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Setting Sail: Ten Thousand Years of Seafaring Adventure

Author adds DVD film element to sailing book By John Virata

As the DVD creation market begins to mature, the medium is being embraced in very diverse ways. While the late 1990s saw the popularity of home movies on DVD and the early 2000s introduced the concept of adding compelling DVD content to music albums as quasi bonus track, in part to bring people back into music stores to peruse and buy CDs. Today, DVD content has made its way into books of varying genres. While CDs made it to the back cover of books several years ago, especially with computer graphics-related books, books with DVDs have been appearing with more frequency in the last year in genres such as ride guides for motorcycle enthusiasts, to religious titles. This could correspond with the availability and ease of the latest DVD creation applications, or it could be that the author wanted to include a DVD to better illustrate the topics discussed in the book.

In these cases, the readers win, because in this age of visual media, they can avail of a more immersive experience with the inclusion of a DVD that helps illustrate the story. A case in point is a book on the history of sailing, titled Setting Sail: Ten Thousand Years of Seafaring Adventure. Written by Luc Cuyvers, a Belgium-based writer, photographer and filmmaker who specializes in ocean related topics, Setting Sail not only enables you to read the history of sailing and discovery, you can, with the included DVD, witness the lands these ancient sailors discovered before the time of the sailing adventures of Christopher Columbus, at one time regarded as one of the great discoverers of "New Worlds." Cuyvers, who also shot the footage for his DVD with the latest HD technology, wanted to take a second look at the history of seafaring from a different perspective.

"I had been toying with the idea for a while, though not with the conventional approach to maritime history, which starts somewhere with the Greeks and ends with the great clippers or thereabouts.  That conventional approach is the result of the fact that maritime history was mostly written by Western historians who tend to relegate the achievements of other cultures to a footnote. I didn't think that was fair, because these other cultures also achieved impressive things at sea, and often did so far before their western counterparts. Besides, the West could never have achieved what it did at sea without liberally borrowing from the others," he said. "I also wanted to look at the story from a broad, historical perspective.  Too many sailing books focus solely on the nuts and bolts of the trade, and that only interests the hard-core sailors, I think. My desire was to put the story a bit more in a geographical and cultural context. In a way it is a look at world history seen through maritime glasses, and it provides some interesting insights."

Cuyvers says he wanted to set about creating a documentary series to go along with the book, yet because of the costs associated with doing so, the financing of the documentary took a bit longer. He took that time to refine his story. His belief is that television programmers aren't really attuned to funding projects that take a look at something from a non-Western historical perspective. This is where the beauty of the DVD format comes in. Rather than be burdened with costs associated with a film slated for broadcast, where the fickleness of programmers make or break a series, Cuyvers decided to add the movie component with his book, thereby reducing at least the costs associated with making a documentary and hoping a broadcaster would pick it up.


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Related Keywords:Setting Sail, DVD/book combo, Luc Cuyver, Sony HD


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