In preparation for starting writing on Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we held a group viewing of the movie on Friday 5 March, 2010, starting at 8pm Australian Eastern Summer Time (09:00am GMT). We invited readers to make this a global event by watching the movie at the same time!
We held a live IRC chat session during the movie on Freenode (server chat.freenode.net), channel #darths.
How It Worked (For Next Time)
We will provide timing cues to allow readers to start the movie at the same time as we start watching it. If you want to set up early, pause the film just as the "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...." appears. For reasons explained below, split-second timing is not critical.
There are issues with different versions of the film having different running times. In particular, we will be watching a PAL DVD transfer, which runs 4% faster than an NTSC transfer (see here for the technical details). The running time of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as listed on IMDB is 140 minutes. The version we have runs in 134 minutes. There's nothing fundamental we can do to fix this problem. Unfortunately, we will start to get out of synch with some viewers.
What we will do is pause the movie roughly every 15 minutes to allow everyone to resynch their players. In 15 minutes, PAL and NTSC transfers will have gotten 20 seconds out of synch, so that's about enough to justify a resynch. Since our version runs faster, we'll announce the pause on the IRC channel as something like "At the end of this scene where Anakin talks to Palpatine", and everyone should have time to stop it when their copy reaches that point.
We'll pause for a few minutes to let people chat a little (or hastily rewind a bit) then restart when everyone's ready.
We will be logging all comments in the channel during the movie. We may publish the log on the Darths & Droids site for the benefit of readers unable to make the live event. Be aware that whatever you say in the channel may appear published on this site.