Through most of the 20th century Anheuser Busch dominated the American beer market much the way the major Hollywood studios dominated the motion picture industry. The 21st century has brought changes to both worlds and there are lessons about the movie business to be learned by considering what’s happening with beer.
The Big Picture
Every April for the past five years the National Association of Theatre Owners has hosted its annual event CinemaCon at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In years past conversations about the ongoing transition of movie theatres to digital cinema technology dominated much of the talk at the show. But as the transition comes to its conclusion – at least in North America – the focus has changed. Now that they have digital cinema technology – and all its potential – exhibitors want to know how to maintain their existing customers and ideally add new ones in an increasingly competitive entertainment environment. The ultimate goal is to make movie theatres into entertainment centers filled with things no home theatre could ever provide. The question is how.
Every April during the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas hundreds of companies presents thousands of ideas of ways to improve the motion picture production process. These ideas are packaged in hardware and software of all shapes and sizes. The best of them offer ways to make the task of bringing picture and sound to the screen easier, faster or less expensive. Some promise all three. But the best of the best do even more. These truly groundbreaking breakthroughs don’t simply improve the process; they point to a different way of doing things. Some people call these developments disruptive and often that’s true. But they catch on as people see the value of the concept, regardless of the cost and in a very short time it becomes the way everyone works. These are the ideas that merit a Digital Cinema Report Catalyst Award.
Seattle's Cinerama Theatre officially reopened last November 20th with the premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. This video, exclusive to Digital Cinema Report and courtesy of Dolby, offers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the theatre’s transformation. And it’s fair to ask: is this North America's best cinema?
Alan Blanco says he thinks of himself “as a filmmaker first” and it’s understandable why. For someone still so early in his career he’s had a wide range of craft jobs on a long list of films. His IMDB credits list includes gaffer, key grip, camera operator, sound recordist, editor, sound editor and ADR engineer. Now, he’s added two more credits: screenwriter and cinematographer. Blanco co-wrote Manos Sucias, a widely acclaimed independent feature film with director Josef Kubota Wladyka and shot the film on location in Colombia. The film opens in select New York theatres April 3.
As the National Association of Broadcasters convention approaches, one topic that seems likely to get a lot of attention is the Interoperable Master Format. The motion picture industry as a whole is starting to coalesce around the concept of relying completely on metadata to carry content through the entire production, post-production and delivery process. In particular, the IMF is steadily gaining traction and, when widely adopted, could serve to streamline workflow and delivery. It can’t happen too soon.
Having recently completed my first micro-budget indie feature, White Rabbit, I follow the latest methods for a suitable theatrical release. In this light, attending the American Film Market revealed to me that theatrical distribution is seeing upheaval triggered by the industry’s now-complete conversion to digital cinema.
Hollywood produces seemingly fewer films each year and when a large number of those films fail to attract audiences – as was the case this past summer – the downturn in business hurts studios and theatres alike.
American Dreams in China, director Peter Chan's first digital cinema effort, was shot on Arri Alexa and recorded on Codex. Chan’s strong affection for the filmic look determined how the film would be graded and finished in post. Colorist Antonio Zhang of the Chinese facility Post Production Office Group supervised the entire process.
Arri Rental’s Alexa 65 camera system was officially launched last night in front of a packed audience at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles.