Friday, 22 April 2016


1. 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.
2. Which studio was first to announce that it would no longer make films using 'film'?
Paramount Pictures
3. What was the last 'film' to be shipped on 'film'?
Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues
4. 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.
5. What was the first 'major' film to be distributed in digital format only?
The Wolf of Wall Street 
6. What is the average cost of a digital projector?
Typically cost between $60,000 and $150,000 each.
7. Why has the switch to digital meant that small independent cinemas have struggled?
Independent film-makers still need rich patrons and the number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably
8. Which major Hollywood director has attempted to make a stand for digital film?
Christopher Horak
9. How much did the US box office make in 2014
A record $11bn
10. How much did the home entertainment market (DVD, BluRay, Download etc) in 2014?
Revenues of $18bn
11. What was the increase in home entertainment revenue due to?
50 per cent surge in downloads of digital HD formats, which surpassed $1bn for the first time.
12. 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
13. What would have been the cost of shooting that film on digital?
If they had used the same amount of film, it would have cost them $1.8m.
14. 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. Multiply that by, say, 5,000 prints for a big movie and it comes to $7.5m. 
15. 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.
16. What happened to 'film' prints of Titanic?
Titanic reportedly played for so long in theatres that some prints fell apart in the projectors.
17. 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, according to one count.
18. 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,” he explains. “There is no physical carrier on which you can put digital information that will last anywhere near as long as the analogue alternative.”
19. Why is advancing technology also a problem for digital storage?
When it comes to digital, archivists are faced with two problems. The first is the perishability of the physical equipment. 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.
20. 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. He has roughly 350,000 films and television shows in his archive – a potential outlay of $3.5bn just for one leap between file types.
21. How much did the camera used on The Avengers cost?
£900 - Handheld SLR camera (Canon EOS 7D)
22. Apart from cost, what other benefits does digital offer to film makers?
Easier to edit.
23. How much has technicolour invested in digital post production?
$200 Million
24. 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. For multiplexes showing new movies, the road map to DCP has been straightforward: the studios have been prepared to subsidise the switch, because it cuts their cost base so much.
25. What is the Electric Dusk drive-in?
The Electric Dusk drive-in is a pop up cinema which is operated in downtown Los Angeles. It shows film on DVD. It sets up in an abandoned marketplace. Uses a giant inflatable screen and opens once a roughly fortnight. They show 1980-90's nostalgia such as edward scissor hands.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Festive 50 - Star Wars Questions

1. How much did Disney pay to acquire the rights to Star Wars from Lucas Film?
$4.05 billion (£2.5 billion)
2. Which other major studios/franchises did Disney acquire in 2006 and 2009 respectively?

Pixar and Marvel Studios
3. Why did Josh Dickey believe Disney was a good fit for Star Wars?

Because they have done a good job reviving Marvel and also made very successful films with Pixar therefore showing a good trend.
4. When did the UK introduce generous tax relief for the film indiustry?
2007 (Got better in 2011)
5. How much has Disney earned in tax rebates since 2007?

$170 million
6. How many people were employed at Pinewood studios when working on Star Wars The Force Awakens?

7. What is Matthew Vaughan's criticism of the UK's tax arrangement (include the full quotation)?

He believes we gain nothing from the tax breaks and it is bad for our economy.
“I think it’s crazy that we subsidise British movies with tax breaks but we don’t get any of that money back. We’re subsidising Hollywood. We’re service providers. We’re not an industry.”
8. How much was Harrison Ford paid to reprise his role as Han Solo?
$20-25 million9. How much money must the film make before its stars earn 'back end bonuses'? (A back end bonus is when an actor agrees to take a lower fee for staring in a film in return for a share of any profit a film makes over an agreed figure.)
$1 billion
10. How much did The Force Awakens take globally on its opening weekend?
$529 million11. Which 5 major companies have signed tie in deals with the film?
Pepsi, Burger King, M&MS/Mars, Hasbro and Kellogg’s
12. How was the White House linked with the film?

