Exhibition by Conor Jones

Mark Cousins calls digital technology the ‘third epoch of cinema’[1]; to him digital technology ‘changed cinema even more fundamentally than the introduction of sound’ because it created the first ‘meritocratic’ film society. Cousins words were directed toward the use of digital technology in the production of films, but I believe this speaks for cinema exhibition also. Digital exhibition has personalised how people see films, there is no longer one way to see a movie and any film can be seen at anytime. This personalisation and freedom digital offers should be wholeheartedly embraced because while this means the film industry will suffer, the artist and the audience will gain creative control.

Before talking about film outside of the cinema, it is important to first discuss digitals effect inside the cinema. It is broadly known and discussed that digital projection has taken over from the projection of physical film reels and while some agree with digitals quality and practicality, many still fight for the traditional film stock. A choice between digital and analogue projection is silly, by answering this you remove choice. Some films want to be played on film, some films want to be played digitally. Seeing ‘Annie Hall’[2] on 35mm was a warmer experience than seeing it digitality projected, but I wouldn’t think of seeing ‘Avengers Assemble[3] in the same way. It’s for the same reason that some music is best heard on vinyl and some digital. This is not an argument which can be statistically backed up, this is something that works on the dataless emotional level which could never hope to be studied because the human mind is brilliantly flawed. It’s not a choice that should be forever chosen, the choice should always remain because the complexity of an artform can never be completely explored if it’s only shown one way.

I was fortunate enough to see ‘The Conversation’[4] in 35mm recently. The scale of the film’s opening shot and the complexity of foley work screamed that this film belongs in the cinema; played on 35mm because the analogue technology central to the film is reflected by the film stock itself. There are many films like this, Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’[5], for instance, needs to be seen in a cinema because the cinema offers a loneliness in crowds, an integral part of understanding Travis Bickle’s character. A films exhibition should never diminish itself, it should only heighten the themes already present in the film and help communicate those themes to the viewer. This is why some films, such as ‘Synecdoche, New York’[6], deserve to be seen alone and others, like ‘If….[7], with just friends. Digital technology has made these personalised screenings possible because the internet has grown exponentially. A cinema will nearly always be the ideal place to see a film, at least for the first time, but it’s important to note that cinema exhibition was never exclusive to the cinema.

The first screening of the Lumiere’s cinematographe was in a small parisian cafe, and if film is welcome there, it is welcome in the home. This also opens opportunities for the audience to engage with films in a similar way as they would with books. Books allow people a great deal of creative control, they may read out loud, they may read in their head, and they may do either in an accent for each character. It may be the reader wants to go back and re-read a section or stop in the middle of a sentence to come back later. Similar opportunities are now opened for cinema audiences and what I believe this is leading to is a film literacy among the public. Cinema hasn’t diminished, its simply matured into an artform, becoming more personal to the audience than one-hundred lit faces in a dark room. The personalisation of cinema due to digital advancement has removed the grand spectacle of a full theatre and transferred it to the home where it can be best analysed. A film literacy on par with the public’s understanding of the written language does not mean the average film will get better, but it will mean the audience’s opinion of a film will become more educated and this will mean a more fair and meritocratic perception of cinema.

However, digital technology has done some harm to cinema, but it appears as only temporary. Because of this amazing new, seemingly limitless, technology, cinema has reverted back to its earliest stage, the ‘cinema of attractions’[8]. Many films now aim to have more flash than substance, because the new technology allows films to be screened louder and larger than ever before with borderless CGI. The old technology of 3D has came back with it, again enforcing a ‘cinema of attractions’. Fortunately the internet will save cinema. The internet, specifically ‘YouTube[9] and similar sites, is slowly becoming the new home for ‘attractions’. As technology becomes easier to use and cheaper to afford anyone will be able to create anything. Already the wide spread of handheld recording devices has made channels such as ‘Le Zap De Spion[10] and ‘FailArmy[11] the new home of the ‘cinema of attractions’ that the Lumiere’s began one-hundred-and-twenty years ago.

Finally, ignoring any previous pretentiousness of seeing a film in a way which better constructs an environment toward the metaphorical value of a film. I would like to conclude by saying this; If you truly love cinema, it won’t matter how you see the film, the film itself will be enough.

[1] Cousins, Mark, The Story of Film, revised hardback edition. London: Pavilion, November 1, 2013. p434. A brilliant book chronicling the history of cinema from the perspective of a person truly enamored with it.

[2] Annie Hall (1977), dir. Woody Allen. USA: MGM.

Somehow this embarrassingly real film sneaks inside your mind until it when it ends a sudden burst of nostalgia will come over you for relationships you’ve never had.

[3] Avengers Assemble (2012), dir. Joss Whedon. USA: Marvel Studios.

[4] The Conversation (1974), dir. Francis Ford Coppola. USA: The Directors Company.

Coppola’s kafkaesque commentary on surveillance flaunts the most beautiful and complex foley work cinema has yet seen.

[5] Taxi Driver (1976), dir. Martin Scorsese. USA: Columbia Pictures Corporation.

In this film you become the voyeur of a voyeur, all his judgment becomes your judgement; your duty as an audience member, to decode the complexity of others, is questioned.

[6] Synecdoche, New York (2008), dir. Charlie Kaufman. USA: Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.

The most honest film you’ll see.

[7] If…. (1968), dir. Lindsay Anderson. UK: Memorial Enterprise.

A film which perfectly sums up the surreal nature of growing up.

[8] Gunning, Tom, “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectator”, Film Theory & Criticism, fifth edition, edited by Leo Braudy, and Marshall Cohen, 818-832. Oxford: Oxford University Press, August 6, 1998.

[9] https://www.youtube.com/ (Assessed 30/04/16)

[10] https://www.youtube.com/user/LeZap2Spi0n (Assessed 30/04/16)

[11] https://www.youtube.com/user/failarmy (Assessed 30/04/16)

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Piracy by Jay Harrold

The movie industry, which originally found its origins in film reels with no recorded sound to be synchronised with while also being a luxury for only a few, has now turned into a global-wide industry using countless other components such as special effects and animation, other than simply using video footage and sound. As the movie industry progressed throughout the course of over a century, it has been at war with a nemesis that has been walking hand in hand with film production and distribution from the very start. That nemesis, is video piracy.

 

Video piracy is not a recent occurrence constricted to the digital age of film and the internet age, but it also has its roots firmly embedded into film distribution when in the early stages of the film industry. During the silent film era, the process which video pirates would use included using positive prints to produces countless copies. Another process would include “bicycling” which is when an exhibitor would screen a film for longer than agreed upon by the distributors and would also screen said film at various other exhibitions which breached various terms and conditions set by the distributers.

 

As the film industry evolved so did the methods used to pirate film? From reproducing duped film reels and bicycling pirates turned to using hand held cameras and smuggle them into screenings, even though the pirated version would be of much lower quality, it was a cheaper alternative to those wishing to obtain a copy than purchasing an official copy. This was a popular method throughout the 1960’s. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s video pirates made a substantial amount of profit without even having to leave their homes by using home recording to burn copies onto a V/H/S tape. The film industry retaliated by producing V/H/S tapes bearing a red spine with the logo “if it isn’t red, it isn’t real”

 

All of these pirating techniques would later become obsolete as film entered into the digital age. File sharing and torrenting meant that copies of any film could be downloaded or streamed onto anyone’s computer at any given time across the globe. Modern video piracy is now currently the biggest cause for concern for the industry as any film is only a click away and can now be illegally downloaded for free, meaning those who wish can get the latest blockbusters without needing to pay for an official or bootlegged hard-copy.

 

Video piracy is a victimless crime? From the outside looking in, not really as the public is constantly reminded of how rich movie stars are. However, video piracy affects the film industry on multiple levels. Artists, studios and distributers are greatly affected by piracy as a large amount of money and time which gets invested into the production and distribution of any given film needs to be earned back through people purchasing tickets. In order for the movie industry, and those who work in it, are to continue to progress and thrive as it has done for many years it needs to earn back revenue in order to accumulate a profit to continue to make more movies.

 

Major studios now seek alternative ways to earn additional profits to counter losses due to video piracy such as merchandising, which is easier when the movie is targeted at children (toys etc.) or a part of an action franchise. Investing more into the advertisement is a method which requires more focus, as that is what is needed to keep the movie in the public eye before its release. One example of this is the recent emphasis on teaser trailers released up to a year before the official release such as the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A single teaser is enough to build up a “buzz” or “hype” from fans. This way people will be talking about the film for a long period of time before its release and can even go as far as to guarantee ticket sales.

