Film4, Warp X and Digital Cinema

Institutions and Audiences learning booklet six

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Film Versus Digital

Filmmaking is called filmmaking because films are usually made on 35mm film >. This film is a kind of plastic covered in a chemical film that reacts when exposed to light and, as such is an analogue technology. Film produces superb picture quality but is extremely expensive.

The cost of film is not a problem for big budget Conglomerate movies like Star Wars or Casino Royale, but can be a major issue for independent filmmakers.

Digital technologies are technologies that store information as computer data.

High Definition cameras don't use film, but store the image as computer data. This produces quality that is comparable to that of film but is considerable cheaper and its cost savings make it an attractive format, especially for independent filmmakers.

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Warp X and Digital Production

Warp X is a new digital film studio based in Sheffield, with offices in Nottingham and London, and is allied to Warp Films and Warp Records.

These films are being managed and produced by Warp X for the Low Budget Feature film Scheme set up by UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund and Film4 to revitalise the low budget sector of the British Film industry. Our other key finiancial backers are EM Media and Screen Yorkshire.

Warp X films are distributed theatrically and on DVD in the Uk by Optimum Releasing, a subsidiary of the cross media conglomerate Universal. Not only do the distribute Warp films but they are closely involved in the development process as well.

Channel 4 handles Take Uk television rights for Warp Film.

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Exchange: Digital Distribution and Exhibition.

At the moment, a 35mm film print costs around $1500 to produce and a major movie will require several thousand prints to ship around the world.

Digital distribution, using Portable Hard Drives, gets rid of that cost. So there is a major drive to move away from traditional distribution and exhibition models in favor of the new Digital Model but putting the infrastructure in place, i.e. equipping every cinema screen in the Uk with digital projectors and computer servers, will be extremely expensive and take a long time. The problem with digital projection lies in the cost. It's likely to cost exhibitors approximately £50,000 plus to make each screen digital.

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The Uk Film Council and the Digital Screen Network

The average Hollywood blockbuster open on 300 plus screens across the UK; most independent films, restored classics, documentaries and foreign language films still struggle to reach over ten per cent of those screens.

Digital screening cuts the cost of releasing films (a digital copy costs around one tenth of a 35mm film). That's why Uk Film Council and the Arts Council England have created the Digital Screen Network - a £12 million investment to equip 240 screens in 210 cinemas across the Uk with digital projection technology to give UK audiences much choice.

The Uk has a total of 310 digital screens, which represents 3.5 % of the world and 20% of al the digital screens in Europe.

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Ancillary Sales

Ancillary sales: are sales that are from non-ticket based sources, such as TV broadcast rights and the rentals and sell-through market.

In some independent film cases ancillary sales are more important that cinema release

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Audiences and How they Challenge the Distribution

One of the biggest threats to the film industry is the threat of piracy. Analogue film prints have long been vulnerable to piracy and until adequate security measure were perfected; digital prints were even more vulnerable to copying. Film piracy, however, isn't really a threat to cinema attendance, which is actually on the rise in the UK.

The biggest problem for the film industry is DVD piracy. DVD's are easy to copy and can then be uploaded onto internet sites, such as YouTube or peer-to-peer sites (P2P) such as <bittorrant or Kazaa. This means that audiences can watch them for free, robbing film companies of rental and sales revenue and this harms film production by harming profits. This is especially damaging to independent films who rely on DVD sales for most of their revenue.

One of the ways in which the film industry is attempting to combat piracy is by introducing high quality home entertainment formats such as Blu-Ray. They are hoping that audiences will wish to pay a premium price for high quality products rather than watch poor quality pirated films for free.

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Technological Determinism

Technological or Media Determinism (Marshall McLuhan, 1964) refers to the way in which the introduction of new media technologies significantly changes the way in which audiences consume and interact with media texts such as films.

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Good detail and definitions.


This was really helpful Thank you

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