There was a white house screening and a stormtrooper attended a conference.13. The article states "only finite resources for a movie like The Force Awakens are screens and seats: you cannot force four buttocks into one movie seat." What solution have cinemas dreamt up to cope with this problem?
Providing many more screenings, almost 24 hours a day with some from 3-5am
14. How many screens are being used for saturation play (placing a film on virtually every screen in a cinema)? 
250015. What is the % rise in box office takings thanks to Star Wars?
512%16. How is the box office split between 2D, 3D and IMAX?
54% 2D 36% 3D 10% IMAX
17. How many mentions has the film had on Weibo?
700,00018. When does the film open in China?
9 January 201619. How was the film promoted to China in October 2015?
Flying in 500 stormtroopers to stand on the Great Wall of China.20. What other marketing strategy has been used?
Getting famous Chinese pop stars to introduce the trailers.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Distribution - What is it?

Distribution - What is it?

What is distribution?
What part of the supply chain is distribution?
Third part of the film supply chain

What is distribution often referred to as?
The invisible art

What does 'vertical integration' mean when discussing distribution?
Vertical integration is where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company.

Why isnt 'vertical integration' so common in the independent sector?
Producers tend not to have long-term economic links with distributors, who likewise have no formal connections with exhibitors.

What three stages are involved in the independent sector?
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?
International and local distribution

What is the advantage of being a major US studio?
They generally have their own distribution offices in all major territories.

What three different types of rights can you acquire on a local level?
Theatrical rights, video rights and TV rights

What are royalties?
The money that the producer will be given from the distributor.

What is the most effective way to increase interest in a film?
To launch it theatrically (in the cinema).

How long does it take for a film to reach 'free to air' TV?
Two years

What are the two key questions surrounding the marketing of a film?
When? and how?

What day are films typically released on?

What will a distributor look at before releasing a film on a Friday?
They will look to see if many other films are coming out that weekend.

What is a 'light' week in terms of distribution?
When there are not many films being released.

What does it mean to 'position' a film distinctively?
Release it when there are no other films with similar stories, country of origin and theme.

Why has this become increasingly difficult in the UK?
Because most weekends 10 films are being released making the market saturated.

What are P&A?
Prints and advertising

How much can P&A cost?
From £1000 to over £1 million for a release in the UK.

Marketing - Prints and Adverts

Typically how many prints will a 'specialised' film have?
10 prints

How many will mainstream films have?
200 prints

What is a key factor in developing the profile of a film?
Favourable press response

How else can awareness of a film be raised?
Advertising in magazines, national and local newspapers, posters, billboards.

Why is distribution in the UK seen as risky?
The cost of print advertising in the UK is high compared to other countries making it more risky.

Why are companies looking towards viral marketing?
Because it is a more cost effective way to communicate with audiences.

What are the benefits of a 'talent visit'
Supports the film, usually the director and actors get a lot of coverage.


In the pre digital film age what was a distributor responsible for?
It is the responsibility of the distributor to arrange the transportation of the film to the cinema, as part of its wider coordination of print use across the UK. Logistics represents the phase of distribution at its most basic - supplying and circulating copies of the film to theatres, of tapes and DVDs to shops and video rental stores, and managing the effectiveness of the supply.

How much does a 35mm print typically cost?

How many reals is a typical feature print?
5 or 6

Why do 35mm prints get damaged?
Because they get put in and taken out of projectors so often.

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

How long did a theatrical release used to last?
Up to 6 months.

Digital Distribution

When did digital distribution begin in the UK?

Name two advantages of digital distribution
More cost effective and easier to deliver the film to cinemas.

Which countries adopted digital distribution early and why?
China and Brazil

How many screens were digital in 2005 and how many are now (you'll need to google this)
211 screens and now over 90%

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?

Dropped 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 product sold at a loss to attract customers and companies use the cinema like this because it gets attention and will sell more DVDs and other products.

Monday, 7 December 2015

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

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

The significance of the continuing development of digital media technology has on media institution and audiences is huge. Computers are now the most used piece of equipment in film making for being used for editing, marketing, distribution, CGI and a lot more. The development of the technology in media has been very obvious being shown in films getting better every year.

