I Swear, It Worked in the Simulations...

No, that’s not a jab as the neoimperialists and their massive failures in Iraq. It’s an accurate description of my work life right now. I have finally completed mastering a DVD with the entire library of video content for a particular client. It’s a moderately complex affair, with various video clips calling other clips at different times, depending on the particular client subdivision running the presentation.

I was pretty proud of it — had a chance to break out my old coding skills once again (not to mention my logic skills, since in the DVD world, you’ve got a maximum of eight variables, all strictly numeric). I struggled to make the most efficient use of disc space — because each subdivision uses substantially the same set of videos, but in different combinations, I wanted to code the disc so it could figure out which clip to play next. It would make my life much easier going forward — when one of the client presenters asked for one of the innumerable versions of their presentations, I could just hand them one disc, rather than digging through twenty master tapes to find the particular version they were looking for. And, of course, the client would usually just refer to their particular version in very nebulous terms, as if I remembered exactly which version was produced for exactly which presentation off the top of my head.

I ran the disc file through DVD Studio Pro’s simulator repeatedly, making tweaks and revisions to the code as I found minor errors, polishing it all until everything worked perfectly. I got ready to call the client to say the disc would be ready shortly (half expecting there to be some big ribbon-cutting ceremony), and burned the disc...

And it doesn’t work.

Oh, the disc burns properly. And the disc itself runs. But it (almost) unfailingly selects the wrong clips.

I went back to the original code, and it should all be working properly. I tested it in the simulator again, and yep, it works there. But for some reason, it won’t work in reality. I pored through the Support section of Apple’s site, posted a query on the discussion boards... but as yet, I’ve found no solution. At this point, it looks as if I may have to go back to square one and figure out a whole new way to accomplish the same tasks.

And just hope that that version works.

Update: Okay, so I didn’t have to go all the way back to square one, but I did end up having to recreate certain sections of the disc. In one sense, it worked out in that I made myself do a lot of cleanup, making things work even more efficiently than before. Most importantly, though, it works — and it turns out the problem wasn’t in the scripting at all, but in a faulty track. Which — given that I put the recreated track together with the same content as the original — doesn’t speak volumes about the reliability of DVD Studio Pro (or at least version 2, which I’m still using).


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