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Is the future of low-budget filmmaking online?


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#1 hippy

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 02:39 PM

I have been thinking about the possibilites of the internet when it comes to film distribution and wondered whether it will be viable for independent low budget film makers to screen their feature films exclusively online if they can't get theatrical distribution. As a traditionlist I would probably prefer my film to be released in cinemas but as a bit of a rebel I can see the appeal of sticking two fingers up at the big distributors and cinemas and doing it for yourself but having your films shown on a pc screen with the fan whizzing around in the back ground will take something away from the thrill of cinema. I would appreciate your opinions on the issue

yours faithfully hippy
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#2 Grainy

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 05:02 PM

Maybe, but it's not the future of cinema. The shared experience of going out to a theater and seeing something with a group of people in public is different than watching it at home.
Not better/worse.
But definitely different.
That's why there's still painting, theater, radio, and sculpture when we have photography, TV, home stereo, and laser-guided manufacturing.

-- good luck
G
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:17 AM

Maybe, but it's not the future of cinema. The shared experience of going out to a theater and seeing something with a group of people in public is different than watching it at home.
Not better/worse.
But definitely different.
That's why there's still painting, theater, radio, and sculpture when we have photography, TV, home stereo, and laser-guided manufacturing.

-- good luck
G

The theater id dead ecept for staged remakes of old films which then come back to be new films (The Producers for example), Radio is nothing but music anbd talk, the last great painters and sculptures worked during the 60's and with the advent of video, photography has become a second class artform. Money drives everything now- EvERYTHING. They're already starting to convert theaters to digital aquisition, once movies can be sent in real time to your computer at 2000 lines of resolution or better and your computer is plugged into you wall sized tv screen it's all over. People already watch many more movies on cable then they do in a theater and this trend will only continue. I think it's definately the future of cinema and the powers that be will want to distribute product in the cheapest way possible without losing any profit. Why share profits with a movie theater chain if you don't have to. As far as a shared expirence goes, we used take our cars to go to drive ins and lay out on the hood and watch a movie but when was the last time you went to a drive in that wasn't showing porn or are you so young you've never even seen a drive in? I think video games will be the thing that goes outside the home into giant interactive rooms and movie will slowly move to the home except for a few theaters. The only reason they don't open movies on pay per view right now is because they can't make everyone who watches it each pay $12 each.
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#4 John Carreon

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 04:04 AM

I think there is a big difference between watching a movie as an mpeg over the computer and going to see it projected on film (or even digitally) on the big screen...I think it's gonna be a long time before the internet takes over...though it might seem inevitable.

Actually last friday, THE JANITOR, a Horror/Comedy movie that I wore many different hats on...was screened on www.horrorchannel.com. At the same time there was an open chat about the movie. It was interesting to watch...the quality was poop but it was still cool to have it out there for more people to see...which is why we made it.

I don't know where I was going with this response...if you're planning on shooting for the internet you have to keep that in mind. No need to shoot on film if your projecting on a 16 inch quicktime screen. Most people will be hard pressed to tell the difference...

Ramble...ramble...ramble...

John
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#5 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:24 PM

I watch movies on my computer all the time.
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#6 Matt Pacini

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 07:39 PM

The theater id dead ....


Right. That's why there are lines around the building and the parking lot is full every time you go there.
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#7 Josh Bass

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 07:51 PM

It's not dead, for sure, but I do keep hearing about the declining attendance figures.

Many people, for sure, these days, are opting to wait for things to come out on DVD and watch 'em at home.

I browse the craigslist film forum, and a few of those people are in the industry, but I'm sure there're many more that are just average "civilians." Quite a few in there who mostly watch their stuff at home, and "only go to a movie two or three times a year."

That has nothing to do with online distribution, however. I just wanted to chime in.

Edited by Josh Bass, 07 February 2006 - 07:51 PM.

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#8 Joe M

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 08:13 PM

It's not dead, for sure, but I do keep hearing about the declining attendance figures.

Many people, for sure, these days, are opting to wait for things to come out on DVD and watch 'em at home.

I browse the craigslist film forum, and a few of those people are in the industry, but I'm sure there're many more that are just average "civilians." Quite a few in there who mostly watch their stuff at home, and "only go to a movie two or three times a year."

That has nothing to do with online distribution, however. I just wanted to chime in.


I think we could all agree that the decline in figures is due more to the less than stellar output from Hollywood for almost a decade. I think that is slowly starting to change. I would make it a point to get to the theater every weekend if there were only something worth watching every weekend.

As far as online movies go, I just don't think it could ever be as popular. I personally don't enjoy sitting at a desk to watch a movie and squinting to try and make sense out of the garbled streaming mess, just to have it cut out and re-buffer time and time again. I don't think many others enjoy that either.