The production of the Mad Max scenes are usually shot while on the move in bumpy terrain, the cameras were mounted on cars which although it was smooth would be impossible for old cameras because they would be analogue and has a lot more parts that could go wrong with just a bit of movement. In Mad Max the cameras used were Arri Alexas, Canon 5Ds and Olympus P5s. The Arris were a lot bigger than the 5D and P5 cameras and obviously had much better quality but the director George Miller wanted to get shots which normal cameras could not get, so he sacrificed a bit of quality to have more exciting and different shots. The quality of the scenes was not noticeable because the clips were cut in and out so quickly the eye could not tell. The lenses used were Panavision Primo Lenses which are very expensive but produce the finest quality. Another great piece of equipment used in the production of Mad Max is the edge arm, it is used to get the camera closer to the action and takes three people to operate. A great example of it's usage is when the camera goes across the car, zooms into the window and then zooms back out while panning all while travelling at high speeds; This scene is very impressive because it would usually be impossible but new technology was used to make the film feel more raw and closer to the action. The significance of this part of film making is huge it effects nearly everything in the end product.

The post production of films have changed completely over the last century. Computers give many new features that film makers did not have or have made the process much easier, one of the biggest if not the biggest feature is editing. Films such as Mad Max: Fury Road are great examples of how technology has evolved to create breathtaking scenes which rely heavily on how it is edited. For example it is now a lot easier to create a fast flowing action sequence cutting from one clip to another in less than a second, before this would be extremely time consuming and cost a lot. This therefore has an effect on saving time and money. Mad Max's action scenes are fantastic the way in which everything works together, the editing shows this brilliantly cutting from one breathtaking scene to another. For example when the war rig is being chased by Immortan Joe and his army the scenes start slowly as he gets closer and start moving very quickly when they start fighting and the action begins. This editing gives the audience a rush and gets them invested in the action of the film because it seems more exciting and fast paced. CGI is used a lot in Mad Max but the stunts themselves are all real, the CGI was only used for removing wires and safety equipment and exaggerating the landscape. CGI has brought a whole new side to film making that was not possible 50 years ago, alien landscapes and surreal monsters and much more is now possible in films. The film industry went through a phase of using far too much CGI and making the films look too fake and over the top. Post production has improved a lot due to new technology and I would argue it has made better films for audiences because the overall effect is more immersive and believable because of special effects

The marketing of films has changed dramatically due to technology improving. Although traditional methods are still used such as trailers before a movie starts, TV adverts and posters technological advances are still making more and more ways to market films such as posting trailers online with websites such as YouTube, this creates hype for the film and a well marketed film will get multiple millions of views on YouTube for example the Mad Max: Fury Road trailer has 3.5 million views. Social media is probably the biggest marketing tool after the traditional methods, the use of viral marketing creates many opportunities for small films which have even smaller marketing budgets. A great example is Ex-Machina who set up a Tinder account which talked to people with artificial intelligence and then sent a link to the Ex-Machina Instagram account. This caused a big stir on whether this was right or wrong and in turn created huge media attention, this gave a lot of free advertising and is regarded as a great marketing move. This goes to show that you do not need millions for a good marketing campaign like you used to. For the audience technology let's them see the trailers on demand and find out more information on the film with social media websites such as Twitter where movie studious post live updates, for example Mad Max's filming was tweeted as they were doing it creating more hype for the movie. Social media adds a more personal touch and let's the film industry talk to the consumers, this is great because it gives a free marketing platform for companies and free entertainment for consumers.

Distribution seems on the surface to be the same as it always was but with the introduction of video on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as video hosting services like YouTube the film industry has completely changed. After the illegal steaming of video the film industry had been looking for an answer, VOD came along offering consumers a multitude of films and series for a low price every month. All people wanted was an easy way to get films and illegally downloading was easier than going somewhere to buy a DVD. The fact that people did not want to go to a shop and manually get a DVD was seen by entrepreneurs as an opportunity. People do not mind paying a small fee to watch a wide array of movies easily, this created a whole industry around video on demand. Companies such as Netflix have made multi millions and now others are joining in such as Disney's service with all of their films on it. This benefits the film industry massively by getting paid to put films on a service like this and not losing out to pirate copies. The consumer is getting cheap quality content which is all they want making both sides happy. YouTube is a video hosting service where if the video has adverts before it can make you money. This is an option for distributing films, although it is doubtful it will make a lot of money from just adverts there is also an option to sell movies on YouTube so people can download them. Film makers do not only have the one option of cinema now and can distribute their content freely cutting out the middle man, this development in technology opens many doors for small films and big films alike. The consumer now gets content from anywhere with an internet connection and the film industry has a wider audience and more options to choose from. The positive effects are huge in this field for both consumer and creator.