 

What is more affected by video is the independent cinema market as they rely solely on kick-starters in order to fund the production for a film. Jean Prewitt, US senior government and former lobbyist, made a point by stating that the impact of piracy tends to play out differently and arguably more immediately on the independent sector than it does on the studios. As the independent movie sector cannot rely on merchandising and heavy advertisement like studios can, they rely solely on revenue. Nowadays the majority of films screened in all the major cinema chains tend to mostly be major Hollywood studios which nowadays are commonly reboots, star studded action movies, romantic comedies and superhero films which are already established as being part of a franchise. For example, the movies which have been constantly in the spot light have been those produced by Marvel and all fitting into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). The studios can easily distribute merchandise and build up excitement for the fans as they already have a well-grounded fan base of loyal viewers. Since their initial release in 2016 Deadpool has grossed $761.2 billion, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $862.9 billion and Zootopia grossed $923.8 billion. Where does that leave independent movies who cannot rely on merchandising and do not already have fans?

 

Independent movies struggle to earn back any revenue as the majority of the public who regularly attend cinema screenings usually attend big budget Hollywood productions due to the heavy advertisement on TV and social media, among many others. One example of this would be before and during the release of Deadpool during 2016. Independent movies are now commonly shown in independent cinemas which screen indie flicks and Avant Garde films, as the cinema chains do not risk the loss in revenue for films which are not already popular among cinema goers.

 

In 2004, it was estimated that the video piracy industry would be worth $1 billion in the three following years. Which means that more money goes to the pirates, and not those who it should. Meaning there is an imbalance in the economy, especially in America. In 2011, it was recorded that 71,060 jobs were lost each year as a result of online piracy, including those in the music industry. In fact, 95% of music downloaded via the internet is illegal. The worst part about all of this? 70% of online users do not see the harm in internet piracy.

 

Video piracy is a cancer on the movie industry, and it is growing rapidly. If no change is made soon, the movie industry will crumble upon itself, and fade into history.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on and written by Copyright Management Services ltd. Posted 18th March, 2015

https://copyrightcollectionsltd.com/the-evolution-of-movie-piracy/

 

Box Office Charts on Box Office Mojo

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=2016&p=.htm

 

Tim Dams, 13th December 2004, Screen Daily

http://www.screendaily.com/uk-piracy-market-worth-1bn-within-three-years/4021255.article

 

‘Kofi Outlaw’, Why Movie Piracy and What to Do About it, 24th November 2009, Screen Rant

http://screenrant.com/movie-piracy-zombieland-video-on-demand-digital-download-solutions-kofi-35289/

 

Diana Lodderhose, Movie Piracy: threat to the future of films intensifies, 17th July 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jul/17/digital-piracy-film-online-counterfeit-dvds

 

Jeanine Poggi, Inside the Over-the-top Marketing strategy for Deadpool, 17th February 2016

http://adage.com/article/media/inside-deadpool-s-top-marketing-strategy/302696/

 

Go-Gulf blog post, Online piracy in numbers, 1st November 2011

http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/online-piracy/

 

 

 

 

 

Fandom by Deanna Hinett

This article explains and evaluates the impact of digital technology on fan and audience behaviour. It will focus on the effects upon general audiences as well as those on more dedicated fan-bases, in particular, those who attend conventions such as ‘Comic-con’ as well as more specialised conventions hosted by ‘Rogue Events’.

With the continual development of the World Wide Web, new technologies in web design and interactivity have begun to come to fruition in the last 20 years. The term ‘Web 2.0’ describes the gradual emergence of interactive online platforms or information that, instead of just being received by the average user, can also be given.[1] The epitome of these 2.0 websites includes – but are not limited to – the social networks Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. The comments sections can be viewed as the most fundamental tool for giving a revolutionary new voice to the audience member.

If that person belongs to a mainstream audience, movies, and their trailers become more than something to simply be viewed in a private, traditional theatre or TV environment, as they once were. Dedicated YouTube channels and promotional Facebook posts force movie trailer advertising in the direct path of their potential customers and turn them into a shared entity. Most importantly, however, modern day technologies mean that comments sections are open to anyone and allow reactions to come free and loud from audiences.

Unfortunately, this opportunity brings with it some negative effects for the general movie audience member. Going on YouTube to watch a movie trailer before release is usually free from any incidents and allows users to discuss how they feel in anticipation of the release. However, if viewing after release, a trailer such as one for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)[2] it can be all too easy to find a ‘spoiler’ comment such as ‘Batman pardoned supermans life because their mommies are named the same. AWESOME FILM!!!’ It can often be difficult to determine a person’s true intent when reading YouTube comments and often the anonymity and lack of face to face communication can cause people to be viciously attacked for simply expressing their opinions.[3]

If however, the viewer is more than just a general audience member and is perhaps an explicit fan of a particular franchise, Web 2.0 and social media can tend to provide an arguably more positive level of interaction. In the modern consumerist society, fan ‘hype’ and continual appreciation outside of movie release time slots is arguably just as important as it is during the releases. Comic-Con has been the staple meeting point for the movie ‘nerd’ for several decades, but in recent years, the experience has become very different.

The company Funko is a testament to current movie merchandising success, appearing at Comic-Cons across the world as well as in high-street stores such as HMV. Their ‘Pop Vinyl’ series of figures of Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Pulp fiction, as well as Disney classics to name just a few has become extremely popular acquired one of the largest collections of licenses to date.[4] This vast collectorship has become the perfect medium for social media to create communities, with Facebook hosting various unofficial fan-generated collector pages.[5]The online accessibility means that these experiences no longer become fleeting but can extend past the scheduled events accessible any time a fan may choose.

Another example of strong fan community are the regular attendees of the UK based Rogue Events conventions. Rogue Events, who specialize in hosting TV show specific conventions, has no doubt benefited from the interactive website technologies that emerged with Web 2.0. Several official and unofficial Rogue Events groups exist within Facebook, as well as update accounts on Twitter, to either assist attendees looking for information on the running of future events, allow staff members to communicate with each other quickly and effectively, or to simply allow fans to share their adoration for actors and characters between each other.[6] Often these groups have proven an unexpected support for fans who may be struggling with personal issues and have a medium to bond over.  Not dissimilar to Comic-Cons, fans of particular movie and TV franchises have the ability to witness that other people share their passions and interests, on chat rooms and social media comments sections before attending an actual event. A confidence is built up in people who, only a few decades back, often may have felt ashamed and isolated. The term ‘nerd’ has become, in recent years, a proud symbol or term of endearment and this support system has made the fan experience far more enjoyable for many.

It is fair to speculate that social media will have no doubt had a role to play in influencing the emergence of new Rogue Events conventions. Where Asylum – a convention for the CW TV showSupernatural – has been a staple, conventions such as ‘Storybrooke’, ‘Prophecy’ and ‘Die Zombie Die’ have only been announced within the last year, with Prophecy and Die Zombie Die set to debut in June 2016 and January 2017. The TV shows they revolve around are not particularly new, with The Walking Dead having been released in 2010[7] and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997 and ending 2003.[8] Therefore, despite the opportunity to do these conventions having been around for some years, the fact that their announcement was a recent addition would suggest that popular demand played a significant role in seeing these conventions become a reality. The main resource for displaying such a collective interest would no doubt be a platform such as the Rogue Events Facebook or Twitter pages. A similar pattern may be seen with new Comic-Con locations being announced across the UK in recent years, including Blackpool, Leicester, and Worcester.

Arguably the effect of Web 2.0 and social media has been largely positive. Hateful attitudes tend to usually be passively broken down. Those who ‘troll’ or target people negatively tend not to form strong communities as opposed to the fan communities who passively divert the negativity. The convention circuit has become fuller. Rather than fans and audiences feeling that their time to shine has been selective, they have 365 days a year to use a platform accessible at all hours of the day that gives a communal voice to audiences when conventions and physical chances to meet are not available. Arguably then, Web 2.0 and social media has allowed film franchises to continue to give audiences positive experience, long after the end of its release.

