Friday, 22 April 2016

Digital Distribution: 25 questions

Why does Steve McQueen think digital is replacing film?

“All this technology, it’s changing every five minutes,” he says, “because someone’s making some money out of it.”

Which studio was first to announce that it would no longer make films using 'film'?

Paramount Pictures became the first big studio to announce that it would no longer release 35mm prints of movies in the US. 

What was the last 'film' to be shipped on 'film'?

Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues was, in effect, the final Paramount film to be shipped to cinemas on, well, film.

What proportion of US cinemas have made the switch from 35mm to digital?

Nine out of ten US movie screens have now made the switch from 35mm film to digital.  

What was the first 'major' film to be distributed in digital format only?

The Wolf of Wall Street became the first major movie to be delivered to theatres in digital formats only.

What is the average cost of a digital projector?

Digital projectors typically cost between $60,000 and $150,000 each.

Why has the switch to digital meant that small independent cinemas have struggled?

Many art-house theatres cannot afford to buy digital projectors

Which major Hollywood director has attempted to make a stand for digital film?

Quentin Tarantino

How much did the US box office make in 2014?

$11 billion

How much did the home entertainment market (DVD, BluRay, Download etc) in 2014?

The home entertainment market brought in revenues of $18 billion

What was the increase in home entertainment revenue due to?

Begun to stabilise after years of falling DVD sales

What was the first film to be shot entirely on digital?

In 2002, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones became the first major movie to be shot entirely on digital video.

What would have been the cost of shooting that film on digital?

It would have cost them $1.8m.

How much does it cost to produce and ship a film to a US cinema?

To produce and ship a 35mm print to an American cinema costs about $1,500.

What is the distribution benefit of digital?

Digital distribution makes it feasible to launch a movie simultaneously on tens of thousands of screens across the planet

What happened to 'film' prints of Titanic?

Titanic reportedly played for so long in theatres that some prints fell apart in the projectors.

What has happened to the number of films made by Hollywood between 2006-2013?

The number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably – by 40 per cent between 2006 and 2013.

Why, according to Jan-Christoph Horak, is digital NOT immortal?

“The problem, in a nutshell, is that there is no such thing as a digital preservation medium,”

Why is advancing technology also a problem for digital storage?

The second is that every 18 months or so, a new file format comes along to displace its predecessors and, as a result of this constant upgrade cycle, archivists face a kind of Sisyphean dilemma.

How much,  according to Jan-Christoph Horak, could transfering one form of digital to another cost the film industry?

Each leap in format costs between $10,000 and $20,000 per film, he says.

How much did the camera used on The Avengers cost?

£900 to buy. 

Apart from cost, what other benefits does digital offer to film makers?

Shooting digitally also allows film-makers to review their work instantly and shots that don’t work can be reshot quickly – potentially slashing principal photography costs.

How much has technicolour invested in digital post production?

The company has invested more than $200m in digital post-production and visual effects facilities.

What is a DCP?

Digital Cinema Package. It involves a hard drive, roughly the size of a paperback, which is couriered to the theatre, where it is unpacked from its protective foam-lined case and slotted into a server that feeds a digital projector.

What is the Electric Dusk drive-in?

The Electric Dusk drive-in in downtown Los Angeles has hit upon a solution of sorts: it shows films on DVD. It’s a kind of guerrilla operation – a pop-up drive-in in an abandoned marketplace, flanked by scenes of urban decay and boasting a giant inflatable screen.


Sumarise the answers above into a 50 word explanation of the positive impact of digital distribution.

Sumarise the answers above into a 50 word explanation of the negative impact of digital distribution

Friday, 11 December 2015

Distribution - What is it?

What is distribution?

What part of the supply chain is distribution?
Distribution is the 3rd part of the supply chain.

What is distribution often referred to as?
Distribution is often referred to as 'the invisible art'.

What does 'vertical integration' mean when discussing distribution?
Vertical integration is where three stages are seen part of the same larger stage, under the control of one company.
Why isn't 'vertical integration' so common in the independent sector?
Vertical integration is not common in the independent sector as producers tend not to have long-term economic links with distributors.

What three stages are involved in the independent sector?
The three stages in the independent sector are licensing, marketing and logistics.


What is licencing?
Licensing is the process by which a distributor acquires the legal right to exploit a film.
What are the two levels of licencing?
The two levels of licencing are International distribution, this ensures that films find their way to the 90+ market 'territories' around the world. The second level of licencing is 'local' distribution, which involves the distributor acquiring the licence to release and exploit the film in a particular country.

What is the advantage of being a major US studio?

An advantage of being a major US studio is they have their own distribution offices in all the major territories.

What three different types of rights can you acquire on a local level?
On a local level, you can acquire
What are royalties?
Something that the distributer pays to the producer out of the profits that the film generates.
What is the most effective way to increase interest in a film?
The most effective way to increase interest in a film is a theatrical opening.
How long does it take for a film to reach 'free to air' TV?
It takes 2 years for a film to reach 'free to air' TV.


What are the two key questions surrounding the marketing of a film?
The two key questions are 'When?' and 'How?'
What day are films typically released on?
Films are typically released on Fridays.
What will a distributor look at before releasing a film on a Friday?
To ensure there are only a few other films which are released on Fridays.

What is a 'light' week in terms of distribution?
It will ensure that there will be both screen space and adequate review column inches in the press allocated to any potential release.

What does it mean to 'position' a film distinctively?
It will be positioned distinctively and a void a release date occupied by other films with similar traits, such as story, subject, country of origin, etc.

Why has this become increasingly difficult in the UK?
It has become increasingly difficult, as the release schedule has regularly featured over 10 new releases in a week.

What are P&A?
Are the nuts and bolts of marketing and distributing films, and its known as Prints and Advertising.

How much can P&A cost?
Its the bulk of the distributor's investment, after paying the initial fee for rights, and can range from less than £1,000 to over £1 million for the release of a film in the UK.

Marketing - Prints and adverts

Typically how many prints will a 'specialised' film have?
Specialised films will often have less than 10 prints, with them 'toured' over a 6 month period to all parts of the UK.
How many will mainstream films have?
Commercial mainstream films however, will often open on over 200 prints. These simultaneously screen in all major UK towns and cities.
What is a key factor in developing the profile of a film?
For most films, favourable press response is a key factor in developing the profile of a film.

How else can awareness of a film be raised?
Awareness of a film can also be raised by posters, advertising campaigns (e.g magazines and newspapers), and press campaigns (e.g interviews.)

Why is distribution in the UK seen as risky?
Distribution in the UK is seen as risky compared to other countries because the cost of print advertising is comparatively high.

Why are companies looking towards viral marketing?
Companies are looking towards viral marketing in order to extend the reach of advertising and develop more effective communication with audiences at a lower cost.

What are the benefits of a 'talent visit'
The benefit of a talent visit is that the director and/or lead actors win significant editorial coverage to support a release. It makes the volume of coverage far outweigh the cost of talent visits.


In the pre digital film age what was a distributor responsible for?
Before film became mostly digital, a distributor would arrange the transportation of the film to cinemas and theatres, the tapes, videos or DVDs to shops and ensure that this whole process is as efficient as possible.

How much does a 35mm print typically cost?
Each 35mm print costs around £1000 so handling it needs to be done safely. If the film has subtitles than it may cost as much as twice this.

How many reals is a typical feature print?
Within the UK specifically, feature prints are shortened so that they can be easily transported. They are usually around 20 minutes long and an entire feature film would require 5-6 of them.

Why do 35mm prints get damaged?
The simple answer to this question is that 35mm prints get damaged from repetitive use as they are moved around lots of cinemas and played through many times.

Where are prints stored?
The UK's central print warehouse which is located in West London.

How long did a theatrical release used to last?
Originally, the distributor would run two different releases, the first of which would last for around 6 months, trying to reach optimum coverage until the prints are essentially destroyed after this period. Any remaining prints are then used in second-run which lasts for the rest of the film's licensed period.

Digital Distribution

When did digital distribution begin in the UK?

Name two advantages of digital distribution
Easy to replicate and cost effective.

Which countries adopted digital distribution early and why?
China and Brazil, because efficiently bring together supply and demand.

How many screens were digital in 2005 and how many are now (you'll need to google this)
112 to 192.

Why has digital distribution radically altered the operating model of distributors?
The comparatively low cost of film copies and additional logistical effectiveness of digital distribution provide the distributor with greater flexibility.

What has happened to the typical release period for a film?
Reduced from 3-6 months to 1-3 months.

What is a loss leader (google it) and why are companies using the Cinema as a potential loss leader?
A loss leader is a product sold as a loss which attracts customers, and Cinema's are used as loss leaders so customers will buy DVDs.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

2010 Exam question

June 2010

What significance does the continuing development of digital media technology have for media institutions and audiences?

The continuing development of digital media technology has a huge significance on media institutions and audiences. The film industry is constantly changing and adapting in order to find new ways to distribute their product. For instance, in recent years companies have been introducing an online streaming platform, which gives the viewer the option to purchase the movie and stream or download that film directly to their computer at home, or even to their smartphone or device.

