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iTunes, donloadable films and the future..


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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 04:50 PM

It was very interesting to read that Apple had over 1 million downloads of music videos and TV episodes (like Lost and such) since the service was introduced little over a week ago.

I don't believe people will start watching series on their iPods, but maybe music videos. Maybe even the predominant way music will be sold in the near future will be through music videos? Who knows. Undoubtedly, we will however watch films and series on our computers to a much bigger degree than we do today.

This is particularly good news for someone like myself who came up through music videos. As we all know, this poor business hasn't had an easy couple of years lately: budgets slashed, heavy censorship and fewer and fewer outlets in many markets (MTV Nordic is all stupid game shows now - they don't even play videos anymore). The UK market is a bit better, but not by much.

As for budgets - here in the UK the budgets seem to hover around £15.000-25.000 ($27.000-45.000). Astronomical compared to back in little Sweden, where a good budget today is about £5000 ($8000). The UK budget is still manageable, but one can pretty much forget 35mm for anything but the biggest acts. In Sweden one can forget film altogether. Don't know about the US market, but I'd imagine it compares quite equally to the UK market, money-wise.

So, where does this all lead? Well, hopefully to a new outlet - a WANTED one for music lovers. Where a video actually doesn't have to compete with the 50 Cents of this world - where a Ron Sexton video will only have to compete for the adoration of already converted Ron Sexton fans. And so on. This is liberating - it won't change anything fundamentally since the 50 Cent's will still sell more, but at least it won't drown in the mass marketing of majors - it will reach its audience.

This is great news and might just get music video industry back on track. Not so much with bigger budgets, but maybe creatively - if you don't have to follow MTV's anal rules of what can and can't be shown (they always broke it for huge acts anyway, adding insult to injury for smaller acts), then who knows where it'll end?

But since iTunes/Record Labels charge something like $1.99 for a music video download, I'm already hearing a lot of directors/production companies rattling about how they want a cut of that. I think they're entitled to, myself. We've worked our asses off and virtually for free for years. But who's going to unify the production companies and directors voices in a business where it's everyone for himself and if you can't do the video Joe Schmoe straight-outta-AFI will, points or no points?

But the money's secondary. If it gets the music video industry healthy again, then that's great. Interesting times ahead indeed.

Any thoughts?
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#2 Robert Glenn

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:16 PM

It was very interesting to read that Apple had over 1 million downloads of music videos and TV episodes (like Lost and such) since the service was introduced little over a week ago.

I don't believe people will start watching series on their iPods, but maybe music videos. Maybe even the predominant way music will be sold in the near future will be through music videos? Who knows. Undoubtedly, we will however watch films and series on our computers to a much bigger degree than we do today.

This is particularly good news for someone like myself who came up through music videos. As we all know, this poor business hasn't had an easy couple of years lately: budgets slashed, heavy censorship and fewer and fewer outlets in many markets (MTV Nordic is all stupid game shows now - they don't even play videos anymore). The UK market is a bit better, but not by much.

As for budgets - here in the UK the budgets seem to hover around £15.000-25.000 ($27.000-45.000). Astronomical compared to back in little Sweden, where a good budget today is about £5000 ($8000). The UK budget is still manageable, but one can pretty much forget 35mm for anything but the biggest acts. In Sweden one can forget film altogether. Don't know about the US market, but I'd imagine it compares quite equally to the UK market, money-wise.

So, where does this all lead? Well, hopefully to a new outlet - a WANTED one for music lovers. Where a video actually doesn't have to compete with the 50 Cents of this world - where a Ron Sexton video will only have to compete for the adoration of already converted Ron Sexton fans. And so on. This is liberating - it won't change anything fundamentally since the 50 Cent's will still sell more, but at least it won't drown in the mass marketing of majors - it will reach its audience.

This is great news and might just get music video industry back on track. Not so much with bigger budgets, but maybe creatively - if you don't have to follow MTV's anal rules of what can and can't be shown (they always broke it for huge acts anyway, adding insult to injury for smaller acts), then who knows where it'll end?

But since iTunes/Record Labels charge something like $1.99 for a music video download, I'm already hearing a lot of directors/production companies rattling about how they want a cut of that. I think they're entitled to, myself. We've worked our asses off and virtually for free for years. But who's going to unify the production companies and directors voices in a business where it's everyone for himself and if you can't do the video Joe Schmoe straight-outta-AFI will, points or no points?

But the money's secondary. If it gets the music video industry healthy again, then that's great. Interesting times ahead indeed.

Any thoughts?