Apps and Games by Jack Degg

Originally video games and Hollywood were very close. Hollywood saw video games as a great way to expand on a film that they would have created, as well as this Hollywood saw video games as another way to express all the great and wonderful aspects in movies such as; immersive storytelling an emotional response from audiences and obviously a huger profit margin for the company. [1] However, Hollywood and the video game industry are not as close anymore as they once were. In 1982 the video game based of the hit movie at the time, E.T The Extra-Terrestrial (Directed by Steven Spielberg, 1982)[2] maker a significant decline in video game sales as the game did not do very well commercially and in this process Hollywood did distance themselves from the gaming industry.[3]

 

However currently video games are getting progressively more cinematic and with the cut scenes that most games have nowadays often gives games a ‘filmic’ vibe to it, especially with the technology advances that the gaming industry has received over the past decade.[4] Video games are now capable of giving an audience emotional experiences within the games rather than limiting the terrain in which they play in or outdoing a competitor to puzzle solving.[5]

 

As well as this video games are turning over huge amounts of profit as opposed to Hollywood. In 2010 the US box office was about $10.6bn but on the other hand the gaming industry had exceeded this amount and by the end of 2010 it was estimated that the annual income revenue for the video game industry was around $18.6bn in the US alone.[6] With this information Hollywood has begun to take note of the gaming industry[7] and have even gone as far to create movies that are based on game such as; Silent Hill: Revelation and also Resident Evil: Retribution. As these markets already have an audience then it is almost guaranteed that Hollywood will make a lot of money from the movie as these types of movies tend to make a profit pretty quickly.[8]

 

What’s more is that as video games progress and become more and more cinematic they threaten to move into the world of film, either replacing the film experience or simple accentuating it.[9] An example of this is the 2016 game release of Quantum Break (Remedy Entertainment)[10]. This is a “multimedia game experience” as the game combines both film elements as well as gaming elements.[11] By doing this it means that Quantum Break is like no other game as the combination of gameplay as well as live action episodes offers an interesting mix and possibly a step in a different direction for future video games.[12]

 

Quantum Break is essentially a game about time and time travel. The main protagonist, Jack Joyce, is given the power to control time when a science experiment goes wrong. Joyce then discovers that time is basically collapsing around him and everyone so he sets out to fix this ‘fracture in time’. Quantum Break is extremely interactive as the player is faced with decisions, called junctions in time, and these decisions then alter how the storyline will go. This gives the player their own individual experience which can differ from other players depending on what they chose.

 

Reviews of the game talk a lot about the live action that is featured in the game. DigitalSpy stated that “The facial capture is out of this world, accurately recreating each one of the game’s star-studded cast with an almost eerie authenticity.”[13]

 

The live action within Quantum Break lasts for around 22 minutes and features relatively bug Hollywood actors such as; Shawn Ashmore, Jack Joyce, (X-men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer, 2016) Dominic Monaghan, Will Joyce, (Lost, 2004-2010) and Aidan Gillen, Paul Serene, (Game of Thrones, 2011- )[14]. This also meant that by having these huge actors that the game doesn’t just involve the normal voice overs and occasional facial recognition in pre-production but it also it involves actual sets and a whole new set of personnel that are not usually associated with games.[15]

 

Games such as Quantum Break are prime examples of how digital technology has impacted an entire industry. As games originally started out with very unrealistic graphics and also constricted terrain in which players were able to traverse upon, nevertheless, with the increase of better technology it has lead these games to become more photorealistic and have better storylines in which the player can emotionally involve themselves with.

 

But a popular question is; are games going to overtake Hollywood and become the ‘new film’ or new interactive media? While it is true that games nowadays are very sophisticated compared to their predecessors offer a lot of interactive entertainment and the video game industry does overturn a higher profit than Hollywood (based off the 2010 figures) it does look extremely unlikely that these games would succeed people’s love for Hollywood movies.[16] On the other hand, due to the success of the videogame industry then there is no reason to why Hollywood and the video game industry should not work together and maybe in the future collaborate on a few projects in the future. Games that are based on movies, and movies based on games would allow audiences to explore further and more in depth their favourite universes and create a lot of cross-media links, thus increasing profit for both Hollywood and the video game industries.[17]

To conclude while Hollywood and the video game industry are different types of media, they are extremely similar to one another and games like Quantum Break can only solidify that fact. Technology has also played a huge part on this as it has lead games to become more realistic and have a better quality of storyline.

[1] McDonald, P. and Wasko, J. (eds.) (2008) The Contemporary Hollywood film industry. 4th edn. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.) (p.132)

[2] McDonald, P. and Wasko, J. (eds.) (2008) The Contemporary Hollywood film industry. 4th edn. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.) (p.133)

[3] McDonald, P. and Wasko, J. (eds.) (2008) The Contemporary Hollywood film industry. 4th edn. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.) (p.133)

[4] Alexander, L. (2012) Gamer’s paradise: The evolving relationship between film and games. Avaliable at: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/gamers-paradise-the-evolving-relationship-between-film-and-games Accessed: 28th April 2016.

[5]Sattin, S. (no date) Video games are the new movies. Available at: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/30/video_games_are_the_new_movies_partner/ (Accessed: 29th April 2016).

[6] Graham, J. (2016) Are video games now more sophisticated than cinema? Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/jun/02/la-noire-video-games-films-sophistication (Accessed: 28th April 2016).

[7] Sattin, S. (no date) Video games are the new movies. Available at: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/30/video_games_are_the_new_movies_partner/ (Accessed: 29th April 2016).

[8] Alexander, L. (2012) Gamer’s paradise: The evolving relationship between film and games. Avaliable at: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/gamers-paradise-the-evolving-relationship-between-film-and-games Accessed: 28th April 2016.

[9] Sattin, S. (no date) Video games are the new movies. Available at: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/30/video_games_are_the_new_movies_partner/ (Accessed: 29th April 2016).

[10] Remedy Entertainment, 2016, Quantum Break, video game, Xbox One, Microsoft Studios.

[11] IGN (2015) Quantum break: Bringing the vision to life – IGN live: Gamescom 2015. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0Pptjt_oBw (Accessed: 30th April 2016).

[12] Reserved, M.A.R. (2015) Gamescom day One report. Available at: http://www.quantumbreak.com/2015/08/gamescom-day-one-report/ (Accessed: 28th April 2016).

[13] Loveridge, S., Davies, M. and Sandwell, I. (2016) Quantum break review: Is this the future of gaming? Available at: http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/review/a785725/quantum-break-preview-review-a-game-of-two-halves/ (Accessed: 2 May 2016).

[14] Makuch, E. (2015) Xbox One-Exclusive quantum break cast includes game of thrones, LOTR, x-men actors. Available: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/xbox-one-exclusive-quantum-break-cast-includes-gam/1100-6429537/ (Accessed 1st May 2016).

[15] IGN (2015) Quantum break: Bringing the vision to life – IGN live: Gamescom 2015. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0Pptjt_oBw (Accessed: 1st May 2016).

[16] McDonald, P. and Wasko, J. (eds.) (2008) The Contemporary Hollywood film industry. 4th edn. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd.) (p.133)

[17] Alexander, L. (2012) Gamer’s paradise: The evolving relationship between film and games. Avaliable at: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/gamers-paradise-the-evolving-relationship-between-film-and-games Accessed: 28th April 2016.

VOD by Anthony Forde

Video on demand is both a rapidly and widely expanding market of streaming and watching movies and television shows, in which customers are continually at the fore front of both what is shown, and the type of entertainment that gets created, with fans and/or users of the services sometimes dictating the content as well. Video on demand is now available across a variety of different platforms, hardware and services including – computers, smartphones, games consoles, televisions, laptops, tablets and so on. The evolution of digital technology has also had an impact on the amount of companies that provide v.o.d, with the biggest companies being the likes of Netflix and Amazon, both of which offer a large and varied catalogue of entertainment, and a healthy amount of competition for said catalogues, and for the original content that these providers create. We, as of 2016, now also see a wider variety of providers ‘cropping up’, creating more competition for the ‘older’ services like Blink box (now talk talk TV), Now TV, BFI Player etc. All of which leads to the fact that the V.O.D market/industry is now one of the largest entertainment industries on the planet.

As with most media enterprises, Video on Demand had somewhat ‘humble’ and ‘honest’ beginnings, with the ‘big players’ like Netflix starting out as a mail service in 1998, that mail dvd’s to people’s homes, a year after their foundation in 1997. In 2007, nearly a decade after they started the DVD delivery service, Netflix, who saw an opportunity in the expanding online medium, started their streaming service, offering customers “movies and TV series commercial-free, with unlimited viewing on any Internet-connected screen for an affordable, no-commitment monthly fee”[1]. Another impact that digital technology and the advancement of it have had on the evolution of the video on demand market, is the amount of countries that companies like Netflix are able to be based in – Netflix for example, as of 2016, is based in 190 + countries, which is a quite staggering development from a business that mailed dvd’s to people’s homes. Amazon also started out relatively small, but was online a year after they were founded in 1995, starting out as an online bookstore[2]. With it later branching out into objects like dvd’s, apparel, clothing, household items and so on; in 2011 Amazon acquired the final share of Love Film (a dvd by mail service; the UK equivalent of Netflix), bringing it into direct competition with Netflix in the dvd by mail and video streaming industry. The video streaming aspect of Lovefilm has since been folded into Amazon Prime Instant Video, amazon’s online streaming service[3]. The DVD by mail/delivery service is still in operation, and is available via local Amazon websites. The impact of digital technology has definitely changed the various companies involved in the multimedia industry, evolving companies like Netflix and Amazon into two of the biggest companies on the planet.

