and post-production community.

“We always look at a client’s product from the end-user’s point of view,” offers Ramon Breton, the company’s senior QC technician. “Some menus and BD Live features, for example, can be difficult to navigate. Often, they just need a more streamlined organization.”

Breton offers the example of a romantic film that the company was preparing for disc release. “We saw that the Portuguese-language version did not have subtitles during a song sequence, whereas the English-language version did have them. At the time our client’s specification did not allow for song lyrics to appear in foreign subtitles, but in our QC report we argued that providing a Portuguese translation of the lyrics would preserve the filmmaker’s intent. Ultimately, our client agreed and decided it was important enough to make an exception.

Ramon Breton, 3rd i QC

“We like to think,” says Breton, “that we can improve our clients’ products and make them more enjoyable for the end user.”

Limón defines the firm’s service as “intrusive QC, meaning that, in addition to providing objective evaluations of DVD and Blu-ray products, we also supply subjective advice that can help our clients improve their products in ways they may not have considered. Quite often, an idea that looks cool to the menu designers turns out to be too complicated for consumers; we see a lot of product and can make recommendations about ways of improving the consumer experience.”

Mel Lambert is principal of Content-Creators.com, a Los Angeles-based consulting service.