In conclusion the continuing development of digital media technology has a huge significance for media institutions and audiences, as proven by examples such as Mad Max and Ex-Machina. Technological innovation has made it possible for small films to do well and for big films to do better as well as offering better services to consumers and more ways to watch films. Technological advances in digital media are definitely positive and encourage growth in the film making industry.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

(Nearly) 100 Mad Max Facts

Pre Production

  1. Mark Sexton was hired to create 3500 storyboards
  2. Directed by George Miller
  3. Original Mad Max also directed by George Miller
  4. They started off by planning to shoot in 3D but ended up filming in 2D
  5. As they were preparing to shoot the film there was still no script but this was not a problem as the movie's feel completely relied on the action rather than dialogue.
  6. Liam Fountain auditioned for the role of Max but lost it to Tom Hardy
  7. Liam Fountain previously played Max in a short film set between the first and second movies
  8. The storyboards were finished before the script and showed exactly how everything was meant to happen which is unusual
  9. Fiona Crawford was appointed as the producer
  10. The Iraq war stopped filming in Namibia starting in 2003.
  11. Filming was delayed twice
  12. Producers Warner Bros panicked just before they started filming as there was no script, however the director was not happy with the quality
  13. The stars such as Tom Hardy signed up to be in the film in 2009
  14. The film was meant to be filmed in Australia but it rained which is never good when you are trying to film in a desert trying to create a world that is in a drought
  15. The film was originally going to be shot in 3D


  1. The camera used most often was the Alexa Plus
  2. Smaller cameras were tested such as the Canon 5D but were obviously not up to the same quality as the big cameras, they were still used for a start because they were perfect for people to hold while in the cars however the edge arm was introduced when it got too expensive to edit camera men out of the cars.
  3. The cameras had to be waterproof and dust proof because of the desert.
  4. The initial approach to shooting Mad Max: Fury Road was based on a single camera philosophy - the idea that somewhere on the set is a single perfect spot for the camera to record that scene.
  5. Margaret Sixel was the film editor.
  6. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy did not get on and ended up ignoring each other on set
  7. Theron shaved her head for the role of Furiosa and had to wear a wig while filming A Million Ways to Die in The West
  8. Weather was a huge pain while shooting the film multiple delays were due to this
  9. 80% of the effects in the film are real such as the car stunts and crashes
  10. Mel Gibson (who played Max Max in the older films) was going to be a drifter but it ended up never happening
  11. The shoot took 6 months
  12. 150 vehicles were used
  13. 6 cameras were used
  14. The cars were brought together by the production designer Colin Gibson and his team
  15. The special effects supervisors Andy Williams and Dan Oliver made sure the stunts looked even better
  16. The stunt co-ordinator Guy Norris had his hands full with how many stunts there were in the movie
  17. The film was shot in Namibia and Australia
  18. Filming concluded on 17th December 2012
  19. In November 2013 they had to go back and reshoot some scenes
  20. The crew filmed in Namibia for 4 months
Post Production

  1. 480 hours of video were handed to the editor and the final movie was only 2 hours long
  2. The movie consists of 2700 individual shots
  3. All important things were usually kept in center frame
  4. George Miller was very strict about where the cross hares went and demanded it be on the important thing in a scene.
  5. The movie employed the “Eye Trace” editing technique that lets you guide the viewers eye and make them look where you want. By using motion in frame and/or positioning critical points of focus in successive shots to fall on a natural or comfortable area of the screen.
  6. Hundreds of visual effects artists led by Andrew Jackson took on the mammoth task
  7. Finally more than 2000 visual effect shots were created
  8. Colourist Eric Whipp added in new detailed skies and made the whole film more gritty
  9. Visual effects company Lloura took on most of the effects
  10. Method Studious and BlackGinger were companies that also took on a smaller part of the work load
  11. A lot was spent on TV adverts, $7.5 million was spent on 957 national airings across 42 networks led by MTV and Comedy Central.