Why is it cheaper in sweden?
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:47 PM

I thought people want HIGHER quality, HD television. VHS puts most of these downloads to shame, let alone standard def. Why should I even CARE how the films I make look if I am going to be distributing them as MPEGs? It looks like the industry is taking another step backwards.
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#4 Robert Glenn

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 11:05 PM

I thought people want HIGHER quality, HD television. VHS puts most of these downloads to shame, let alone standard def. Why should I even CARE how the films I make look if I am going to be distributing them as MPEGs? It looks like the industry is taking another step backwards.

yeah dont forget that most of the videos that they will get will be of the pop stars that he mentioned!
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:01 AM

"this poor business hasn't had an easy couple of years lately: budgets slashed, heavy censorship "

Heavy censorship? You're kidding! You mean music videos don't present positive, uplifting, moral values, for youth?

I have to stop my two year old from watching those Britney Spears videos, they might be warping his mind.

R,
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#6 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:29 AM

I agree with the original post.

There's tremendous potential here. I grew up watching Headbanger's Ball and all sorts of weird videos that throughout the past twenty years have been replaced by those dreadful polished and monotonous 50 Cent style videos that use cheap sex, violence and drugs as their only subliminal messages. Eh, whatever works...

Imagine having access to an unlimited database of your favorite videos and bands in the palm of your hands. And not only the corporate big budget videos. It would create job oppurtunities for DP's and from the looks of it, digital formats are coming close to acheiving the look of 16mm / 35mm - even the prosumer cams are getting better.

Besides, people are busier these days aren't they? Not everyone has the time to sit on the couch for 3 hours and wait for their favorite videos to pop up on eMpTV. The 16:9 screen Sony PSP is an awesome example of 'on the go' technology.

In this case, the iPod will probably be the most widespread gadget of the future. It's pretty exciting.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 11:55 AM

Hi,

There's no reason for this video to be of poor quality. 640x360 video, for a 16:9 letterboxed display, in MPEG-4 looks about as good as broadcast SD, especially on a component RGB, high scan rate computer monitor.

Phil
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#8 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 02:11 PM

For those interested in do-it-yourself iPod video, there's some related geeky info here:
http://www.macosxhin...051028114426640

Disclaimer: I don't own or use an iPod Video, so can't vouch for the validity of the info discussed on the site linked above.

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 09:40 AM

I don't get to see videos that much anymore, but when I do it's kinda fun. 99% is of course absolute crap, but once in a while a nugget comes along. I often use frames as references for my moodboards from videos, but the problem is getting a hold of them. Up until this there just was no legal way to get hold of them - you HAD to watch some crappy Real Media file (please, someone, kill off that standard?) or download an equally horrible, pixelated, low-res version in clandestine ways.

When I first saw Jay-Z's 99 Problems video, it kind a blew me away. The elements in it are nothing new, but the combination just elevated it. But you couldn't get a hold of it - I just recently bought the Director's Label release of Mark Romanek's work and it was on there, so now I have got it (recommended DVD, BTW).

As for why it's "cheaper" in Sweden is beacuse that's all the record companies are willing to pay for a video. The market is maybe 10th of the size of the british or 30th of the US.
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#10 Dominik Muench

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 08:19 PM

i love music videos, but i dread watching them becasue the only thing you get to see on MTV germany is mobile phone ringtone advertising (who buys that crap anyway?).

i dont think i would download them, simply because i dont have the money to spend on that (in germany you have to pay for public tv channels, the private ones are financed through advertising), however i think that the production companies should get a cut of the money apple is making with this new itunes service.
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#11 Tim van der Linden

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:26 AM

It looks like not just apple is taking advantage of the ipod video's capabilities, but that private companies are beginning to offer downloads for ipod video as well. I just stumbled across this one today:

http://www.hungyflix.com

I wonder how much of this we'll see popping up.

Edited by Tim van der Linden, 09 November 2005 - 01:26 AM.

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#12 Mike Nutt

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 09:07 AM

I thought people want HIGHER quality, HD television. VHS puts most of these downloads to shame, let alone standard def. Why should I even CARE how the films I make look if I am going to be distributing them as MPEGs? It looks like the industry is taking another step backwards.


But the big lesson to be learned from the iPod is that people want to be able to integrate media into their lives. Having to set aside time to sit in front of a screen just isn't what everyone wants to do. Just as TV never replaced the radio, I imagine there will always be a place for the silver screen is some way or another, especially as long as there are people like us who admire the artistry of filmmaking. However, if people have better access to visual media, and are watching music videos or "TV" shows more often, I have to think that's a good thing and will create more demand for our product.

Although you have to pay for it, there's an interesting article in the NY Times about this very subject: NY Times article
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The Slider

Technodolly

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Visual Products

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks