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Old January 1st, 2006, 01:11 PM   #1
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Death to the movies

once more has the traditional movie been declared dead, but this time I have an inkling that there might be somewhat more to the death declaration.

This feature from The Star http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...d=968867495754 argues that the appearance of portable mediaplayers like the video iPod could be the factor that shifts the movie-experience out of the cinema theaters.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 01:33 PM   #2
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Jos,

Not likely. The 'death' of the cinema experience will be the result of too many commercials and too many distractions at the theatre, not the appearance of tiny pocket sized screens to watch movies on.

Since the advent of television, the theatre's have had to compete with readily accessable 'free entertainment' at home. They had to compete by providing air conditioning, wider screens, better sound, still wider screens, still better sound, 3D, stadium seating, more choices, EVEN WIDER screens (Imax) even BETTER sound...

And now, you can get pretty big screens and great sound at home. What can the theatres offer that you can't get at home?

The communal experience of 'going out'. That is balanced by the high cost of going out, the interruptions of cell phones/ rude patrons and the problems inherent in old prints.

Staying home also has it's detractions/distractions... but hey, you're at home.

No, it won't be smaller pocket sized screens that kill the theatrical cinema experience, it will be advertising. And it's damn near killing the DVD rental experience.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:58 PM   #3
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there are more movies on the internet than there ever will be on the ipod... but it hasn't killed movie theaters yet.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Jos,

Not likely. The 'death' of the cinema experience will be the result of too many commercials and too many distractions at the theatre, not the appearance of tiny pocket sized screens to watch movies on.

Since the advent of television, the theatre's have had to compete with readily accessable 'free entertainment' at home. They had to compete by providing air conditioning, wider screens, better sound, still wider screens, still better sound, 3D, stadium seating, more choices, EVEN WIDER screens (Imax) even BETTER sound...

And now, you can get pretty big screens and great sound at home. What can the theatres offer that you can't get at home?

The communal experience of 'going out'. That is balanced by the high cost of going out, the interruptions of cell phones/ rude patrons and the problems inherent in old prints.

Staying home also has it's detractions/distractions... but hey, you're at home.

No, it won't be smaller pocket sized screens that kill the theatrical cinema experience, it will be advertising. And it's damn near killing the DVD rental experience.
I assume what Jos might be driving at, Richard, is that it's more the promise of what the technology will inevitably bring and not what it has to offer in its current form. I agree with the "commercials and distractions" concept. It's one of the reasons I hate going to theatres. But, trust me, it will be a combination of all these above mentioned things that will slowly diminish (although, I believe not entirely kill) theatre patronage
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Old January 1st, 2006, 05:59 PM   #5
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The argument boils down to *how* you watch a movie. Speaking for myself, I don't think I can get into a movie on a 2.5" screen. To me it's not a cinematic experience unless it's a big screen. Big. Like, you know, in a movie theater. And some of those aren't very big. I guess I've transitioned to the home theater experience and away from the neighborhood movie theater. Going to the movies used to be a communal thing, a shared experience with other people around you. Degrading factors which erode the movie theater experience such as rudeness, commercialism, poor presentation, high prices etc. have done more to drive me away than the fact that I can watch a movie on an iPod. Maybe some folks can get into watching movies on an iPod or a PlayStation, but I need a 42" screen and a couch and surround sound. Plus friends and family. Hard to get that with an iPod, unless you're jacking the iPod into the home theater system, I can see that I guess.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 06:11 PM   #6
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Chris,
Interestingly enough, I walked out of a movie a week ago. Went to see "Pride and Prejudice" at a local theatre. The old movie house, had been 'subdivided' into something like six screens, from the original two. The theatre we were in had a tiny screen, and the seats didn't actually FACE IT. They were kind of keystoned off in an odd direction. The previews and advertising started late, ran late, and then when the movie came up, there was sound and no picture. I had had enough at that point, and we got up to get our money back.

Funny thing is, before the movie started we chatted with a woman in her eighties who lamented the loss of the old "Movie Palaces"... with ushers, and HUGE auditoriums, and curtains that came up before the show started. Got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if they returned to the 'quality experience' they might recapture their dwindling audiences.

So we went home, rented some movies and watched them in peace.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 06:39 PM   #7
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Richard, I only go to the big theatres or nice art houses. No tiny multiplexes.

Vancouver now has a blend of the big theatres with deluxe seating and screens and the art houses are pretty well kept by independent owners. Since I normally only see either the big budget noisy pictures or the art house pictures with adult audiences, I'm most satisfied.

Everything else I can see on DVD on my girlfriend's projector.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 09:41 PM   #8
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Keith,
Im with you on that. Unfortunately, "Pride and Prejudice" was only showing at this one theatre... having been pulled from the big ones.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 12:28 AM   #9
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The feature states that the video iPod is establishing a new commercial channel for tv-type content. Furthermore the price of hometheater equipment is dropping.
The article further states that devices like the Sony PSP and a hypothetical Apple MoviePOD could enforce the development towards private moviewatching, as DVD's are doing it today.
The cimemas would then be blockbuster temples and shut anything else out of distribution.

And this means independant cinema. To quote the Toronto Star

Quote:
In previous years at Sundance, panels have talked excitedly about making and marketing independent films. Now there's a real concern that there may soon be no more theatres or movie audiences to make films for, at least the kind of theatres and audiences we all grew up with.
I think that the feature has some points and it might be a far better idea to discuss how to get some money out of videopodcasting than to delve into 24P and "movielooks".

Because the feature concludes:

Quote:
Who has not seen tears stream from a fellow moviegoer, or heard laughter bounce off the walls of a theatre?