Despite this, there are also negative impacts involved with the changes in digital technology in the past decade. If we take a look at the multimedia industry as an example; there we find the example of Blockbuster – a once giant franchise that closed down for good in 2013[4]. The DVD and video rental store didn’t stand a chance when DVD by mail and streaming came around, as people could have their films/dvd’s and etc. sent straight to them, or even streamed from their computer, without having to leave their homes. The main appeal of Blockbuster was the association with people’s nostalgia and their memories – but not even that could stop the company from succumbing to financial failure, and being beaten by the competition of companies like Netflix, Lovefilm and Amazon[5]. One could also say that the fate of the aforementioned Lovefilm is another example – Lovefilm was an independent company, with its own unique business structure and brand of service, but was “swallowed up” as it were by Amazon, with the dvd by mail delivery service , its main selling point dwarfed by its now parent companies streaming service. To sum up, whilst the impact of digital technology might have a positive effect In most areas, it can still affect areas like video on demand and the wider multimedia industry in a negative way, with the aforementioned cases of Lovefilm and Blockbuster highlighting this issue.

To conclude, the advent, evolution and frankly sharp rise in digital technology in the past decade has allowed Video on Demand to evolve into something that not many people would have predicted – one of the largest entertainment areas/markets of the 21st Century[6]. The expanse of digital technology has also massively dictated the evolution of how we purchase, view and use video on demand, with various different forms of technology platforms and services providers that host programs like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV, blink box and so on. Despite all of the various arguments for and against V.O.D there is one definite variable that will never change – it is here to stay, and is more than likely going to continue to grow and evolve as digital technology does, whether that affects the media industry in a positive or negative way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film and New media assignment two bibliography (word count before: 968):

  1. (N/A). Netflix’s View: Internet TV is replacing linear TV. Available: http://ir.netflix.com/long-term-view.cfm. Last accessed 30/04/2016.
  2. com letter to shareholders – 1997. Found at http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/97/97664/reports/Shareholderletter97.pdf
  3. Bradshaw, T and Birchall, J. (2011). Amazon acquires Lovefilm for £200m. Available: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9aa7315e-2482-11e0-8c0e00144feab49a.html#axzz47REimLV6. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
  4. Taylor, K. (2013). The fall of a Franchise: Blockbuster and 5 Other Chains that went bust. Available: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/229944. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
  5. (2013). Blockbuster to close remaining stores. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25345257. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
  6. Zhu, K. (not shown). Internet-based Distribution of Digital Videos: The Economic Impacts of Digitization on the Motion Picture Industry. Available: http://www.citi.columbia.edu/B8210/read2/Zhu.pdf. Last accessed 01/05/2016.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Netflix. (N/A). Netflix’s View: Internet TV is replacing linear TV. Available: http://ir.netflix.com/long-term-view.cfm. Last accessed 30/04/2016.

[2] Amazon.com letter to shareholders – 1997. Found at http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/97/97664/reports/Shareholderletter97.pdf

[3] Bradshaw, T and Birchall, J. (2011). Amazon acquires Lovefilm for £200m. Available: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9aa7315e-2482-11e0-8c0e-00144feab49a.html#axzz47REimLV6. Last accessed 01/05/2016.

[4] Taylor, K. (2013). The fall of a Franchise: Blockbuster and 5 Other Chains that went bust. Available: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/229944. Last accessed 01/05/2016.

[5] BBC. (2013). Blockbuster to close remaining stores. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25345257. Last accessed 01/05/2016.

[6] Zhu, K. (not shown). Internet-based Distribution of Digital Videos: The Economic Impacts of Digitization on the Motion Picture Industry. Available: http://www.citi.columbia.edu/B8210/read2/Zhu.pdf. Last accessed 01/05/2016.

 

VOD by Sam Huntley

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu all three of these brands have become a household names in the past 5 years more than David Beckham was in the late 90’s through to the mid noughties. Whether you belong to the Netflix clan or the Amazon Prime following, these Video on Demand services have become the dominant players in the Video on Demand market. Both services are continuously growing each day as they evolve from streaming services loaded with old movies and TV shows to producing and creating their own TV Shows and even dipping their toes into the Film industry with recognisable success. To really evaluate how much digital technology has impacted on Video on Demand, I will be comparing how the companies Netflix and Amazon Prime began in 1997 and how they have grown over the past 2 years, how both companies integrated digital technology into their Video on Demand services and finally presenting whether it has had a positive or negative impact upon the Video on Demand market.

As stated in the 1997 Amazon Investor Relation letter to their shareholders ‘Amazon.com passed many milestones in 1997: by year-end, we had served more than 1.5 million customers, yielding 838% revenue growth to $147.8 million’ which by any means is a substantial year for the web service, however the 2015 annual report really cements how much the company has expanded in nearly two decades. Within the first lines of its annual report for 2015 the document states ‘Amazon became the fastest company ever to reach $100 billion in annual sales. Also this year, Amazon Web Services is reaching $10 billion in annual sales’. This gives just a small example of just how big the company has expanded over the 19 year period, namely thanks to the evolution of the internet. Luckily for Amazon Prime they utilised the internet to absorb the streaming service Love Film and are now one of two major players in the Video on Demand market.

The other player in the Video on Demand market is Netflix. Whilst Netflix started in ‘1997 – Reed Hastings and software executive Marc Randolph co-found Netflix to offer online movie rentals not dissimilar to Blockbuster, it was largely based online when it started out providing the service to only the most tech savvy of people in the late 90’s where as in 2016 the company states that ‘the Netflix service…130 countries with over 81 million members’. These figures show just how much has changed for the Video on Demand services in just a 20 year period.

The main question this global dominance raises, is whether this has had a positive or negative impact on the Video on Demand market?

Initially the reaction would be ‘of course it’s positive!’ However many people over look how the emergence of the online video demand services affected the companies which relied solely on the rental or sale of DVD’s, namely HMV and Blockbuster. Back in 2009 the video rental company hadbeen struggling in the States in the face of competition from Netflix, a DVD rental service which operates via the post’[1]and faced closure ‘960 of its 4,400 US stores’ and by the end of 2013 the high street chain had completely disappeared from high streets around the world including the UK, following in the steps of Woolworths. However blockbuster wasn’t the only casualty, the entertainment store HMV also suffered from the increase of Video on Demand as in 2013 the company went into administration and faced ‘the closure of the 66 identified stores’. Whilst the injuries inflicted upon HMV weren’t fatal like the Blockbuster case with some of the stores still standing and slowly recovering the impact that Video on Demand was fatal to many employees of both companies which is the largely negative impact the emergence of Video on Demand has had.

However, there has been an overwhelmingly positive outcome from the increase of the Video on Demand market. Over the past two years there has been an increase of original content created from both Netflix and Amazon Prime. Shows such as Daredevil, House of Cards (Netflix) and The Man in High Castle (Amazon Prime) received overwhelmingly positive acclaim from both critic and fan audiences alike. With House of Cards winning 6 Emmy’s for a range of different categories such as ‘Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series[2] demonstrating how the Video on Demand services are now beginning to permeate through to official award ceremonies challenging the TV shows from big budget broadcasters such as HBO and AMC. Another positive outcome from the uprising of Video on Demand is the surge in original content and the new found freedom that film-makers have over their projects. Filmmakers who make shows for the Video on Demand markets are not restricted to achieving a certain rating or audience as their target audience is already subscribed to the certain On Demand service. This was recently backed up by the British writer/director Ricky Gervais. During an interview with BBC Radio 1 regarding the creation/release of his new film, Gervais said the following remarks you want as many people to watch your film as possible. They [Netflix] have 75 million subscribers…the company offered more creative freedom than a film studio usually allows. This goes on to further cement the positive impact the Video on Demand has had not only on high street stores but on the creation of new shows.

To conclude, the amount that Video on Demand has expanded over the past two decades has been exponential as shown by the statistics of the two largest players in the market. Whilst this evolution of the market had some casualties in the shape of Blockbuster and HMV, the outcome has been overwhelmingly positive. With not only Netflix and Amazon Prime being the only streaming sites, nearly every major channel on British TV has its own Video on Demand such as BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV player to name but a few. As this area of the market has grown so rapidly it will be interesting to see where the future takes Video on Demand.

