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Had another conversation with Blackbeard about the state of the online P2P world. He mentioned an interesting development with some pre-release movies. Movie companies send out 'pre-release' DVD-quality copies of movies out to a select group of people for the purposes of awards consideration. For a while now the movie companies have had a problem with members of this select group ripping the DVD and compressing it with DivX and then putting it on KaZaA. Often the only difference between this copy and the copy that will eventually be released on DVD is that the pre-release copy has a text message appear at the bottom of the movie that appears every 10 minutes or so that says "For Awards Consideration Only" etc. This level of degrading the movie was acceptable to the sharing community and few cared that the message appeared. Lately though, a new tactic has been seen. Instead of just having a message, the movie actually degrades to black and white for about 2 minutes every 15 minutes or so. The colour data is just gone. Removed.

Interesting. I think the movie companies are on to something with this. As far as awards consideration goes one should still be able to properly evaluate the movie, but from a movie-traders point of view the movie is now only marginally more tradeable than a hand-held camera theater capture. This doesn't of course address the ripping and sharing of undegraded DVDs after they are officially released, but this should help with the pre-release crowd. Many people if given the option to spend $10 to see a movie, or watch it for free will choose the free version. But, if the 'free' version has been degraded to the point where it isn't enjoyable to watch anymore then many people would rather opt for the $10 version. The trick will be finding that perfect threshold of degradation.


Of course, depending on the cinematography, a lot of movies might look better in b/w (although the switching back and forth between color modes would be weird). But I do like this technique because it keeps the movie watchable from a plot/substance POV.

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This page contains a single entry by Dylan published on June 27, 2003 11:12 AM.

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