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12th January 2012
A report is due to be released next week suggesting that the UK should make more commercially successful films, this is after a year where the British film industry contributed £4 Billion to the UK economy.
Prime Minister David Cameron is to visit Pinewood Studios on Wednesday (11th Jan) and has said himself that he British film industry should support "commercially successful pictures", but in doing this does it mean film makers loosing their artistic integrity?
In my mind this begs the question, do film makers make films for person reasons, it may be to make art, to make a statement or because the maker has a story they just have to tell, and despite it's commercial success if its going to be seen and enjoyed or acknowledged by the public, despite how small that group might be, it's worth making the film. Or is the making of a film an industry and if the product won't make a profit then why bother to produce it? In reality the films, which make the money, are (generally) big blockbuster.
Last year Britain produced The Kings Speech, The Inbetweeners, Johnny English Reborn and finish off the Harry Potter series (which can arguably be credited to Britain), all successful films which made money at the box office and have continued to make money in the home market (DVD, Blu-ray, downloads). But outside of this there were plenty of films that were lower grossing movies that probably didn't make money.
The "independent" films that Britain produces are often what separates it, and forms the identity of the film industry, India and France also have massive films industries and can be identified by these films which are loved by people in their native countries as well as other nationalities. In the UK we love American (Hollywood) blockbuster for what they are, and it just so happens they make money, maybe it's the marketing push of millions of dollars but they make money, much of which is pumped back into the American economy.
Of course this is the attraction, American mainstream films make money the world over, British films tend to make money only in the UK, the marketing pounds aren't there to promote the film to the same extent abroad. Despite The Kings Speech which won Oscars doing well in the US, The Inbetweeners and Johnny English didn't.
It must be argues that if Britain makes more 'mainstream' films there is a fear of the British film industry just becoming a Little Hollywood, and although it's no bad thing to produce movies that make money (and hence having a larger audience) we shouldn't and can't stop making films which can be truly identifies as British and which probably wont make millions.
9th January 2010
The big electronical consumer show for the year is just wrapping up in Las Vegas, Nevada and the story of the year for home cinema is the big push from electrical companies like Samsung and LG for 3D television.
3D hit the multiplexes big time in 2009 with film studios like Disney and Fox releasing big budget 3D movies like Up and the Billion dollar plus grossing Avatar. The next natural step for 3D technology is the home market, and the hardware manufactureres were there to demo this is force.
Blu-ray and high definition is certainly the right media for picture clarity to make 3D in the home a reality and with no new video format to push on the consumer this year, and also true High Definition 1080p TV's becoming mainstream 3D is the next technology being pushed on us.
There is a problem with 3D that is being asked by many, is it a gimmick? Or can this really be a serious contender for the next big thing in the home? The big problem with 3D is that you need glasses to enjoy the effect, and for a 2hour+ movie this can be a strain on the eyes.
With 3D television the like of Samsung are discussion having 3D broadcast for normal TV programs, but can you really see whole families sitting down for an evenings entertainment wearing 3D specs, and how much are these specs going to be? For a family of 4 this could get expensive, which means were into a niche market now, and to make money from 3D it has to be marketed to the mainstream.
Cost again is where there is a big problem, the hardware companies want us to upgrade all our home entertainment equipment once more for 3D. We willingly did this for DVD because we could see the advantage. We were less willing but again we did it for high def because we could see the advantage, but for 3D, where is the advantage, why should we buy new TV's and players to sit in our houses wearing a pair of silly glasses?
Personally I think there is a place for 3D in the home, but it's for children to enjoy movies like Up on their PS3 with a TV in their own rooms, or the couple sitting down for a couple of hours watching Avatar on a Saturday night, not for television broadcasts for a whole evening, I don't want, or need, Eastenders or Jonathan Ross in 3D!
Moving on the other big thing at CES was the bigger and bigger screen on the TV's that are getting thinner and thinner. There was evidence of OLED but this generally for the smaller screen devices, the bigger sets were generally LCD, and very very thin and light.
8th June 2009
For home video enthusiasts today is a very sad day as Pioneer have announced they will stop making laserdisk players this month (June 2009).
Initially brought to market in 1978 under the name of DiscoVision the 12 inch disks were going to revolutionise home entertainment and bring that cinema quality high definition picture to the home.
Although the technology inside the huge players was far superior to that of it's magnetic tape (VHS and Beta) equivalents the lack of storage (60 minutes on each side) and high price stopped them from becoming a mainstream purchase.
American video enthusiasts took to the devices as did the Japanese, but Europe never really embraced the devices. VHS had a strong hold, and by the time people realised that their £15 film on the fragile tape was a bad idea and looked for alternatives the 5 inch DVD was hitting the market.
Here is a list of the top selling films on the Laserdisk format:
Despite it's hard life the format has laser 30 years and sold a quite respectable 360 million units. Disks didn't shift that many, Star Wars was one of the biggest sellers with 100,000 sold and The Lion King not far behind, although exact sales data is hard to find.Check out the wikipedia page and an article on the demise at hometheatermag.com.