The Movie Empire Strikes Back

Upon hearing the fact that “Avatar” has grossed an income larger than the yearly budget of a small country (say, Armenia), realization suddenly dawned upon me – the movie industry has just made a powerful, albeit not fatal, blow against piracy and illegal downloads.
The main economic wish of film makers is that people go and watch their movies in the theatre, and buy their DVDs and other merchandise afterwards, thus generating much revenue for the studio and the artists. When people download movies for free, obviously the makers see not a penny, and it is thus to their financial interest to stop people from doing so. One abundant method is lawsuites and claims against file-sharers, but a much more interesting one, which also as a whole gives back to the market, is having the theatre offer features otherwise inaccessible to the viewers at home. The large screen and excellent surround system are two such features which have long been incorporated in the modern theatre, but much to the industry’s misfortune, advancements in “home cinema” technology have taken the edge out of the screening room and into the pirates apartment. The new, and highly successful feature (as can be seen by “Avatar” profits) is effective, realistic, and plausible 3D motion pictures.
By creating a movie intended in original plan and design to be viewed in three dimensions, the film makers have drastically decreased the number of people who did not pay at least once to see it. When phrases such as “Oh, don’t go see it on a regular screen – you absolutely must watch it in 3D” are so oft tossed between friends and reviewers, it is of no wonder why many people would be reluctant to experience the film solely by download. This, combined with the fact that tickets for three dimensional movies often cost a little extra, is in my opinion one of the main reasons for “Avatar”s tremendous financial achievement, and I have no doubt that other studios will attempt to follow course and produce films whose viewing experience in mere two dimensions can only be said to be sub-par to that in three. Therefore, a new age is upon us – the Age of Depth [funny; though these movies will indeed offer depth perception, I wonder how “deep” in terms of art and value and moral they will plunge].
Piracy is at a problem, but not a death sentencing one. In order for such movies to retain their downloadable popularity, file sharers will need to distribute a 3D version of the film. I foresee two main challenges in this. The first and lesser one, is the acquisition. Directly and illegally filming from within the theatre probably no longer produces high enough quality to be viewed at home, and will not have the same effect. Of course, it is only reasonable to assume that sooner or later the actual movie bands will leak, or probably released in some sort of DVD later on. Extra work in ripping the movie might be required, but eventually, it almost always happens that somebody finds a way to hack security and compatibility issues.
This brings us to the second and more difficult obstacle, and that is the viewing equipment – both glasses and display screens and/or projectors. If the 3D effect is caused merely by displaying two pictures which require filters in order to separate (your ordinary R-G glasses can do that), then means of viewing do exist, although the cheap ones are no doubt vastly inferior to those given in the cinema. If, however, the 3D presentation is achieved by means of a more complicated method, for example, quickly alternating between two pictures, then the glasses needed are of totally different design. It might be that in order to view different movies, different glasses are to be required, and in some cases, perhaps different projection equipment (the day will come, when the two will be united and the same!), increasing piracy costs and encumbrance. Even without these problems, in general, from what I know and have heard, today’s 3D equipment does not deliver the same power and excitement as going to the theatre, nor is it nearly as accessible as it should be if it were to reach the masses on a grand scale.
Overall, these problems are can be overcome. I will not be surprised, should the day quickly be upon us, that special home-based 3D merchandise will be readily available. As more and more movies will be created especially for 3D entertainment, so will pirates and regular DVD-buying-users want to seem them at their leisure are home, thus spurring new technology, and again threatening theatres. Until then, however, let the movie industry relish the benefits of its new feature, and hope they will have yet another trick up their sleeves when the pirates will once more rear their ugly heads.

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2 comments

  1. Quick information, 3D displays have existed for years in home computers, using the same technique used today. Infact, modern home 3D video techniques are more advance than those used in movie theaters. However, what is currently lacking is widespread adoption of the appropiate video codecs, hardware to run 3D movies and monitors that are good enough to display this.

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