New and Changing Technologies of the Motion Picture Industry
Today, the entertainment industry, specifically the movie industry, remains to be one of the most popular industries of our society. With itís high popularity, and attempt to satisfy consumer needs, the industry contains a great deal of competition between corporations. As a result of the high level of competition, the ability to use technological advancement becomes a major factor in reaching success. With the increase of technology, companies are continuously looking to change rather than stabilize, to overcome their competitors.
In the motion picture industry, there are two major areas where technology is changing the industry.
- Internet involvement
- Improvement in film manufacturing
distribution companiesí investment in the Internet.
Small production companies merging with networking and communications
Filmís position on the Internet
3D movies to PC screens
Illegal pirating through Internet.
The large players in the distribution category (ex. Time Warner, Sony Corporation, Universal Studios, Paramount/Viacom, Fox Entertainment, Disney, and Miramax) have the financial stability, and are creating their own Internet access through their own large networks. For instance, Standard and Poorís reports that Disney bought 42% of the Internet networking company Infoseek, and launched its own GO.com network.
In order to stay
competitive, other large firms followed. Sony Corp, and Time Warner, each
took a share of the newly acquired Cdnow.com
Retail Company, which was formed by Columbia House Co. Each were reported
as to owning 37% (Standard and Poorís).
Production and broadcast companies have found the Internet can provide them with many resources to better their success. It is becoming very common for smaller production agencies to merge with large networking and communication systems. Each player in the deal can benefit from the others services. The data networking of the communication companies offers high file transfer speeds that significantly reduce the time and costs of film production, video editing and collaboration time (Business Wire, Oct 11, í99).
On Nov. 19th, 1999, KnightLight Pictures, a full service multimedia and film production company, merged with IVID Communications. IVID provides planning and marketing of products delivered on the Internet and CDROM. Now, with the ability to take itís services on-line, KnightLight Pictures is a full service video and film production company that offers interactive CDROM creation, Web site development, graphic animation, and infomercials, using their own film production tools. "Because there are so many ways for a company to create, package and distribute its message, it can be overwhelming, and as you have a handle on technology, it changes." says KnightLight founder and owner David St. Pe.
Similar mergers have
taken place. For instance, Lucent Technologies and Quad International Communications
Corporation, a broadband carrier focused on the media and entertainment
industries, have recently joined in order to create a similar service to
that of KnightLight.
new techniques are happening within the industry because of Internet access
was attained. Movies can now be seen by the viewerís demand over the Internet.
Film Technologies, Inc., with the assistance of Microcast,
has old classics to new releases available on the web. Microcast, the worlds
highest capacity turnkey provider of Internet video services, has developed
the largest video streaming network, with a current capacity to deliver
up to 1,000,000 simultaneous viewers at broadband speed (ENTERTAINMENTWIRE,
3-29-00). AFT has been criticized for bringing color to old classic black
and white films, but will likely bring upon more criticism when these films
are interrupted by Microcast demanded commercials.
With the collaboration
of different types of service providers, it is evident that the movie industry
is becoming vertically integrated. Production companies such as KnightLight
Pictures understands that their business can benefit from other technological
providers. Instead of trying to design their own networking and internet
service, St. Pe knows that technology will change very quickly, and during
the time spent on trying to get a grip on it, it will soon change to something
new approach to viewing three dimensional movies came about when Dynamic
Digital Depth, Inc. (DDD) joined with Wave Pictures to bring giant 3D movies
to personal computers via the web. Waveís giant screen 3D movies will be
reformatted and able to download using DDDís brand new DeepSee™
plug-in for Apple QuickTime (Business Wire, 3-28-00).
Unfortunately, advancement in technology has had an ill effect on the movie industry as well. With films available on the Internet, the ability to illegally pirate these films has become a concern for the industry. A new video program called ĎDivXí, similar to a MP3 file for audio, enables the computer underground to pass uncopyrighted movies among networks. These movies can be downloaded and saved on CDís. The Motion Picture Association of America, has already started lawsuits against pirating, or offering unauthorized movies over the internet in a plea to save the industry (AP wire, 3-27-00).
Computer generated effects.
As technology increases
at an exponential rate, all levels of the supply chain in the movie industry
are driven to continually strive for change. No Corporation or firm is
large enough, or so financially stable not to worry about being outdone
by its competitors. In order to be successful in the vertically integrated
industry of film making, specialization in a particular area is very important.
"A computer is like a pencil.
It is a really amazing pencil. [But] computers, donít create computer animation
any more than a pencil would create a drawing."
-- John Lasseter (Director, V.P., Creative Development at PIXAR)
With the movie industry becoming more vertically integrated, many movie production companies are looking to smaller special effect companies who specialize in the area, to perform their duties.
The leading companies include:
Industrial Light & Magic
Rhythm and Hues
Pacific Data Images
Recent box offices hits such as The Toy Story, and The Matrix, have used special effects that have never been seen in movies. With the increasing ability to use computers in films, movie making analysts look towards the day where movies will be able to be made without actors, or even filming scenes.
Sweeping the home entertainment
front, is the creation of digital video disks, called DVDís.
These DVDís add a brighter and sharper picture than video cassettes, and can move from one part of the movie to another much quicker and easier. In 1999, is was reported that three million households in the U.S. had a DVD player instead of a VCR, and that number is projected to triple in 2000 (Standard and Poorís).