The significance of developing digital media for media audiences is the production of films such as Mad Max Fury Road, an Australian film directed by George Miller. Also Ex Machina, a British film directed by Alex Garland. The development of computer system when producing a film allows films to be edited with no mistakes. For example, in Mad Max Fury Road, there were 2700 individual shots captured by a Phantom Camera. This camera has the ability to capture 300 frames per second. This was able to happen due to the many cameras featuring and capturing the footage to be shot in the film. This advance in digital media technology allows film makers to get better shots at more angles quicker then they would have beforehand. The mechanical cameras could have not coped with the dust from the desert so it would of had to be filmed in a different location. Another advanced pieces of camera equipment was the edge arm that was also used shows synergy within the film. The edge arm allows 360 rotation so that the shots flowed more. It also allows the audience to easily follow the shot more, an example of this being used is when they are looking at Nux's car, they were able to do close up shot of max to a medium shot of Nux to a long shot of his war boy. Also, the CGI used in the British film, Ex Machina, was perfected by editing through developed computers. Mad Max was originally filmed in 2D but planned to film in 3D, In Ex Machina to do the drawing on of Ava's body that they wanted to do in the editing stages they had to film everything twice. Film originally cost £1000 per roll so it would have cost them £2000 but now they are able to do it on a hard rive it took less time and crucially, less money.

The significance of developing digital media for media audiences is the post-production in films such as Mad Max and Ex Machina. Some features in Mad Max shows the CGI used in the film, for example, CGI was used when blowing up the car as a character jumped towards it. However, in the film it will be shown as if it actually happens. The car being blown up had to be done with CGI as it wanted to have as many special effects in the film as possible, this to aim towards action packed fanatics and everyone that likes big explosive films. Although, during the filming of Mad Max they filming crew came across the issue of the sand, as the location for the film is in the Namibian desert. This caused major problems as if the sand got in a part of the cameras, the mechanics would have jammed, causing filming to come to an abrupt stop. Ex Machina also had to deal with the rotoscoping of Ava's face. This was done to ensure no humane features could be seen other than her face, which was used throughout the whole film. This was significant to media audiences as they wanted to only see Ava as a robot and the rotoscoping of her face helped the character come alive as her character. The final design for Ava's body came from many rough drawings, until they found one in which they liked so they rotoscoped her to fit the character they had drawn. Also, the character Furiosa in Mad Max has one arm, this was shown in the film as Charlize Theron had to wear a green screen glove so the editing could cut out her actual hand. This was significant to the audience as it gave the character a personality to which some audiences could relate to. Although, the green screen glove allowed the editing to be done much quicker in order for the film to be released as soon as possible, this saved time for the editors as they did not have to blank out her hand on every frame.

The significance of developing digital media for media audiences is the marketing stage of films such as Mad Max, Ex Machina and Star Wars. Star Wars announced they would be making another film and it went viral worldwide. To market the upcoming film they released a trailer which does not show any major parts of the film, they did this as they knew they will get millions of people going to watch the new film. However, Mad Max released 2 trailers representing the film, it also had a TV spot where they aimed to broaden the release worldwide. This was done to tease fans so they wanted to watch the film even more, it could also have been done to reach wider audiences ensuring maximum profit. Furthermore, Ex Machina being a low budget film, used social media as a way of marketing the film. They created profiles and popular social media sites such as Tinder. On this fans could interact with the robot, Ava. This was significant for media audiences as through developing media they could come in contact with one of the main characters immediately before the film was even released. Also, other films such as the upcoming Batman Vs Superman film have created a social media account on Instagram. The trailer that was released has reached 9 million views creating synergy between two films through the use of social media, they worked together in order to bring individual fans of Batman and those of Superman together with the new film. The use of posters for all films allows sneak previews of setting or cast, for example Mad Max posters included the three main characters on the front with the desert setting in the background. This is significant to media audiences as it allowed fans to see the upcoming films with their preview, thanks to the continuing development of digital media.

The distribution of films has changed dramatically over the years as we are now able to watch films over and over again by DVD. Before the audiences could not view them again unless they were played in the cinema but now they can purchase the DVD and watch it over and over again. It also has been increased in quality over time with added blu-ray, blu-ray and DVDs increase the amount of money films make, this would have not been able to happen before the development. Also, the continuing development of online streaming means people can watch the latest films for free meaning they do not have to go to the cinema to watch a film they like. With the development of technology also allows online streaming on smartphones and tablets meaning films can be watched from anywhere, this decreasing the amount of DVD's bought, not only does this make it better for the buyer but it is cheaper for the consumer provider. This is evident as Mad Max Fury Road is the most illegally downloaded film on online streaming sites such as PutLocker. However, this is trying to be overcome as other film sites such as Netflix are trying to slowly kill the online streaming industry outside of themselves. Netflix allows the audience to know the film has not been illegally downloaded and is genuine, this benefiting the media audience as they get to watch films, documentaries and dramas for a very small fee every month.

