Monday, 16 May 2016

Media Revision
1. Who directed Tangerine? Sean Baker
2. What was the budget of Tangerine? $100,000
3. What did Tangerine generate in gross revenue? $700,000
4. What was Tangerine shot on? 3 iPhone 5s'
5. Who directed Mad Max? George Miller
6. What company produced Mad Max? Warner Bros
7. What was the budget of Mad Max? $150,000,000
8. What did Mad Max generate in Gross profit? $378,000,000
9. What did Mad Max generate in it's opening weekend? $45,000,000 (USA)
10. What piece of camera equipment did they use shooting Mad Max and how long was it used for? Edge arm, 95%
11. Who directed Ex Machina? George Miller
12. What company produced Ex Machina? Film4 and DNA Films
13. What was Ex Machina's budget? 15,000,000
14. What did Ex Machina generate in gross income? $38,000,000
15. What did Ex Machina generate in it's opening weekend? $250,000
17. What awards did Ex Machina win? Oscar for best visual effects (lowest effects budget to win the award) and BIFA best British independent film
18. Who distributed Ex Machina? A24 (USA), Universal (non-USA)
19. When was Ex Machina released? 10th April 2015
20. When was Avengers Age of Ultron released? 1st May 2015
21. Examples of above the line marketing? Billboards, Posters, TV ads, Radio ads, Cinema ads, Magazines
22. What viral marketing method did Ex Machina use? Tinder account of Ava used in south by south west film festival (Texas)
23. What did Carrie's viral marketing campaign cost? $10,000
24. How many views did Carries viral video get? 64 million
25. What do ITV's TV ads costs range from? £2,000 to £1,000,000
26. How much do 48 page billboards cost per week in the UK in urban areas? £200
27. How much do bus stop posters cost in busy urban areas? £300 for two weeks
28. When did DVD sales start declining rapidly and why? 2004 because broadband was introduced in the UK
29. What did VOD sales reach in 2008? £5,000,000
30. What did VOD sales reach in 2015? £200,000,000
31. What have film companies done to reduce piracy? release films in 3D and using the Day and Date release method
32. What was the most pirated films in 2015? Mad Max: Fury Road
33. Who are the big six? Fox, Colombia, Paramount, Universal, Disney, Warner Bros
34. What are the four sectors of Disney? Studio Entertainment, Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Consumer products and interactive media
35. What special effects were used in Ex Machina? Rotascoping

Friday, 22 April 2016

Digital distribution and film making

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.”

Which studio was first to announce that it would no longer make films using 'film'?
Paramount Pictures became the first big studio to announce that it would no longer release 35mm prints of movies in the US.

What was the last 'film' to be shipped on 'film'?
Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues was, in effect, the final Paramount film to be shipped to cinemas on, well, film.

What proportion of US cinemas have made the switch from 35mm to digital?
 But nine out of ten US movie screens have now made the switch from 35mm film to digital. 

What was the first 'major' film to be distributed in digital format only?
The Wolf of Wall Street became the first major movie to be delivered to theatres in digital formats only.

What is the average cost of a digital projector?
Digital projectors typically cost between $60,000 and $150,000 each.

Why has the switch to digital meant that small independent cinemas have struggled?

Which major Hollywood director has attempted to make a stand for digital film?
Tarantino once said that the day the New Beverly betrayed 35mm film, he would burn the place down.

How much did the US box office make in 2014
Tinseltown put in a solid turn at the US box office, taking a record $11bn.

How much did the home entertainment market (DVD, BluRay, Download etc) in 2014?
The home entertainment market brought in revenues of $18bn

What was the increase in home entertainment revenue due to?
A 50 per cent surge in downloads of digital HD formats, which surpassed $1bn for the first time.

What was the first film to be shot entirely on digital?
n 2002, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones became the first major movie to be shot entirely on digital video.

What would have been the cost of shooting that film on digital?
The producers of Attack of the Clones estimate that they spent $16,000 on 220 hours of digital tape.

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.

What is the distribution benefit of digital?
Digital formats can do the same job as film for 90 per cent less of the price.

What happened to 'film' prints of Titanic?
Titanic reportedly played for so long in theatres that some prints fell apart in the projectors. 

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.

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.”

Why is advancing technology also a problem for digital storage?
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.

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.

How much did the camera used on The Avengers cost?
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), which cost an estimated $220m to make.

Apart from cost, what other benefits does digital offer to film makers?
It allows the capture of “powerfully immersive and kaleidoscopic views of action scenes”.

