jheez wrote:Another issue, which I don't think has been mentioned yet, is that an audio only commentary is a whole lot easier to put together than a long visual essay, from a production standpoint.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that!
For starters, commentaries are generally more expensive in terms of talent fee, for the simple reason that the contributor is usually required to come up with much more material. And also, if scholarly commentaries are done properly, they can demand lots of preparation time - and they usually need a fair bit of editing afterwards, especially if the commentator isn't that experienced. Two of Arrow's 2016 commentaries needed a lot
of work on my part in order to beat them into listenable shape. Granted, some very experienced individuals can just turn up and reel off a perfect commentary in a single virtuoso take, but they're few and far between (although you can probably guess who they are, as they get multiple gigs for a very good reason!).
I forget just how long it took me to create the full-length commentary for the Tavianis' The Night of the Shooting Stars
(not least because I was working on it casually for ages before finally committing myself to doing it), but it was certainly considerably longer than the three days or so that I needed to create the 40-minute video essay of The Shop on the High Street
from scratch. Granted, I could have sat down with the Taviani film and just improvised, but it's only when you start really exploring a film in depth before
going in front of the microphone that you can adequately prepare. Especially given that your timing is ultimately dictated by the pace and rhythm of the film.