Fantasian hidden content

I’m doing a review of Fantasia/2000 for Australian HI-FI and, consequently, exploring the disc. I tend to do this a little more thoroughly than most, so I discovered some extra content.


A huge amount!

The disc has the following as official bonus content:

  • Short film: ‘Destino’ (1080p24 – 7 mins)
  • Documentary: ‘Dali & Disney: A Date With Destino’ (480i60 – 82 mins)
  • Featurette (1080p24 – 9 mins)

And here are the contents of the orphan files on the disc (ie. files which have no apparent link to them in the playable disc menus):

  • 14 Featurettes (480i60 – 144 mins)
  • 8 Unused Sequences (480i60 – 38 mins)
  • 2 Storyboard Sequences (480i60 – 8 mins)
  • 8 Trailers for other movies and products (1080p24 – 9 mins)

Most of those first three categories have real value. The unused sequences for example are such things as ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ and ‘The Swan of Tuonela’, both of which were storyboarded, but not completed.

It’s weird that these were put on the disc without access. What’s even weirder is their format: almost all the SD content has an average video bitrate (in MPEG4 AVC format) of either 1Mbps or 2Mbps. Particularly with the former, the quality is pretty flaky. It’s almost as though Disney were experimenting with what it could get away with. Virtually all the bitrates were something like 0.997Mbps, or 0.999Mbps. Clearly an output bitrate had been set as a target for the encoder.

Update (12 October 2011): The plot thickens. See the first three comments below. Generally, the bitrate of this extra content (the SD stuff, not the trailers which are far too high) is suitable for streaming or via BD-Live. But not for downloading. BD-Live requires 1GB of storage (although it permits more), and there must be something like 4 or 5 extra gigabytes of SD content on the disc. The single biggest orphan content file is 2GB, although most of them are far smaller.

Now apparently the US version of Fantasia 2000 has a BD-Live feature for accessing the various making-of featurettes (ignore the reviewer’s views at that link regarding the sound quality of Fantasia. He must have been listening to a very, very different version! My views on its weird sound are here.)

Looking at the stats for the US version of the disc, I’d say that it also has all that extra content on it. Although the Australian disc is a little bigger overall (less than ~0.6GB), it has about 2.4GB bigger in its language package, so there is likely at least as much hidden content on the US disc.

So what does the BD-Live do? Download duplicate content? Or merely provide online authorisation of access to the content already on the disc? It’s all very strange.

Not that any of that matters for the Australian version, because it doesn’t have BD-Live.

Update 2 (12 October 2011, 10pm): McCrutchy at Comment 4 below had explored the US disc and found pretty much the same. Tomorrow I shall put a question to Disney, but I’m not hopeful of an informative reply.

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