How much has technicolour invested in digital post production?
The company has invested more than $200m.

What is a DCP?
DCP, or Digital Cinema Package.

What is the Electric Dusk drive-in?
The Electric Dusk drive-in in downtown Los Angeles has hit upon a solution of sorts: it shows films on DVD. It’s a kind of guerrilla operation – a pop-up drive-in in an abandoned marketplace, flanked by scenes of urban decay and boasting a giant inflatable screen.


1. Sumarise the answers above into a 50 word explanation of the positive impact of digital distribution.
 A positive impact of digital distribution is it frees up a proportion of a films budget. This is due to the low hardware and software costs, not needing any format switches or any other unneeded costs. Allowing the production company to spend more on other areas of the film resulting in a better audience experience. (55)

2. Sumarise the answers above into a 50 word explanation of the negative impact of digital distribution

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


The clip begins with two men, both seemingly hold power, Luther (the black man) holds physical power over the second man, as his large physique and the gun in his hand uses the semic code to show the audience that he has power in the form of violence. The second man appears to have little power physically opposed to Luther, this is conveyed with the cross cutting between the two characters, with the physically weak man looking up and Luther looking down as they engage in conversation. The close ups of both characters of which is constantly cross cut, shows the emotions of each man, the anger of Luther and the vulnerability and cunning in the other mans face as he shows his mental power as he reveals personal details of Luther's ex wife.
 The next scene shows the man being strangled by Luther, this shows his dominance over the other man and proves his physical power over the second character. However in a quick turn of events the power shifts has the other man reveals a knife and stabs Luther to the floor and begins to kick him. This faster paced cutting rhythm is a technique used to raise the suspense and emphasise the goings on. The scene backs up the common stereotype that men a hungry for power and are willing to fight for it.
The following shot sees a woman with a double barrelled shotgun enter the scene and defend the floored Luther, this exercises the binary opposite of the stereotype that men are physically dominant over women, as well as men are the people who should protect women. When the women enters the scene the mood goes still, and all sound comes to an end, this not only emphasises her power but also her reputation, as she is a convicted killer. The man then proceeds to force the hand of the women (metaphorically) as he wants her to pull the trigger on him as he realises that he cannot escape and justice for his crimes will be done, and he would prefer to die than serve his punishment.

A third man enters the scene, the boyfriend of Luther's ex wife (murdered by the white man), Luther begins to beg that justice be done to him and that he is not to be killed. Of which point Luther, Alice and the recently entered man form a mini democracy. Of which all become of equal power, as Luther's opinion is that he should not be shot and the mans is that he should be. By which time the deciding vote falls to Alice and sees an imbalance in power again, as she holds the power and is the one who decides whether he lives or dies. Of which she decides the latter.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Hotel Babylon

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of ethnicity

In the clip of Hotel Babylon the first shot takes place in what appears to be a storage room of a hotel and shows a white, middle aged man in a fairly sharp looking suit, he is then approached by two policeman, also male and white. The semic code is used in the scene, as his superiority conveyed by his attire and skin colour leads to him being the one that is confronted by fellow men of power, in the two police men.

The following significant scene shows a young white woman dressed in white, who is thought to be a receptionist due to her position behind a desk (semic code). The choice of clothing and the fact that she is front of house, both suggest that she is also in a position of power. This becomes more apparent as a group of border force officers, who are also all white, enter the hotel and immediately engage in conversation with the receptionist. like the first scene this enforces the power that the white employee holds, as she engages and holds the attention of the law enforcers. Fast paced background music is then added to the clip, as a black member of staff is told to go downstairs and warn the illegal immigrants working at the hotel that border force members are present in the hotel. The fast paced music coupled with the faster paced cut rhythm adds suspense as the immigrants are encouraged to lock themselves in a small room to prevent their capture.

Whilst in the small room action code is used to show a woman fainting due to medical conditions (of what appears to be diabetes),a black male begins to treat and give the woman aid immediately. This is a counter-type as black males are generally perceived to be thuggish and have no specialist talents or training in advanced fields, which is not the case in this situation, as his quick instincts indicate some training in medical areas, for this semic code is used.

When the black male cleaner is apprehended a mid-shot is used, this is used to clearly show who is the bad person and that they have captured him. The fact that it shows a black male being arrested is a massive stereotype as it is very common that black males are often depicted as being criminals as the fact this man is follows closely to this stereotype. Also because the man is arrested the audience feel sorry for him and feel pitiful which is a common stereotype that black people are pitied an in this case it being by the audience.

