Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Another exam-style question and plan for the AS January exam...

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

1. New developments all the time
2. Recent developments can be illustrated in the use of technological convergence to promote films – look at official film websites e.g. Slumdog a) streaming of video material b) flash technology c) links to games etc to increase interactivity, which in turn creates the illusion of giving the audience a sense of ownership so they will be more likely to see the film/DVD d) links to social networking (sites such as…), which again creates a sense of interactivity e) links to reviews, interviews etc. f) the Long Tail effect – the film website will act as a promotional tool for the DVD/BluRay long after the film has finished being exhibited in cinemas. On some websites, such as those for Sony films, there are links to other upcoming Sony films. Note the advantages of being a vertically integrated company like Sony.
3.  IMAX and 3D - Blockbuster films developed for IMAX as well as regular screening; some in 3D – increasingly popular over last few years – now not just action movies (the Life Of Pi, for example) but these are the type of big budget event movies that show off  this kind of technology. Note that not all cinemas are geared up for this level of development. The Hobbit - shot at 48 frames per second, as opposed to the industry standard of 24 - director Peter Jackson thought it offers a sgarper image and reflects the real way of seeing - but only cinemas can show it this way and critics have complained the visuals resemble those of a video game and were too 'shiny'.
4. Viral marketing – look at Slumdog, again…
5. Use of phones to watch trailers, films, to browse the net for information about films
6. Use of digital movie cameras and editing – refer to Slumdog and Amber… But note that while many film directors are going difital, some, like Christopher Nolan, want to stick to traditional 35 mm - see - but also notice a few of the potential pitfalls - cinemas will have to undergo an expensive conversion for digital exhbition, but arthouse/second run cinemas will not be able to show older movies; some people think the digital image deteriorates over time, as was the case with Toy Story.
7. Owners of social network sites target adverts, including those for films, to individuals based on their profiles
8. Use of CGI – can create more realistic effects; can create the illusion of crowds, landscapes and cityscapes that could save money – although over reliance on effects can lead to movies where the effects are the main reason to see the movie! However, these kind of films are popular with the main cinema-going audience, the 16-25 year-olds
9. Digital distribution and exhibition – what state is it currently in the UK? What are the hopes for future development? How does a small, independent company like Amber use new technology to promote and distribute their works?
10. Legal downloads – has the music industry shown the way? Will the trend be for people to download from sites such as netflix?
11. Illegal downloads – how have companies tried to combat this i.e. early DVD/BluRay releases…
12. The audience as prosumers… audiences use social networking sites –post their own reviews, post trailers from YouTube, post their own mash-ups, post songs from the soundtracks. These sites have a potential audience of millions. Some ‘audience’ sites, like have been quoted in press reviews. Negative reviews/comments on widely read sites like this can have an effect on other users and make up their minds about whether or not they see the film.

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