In conclusion the significance of the continuing development of digital media technology has meant that both institutions and audiences have benefited from a great film experience. Media institutions have made hit films such as Mad Max and Ex Machina generating a huge profit and media audiences have had the opportunity to watch the new films for their enjoyment.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The British Film Industry

BBFC - An independant, non-government body which classifies and censors film, video as well as computer and console-based games released in the UK.

BFI - The official UK agency for international cultural relations. Its Film Department promotes new British films (features and shorts), internationally principally through festivals and showcases.

UK Film council - Promotes understanding and appreciation of Britain's rich film and television heritage and culture.

British Academy of Film and Television Arts - Aims to support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image.

British council - Government backed lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad.

Films made by:

Film 4 - The Inbetweeners Movie, 12 Years A Slave
Momentum Pictures - White Collar Hooligan 2, Insidious: Chapter 2
Working Title - The Theory of Everything, Johnny English Reborn
BBC Film Network - Ill Manors, StreetDance 2
Pathe - 127 Hours, Adulthood

British V American

British films can claim 25% tax relief from the government. This means the first 25% of any profit you make cannot be taxed! To qualify as 'British', a film needs to score 18/35 on the Bfi 'Britishness' criteria:
Ex Machina: 32
The Avengers Ag Of Ultron: 22
Star Wars The Force Awakens: 23

The British appeal

British films tend to cater and appeal to only British audiences. This could be down to a number of reasons including story lines that are generally contextually British, this means that the story line or theme of the film is to an interest of British citizens as well as a point of knowledge they may have, which those from other countries may not have. However this can also be a reason for audiences of non British nationality to watch these films, as some people, stereotypically Americans, enjoy learning and watching media products set in, on or about Britain. Also due to British people being known for their unique, often than not dry and harsh, sense of humour British comedies do not generally appeal to a wide range of people that are from and live outside of the UK. British films do not appeal to an audience as wide as Hollywood blockbusters, as these types of films are normally 4 quadrant films, with high budgets, global stars and are normally based on subjects of which appeals to a large variety of people. Whereas British films usually accomodate the binary opposites of the features of Hollywood blockbusters (listed previously). Moreover the distribution techniques of British films do not follow the institutional practices of most if not all Hollywood blockbusters.

How British films attract audience

Ex Machina - Aficionados
Suffragette - Aficionados
Attack the block - Mainstream Plus
Inbetweeners 2 - Mainstream
Macbeth - Aficionados
Far from the Madding Crowd - Film Buffs1

Why have a British film industry?

I believe that the British film industry has two main purposes. One of which is to develop the skills of Britain's in the film industry (for example: directors, actors and others), this then can lead to films that are not strictly British to be deemed British which will appeal to British people and therefore boost the UK economy via purchasing these films, regardless of the media they purchase and watch the film on. The second is to generate income from the actual film companies, this is done by excluding tax on 25% of profits that the film makes, which encourages film companies to produce and make their films in the UK. In juxtaposition this will lead to the services of other British companies being used, for example; caterers and carpenters (for sets), which creates a larger demand for these companies and reduces unemployment in the UK.

Representation of Ethnicity

Ethnic Representation in TV Dramas

Black character - Luther

This is a picture from the trailer for the new Luther series, in this clip Luther is portrayed as dangerous as he acts violently towards his office. This is a stereotypical representation of ethnic characters, as characters are seen as exotic, dangerous, humorous and pitied. This is the case as he will be pitied due to his actions of anger in his TV shows trailer. Although, there is countertypes due to the fact that black people are normally associated with low paid jobs whereas in this case he has a high paying job.

Black character - Danny

This is a picture from the TV drama, Spooks. This picture is taken from the part of the drama when the black character, Danny is killed. This is stereotypical as the black character is always involved in violence in TV, in this case he is the one being killed but he is associated with murder due to his colour and the stereotypes for a black character.

Black character - Michael Dawson

This is a picture of the character Michael Dawson from the TV drama, Lost. In this drama he is taken to court and not allowed to see his child anymore. This is stereotypical as the black character is appearing in court straight into the drama, they have done this as it is a stereotype that black people are associated with crime and mostly appearing in court.

