New Technologies, Distribution and Production
1) What is film distribution?
Film distribution is the procedure between a production company and the film exhibitor; the exhibitor will negotiate an agreement concerning finance and level of distribution of the film. Film distribution includes the shipping/distribution of the film around the world however; distribution has recently been aimed at the digital market, as more contemporary methods are being used, physical film distribution will continue to diminish.
2) What are the main things a film distributor is responsible for?
A film distributor is an independent company which is responsible for negotiating an agreement with the exhibitor on distribution through theatres, as well as theatrical distribution the film distributor will also handle physical and digital distribution of the product (film)
3) How has digital distribution changed the actual process of getting films into cinemas?
Digital Distribution has changed the way distribution is carried out, as it is cheaper, faster and easier for the distributor to send a digital copy of the film to theatres, rather than having a main reel of film that had to be shared between groups of cinemas.
4) How did the original Hollywood studio system work? What is the economic term for this style of ownership?
The Hollywood studio system was when one company would own all of the sectors needed to create and distribute a film. With the company controlling both production and distribution there is no need to control or negotiate with the distributors, making it easier for the producers and distributors to release their product. The economic term for this is Vertical Integration.
5) What led to the end of the studio system?
In 1938 a federal antitrust suit known as the “Paramount case”. The US Federal Government had set a consent decree in 1940, with conditions that would stop or limit the “Big Five” from block booking short and feature films. 3 years later, the “Big Eight” had not met the consent decree’s requirement which forced the government to re-instate the law suit; the suit went to trial in 1945 leading the case to the US Supreme Court in 1948. The Supreme Court’s verdict voted against the studios, forcing the eight major studios to sell/strip themselves of their movie theatre chains, therefore ending the Hollywood studio system.
6) What are the losses to society by using this sort of system?
The problem that vertical integration can cause is the monopolization of the market, which causes a rigid governmental and hierarchal structure which has much of the same limitations as a socialist economy. Monopolization of the intermediate components of an industry can lead to a throwaway society heavily influenced by consumerism
7) How will the development of new technologies hurt a company that uses vertical integration? What are the benefits of vertical integration?
New technology will damage companies that use vertical integration as the company is forced to re-invest in its substructures in order to keep up with the competition. This has sometimes damaged a company as the pre-existing company has had to our mass amounts of money having to re-design their production/distribution structures. The benefit of vertical integration is the stability gained by controlling all processes of production and distribution, another benefit to the company could be the ability to monopolize the market throughout the chain by market foreclosure, which does benefit the company although this can effectively “close” the market.
8) How do big studios today work with distribution companies?
Studios tend to work with distribution companies by financing their production and distribution expenses, this can be a temporary partnership or can lead to a full time agreement causing an integration of two companies.
9) 10 facts about new digital technology…
DVD vs. VCR
Many people think that when it comes to picture quality, DVD would rule over a VCR However, A one-hour video in digital format would use up about 21GB of space. A DVD of the same length would be less than 4.7GB and any time you compress an image, there will always be a loss of quality. In simpler terms, a 2-hour high quality video tape would actually look better than a 2-hour DVD. And when it comes to durability, tape wins. You had to be careful handling DVDs as they could be easily scratched and be rendered useless whereas a video tape was always contained within a plastic case, which provided a good amount of protection – it was usually the video player that destroyed a video tape. However when it comes to playing durability, a DVD typically lasts longer,
10) How have low-budget independent films benefited from changes in technology and distribution?
More independent films can now release cheap productions with the same quality video and audio as the silver screen productions as new advancements in technology creates better and cheaper cameras, a generic phone camera would most likely be of better quality than a top end film camera used by a production company 50 years ago. The same can be applied to editing software, as anyone with an average computer can purchase the same editing programmes used by the highbrow production companies and create their films in their bedroom. This has “levelled” the playing fields. As far as distribution goes, once they have edited their film, they can then upload their production onto viral video sites like YouTube and Vimeo; these are now such well known media viewing platforms highbrow companies use these as an advertising base as the audience they can reach through online viral video sites is vast.
11) What was the first independent film released on HD DVD?
One Six Right on November 1, 2006, Directed and produced by Brian J. Terwilliger
12) What was the first computer animated film to be created by one person?
Flatland animated by Ladd Ehlinger in 2007