Overall ethnicity stereotypes are used greatly this situation mainly to highlight the storyline that the police are coming to arrest people. But countertypes are also used which shows one of the characters in a better light.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Distribution- What is it?

What part of the supply chain is distribution?
The 3rd part of the supple chain is distribution.

What is distribution often referred to as?
Distribution is referred to as 'The invisible art'.

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

Why isn't '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?
The three stages involved are- licensing, marketing and logistics. 

What is licencing?
This is the process by which a distributor gets the legal right to exploit a film.

What are the two levels of licencing?
International distribution and 'local' distribution are the two levels. 

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

What three different types of rights can you acquire on a local level?  
Theatrical rights, for showing the film in cinemas; video rights, for video and DVD exploitation; and TV rights, if the distributor is able to sell the film to a broadcaster.

What are royalties?
A fee taken from the profit the film generates. 

What is the most effective way to increase interest in a film?
A theatrical opening is seen as the most effective way to create interest in a new film.

How long does it take for a film to reach 'free to air' TV?
Two years after opening in cinemas. 

What are the two key questions surrounding the marketing of a film?
The two key questions are 'when?' and 'how?'.

What day are films typically released on?
They are typically released on Fridays. 

What will a distributor look at before releasing a film on a Friday?
The schedule for forthcoming releases.

What is a 'light' week in terms of distribution?
A 'light' week will ensure that there will be both screen space and adequate review column inches in the press allocated to any potential release.

What does it mean to 'position' a film distinctively?
The distributor will avoid a release date occupied by other films with similar traits.

Why has this become increasingly difficult in the UK?
The release schedule has regularly featured over 10 new releases in a week.

What are P&A?
P&A are Prints and Advertising. 

How much can P&A cost?
They can cost from less than £1,000 to over £1 million.

Typically how many prints will a 'specialised' film have?
Fewer than ten prints into key independent cinemas. 

How many will mainstream films have?
Often over 200 prints. 

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

How else can awareness of a film be raised?
Advertising in magazines, national and local newspapers works in tandem with press editorial coverage to raise awareness of a release.

Why is distribution in the UK seen as risky?
It's seen as risky becuase the cost of print advertising is a lot higher.

Why are companies looking towards viral marketing?
They are looking forward to it because it will mean different forms of electronic word-of-mouth via the internet, email and mobile phones.

What are the benefits of a 'talent visit'
It wins significant editorial coverage to support a release.

In the pre digital film age what was a distributor responsible for?
To arrange transport of a film to the cinema. 

How much does a 35mm print typically cost?
It can cost around £1000.

How many reals is a typical feature print?
5-6 reals. 

Why do 35mm prints get damaged?
They get damaged as they pass through different projectors, and the hands of various projectionists. 

Where are prints stored?
West London.

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

When did digital distribution begin in the UK?
Towards the end of 2005. 

Name two advantages of digital distribution
It is seen as more cost effective and logistics-light alternative to be tried and trusted. 

Which countries adopted digital distribution early and why?
China and Brazil because conventional logistics cannot, for one reason or another, efficiently bring together supply and demand.

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

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?
It dramatically reduce the overall theatrical period from 3-6 months to perhaps 1-3 months. 

What is a loss leader (google it) and why are companies using the Cinema as a potential loss leader?
Loss leader is a product sold at a loss to attract customers. Companies use the cinema for this, because in the long run they would get more money.

20 questions

1. How much did Disney pay to acquire the rights to Star Wars from Lucas Film?
$4.05 billion

2. Which other major studios/franchises did Disney acquire in 2006 and 2009 respectively?
2006 - Pixar
2009 - Marvel comics

3. Why did Josh Dickey believe Disney was a good fit for Star Wars?
"They're so good at branding and brands. They're so good at working with existing intellectual property and making it resonate with fans and marketing it very well," he told BBC World Service radio.

4. When did the UK introduce generous tax relief for the film industry?

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?
Recruited 130 staff at a cost of £6 million.

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

9. 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 world wide

10. How much did The Force Awakens take globally on its opening weekend?
$247 million in the US and $529 million globally

11. 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?
White house news conferences have been attended by imperial storm troopers, and the president also got a special White house screening.

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?
They increased the screenings, and also did screening times such as 3am and 5am.