 

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/sep/16/blockbuster-film-rental-close-stores – accessed 28/04/16

[2] http://www.emmys.com/shows/house-cards – accessed 29/04/16

3D by Hewson Hayes

As of 2012, approximately 60% of the world’s cinema screens have been converted from film to digital projectors[1]. Over half of these screens are also outfitted with stereoscopic (or 3D) projectors with the numbers of these screens reaching well over 70,000 worldwide by the end of 2015[2]. The current popularity and power of home entertainment systems and the nature and ease of video on demand have forced cinemas into creating ‘spectacles’, 3D being one of the biggest draws to exhibitions for a modern audience. The digital revolution dragged 3D out of obscurity to be used as a gimmick to fill cinema seats in an attempt to halt the decline in cinema ticket sales.

Three-dimensional stereoscopic film (referred to simply as ‘3D’ or ‘3D film’) is a method of filming that enhances and exploits the illusion of depth perception, hence adding the appearance of a third dimension[3]. This technology is by no means new, having existed in much simpler forms than its modern counterpart as early as 1915, however, being a complicated and rather expensive medium, it was relegated to a small niche in motion picture history. Nonetheless, 3D film went on to have a golden era in the early 1950’s, aided in part, by the advent of colour feature films and the release of the first 3D colour film, Bwana Devil (1952). While many film companies experimented with and released 3D films during this time period, its popularity quickly dwindled due to many factors. Many of the factors that caused 3D to fail in this early stage of its development are problems easily solved when using a digital medium.

Early 3D required an extremely attentive projectionist – the nature of stereoscopic film meant that two reels would have to played simultaneously. These two reels would have to be perfectly synchronised, sometimes requiring multiple projectionists; if the reels were out of sync by one frame, the film was rendered virtually unwatchable; both reels must be kept in the same condition even after repair or maintenance, or this synchronisation is lost and again the film is unwatchable[4]. In short, the difficulty in exhibiting 3D film lead to the waning in its popularity and its return to the obscure. Despite this difficulty in using 3D on a film medium, it managed to cling on and many features were released as slight improvements were made to the technology as a whole, Jaws 3-D (1983) and Friday the 13th Part III (1982) are notable examples of possible blockbuster movies giving 3D a go, perhaps early evidence of film makers attempts to fill cinema seats. In 1986, The Walt Disney Company began more prominent use of 3D film in special venues in order to impress and attract large audiences[5]Captain E0 (Francis Ford Coppola, 1986) starring Michael Jackson is one such example that started the trend of 3D being used as a tool to impress, 3D at this point is completely inaccessible except to cinema goers and Disney, along with film makers, use this to their advantage. In the years that follow, various companies begin to use 3D for this same reason – in order to impress audiences with special features that only get played at certain venues. This marks 3D film’s transition from a filmic technique to a gimmick used to compete with other forms of entertainment, all it needed at this point was a reliable and efficient means of exhibition. Enter digital technology which coupled with the increasingly desperate need for cinemas to beat competition from home entertainment re-ignited interest in 3D technology.

Digital technology began a quick rise to power in the late ‘90s, rapidly becoming the dominant medium in the industry in terms of both production and distribution with the BFI approximating 90% of UK screens are now digital. Film makers such as George Lucas and Danny Boyle captured breath taking film that rivalled its film medium competition, while the debate is still out as to whether digital is truly better than film, digital is beginning to dominate the film industry. The digital revolution also happened to solve a lot of the early issues found within 3D film, making the exhibition of digital 3D so easy it is now utilised commercially in home entertainment systems. James Cameron arguably heralded the resurgence of 3D technology in 2009 with his release of Avatar, the first feature film shot in digital 3D to win Academy Award for Best Cinematography[6]. 2011 saw a record breaking influx of 3D films hitting the screens with 47 (BFI) and it wasn’t difficult to see why[7]. There are now more 3D capable screens across the world and 3D films such as Avatar and Polar Express set the precedent for dramatic 3D films. In short, the technology is much more mature, shooting in 3D is easier and the result is much more reliable than its earlier iterations, modern film makers were building on 3D’s foundation as a tool to create spectacle, giving audiences a reason to go to a cinema rather than resort to piracy or simply waiting till they can watch it on 42 inch widescreen plasmas in the comfort of their own home. The fact that 2D ticket sales are in an overall state of decline in the US[8] while revenues from 3D tickets saw a marked growth is just the added incentive needed to fuel the 3D resurgence[9]. Polar Express (2004) rode the increased interest in 3D, releasing a 2D screen in 3,584 theatres worldwide with only 66 3D releases, surprisingly, the revenue from these 66 screens contributed 25% of the film’s total return with the average 3D screen earning around 14 times as much as its average 2D counterpart[10]. It’s clear to see why 3D saw such a massive resurgence accompanying the advent of digital technology entering the film industry.

In short, digital technology brought 3D film technology back into the mainstream as a gimmick to try and halt the decline of cinema ticket sales in general. 3D instantly established itself as a niche spectacle, unique to cinema and something that the general public had yet to see – almost creating its own sub-genre of ‘Event’ cinema. It’s why Disney integrated 3D films into his venues worldwide and it’s why 3D films stormed the screens when digital technology perfected its earlier flaws. While the 3D film hype is quickly being outpaced as 3D capable products become increasing available commercially, its brief stint in the limelight is a testament to the power of digital technology in film and its ability to change the landscape of the film industry. While 3D slowly returns to the background in film, what will digital technology bring into the foreground of the film industry next?

 

 

Bibliography

Anwar Brett, ‘Digital Impact- Technology and the cinema going experience’, MovieScopeMag, http://www.moviescopemag.com/market-news/featured-editorial/digital-impact-technology-and-the-cinema-viewing-experience/ (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

‘Awards given to Avatar’, IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/awards (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

David Lieberman, ‘2014 Box Offices hurt by diminishing popularity of 3D’, Deadline. http://deadline.com/2014/02/2014-box-office-will-be-hurt-by-diminishing-popularity-of-3d-movies-analyst-676253/ (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

‘Digital 3D’ , Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_3D (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

‘Domestic movie theatrical market summary 1995 to 2016’, TheNumbers, http://www.the-numbers.com/market/ (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

Jeff Otto, ‘A tour through the history of 3D movies’, Reelz. http://www.reelz.com/article/816/a-tour-through-the-history-of-3-d-movies/. (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

John Patterson, ‘A History of the 3D Cinema’, TheGuardian (2009). http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/aug/20/3d-film-history (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

Justin Slick, ‘3D ticket shares for all wide releases’, 3D-About, http://3d.about.com/od/3d-at-the-Movies/tp/3d-Ticket-Sales-By-Percentage.html (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

Lauren Davidson, ‘The Charts that show why Hollywood should just forget about 3D’, Telegraph (Sept 2014), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/11076908/The-charts-that-show-why-Hollywood-needs-to-forget-about-3D-movies.html (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

Sebastian Anthony, ‘How Digital Technology is reinventing Cinema’, Extremetech (2008). http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/128963-how-digital-technology-is-reinventing-cinema. (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

‘The number of 3D cinema screens worldwide from 2006 to 2015’, Statista (2015). http://www.statista.com/statistics/271863/number-of-3d-cinema-screens-worldwide/. (Accessed on 01/05/2016).

 

Wade Sampson, ‘The Original Disney’, MousePlanet (2009). https://www.mouseplanet.com/8968/The_Original_Disney_3D, (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

 

 

 

 

[1] Sebastian Anthony, ‘How Digital Technology is reinventing Cinema’, Extremetech (2008). http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/128963-how-digital-technology-is-reinventing-cinema. (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[2] ‘The number of 3D cinema screens worldwide from 2006 to 2015’, Statista (2015). http://www.statista.com/statistics/271863/number-of-3d-cinema-screens-worldwide/. (Accessed on 01/05/2016).

