Friday, January 11, 2008

How to use control panel for watching the movie?

While you are watching a movie, hit the Triangle button to display the control panel. This control panel gives you immediate control over the movie you are watching without jumping back to the UMD's Menu. The control panel also allows you to change certain settings, such as UMD Video Volume that normally would only be accessible via the PSP's main control panel under Settings. Perhaps the best thing about the control panel is that it gives you access to extra features of your UMD movie that the movie's main menu doesn't provide.

I'm not going to go into every single feature of this control panel, as that would become tedious and is already covered in the manual to the PSP. However, I am going to cover a few bits of control panel goodness that I think can help you optimize your UMD movie-watching experience.

Use subtitles.
If you are on a PSP running Version 1.01.52 of the firmware, the fourth icon in the top row of the control panel controls your subtitles; if you are on a PSP running Version 2.0 of the firmware, the fifth icon in the top row of the control panel controls your subtitles. Highlighting it and hitting X will switch the subtitles. Continuing to hit X will cycle you through all the available subtitles, as well as the Off setting.

What I've discovered in a few of the UMD movie titles that I own is that there are sometimes more subtitles available via this control panel pane than are offered through the main menu to the movie.

For example, the House of Flying Daggers UMD disk features two English subtitle tracks, although only one is readily available from the Menu screen (the Menu screen also fails to provide access to the French subtitle track, which is also available via this control panel). The first English subtitle track is a basic track that provides you with a translation of the entire movie. The second English track, however, only provides subtitles for the songs in the movie, which remain untranslated when listening to the English audio track of the movie.

Since your PSP provides portable movie watching, you are often going to find yourself watching a movie in areas with different levels of noise.

I often keep the English subtitle track of any movie I am watching going, just in case the dialogue gets drowned out by the sound of the subway as a new train arrives or for watching in situations where I don't want to wear my headphones but can't hear everything clearly.

Knowing how to quickly access the subtitles is useful if you can't quite make out a bit of whispered dialogue. Simply rewind the movie a little bit by hitting the left arrow on the keypad, pause the movie by hitting the Start button, then pull up the control panel by hitting Triangle, navigate over to subtitles, hit X until you hit the track you need, and hit Start to resume play of the movie. Now you can quickly read the snippet of dialogue you missed, and then switch the subtitles back off and get rid of the control panel to continue viewing.

Frame Advance
In addition to the same controls that are available via the PSP's default controls, the control panel features a few more controls, including Frame Advance. This is the sixth icon in the second row and it simply does what it says, advancing frame by frame through the movie each time you hit X while it is highlighted.

A-B Repeat, Repeat, and Clear
The third row of icons in the control panel features the A-B Repeat (Version 2.0 firmware only), Repeat, and Clear controls. With A-B Repeat, you can mark the movie at point A and then again at point B, and the section between these two points will continually repeat until you either hit A-B Repeat again or hit Clear. With Repeat, you can select to repeat the entire movie or the current chapter. Clear simply clears whatever repeat setting you have selected and sets it back to normal play.

The next to the last icon on the top row, immediately next to the Help panel, is the Display control panel. Highlighting this control panel and hitting X will bring up the name of the movie you are currently watching in the top-left corner of the screen and a thin blue and white strip at the bottom-right corner of the screen that indicates your progression through the movie and the time remaining (see Figure 3-5).

Most notably, the Display option is useful if you want to keep track of your progress through a movie and how much of a movie remains. Once you activate it, you can leave it running after closing out the control panel. This is very nonintrusive in movies that are letterboxed and leave black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, but if you are watching a movie that takes full advantage of the PSP's screen, you may find the Display distracting or even annoying.

Nevertheless, since the PSP doesn't always remember where you last were in a movie (it usually does, but sometimes it doesn't), I recommend activating this feature whenever you know you are going to stop watching a movie for a while, or if you intend to switch out the UMD disk for a while. If you can remember that the blue progress bar was up to about the middle of the S in the PSP logo, it'll be easier to find where you left off when you come back to it later. Consider jotting this information down on a piece of paper you keep with your PSP.

This information is even more useful with Version 2.0 of the firmware, which includes chapter and timestamp displays for the UMD that are much easier to mark down.

Firmware 2.0 also adds the Go To command (the second item on the top row of the control panel), whereby you can select the exact chapter or timestamp location where you want to go.

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