Thats my $.02
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#9 Joe M

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 11:31 PM

They're already starting to convert theaters to digital aquisition, once movies can be sent in real time to your computer at 2000 lines of resolution or better and your computer is plugged into you wall sized tv screen it's all over. People already watch many more movies on cable then they do in a theater and this trend will only continue. I think it's definately the future of cinema and the powers that be will want to distribute product in the cheapest way possible without losing any profit.

Right now I can't even afford a plasma TV but I can certainly afford to drop 10 bucks a month, or even per week, on a trip to the theater. How would the middle class citizens be able to afford this equipment and why would they put so much money into it just to watch movies in their own home?

This is not to say that the net won't be playing a bigger role in the future of movie production and distribution because it will. Only time will show how.

I think video games will be the thing that goes outside the home into giant interactive rooms and movie will slowly move to the home except for a few theaters.

You're way off on this one too. They used to have these "giant interactive rooms" for gamers. They were called "arcades". They are all but gone thanks to online gaming in the comfort of ones own home. The technology is cheap, easy to use, and easily accessible. Unlike a wall sized tv screen.

Edited by Joe M, 07 February 2006 - 11:33 PM.

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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:11 AM

The time is coming! Big plasma screens used to be 10s of thousands of dollars now you can get them to about 3000 soon they'll be cheaper than that and I not talking about hunching over your laptop watching a 3in' mpeg, I'm talking about a revolution that is maybe 5 to 10 years away where bandwidth is increased to the point of being able to project clear, high rez films at wall size. Right now you can download fullscreen movies it just takes forever. I'm poor and I have statellite and I picked up a video projector for 600 bucks so costs are fast not becoming a real issue and prices only get cheaper as technology becomes more availible like VHS which cost 3000 to 5000 dollars when they first came out. A LOT of families have big srceen tv and wall projection. I can hook my computer up to my projection screen right now in fact thats how we look at animation tests for the film I'm working on to see if it will be effective on the big screen. And it you don't think interactive rooms are coming just lok at the popularity of lasar tag and paint ball. imagine what will happen when you can be put into a virtual world. Arcades will be a joke when you can visit a complete world that resembles the halodeck from startrek. Halographics are right now making major leaps foreward, they already have them in Vagas as as soon as the technology becomes more availible you will see more and more aplications for it , one of which will be giant interactive holographic games. and to answer your question, a lot of people spend money to watch movies in their homes, ever hear of Blockbuster, HBO, dvds and video cassettes?
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#11 Joe M

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 07:16 AM

The time is coming! Big plasma screens used to be 10s of thousands of dollars now you can get them to about 3000 soon they'll be cheaper than that and I not talking about hunching over your laptop watching a 3in' mpeg, I'm talking about a revolution that is maybe 5 to 10 years away where bandwidth is increased to the point of being able to project clear, high rez films at wall size. Right now you can download fullscreen movies it just takes forever. I'm poor and I have statellite and I picked up a video projector for 600 bucks so costs are fast not becoming a real issue and prices only get cheaper as technology becomes more availible like VHS which cost 3000 to 5000 dollars when they first came out. A LOT of families have big srceen tv and wall projection. I can hook my computer up to my projection screen right now in fact thats how we look at animation tests for the film I'm working on to see if it will be effective on the big screen. And it you don't think interactive rooms are coming just lok at the popularity of lasar tag and paint ball. imagine what will happen when you can be put into a virtual world. Arcades will be a joke when you can visit a complete world that resembles the halodeck from startrek. Halographics are right now making major leaps foreward, they already have them in Vagas as as soon as the technology becomes more availible you will see more and more aplications for it , one of which will be giant interactive holographic games. and to answer your question, a lot of people spend money to watch movies in their homes, ever hear of Blockbuster, HBO, dvds and video cassettes?

I was referring to people watching new films in their homes as opposed to at the theater. People don't need to invest thousands to watch HBO in their home. I think people would rather pay the 10 bucks and sit in a nice big theater, chomping on popcorn, while enjoying a brand new movie on a huge screen with a professional sound system. I have yet to see any home theater that even comes close to the real experience that is even remotely affordable. I realize that tons of people have big screen TVs and wall projectors, so why haven't they stopped going to the theater?

About these large holographic virtual worlds, I don't know too much about it to be honest. I do know that there is a laser tag place right down the street from me and it keeps being sold off because it makes such little money and the costs far outweigh the demand.

This is the same debate that has played out time and time again. Whenever new technologies are developed, there are people who say that the old technology will be obsolete and dissapear but it just doesn't happen.
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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 11:01 AM

Right. That's why there are lines around the building and the parking lot is full every time you go there.