[3] Jeff Otto, ‘A tour through the history of 3D movies’, Reelz. http://www.reelz.com/article/816/a-tour-through-the-history-of-3-d-movies/. (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[4] John Patterson, ‘A History of the 3D Cinema’, TheGuardian (2009). http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/aug/20/3d-film-history (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[5] Wade Sampson, ‘The Original Disney’, MousePlanet (2009). https://www.mouseplanet.com/8968/The_Original_Disney_3D, (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[6] ‘Awards given to Avatar’, IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/awards (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[7] David Lieberman, ‘2014 Box Offices hurt by diminishing popularity of 3D’, Deadline. http://deadline.com/2014/02/2014-box-office-will-be-hurt-by-diminishing-popularity-of-3d-movies-analyst-676253/ (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[8] ‘Domestic movie theatrical market summary 1995 to 2016’, TheNumbers, http://www.the-numbers.com/market/ (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[9] Lauren Davidson, ‘The Charts that show why Hollywood should just forget about 3D’, Telegraph (Sept 2014), http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/11076908/The-charts-that-show-why-Hollywood-needs-to-forget-about-3D-movies.html (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

[10] Digital 3D’ , Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_3D (Accessed on 01/05/2016)

Marketing by Caroline Jensen

Marketing plays a big part of filmmaking. Without the marketing of the film, audiences would not know about the film’s release. Without the posters on the red busses and the fans’ generating words, the film simply would not be known, to the public. However, some films go further than the posters on the busses and billboards; they use digital technology to spread the word of it, out in society. With the help from social media, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, films generate more press and publicity, than ever before.

 

Often impacted by several factors, marketing strategies begin at the first stage of the product’s development, and continues throughout the emergence of ideas. The important factors in this development include budgets, timing, target audiences, as well as actors and other talents involved. Actors are often involved in numerous marketing activities, such as posters and interviews; this marketing process continues into production, as well as distribution and exhibition (Kerrigan, Finola, Film Marketing, (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 9, 10). Tino Balio suggests, in “Hollywood in the New Millennium” that “Marketing (…) has twin goals: to create a unique brand for a new release and to create a must-see attitude for the opening weekend.” (Balio, Tino,Hollywood in the New Millennium, (London: Palgrave, 2013), p. 69) This contributes to Jeffrey C. Ulin’s theory, from his book “The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World”, where he suggests that advertising helps the consumer feel as if they have experienced the film, in a unique matter (Ulin, Jeffrey C., The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World, 2nd Edn. (Oxon: Focal Press, 2014), p. 517). In today’s society, this contributes to viral sharing among users on social networking sites, contributing to more publicity of the film.

 

For a long time, conventional film marketing strategies were limited to posters and appearances from the actors, as well as merchandise and stills. However, as the internet has evolved and social media has taken a rise to several formations, marketing has grown with it. Nowadays, films have their own websites, where film trailers, as well as information about both storyline and characters are hosted. These are often available on other peer-to-peer websites, such as YouTube, where links are available for sharing on social networking sites, e.g. Facebook or Twitter (Ulin, Jeffrey C., The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World, 2nd Edn. (Oxon: Focal Press, 2014), p. 140

 

Viral marketing can also go wrong, in which social media plays a big part. Posts on Facebook and Twitter travel fast and films quickly get reputations for not living up to the marketing’s standards. A film like Brüno (Larry Charles, 2009) earned a strong $30 million in its first week, but as audiences started tweeting their negative opinion about it, it quickly fell to only $12 million, in the following week (Hampp, Andrew, ‘Forget Ebert: How Twitter makes or breaks movie marketing today; Universal, Sony, others wrestle with how social media affects box office’, Advertising Age, 80:33 (2009)). However, other films do succeed, despite, but also with the help from social media’s big impact. A film, which was widely successful in both its marketing campaign, as well as release, was Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016). 

 

Marvel’s Deadpool was released on the 10th of February 2016, in the United Kingdom. The film features Ryan Reynolds as the sassy anti-superhero Wade Wilson (Also known as Deadpool), who is fighting against the bad guy who gave him the superpowers, against his will. Its marketing strategy covered several areas, before its release, hoping to catch as much of the fans’ attention, as possible. It was a provocative and irreverent strategy, which showed that it was a superhero movie, as well as an R-rated comedy. It combined these two elements, generating a lot of positive attention. This attention resulted in the film being the highest earning R-rated film in history, despite it being the first R-rated Marvel film.

 

The marketing campaign started in March 2015, when a first-look picture was released. It featured the character, Deadpool, in his costume, lying on a bearskin rug. It was released in order to test the costume on the fans, and get their approval of it; the response was positive. A few months later, in the summer, the first trailer of the film was released and shown at Comic-Con, a big convention in San Diego, where fans go to meet other fans and actors; and where lots of new films show new material, such as pictures and trailers. After that, several other successful attempts of generating publicity were made, such as a billboard with emojis spelling out the name of the film (which resulted in being mistaken, causing the actor to put it on his instagram it), as well as avideo where Ryan Reynolds’ character encourages the male audience to check themselves for early signs of testicular cancer. Many other attempts were made, such as trailers being shown during the Super Bowl, which the majority of America and the world is watching. While all of these attempts were mainly aiming for the male audience, as well as fans, romantic-looking posterswere also created, in order to appeal to the female audience.

 

Marketing chief Marc Weinstock says that the marketing managed to travel more “because so much of it was outrageous and audacious” Box-office analyst Jeff Bock says that the superhero genre needed to be uplifted and adds that “audiences were finally ready for an anything-goes, language-be-damned film that poked fun at the world it inhabits, and delightfully breaks through the fourth wall.” While the film was a superhero film, it most definitely did not appeal to children, as many other superhero films do. Its R-rated comedy allowed the marketing campaign to be bold and more rebellious, in ways that other films had not dared to be.

 

In the days leading up to its premiere, posters of Deadpool were everywhere. My Facebook page was filled with pictures of both the Billboard picture and the romantic-looking poster, mentioned earlier. While there was a lot of it, everywhere, it did make me intrigued enough, to go and see it in the cinema. The marketing strategy made me curious to see if it was as funny, as the entire campaign had shown. While it could have easily gone wrong with such a big marketing campaign, which Deadpool had, the film was a success. It showed the audience that it was an R-rated comedy, as well as a superhero film, with a romantic and absurd twist. 

Marketing by Natalie Fairchild

Special effects are used in movies to simulate imagined events, beings or objects which can’t be accessed any other way. As cinema has developed special effects have been used more and more by directors as the technology needed has become more easily accessible. In films such as The Hobbit special effects are very evident throughout. In many cases special effects add to films in plenty of positive ways including creating a great spectacle. However when overused like in The Hobbit they can take away from the viewer’s experience and make the film feel fabricated. Most films nowadays will have some form of special effects as it’s become vital in modern cinema.

There may not be enough artists to meet the ever increasing demand for visual effects shots[1]. As the use of visual effects in movies increases demand for special effects artists also increases. However the supply of these artists isn’t increasing at the same rate which has caused an obvious problem. Movies have become maybe too reliant on special effects in the modern age and this is the result. This puts special effects in a positive light as it shows how essential it is to filmmakers today. The heavy reliance cinema has for special effects in the 21st century is now taking its toll not just on quality of film but also production of film. In turn the shortage of artists that are needed for special effects could be a blessing in disguise. It may see films that would usually be too dependent of CGI use less of it and possibly be better for it.

CGI is a type of special effect which is what has been used in The Hobbit as well as other films. Green screens are used to present these images in films. The use of CGI or special effects can cause difficulties for actors. Actors must constantly summon dramatic performances while looking at scenery and co-stars which aren’t there[2]. Acting with special effects can be very awkward for actors since you have to focus not just on acting but on making it feel like someone or something is there with you when it’s not. Even if it doesn’t involve physical contact with the special effect. An extra dimension is added for the actors. The increased use of CGI may also cause the demand for actors to fall as CGI can take their place for a smaller expense. This is a big problem since unemployment will rise for actors and this creates many other problems for them and the economy.

However special effects have their positive aspects also. Many films now depend hugely on special effects. Without Massive, the battle scenes on Middle Earth would have been near impossible to create[3]. Massive is a program which produces a certain type of special effect in which a large number of people or objects can be included. These battle scenes were from the Lord of the Rings trilogy which is argued as the best trilogy of all time. This argument wouldn’t exist without special effects. Special effects can be used for scenes containing lots of subjects as in the case of Lord of the Rings or for scenes with a few or one subject. In both cases a scene can be transformed into exactly what the director was looking for with all the technology available to them. This is probably the most useful thing about special effects as a director can have an idea of what he want a movie to look like and then pull it off without too much hassle.

As special effects have developed they have been used more and more often by filmmakers because of the quality of image presented. As technology develops so do the special effects used in film. This is evident as you watch the development of film over the last 20 years or so. In many respects I do believe visual effects have got to the point where photorealism is not only possible but common[4]. Special effects are now at a very advanced level and so not many filmmakers are in a position to turn away from them when they can improve their product greatly. The possibilities are endless when using special effects as pretty much anything can be created from scratch. Yet even though they are used in almost all films filmmakers are usually very cautious about how much special effects they use. Many filmgoers have problems with a lot of CGI and this is of massive importance to the filmmakers.