White character - Detective Jimmy McNulty

This is a white character from the drama, The Wire. He is a detective which is stereotypical as the white male has a well paid job in the drama. This is stereotypical as normally the white man has the best job, which in this case this stereotype is used as he has a job as a detective and the part is not played by a black male.

White character - Daryl Dixon

This is a character from the Walking Dead, TV drama. In this case, he is tolerated by the group due to his skills in hunting and his efficiency when killing. This is stereotypical as the white male in the drama is liked by every cast member. This is due to the fact that he has good hunting skills and for this drama, he will be the one to go too in order to stay alive.

White character - King Joffrey

This is King Joffre from the TV drama, Game of Thrones. In this drama he has the title of King, this shows stereotypes as he is white and is king. This is because the white character will have a superior role to the other ethnic groups. This is the case as the drama is based from the past, when some ethnic minorities were seen as different.

Chinese character - Sun

This is a character in Lost, that is Chinese. In this drama she learns how to play the piano, this is giving the stereotype that she is intelligent which is a common stereotype with Chinese people in TV dramas.

Chinese character - Glenn Rhee

This is a character from the Walking Dead. In the drama he is smart and tactical. This is stereotypical as from war tactics, the Chinese are seen to have great tactics. This is due to skills when killing and hunting, the drama may have used this stereotype to attract all ethnics.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Four key areas of disability

Watch the clip below and make notes on the four key areas:
  • Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Mise en scene

Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • This clip begins with an over the shoulder shot which allows us to see the reaction of others, for example the man in the van when approached by the character with the disability even though they were previous friends before his disability. 
  • The clip is purely based on the character with the disability to show what is wrong with him, it shows his face and captures his facial expressions towards how people look at him.
  • Also, during this clip it emphasises the way people look at him whenever they see him, it proves what the people think about others with a disability, due to their facial expressions.
  • An establishing shot is shown in the first beginning of the scene, it shows they are in some sort of building site or building workplace. This is due to the equipment that is shown and also the resources which are shown throughout the shot, behind the characters or during the shot when he is walking away.
  • Shot reverse shot is used when Nick and some other guy are looking at each other and having a conversation. This is used to possibly show the tension between one another and to show what they are talking about. 
  • Cross-cutting is shown when Nick is at the building ground or workplace and then he is walking down a street to help a woman pick up the bags she drops.
  • Fast-paced editing may be shown when Nick is walking down town, and it goes from him to other people who are surrounding him to show their facial expressions to Nick's appearance, this is also may be fast paced due to Nick being quite angry, because he made the woman scream.
  • At the beginning of scene, it contains a non-diegetic sound which is the background music, which the characters can not hear as it is added in for effect.
  • A sound bridge is used to go from one shot to another when the music starts when he is walking away and then it cuts to Nick being in the middle of town. This keeps it from being boring and makes each cut flow onto the next.
  •  In the recruitment office there is no sound other than Nick and the recruitment officer talking, this makes the audience understand that this an important part of the episode and attracts the audience to listen. This makes all focus on Nick as he tries to change people's view on what the army is like once you are disabled, he believes that he is important and that he should be listened to.
  • To understand it is a building ground there are many resources which are shown in the background, behind the 3 characters who are talking.
  • They are wearing casual clothing which proves the characters previous job was casual labour, he is wearing jeans and trainers which shows he is a relaxed character even though his disability effects him.
  • The makeup used is to show his disability which covers one half of his face, this is done well to every specific detail.
  • In the scene with Nick and the sergeant there is a shot that shows an army painting directly above Nick, which could possibly signify that his injury happened by being in the army.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Camera angles

OCR Media Studies, How to Guide. Basic Camera Angles

OCR Media Studies - Basic Camera Shots

OCR Media Studies - Camera Movements

Over the shoulder shot

An example of an over the shoulder shot would be this scene from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2. This adds effect as it shows which character is in control and the way in which a number of characters communicate with each other.

Long Shot

An example of a long shot is this scene from Batman The Dark Knight, this allows the viewer to see the full scene and the effect the character has on the public in the city.

High Angle

An example of a high angle shot is this scene from Inglourious Basterds. This camera angle shows which characters are dominant and which are the less powerful.

Extreme close-up

This is an example of an extreme close-up from the film Avatar. This is usually used when trying to add tension, it can also be used at the end of films to end with a character rising from their death.

Low Angle Shot

This is an example of a low angle shot from the film Batman The Dark Knight Rises. This camera shot is also used to show dominance and is used to show the effect of the lighting in a scene.