Who are you?
I’m Michael Mackenzie, and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland. Since 2015, I’ve worked as a freelance DVD and Blu-ray producer, editor and QC analyst. My clients include Arrow Films and Video, Eureka Entertainment, Signal One Entertainment and Synapse Films. Recent high profile titles I’ve personally overseen from beginning to end include the acclaimed, feature-packed special editions of THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, PHENOMENA, THE APARTMENT and KILL, BABY... KILL!
I also write novels and films, write about films, and have been known to design web sites. For a number of years I was on the writing staff at DVD Times, the site now known as The Digital Fix, for which I contributed somewhere in the region of 300 reviews of films, DVDs, HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
In 2013, I completed my PhD thesis at Glasgow University entitled “Gender, Genre and Sociocultural Change in the Giallo: 1970-1975”, exploring the relationship between the Italian giallo films of Dario Argento, Mario Bava etc. and the period in history out of which they arose.
Along with my friend Lee Howard, I also host the Movie Matters Podcast, a film appreciation and discussion podcast covering titles from a wide range of genres, topics and periods.
About the site
When this site started out, it was essentially a catch-all repository for me to spill my brains about anything and everything. Over the years, however, I’ve honed it to focus specifically on film and home video technology (chiefly Blu-ray these days), with the occasional feature on other subjects of interest to me like books, TV and computers.
The feature that has brought in the most traffic over the years has been my Blu-ray coverage, in particular my BD Impressions series of image quality reviews and screen captures. There weren’t a whole lot of sites doing full resolution captures (and even fewer doing it properly) back when the format was still fairly new, though thankfully that’s no longer the case. I’ve grown less prolific than I used to be, and since starting to work in the field of Blu-ray and DVD production myself have stopped critiquing releases altogether due to the obvious conflict of interest, though I do occasionally post screen captures, particularly for releases I’ve been involved with myself that I happen to be particularly proud of. These days, if full resolution Blu-ray screen captures are your thing, I would recommend sites like DoBlu, DVD Beaver and Blu-ray.com.
The current version of the site was designed and coded using Atom and the Movable Type content management system, with Material Design for Bootstrap as its underlying framework. It uses the PageBute plugin for Movable Type, smartquotes.js by Kelly Martin.
I do the bulk of my work on my main desktop machine – a custom build that I’ve basically been gradually refreshing, component by component, since the late 90s. The last major upgrade was in late August 2018, when I switched to an AMD Ryzen 2 platform, replacing the bulk of the internal components.
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 750D ATX full tower
- Power supply: BitFenix Whisper M 750W
- Motherboard: Asus Prime X470-Pro ATX (socket AM4)
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X (3.7 GHz, 8-core)
- Memory: 32GB (4 x 8 GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000
- Video card: MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11 GB GAMING X
- Optical drive 1: Pioneer BDR-209DBK Blu-Ray/DVD/CD writer
- Optical drive 2: LG GGCH20L BD-ROM/HD DVD-ROM/DVD-RAM
- Boot drive: Samsung 840 EVO solid state drive (250 GB)
- Data drive 1: Samsung 850 EVO solid state drive (2 TB)
- Data drives 2 & 3: Samsung 850 EVO solid state drive (4 TB) x 2
- Monitor 1: Acer Predator XB271HU (27” IPS display, 2560x1440, 165 Hz, G-Sync)
- Monitor 2: ASUS PB278Q (27” PLS display, 2560x1440, 60 Hz)
- Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster Z OEM
- Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 Digital (5.1, PCM/Dolby Digital/DTS)
- Router: ASUS RT-N56U
- Mouse: Microsoft Surface Bluetooth mouse
- Keyboard: Microsoft Surface Bluetooth keyboard
As of July 2015, I’ve been using Windows 10 Professional (64-bit) as my operating system.
For working on the go, I use a MacBook Pro (the mid-range 13” option with 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB solid state drive). As someone who has always regarded (and continues to regard) the Cult of Mac with considerable suspicion, this was an unusual choice, but the quality of the Retina display, trackpad and keyboard, coupled with its decent battery life, made it too tempting to pass up. I still do the bulk of my “real work” on my main windows system, and I’m not sure I’d relish the prospect of using Apple’s operating system for anything seriously intensive (due to a combination of three decades of indoctrination in the ways of Windows and what I perceive to be some serious UI design and performance shortcomings on MacOS’s part), but it’s great for straightforward word processing, web browsing and coding.
The bulk of my movie watching is done on the following setup:
- Display: LG OLED55C7V 55” 4K Ultra HD HDR OLED TV
- AV receiver: Onkyo TX-SR876
- Front left and right speakers: Monitor Audio Silver RS6
- Centre speaker: Monitor Audio Silver RS-LCR
- Rear left and right speakers: Monitor Audio Bronze BRFX
- Blu-ray player: Panasonic DMP-BDT120 (multi-region)
- Ultra HD Blu-ray player: Panasonic DMP-UB700EBK (Region B/2)
Last update: 22 October 2018.