In conclusion, the use of special effects in cinema is now very evident and this carries with it both positives and negatives. The negative are mainly associated with the overuse of them and the inclusion of them when they’re not needed. Many people argue that CGI and special effects makes films feel less authentic as it’s not real and fabricated. As technology developed inevitably special effects would be more abundant in films and this has led to a larger variety of films to be created. This helps cater to more movie fans and also incentivises more people to get involved in film maybe as directors. Special effects also provide filmmakers with many more possibilities than they had had previously allowing them to be more creative and inventive. The lack of artists is of course a problem and this may get worse which may mean that alternatives will be needed. The industry is now very reliant on special effects and so training for special effects artists needs to be made more accessible to people.

[1] Carolyn Giardina, As The Demand For Visual Effects grows a Shortage of Artists Looms Ahead, The Hollywood Reporter, April 28 2016

[2] Don Steinberg, Actors and Visual Effects: How to Behave on a Green Screen, The Wall Street Journal, June 18 2015

[3] PC Plus, How visual effects transformed the movies, techradar, August 30 2015

[4] Humans Invent, The Evolution of Visual Effects in Film, Gizmodo, 29 July 2013

Effects by Tom Dorling

Special effects are used in movies to simulate imagined events, beings or objects which can’t be accessed any other way. As cinema has developed special effects have been used more and more by directors as the technology needed has become more easily accessible. In films such as The Hobbit special effects are very evident throughout. In many cases special effects add to films in plenty of positive ways including creating a great spectacle. However when overused like in The Hobbit they can take away from the viewer’s experience and make the film feel fabricated. Most films nowadays will have some form of special effects as it’s become vital in modern cinema.

There may not be enough artists to meet the ever increasing demand for visual effects shots[1]. As the use of visual effects in movies increases demand for special effects artists also increases. However the supply of these artists isn’t increasing at the same rate which has caused an obvious problem. Movies have become maybe too reliant on special effects in the modern age and this is the result. This puts special effects in a positive light as it shows how essential it is to filmmakers today. The heavy reliance cinema has for special effects in the 21st century is now taking its toll not just on quality of film but also production of film. In turn the shortage of artists that are needed for special effects could be a blessing in disguise. It may see films that would usually be too dependent of CGI use less of it and possibly be better for it.

CGI is a type of special effect which is what has been used in The Hobbit as well as other films. Green screens are used to present these images in films. The use of CGI or special effects can cause difficulties for actors. Actors must constantly summon dramatic performances while looking at scenery and co-stars which aren’t there[2]. Acting with special effects can be very awkward for actors since you have to focus not just on acting but on making it feel like someone or something is there with you when it’s not. Even if it doesn’t involve physical contact with the special effect. An extra dimension is added for the actors. The increased use of CGI may also cause the demand for actors to fall as CGI can take their place for a smaller expense. This is a big problem since unemployment will rise for actors and this creates many other problems for them and the economy.

However special effects have their positive aspects also. Many films now depend hugely on special effects. Without Massive, the battle scenes on Middle Earth would have been near impossible to create[3]. Massive is a program which produces a certain type of special effect in which a large number of people or objects can be included. These battle scenes were from the Lord of the Rings trilogy which is argued as the best trilogy of all time. This argument wouldn’t exist without special effects. Special effects can be used for scenes containing lots of subjects as in the case of Lord of the Rings or for scenes with a few or one subject. In both cases a scene can be transformed into exactly what the director was looking for with all the technology available to them. This is probably the most useful thing about special effects as a director can have an idea of what he want a movie to look like and then pull it off without too much hassle.

As special effects have developed they have been used more and more often by filmmakers because of the quality of image presented. As technology develops so do the special effects used in film. This is evident as you watch the development of film over the last 20 years or so. In many respects I do believe visual effects have got to the point where photorealism is not only possible but common[4]. Special effects are now at a very advanced level and so not many filmmakers are in a position to turn away from them when they can improve their product greatly. The possibilities are endless when using special effects as pretty much anything can be created from scratch. Yet even though they are used in almost all films filmmakers are usually very cautious about how much special effects they use. Many filmgoers have problems with a lot of CGI and this is of massive importance to the filmmakers.

In conclusion, the use of special effects in cinema is now very evident and this carries with it both positives and negatives. The negative are mainly associated with the overuse of them and the inclusion of them when they’re not needed. Many people argue that CGI and special effects makes films feel less authentic as it’s not real and fabricated. As technology developed inevitably special effects would be more abundant in films and this has led to a larger variety of films to be created. This helps cater to more movie fans and also incentivises more people to get involved in film maybe as directors. Special effects also provide filmmakers with many more possibilities than they had had previously allowing them to be more creative and inventive. The lack of artists is of course a problem and this may get worse which may mean that alternatives will be needed. The industry is now very reliant on special effects and so training for special effects artists needs to be made more accessible to people.

[1] Carolyn Giardina, As The Demand For Visual Effects grows a Shortage of Artists Looms Ahead, The Hollywood Reporter, April 28 2016

[2] Don Steinberg, Actors and Visual Effects: How to Behave on a Green Screen, The Wall Street Journal, June 18 2015

[3] PC Plus, How visual effects transformed the movies, techradar, August 30 2015

[4] Humans Invent, The Evolution of Visual Effects in Film, Gizmodo, 29 July 2013

Effects by Tahmina Hemati

[1]‘The techniques of digital filmmaking changed cinema even more fundamentally than the introduction of sound. The possibility of shooting on videotape with a camera the same size or smaller than a loaf of bread, using crews of two people rather than ten or more, editing on home computers and dubbing in the simplest of sound suites meant that the world of film production was no longer a charmed one into which only the lucky few could enter.’

 

 

Introduction

 

From the 70’s onwards the use of CGI (Computer Generated Imaging) has become an important product tool for visual artists. [2]In 2016 we now have the capability to create an entire film solely based on CGI, where only up to 3 characters are required to be on set and creating a whole new world. For example the latest remake of the Disney film The Jungle Book (1967), required only Neel Sethi to be on set, the question to be asked here is, is CGI making the film industry become more lazy or is it allowing them to become more visually creative and allowing them to create the impossible?

 

In this generation CGI has become the common tool, during the early years of cinema, CGI had its limitations, film productions only used this special effect when necessary, but stepping into 2016, CGI is now being served as the main rather than the alternative. Many people argue that CGI draws us away from reality; [3]the purpose of CGI should not be to make a stunt or an effect look more real, it should be able to deceive the audience into thinking that CGI has not been added. Beforehand special effects were used as a method to be able to bring us closer to reality, but now audiences are drowned in deception. Many films fail to grasp an audience solely based on the narrative, as they are so indulged and questioning the capability of CGI.

 

[4]Entering the 2000’s, the start of the decade saw high success and several big budget films. Among these successes were – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Each one of these films established new and effective techniques that were able to capture and amaze the audience with elaborate imagery. CGI became more successful as well as remained successful due to its triumph with Pixar films – ‘Toy Story, 1995’, ‘A Bugs Life, 1998’, ‘Monsters Inc, 2001’, ‘Finding Nemo, 2003’ and ‘The Incredibles, 2004’. DreamWorks also had huge success with ‘Shrek, 2001’ and ‘Madagascar, 2005’. Through the success of these films, other production companies became encouraged to establish their own CGI animated divisions such as – Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Sony Pictures, and Imageworks along with many others, where they have all invested into this format. Budgets then skyrocketed due to their dependence on extravagant visual effects and big stars accompanying their films.

Before CGI, the film industry would have to make do with what they had such as – stop motion, puppetry, matte finishes and painted backgrounds. [5]Today CGI enables filmmakers to create an effect that is less cost efficient as well as requiring less physical space. It has allowed an artistic path for directors in which they are able to express their visions freely, which would have been expensive or impossible before. For example, lets take a look at James Cameron’s ‘Avatar, 2009’. Without the use of CGI, it would have been impossible to create this film, which made a total of [6]$749,766,139 domestic gross. Capturing audiences with the alien world of Pandora, where the Na’vi’s live. This film truly complimented the capability of CGI.

 

Although there are many positive outcomes for using CGI, there are equally as much negative. [7]We are suffering from digital effects overload, audiences are constantly being fed narratives that require special effects, and there was a time when the simplest films were able to grasp audience’s attention allowing escapism. There is a huge pressure on using CGI and assuring there are no glitches and mistakes in the film, which lead to audiences feeling distracted from the narrative. [8]CGI has the ability to make audiences believe that a film lacks authenticity. The overuse of special effects drowns outs the actor’s performance and dialogue creating a barrier in understanding the purpose of the film. Many directors have overused CGI simply for the sake of making a scene from the film cooler. Does that mean that directors and producers are becoming visually challenged when it comes to creating new films?