There are lines around the theater for movies I have no desire to make (and rarely enough to see).

As an alternative to niche film distribution I wouldn't rule out some kind of internet distribution although I'll point out you can move data on a Blu-ray disc or whatever with Fedex too :)

I wouldn't have dreamed of saying this 5 years ago.

But "digital" is in the place film was in 1906 (if that)... so it's not a bad idea to think about what out 1916 might be, what 2016 might be... (sounds like sort of a prequel to a Wong Kar-wai film B)

It's interesting, where I live in the NJ 'burbs there are all kinds of small gatherings where people gather now to watch films, the Library, an ice cream store has a summer screening series, mini'festivals" etc. The quality - DVD on low end projectors is pretty bad - to my eyes - but the desire to have collective experience of cinema has not gone away, and - quality aside - it's being reinvented ad hoc - which I don't think is a bad thing.

-Sam
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#13 Ryan Bajornas

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 05:13 PM

the internet will be the next big distribution boost. already, the theaters are working to someday be able to download their movies, in which case a print won't even be needed. they're not very close to that yet, but in the future, that's the way things will work. and will allow audiences will still get the same theater experience.
same will be true to everyone's home viewings. with the availablity of services such as tivo, tv viewers are escaping advertising, the heart of cable television. soon, tv audiences will have access to internet capabilities and content will be much more diverse.
so back to the original question, distribution on the internet is very likely; if not yet, definitely in the near future.
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#14 Matt Pacini

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:15 PM

There are lines around the theater for movies I have no desire to make (and rarely enough to see).



What you personally want to make and see, is completely irrelevant as to the validity of the "theater is dead" statement, because there are another 7 billion people on the planet besides yourself.

I can hardly find a parking space when I go to see a film.
That hardly describes theater being dead. And saying 'it's gonna happen one of these days" is every bit as silly as those people in the 1950's who said the same thing when TV was invented.
People still love seeing a film at a theater, and there's one thing that is not ever mentioned in these conversations; the population is growing.
Meaning, that even if there is a decline in the percent of the population who go to the movies these days, the ever increasing population insures that IN ACTUAL BODYCOUNT, there's still a hell of a lot of tickets continuing to be sold.

This also explains how Britney Spears can sell as many albums as the Beatles did, even though she has the talent of a gnats butt hair, and the Beatles were geniuses.

MP
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#15 santo

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 05:35 PM

This also explains how Britney Spears can sell as many albums as the Beatles did, even though she has the talent of a gnats butt hair, and the Beatles were geniuses.

MP


You're being a little generous with Spears. Yes, you're right about population stats, but her success and Jessica Simpson and all the artificial "celebrities" we have now is not a numbers game, it is a mega-media corp game. A few megacoporations own the magazines, the TV stations, the film studios, the record studios. It is far more centralized than ever dreamed of in the Beatles days, who had to earn their stardom. Today a pretty looking big nothing signs a deal with Time-Warner or whoever and, as long as she doesn't fu** up, they can hype her nothing albums and nothing movies that they produce on their TV channels and magazines that flood the newsstands. If you look at who is publishing much of the "scandals" of these manufactured celebrities, it is magazines published by the same parent companies to whom they owe their celebrity to! All of it sold to 13 year olds who don't know any better and the really dumb masses, and because they buy, other publishers and whatever ride the wave of interest in the big nothing "celebrity".

About all a low-budget online person can hope for is to gain some attention with a gimmick short film. Something that hits the mark with the lowest common denominator who lives on the internet. Rack up big hit numbers and score a deal with some desperate production company looking for "the next big thing". That's the way it is now, and for the foreseeable future, since there is no money in it changing.
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#16 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 11:05 PM

This weeks TIME has a good article on this very subject. It's not eye opening but has comments from Speilberg, Shayaman(?), Rodrigeuz, Lucas, Soderberg,...short, like 4 pages with pics.
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#17 Paul Bruening

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 05:15 AM

It seems to me that the pickle for the movie industry is costs/returns ratios. Hollywood has to make big budget star driven movies to get the butts in the seats. When VHS came out, everyone pissed and moaned that the theatres would die. But, they didn't. However, theatre attendance is down. Big budget spectacle is wearing off. DVD release right on the heals of theatrical release is cutting into theatrical ticket sales.

Maybe the tastes of the public will swerve back to lower budget, meaningful story telling. If the veiwers would consume more movie product that was based on good story telling and not on big budget spectacle, then movies could be affordably shown in the surviving theatres.

Then, again. I watch alot of DVD's on my home projector. I am my own worst enemy.
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