And how will it feel when we are crying and laughing all by ourselves?
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 12:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Svendsen
The article further states that devices like the Sony PSP and a hypothetical Apple MoviePOD could enforce the development towards private moviewatching, as DVD's are doing it today.
Usually I hate watching movies by myself. I have to be in a particular mood in order to enjoy a movie alone. To me, the movie experience is at its best when its communal, with friends and family, or complete strangers even.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 01:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Svendsen
once more has the traditional movie been declared dead, but this time I have an inkling that there might be somewhat more to the death declaration.

This feature from The Star http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...d=968867495754 argues that the appearance of portable mediaplayers like the video iPod could be the factor that shifts the movie-experience out of the cinema theaters.
Immediately I saw this post title it rolled into my head, something to do with Ipod. Knowing the limitations of Ipod I run thorough a comical scene I could shoot about it. At the front of an Movie theatre is an Ipod in front of the screen, the audience is sitting down with various binoculars and telescopes trying to watch the movie on the Ipod, a new dating couple are trying to share a telescope and fighting, and so forth. I suppose I could do it with everybody in the audience have an Ipod and arguing with each other because everybody is watching a different show and laughing, hollering (football) and gasping at the wrong times.

I have been doing a home theater room on the cheap, got a 5.1 surround, have 19 inch PC monitor, and aiming on doing a special curved mirror projection screen of around 10-12 foot when I get well enough to get to it (all for less than $1000). But, the truth of the matter is that people go to the movies to get out of their basements and homes, for something different, for a social outing. Score one for the cinema there. Another problem, as the article goes into, is quality of picture.

The tech

DVD doesn't have enough quality, the average DVD/TV combo is working at something like 320-550 pixels wide (the bigger the tube the higher the resolution generally, 80cm's you will get 720 pixels). So the pixel averaging helps hide the compression artifacts. If you get a big high quality screen the artifacts will look worse on the bigger screen. I wonder if HD-DVD will look any better. Maybe if blue ray comes out with the 50-100GB movie disks for Playstation 3 (as people are expecting) it will have enough quality, especially if they could use the JPEG 2000 related digital cinema codec for SHD.

I saw something somewhere, about one of the Nintendo reps talking about the Nintendo Revolution replacing your TV at home. The thing doesn't come with HD dvd or HD games, but oodles of power to do it. It could theoretically hook up through a broadband service to offer HD viewing. Recently I saw an article on an cable modem technology offering 200Mb/s. Phone lines I think were probably upto 30+Mb/s over short distance in another article. So theoretically, 70%-90% of the population of the top first world countries, could get HD that way, but quality is going to be poor on a large screen unless they get enough bandwidth, or get it by a top codec like the Digital Cinema one. There is 4G mobile technology that hits 100-400Mb/s (I think) and Imax that does 72MB/s, which would give a wider audience.

What about

So yes, traditional cinema could have a run for their money, but should diversify, offering home theatre/conference booths (12 foot plus screens) where people can hire a booth to have a small conference, party, or watch a movie. Groups of people can get together to order a screening of an indie movie from worldwide databases, or old movie, that isn't being released locally. Cinemas could even use the booths for screening movies that have small audiences, and free up the big screen for a more popular movie, or use unused booths for special screenings. This would allow more indie movies to get out there by word of mouth advertising, and maybe picked up by the big distributors. If any of these small booth movies goes off like a rocket, they could be upgraded to a big screen. For Cinemas in particular, it means totally flexibility to maximise their profits.

Ohh, yes, one thing that can kill cinema off is horror films. In the weeks before the new year our 18+ cinemas locally had largely horror films on, with very few top films, and some minor films. Not even half price night could get me to go there. Well at least we know what film to do for next Christmas, The Santa chainsaw massacre (and I am only being sarcastic ;)
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 01:16 AM   #12
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Here's the LA Times take on this...

http://www.latimes.com/business/cust...ck=1&cset=true


Sorry, long URL...hope it works...if not, my humblest apologies



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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:07 AM   #13
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The trouble with the cinema is that it isn't an experience anymore.
There is a website around that has the instructions on how to show epics like Ben-Hur; these instructions cover everything from music to intervals, timed to the second. Visitors to such an event knew they had been to the Movies. Going to the cinema used to be a day out, something special that happened as a treat (apart from the Saturday matinee). Nowadays, there is no glamour or magic, it fills an hour between shopping and tv and the places where movies are screened are just another part of the shopping complex. My regular cinema viewing stopped for good last year, when they closed the picturehouse I went to for 40 years. It was past its best but it had a history I could share with my son, when we went to see his movies. Neither of us have any desire to patronise one of the new movie factories.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 02:11 AM   #14
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Its funny i never really got into watching movies that much.. I always enjoy a good one when i get my shit together to actually stop and watch it, but its not something i do on a regular basis at all, i think the last one i watched would be over 12 months ago.. So im probably horribly unqualified to comment..

Having said that i can see the appeal of the cinema.. The huge screen and sound makes it larger than life.. Even though the home theatres have gotten better i still dont think it's as good as the full blown cinema experience.. Also the going out factor draws people, no doubt.. For a lot of people in 9-5 without hobbies or anything else except their work its the default thing to do (dinner and a movie), and there is a hell of a lot of these people in the world so i cant see it dying anytime soon..
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 05:15 AM   #15
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Apart from the mass market taking the experience away, and DVD/TV, I think the fact is that there are so many experiences to choose from. We have sports, clubs, computer games, hobbies, and just going out. Maybe they need to become entertainment centres, with clubs, dancing, multimedia and dining, where movies are an complementary addition.
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