The DCTV FAQ

Welcome to the randomly updated ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ list for dragoncontv.com. If you don’t see an answer for your particular inquiry, feel free to e-mail us … askdctv at dragoncontv dot com.

What is DragonConTV?

Dragon*ConTV (also known as DCTV) is where Dragon*Con staffers, sci-fi fans & video geeks get together to spoof science fiction & fantasy. Our videos make fun of any sci-fi show, book or universe … from the ones we love to the ones we hate. Think Saturday Night Live for sci-fi (except we only let our jokes run long when they’re funny).

Dragon*ConTV is the hairbrained idea of one Brian Richardson, part-time video maker and full-time geek. Brian has worked on the Dragon*Con Technical Operations Staff since 1998, and is now the convention’s videography director. One year we started broadcasting these events on closed-circuit channels in the Hyatt and Marriott hotels. Brian felt is was a waste to just use the channel for a few hours, so he started broadcasting random stuff during the convention … movies, old sci-fi shows, fan films, etc.

Over time, Brian met Patrick Freeman and Lucas Leverett. Patrick & Lucas make videos & graphics for a living, and created a stellar introduction for the 2002 Masquerade Costume Contest. That gave us the idea of making custom video content for the 2003 convention.

Enter Brian’s friend Amy, another graphics and web design guru, and the team was ready to make tons of video goodness. Patrick & Lucas created an great introduction for the Masquerade costume contest, Amy toiled for months to make sci-fi ad slides like you might see in a movie theater, and Brian made several sci-fi commercials. We also had the help of many convention fans and famous folks like James Marsters.

The DCTV folks got a good reception at Dragon*Con 2003, and our 2004 videos got an even better reception (with more help from TechnoBohemia). DCTV 2005 was a huge hit, thanks to Stephen’s bumpers, Misty’s graphics and more writers, actors & costumes (all still volunteers).

With an expended staff and even more ideas, it looks like we’re going to have fun in 2006 … and beyond!

Where can I see these videos?

Click this link for the full list of what’s uploaded so far.

What do I need to watch these videos?

For the old stuff (2005 & earlier), you need Apple Quicktime 6 or better (Pat & Lucas are Mac guys, so they got to pick the video codec).

For 2006 & beyond, we’re using two formats … Apple Quicktime 7 (320×240 MP4, formatted for the Video iPod) and DiVX 6 (640×480, for folks who want bigger DCTV).

Anybody who prefers Open Source can use VLC Player.

I want to watch all of the clips, but iTunes and the RSS feed won’t let me download everything at once. How do I get everything?

You can get the entire collection by downloading all of the “.mp4” files from here … http://dragoncontv.com/dctv-ipod/

If you use use the Firefox, get the DownThemAll plugin. This can quickly download a group of files with a common extension (in this case, “.mp4”). Just import these files and they’ll end up in iTune’s movies section. Make a playlist & you’re set for hours of silly iFun. New clips will be delivered by iTunes or any other “podcatcher” that reads our RSS feed.

When I view the videos, all I see is a white/green screen … but I can hear the audio.

That wasn’t really a question … technically that was a statement, and this isn’t a “F.A.S.”

Okay, smarta** … When I view the videos, all I see is a white/green screen … but I can hear the audio. How can I fix that problem?

That’s better. You’re probably using Quicktime 6. Upgrade to the latest version of Quicktime.

Are you guys nuts?

Let’s see … we volunteer for a sci-fi convention, and we spend our free time the rest of the year making videos for that convention … it’s not sane, but it is fun.

I’m nuts too! How can I help?

E-mail us … askdctv at dragoncontv dot com

What’s the airspeed of a laden swallow?

African or European?

Who are those nuts in your videos?

Check the credits for each video. They’re part of the webpage or at the end of the video.

Do you sell these videos?

No, for a number of reasons … mostly because it’s fun & trying to make it a business gets messy. There’s a number of copyright issues when you get into “fan films” (go ask the guys who made Troops all those years ago).

If we did brave the legal mess & try to sell the work, then we’d have to figure out how to split the money we made … and it’s hard to split $7.49 between all those people 🙂 Making the videos for free keeps it fun & less complicated.

It does cost money to make these videos, but not that much (have you seen the videos? we obviously have no budget). We might sell DCTV t-shirts or laynards in the future, but not the videos.

So why make the videos if you don’t get paid?

A number of reasons, some of which even make sense.

  • Many DCTV folks want to get into the video/TV/film business, and this makes good resume fodder.
  • The TechOps & Videography staff cares about the Dragon*Con fan, and understands it’s a pain to show up early for a convention event & stare at the wall while waiting for the show to start. DCTV keeps folks entertained during the wait.
  • We’re in need of medication

What’s your favorite color?

Blue … no, green … aaaggghhh

Seriously, how many people work on these videos?

The “regular” staff is getting pretty big (20+). I really need to make a list for the website (actually, I need a database to sort it all).

Plus we have to add all of the costumers who volunteer to be in our videos … four hobbits, an elf, one Anakin Skywalker, twelve Klingons, a platoon or two of Stargate folks, pirates … it’s like The Twelve Days of Dragon*Con in Brian’s basement (hm, I smell a filk!).

14 thoughts on “The DCTV FAQ”

  1. I was interested in doing some fan films of my own (with me & my friends). Would you be the people that we would talk to about this or is this your own thing? I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or anything. I’m all about the RESPECT!!!

    Anyway, thanx for your time.

    UJ

  2. Uncle Jason:

    We’re always interested in talking about fan films. DCTV has taken input from all types from all over the place. We don’t have a “fan film forum” or anything, but it might be cool to set one up.

    I’m trying to get a DCTV panel at Dragon*Con 2006 … “Ask DCTV”. It will be a while before we know if it’s approved.

    E-mail me (dctv at dragoncontv dot com) if you want to get in on the fun. or have any suggestions/questions.

  3. Just wanted to say how wonderful all the DCTV videos are. (And why shouldn’t a newly-made zombie have an English accent? 😉 )
    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your great work at D*C 2006.
    Thanks!

  4. Hey, guys:

    Still really diggin’ the site. Didn’t see a contact info page, so I”m writing here. I’ve tried playing the Quicktime clips with my 6.5.2 player and nothing happens. Sometimes the MP4 clips work, and others don’t. Am I missing something here?

  5. I’m with the Whedon Universe staff and I’ve been trying to track down the bumper you guys did for our track. I only caught it once and about laughed my ass off but it doesn’t seem to be listed in the bumper section and no amount of search bar rewording has made it turn up either. Little help?

  6. late one evening (Sunday) at the recent (2007) con I saw a “Star Trek meets Babylon 5” film which had awesome effects work. It seemed to be in Russian with English subtitles. I think Sheridan’s name was “Cherrypie” or something like that. Anyway, I want to see this again when I’m not drunk. Any news on this film?

    -Bill S.
    Director, Onsite Fan Track Coordination and Stuff

  7. How do we get to see DCTV live if are not in one of the host hotels? This has always been a life saver when certain panels/events are too full or when you just need a break.

  8. Hi,
    Huge fan of Dragoncon TV. I look forward to it each con. I was hoping to get a listing of all the fan films. I seem to recall a star wars and a doctor who fan film that i am very interested in seeing again (as well as all the others). Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!
    Stan

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