Naoko Miyazaki is one of the founding members and the VP of Marketing and Sales at Miraizon. Before Miraizon, she held various marketing and management positions at software companies in both Tokyo and Silicon Valley, California.
In this conversation, Naoko discusses Miraizon’s DVD extraction program Cinematize, and how PowerPoint users can typically use Cinematize.
Geetesh: Tell us more about Cinematize and how it evolved. Also, how does the product work with commercial, encrypted DVDs?
Naoko: Cinematize 2’s predecessor, Cinematize 1, was originally released in the summer of 2003. At that time, we noticed that there were already many one-to-one DVD copy tools but no single tool that allowed you to easily and quickly extract editable clips off of DVDs while keeping the original high quality. We also noticed that more and more people were using DVDs purely as a medium of storage, taking advantage of the high capacity to replace tapes and CDs. We saw people creating family videos on DVD. We saw churches using DVDs to capture their Sunday services. Doctors were using DVDs to record their operations. We felt it was necessary to create an easy-to-use tool that allowed not only pros but also amateurs to easily extract audio and video clips off of their DVDs for reuse.
Cinematize 2 and Cinematize 2 Pro evolved to meet the needs of customers who wanted increased control over the extraction process. We also wanted to better handle both the increasingly complex DVDs being produced by professionals as well as the discs produced by popular DVD recorders.
Now the question of commercial encrypted DVDs. First of all, as I said before, many of our customers are using non-commercial DVDs such as those they created themselves or that are created for them by service bureaus. Also, some older commercial DVDs and European commercial DVDs are not encrypted at all. Most of the recent Hollywood blockbusters are encrypted, however, and we cannot avoid addressing the issue of how to handle them. Our software packaging and web site include the disclaimer that “Cinematize extracts from any DVDs including commercial DVDs decrypted with popular ripping tools.”
In the US, we have a law called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) which makes “circumvention of encryption” illegal. This provision of the DMCA, however, contradicts the long-established “fair use” provision of existing copyright law which legally allows duplication and modification of copyrighted materials for non-commercial purposes. The fair-use provision of copyright law is what permits photocopiers and VCRs, for example, to be sold and used freely. We are not legal experts, but as far as we know nobody has really resolved the fundamental conflict between the DMCA and the fair-use provision. It has not been tested fully in courts.
The movie studios seem to prefer the current ambiguity of the law because it allows them to sue any company that includes decryption technology in their products. To avoid these problems, Miraizon as a commercial software company for legal, rather than technical or marketing reasons, does not provide any capability to remove encryption from DVDs. Instead, users must do this on their own and at their own risk. As far as we know, no individual has ever been prosecuted for ripping a DVD. In fact, the process of removing DVD encryption has become rather an open secret these days, covered in mainstream computer magazines. I won’t go into any details, but there seem to be plenty of free decryption tools available out there for anyone who cares to look for them.
Geetesh: How do PowerPoint users typically use Cinematize.
Naoko: Teachers are a good example of combining PowerPoint with Cinematize. We have many teachers from the middle school to the college level using Cinematize 2 to create PowerPoint presentations with embedded multimedia clips. Teachers have a limited time to show what they want to their students. Instead of the time-consuming process of playing a DVD, finding the right location, and then switching to another DVD, if you can gather the right movie clips beforehand and put them in your PowerPoint presentation, you can deliver much more efficient and effective lecture.
We also know that many medical doctors use Cinematize to create PowerPoint presentations. They often record surgical procedures and patient interviews on DVDs, extract the highlights, put them into PowerPoint, and use these presentations in medical conferences or for teaching purposes.
Another popular application is creating PowerPoint presentations for weddings and parties. Many people now have a service bureau transfer their old VHS tapes or 8 mm movies to DVDs. Cinematize is very useful in extracting short clips off of those DVDs and converting them into formats compatible with PowerPoint.
With Cinematize, you can extract audio, video, and subtitles, alone or together as a movie. You can also create a still image off of DVDs. So PowerPoint users can choose just the right format for their presentations.