Image: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in “Friends With Benefits”. Is Sony Pictures a throw-back to Hollywood’s studio era? Photo credit:David Giesbrecht/Screen Gems
The Past Week in Review: July 25, 2011
We search for the more interesting and provocative news and views of the past week…just so you don’t have to.
This week we see old Hollywood making a comeback, why iTunes makes a good good distribution model, and honestly truly one of the last postings on Final Cut Pro X.
What’s Old is New
In today’s Hollywood, familiarity breeds a steady income stream. At least that’s the slant the Time’s Michael Cieply takes for his article on Sony Pictures, which has been run by Amy Pascal, the company’s co-chairwoman, for the past 15 years.
Cieply says the company is showing that movies made with a regular and reliable mix of proven directors and actors provides a steady stream of income that steers clear of the blockbuster-or-bust attitude that many Hollywood studios aim for.
The New Math of Online?
Money is being made of the opposite end of the spectrum-the no budget end that is-via a recently released feature shot with a Canon 5D. The Polish brothers are “twin auteur filmmakers” says TheWrap’s Steve Pond, who used the low-profile of this seemingly still-camera-only DSLR to shoot in churches and other spaces around Paris without a single permit or pay off.
Pond says that Michael and Mark Polish’s “wildly successful experiment in New Hollywood Math” garnered $200,000 by press time, all brought in via the iTunes store.
Filmmaker Magazine’s Eric Kohn follows up on Pond’s story wondering if “Can Streaming Sustain Anything More Than Small Success Stories?”
Upon offering a mini-history of the discovery of the potential of Internet streaming for movies, Kohn posits that such indie delivery schemes are “less of a sea change and more of a model unto itself.” The reporter goes on to discuss Joe Swanberg’s “Autoerotic” which had a video on demand release via IFC Midnight and then opened at New York’s IFC Center. Kohn says that technology “may sustain the illusion of instant change” but the reality is that movies still trickle out the old-fashioned way.
In her article “Hollywood overlooks the web, except when it can be put on TV”, GigaOM reporter Liz Shannon Miller says that the recent Emmy nominations make it clear that while the web is seeing creative approaches by broadcast and cable television for product branding, independent web productions remain in the wilderness “when it comes to building mainstream awareness.”
However, web-to-television adaptations are thriving, says Miller, even while originally produced web series are overlooked by web awards shows.
Paul Bond of the Hollywood Reporter points to an increased income demand from Hollywood studios as the reason behind Netflix recently announced 60-percent price hike, which is already causing backlash from long-time users. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is thought to be building a war chest as acquisition costs for streaming content soar. One example: in a prior deal, Netflix paid NBC Universal $22 million for content while the new contract, although it does offer access to more shows than before, socks Netflix with fees of as much as $300 million a year.
Image credit: dj-design.com
ArsTechnica reports on a Samsung funded study that finds 3D video displays as causing extra eye fatigue.
Reporting in the Journal of Vision, researchers from the University of California-Berkeley reported that the test subjects complained of more eye strain, fatigue and even a drop in visual clarity when 3D video viewing was compared to an equivalent time viewing 2D material. You can read more here.
FCPX Can’t Stay Out of the News
Finally, since we have noted some of the bitter feelings engendered by Apple’s launch of a completely revamped Final Cut X, here’s a more positive look at the software from David Leitner. A technologist and Mac user from the very first, D. W. Leitner is a favorite writer of ours who we’ve quoted from before.
Writing in Filmmaker Magazine, Leitner downplays the “tsunami of hand wringing and head scratching” over the new software, pointing instead to writers such as Creative Cow’s Gary Adcock, who has methodically presented the radically new thinking behind the software’s rather innocuous interface.
Leitner offers up some useful insight, such as what AV Foundation is and why it is so important to replace the aging QuickTime with code like AVF that is much more deeply integrated with Apple’s latest Lion OS.
While he is forward looking in his perspective, commentators to Leitner’s article still aren’t giving the new app a pass. In any case, you can read his comments on this very new think NLE by clicking here.