 

 

Conclusion

 

CGI will continue to grow in the industry. It is not a matter of questioning the use of CGI, but how and why they are using it. [9]Directors are constantly rebooting films such as ‘Spider Man, 2002’, ‘Jurassic World, 2015’ and ‘Clash of the Titans, 2010’ that was all originally released after the 1970s. The desire to add better and huger affects to rebooted films can either create a bigger fan base or anger fans. Without a doubt the past two years has seen a huge rise in the use of CGI, if directors continue to overuse this special effect, it can become harmful to the industry in the long run, failing to catch audiences attention once the fireballs have been thrown and the world has been saved from a superhero.

 

Bibliography

Websites:

“Avatar (2009) – Box Office Mojo”. Boxofficemojo.com. N.p. 2016. Web.

“Cinema Is About Humanity, Not Fireballs – Nytimes.Com”. Nytimes.com. N.p. 2016. Web.

James, Michael. “10 Reasons Why CGI Is Getting Worse, Not Better”. RocketStock. N.p. 2015. Web.

“Movie History – CGI’S Evolution From Westworld To The Matrix To Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow”. AMC. N.p. 2016. Web.

Norkey, Trevor. “How CGI Has Changed The Way We Watch Movies”. moviepilot.com. N.p. 2015. Web

“The Pros And Cons Of CGI”. The Movie Network. N.p. 2016. Web

 

Books:

Cousins, Mark. The Story Of Film. London: Pavilion, 2004. Print.

Rickitt, Richard and Ray Harryhausen. Special Effects. New York: Watson-Guptill, 2007. Print.

[1] Cousins, Mark. The Story Of Film. London: Pavilion, 2004. Print.

[2] “Movie History – CGI’S Evolution From Westworld To The Matrix To Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow”. AMC. N.p. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

[3] James, Michael. “10 Reasons Why CGI Is Getting Worse, Not Better”. RocketStock. N.p. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

[4] Rickitt, Richard and Ray Harryhausen. Special Effects. New York: Watson-Guptill, 2007. Print.

[5] “The Pros And Cons Of CGI”. The Movie Network. N.p. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

[6] “Avatar (2009) – Box Office Mojo”. Boxofficemojo.com. N.p. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

[7] “Cinema Is About Humanity, Not Fireballs – Nytimes.Com”. Nytimes.com. N.p. 2016. Web. 1 May 2016.

[8] “The Pros And Cons Of CGI”. The Movie Network. N.p. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

[9] Norkey, Trevor. “How CGI Has Changed The Way We Watch Movies”. moviepilot.com. N.p. 2015. Web. 1 May 2016.

 

Funding by Bradley Lond

In this essay I will be exploring how digital technology has influenced how films can now be financed and made in the 21st century. This essay will be exploring the many avenues a film maker can now utilise in order to get their movies funded, filmed and released. The avenues which will be explored come in the form of funding via crowdfunding from popular sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Other avenues which can be approached by film makers which will be addressed in this essay is product placement. I will be looking at these avenues from critical perspectives such as the industry and from audience perspective.

Crowdfunding is a relatively new form of funding that a film maker can utilise. How crowdfunding works is that it relies on people (outside of the industry) donating a certain amount of money towards the project; people are free to donate however much they want. In return, the director may offer rewards for higher donations as a sort of incentive to donate that little bit more, such as an invitation to the premier of the film or a signed DVD. There are many examples of films which have gone through crowdfunding and have reached and exceeded the amount they originally went out for such as Rooster Teeth’s Lazer Team (2015, Matt Hullum) which is a campaign that shattered its “$650,000 goal, raising $2,480,099[1]”. The sci-fi film focuses on the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. The campaign for the Rooster Teeth film aimed to allocate the funds earned toward production and location expenses, post-production effects, costumes, and compensation for the cast and crew. Another example of a film which was able to be made and earned more than what is set out for was Gosnell Movie (2016) which is a film that gives the audience and account of the gruesome story of Kermit Gosnell, a serial killer whose crimes are ingrained in U.S crime history and “the campaign surpassed its $2,100,000 goal, raising $2,241,043 overall[2]”.

From a creative standpoint, Crowdfunding is an excellent way for directors who can’t find funding from big studios such as Paramount or Warner Bros to still have a chance of finding funding for their film[3]. Crowdfunding ensures that intellectual properties which haven’t received the funding from studios can still see the light of day where as in the past, before crowdfunding was common place, you’d have to rely on studios to fund your project or you’d have to self-fund, putting up your own money which might not, due to marketing, make a profit. One major risk of using these forms of funding is the risk you can have your intellectual property be stolen or ripped off. This is a common problem with crowdfunding as the concept for the film is out there in the public and can easily be replicated. This point is also true of any kind of public launch, especially if the product is easily replicable. Trademarks and patents do provide some defensibility, but they are hard to enforce internationally[4].

Another form of funding a film is product placement whereby a director approaches a company and offers to have their product be placed in the film the director is making, in the form of logos or an actual product. There have been many instances of product placement in films and it’s becoming a bigger trend; films are becoming more expensive to produce so it makes smart business sense to reach out to companies to help with the funding of the film. For example, Iron Man 2 (2010, Jon Favreau) had the most product placement in 2010 with over 60 products placed[5] and had a budget of just over “$200,000,000[6]” which accumulated towards covering more than “$100 million in media buys, retail tie-ins and giveaways[7]” proving that product placement is a very efficient way of funding a film. Documentary director Morgan Spurlock directed the POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) where he directed a documentary about product placement, which was funded by product placement. The budget for the documentary was around “$1,500,000[8]” and this was completely covered by product placement, no external means of funding was used, just the income from product placement.

Although there are billions of dollars in advertising revenues up for grabs every year thanks to product placement, having excessive levels of advertising in a movie can be distracting. Some movies like Minority Report (2002, Steven Spielberg) or The Island (2005, Michael Bay) became renown not for their plot or cinematography as they should, but because of the shameless product placements that are placed in front of viewers as “obvious product placements break people’s immersion in the story[9]”. Shameless product placement doesn’t just ruin films or break immersion; it can become a stigma that can follow a director, such as Michael Bay, for his Transformers series or Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill (2011). Jack and Jill follows the story of Sandler’s character trying to get Al Pacino to shoot a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts. He succeeded and there’s actually a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial at the end. But from an industry stand point, when product placement is utilised not shamelessly but to enhance the spectacle of cinema, product placements can reduce the expenses needed for filming, which enhances the potential profitability of a movie.

In conclusion I believe funding has changed for the better, there are many avenues a director can now utilise to have their film be funded and they no longer have to be a big name director or have a big name studio behind them. Crowdfunding is a very safe option in my opinion, especially if you have little to no funding behind yourself but as a director you can’t expect to have a sudden in flow of funding, you have to market the film, you also have to ensure there are rewards for people who donate, there needs to be an incentive to donate a higher amount of money. Product placement relies more on being somewhat renowned, as a business won’t lend out the product if they don’t believe interest in the product will be generate. There are also a lot of negative connotations around having product placement and thus, if not handled properly, can generate a lot of negative awareness which isn’t just detrimental to the film but also the business relationship between director and company that owns the product.

 

[1] https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/11/top-7-indiegogo-campaigns-time.html

[2] https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/11/top-7-indiegogo-campaigns-time.html

[3] http://www.crowdcrux.com/pros-and-cons-of-crowdfunding/

[4] http://www.finance.scotland.gov.uk/types/equity/crowdfunding/pros-and-cons

[5] https://prezi.com/-ampmdmvwrcy/product-placement-facts/

[6] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1228705/

[7] http://adage.com/article/madisonvine-news/iron-man-2-sparks-100m-marketing-bonanza/143349/

[8] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1743720/

[9] http://brandongaille.com/8-pros-and-cons-of-product-placement/

Bibliography

https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2014/11/top-7-indiegogo-campaigns-time.html

http://www.crowdcrux.com/pros-and-cons-of-crowdfunding/

http://www.finance.scotland.gov.uk/types/equity/crowdfunding/pros-and-cons

https://prezi.com/-ampmdmvwrcy/product-placement-facts/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1228705/

http://adage.com/article/madisonvine-news/iron-man-2-sparks-100m-marketing-bonanza/143349/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1743720/

http://brandongaille.com/8-pros-and-cons-of-product-placement/