14. How many screens are being used for saturation play (placing a film on virtually every screen in a cinema)? 
2,500 screens in UK and Ireland and at 670 cinemas.

15. What is the % rise in box office takings thanks to Star Wars?

16. How is the box office split between 2D, 3D and IMAX?
54% in 2D, 36% in 3D and 10% in IMAX.

17. How many mentions has the film had on Weibo?
700,000 mentions since the start of December.

18. When does the film open in China?
9th January

19. How was the film promoted to China in October 2015?
They flew in 500 storm troopers who stood against the Great Wall of China, holding signs saying "The Force Awakens".

20. What other marketing strategy has been used?
The studio hired pop star Lu Han to introduce trailers, with the singers band EXO contributing the single Lightsaber.


To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area of media you have studied? 

50 marks

20 marks Evidence, Analysis, Argument

20 marks Examples

10 marks Terminology

In the film industry there are 4 main stages; pre production, production, post production and distribution. personally I strongly argue that distribution is the most important and significant of the 4. But what is distribution? Distribution is the way in which a film is made available to audiences. Previously films were made available firstly at the cinema and then on video or DVD (depending on how far back you view this). However with the introduction of digital distribution the marketing area and consumption faces of film have changed drastically.

With the increasing amount of capabilities in various technological areas over the past few years, more significantly; the internet, mobile phones, tablets and VOD (Video on Demand). Audiences prefer to view films and media products from the comfort of their own home. The reasons for this can be different depending on the individual. Some may find a trip to the cinema tedious, some may prefer the comfort of their home (for example being able to watch these products in bed) and some may prefer the more recent methods of film viewing as the price of these media platforms is generally cheaper than that of a cinema ticket.

Due to digital distribution media institutions benefit more than the previous distribution methods. This is because more audiences can access their products, these audiences tend to be those who find it difficult or uncomfortable going to the cinema. for example the disabled population, the elderly and those who live in relative isolation (with large distances in between themselves and the nearest cinema).

Trends in viewing currently in the UK and moreover the World are largely centred around VOD. This platform of viewing first arrived on the scene with Kingston in 2001, and in the last 15 years has boomed. Although the future seems to hold more success for VOD, problems have been encountered with a portion of the population not paying for media products and streaming and downloading these products from illegal torrent sites. The film Mad Max: Fury Road was the most pirated film of 2015, it has been illegally downloaded 22.90 million times in 2015. Even though the studios will not get any money from the downloads it shows that many people want to watch the film and that one area of the digital distribution that isn't legitimate is working.

Small film institutions benefit from digital distribution greatly, as their smaller budgets tend to rule out their incorporation across screens worldwide with large cinema chains. However these products which tend to be cult films, have planted their feet firmly in the digital market, as VOD the main method of digital viewing is cheaper and can contact the smaller audiences these films target far easier than cinema can.

This is evident with the film Ex Machina. The film had a limited marketing campaign and therefore was not widely noted by audiences across the world. however with it appearing on a variety of VOD services including;    I Tunes, Amazon and Sky Go the film attracted some attention. Which was instrumental in it being nominated and winning an ward for the British Independent film award. Which then saw a re-release in cinemas on a larger scale. This manipulation of classic (cinema) and recent media platforms is a key attributer to the film being noted as one of the best films of 2015.

As far as marketing is concerned, the far more cost effective methods of digital distribution suit films such as Ex Machina, the independent- low budget films, massively. This is apparent with the marketing of Ex Machina and the large social media following and attention it received. With the film advertising on social media sites  Tinder and Instagram, which coupled with the VOD services it appeared on made a formidable paring, enhancing the recognition the film gathered.

On the other hand the marketing of Mad Max, on platforms such as television, bus stops and billboards was also successful and is more suited to larger budget films, with vast audiences. These methods of marketing are able to contact these audiences with ease, whereas if these techniques were used by Ex Machina, they would not be as effective and would be more costly than the methods they actually chose.

In conclusion I believe the extent of digital distribution that affects marketing and consumption in film differs depending on the budget of the film and the audience size. As lower budget, independent films rely on digital distribution greatly as it offers a large proportion of each products potential profits, due to the capabilities of it being able to contact their smaller audiences easier. Whereas larger budget, 'blockbusters' do not rely on digital distribution as heavily as their counterparts. Although digital distribution for these products can increase and maximise profits further, as these type of products will always generate a profit due to the faces they include (stars), content- usually largely CGI heavy and the size of the audience they appeal to, which is why blockbusters tend to be 4 quadrant films.