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The Digital Director Experience: Video Editing Fundamentals

Roll up, roll up... get your free films

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It seems Slum Dog Millionaire is set to beat all records... for the most pirated film in history. Its universal appeal provides the perfect catalyst for this dubious title. That and the universal availability of pirate copies.

At a time when everyone's attempting to save money, it comes as no surprise to see knock off sales surge. But surely that's not the whole story? I paid 3 to watch Slum Dog on the big screen courtesy of Orange Wednesdays. About the same price some people are paying for pirate copies. There's bargains to be had. In fact I will never comprehend the publics love affair with pirate DVDs. The quality is awful, it'll put the price of DVDs up in the long run, but more to the point, you can BUY the real deal for a fiver. Sure they're not the latest, but you always pay a premium for the latest must haves.

What's even more shocking is that the whole industry is the ultimate money for old rope. It's quite literally like printing money. Hell, people could even download the films for free if they really wanted. But there's more a stigma attached to that. People get caught stealing films from the internet, but how many times have you heard a story of a guy in the street being collared for buying a dodgy DVD?
If you simply must see Slum Dog (or any other film for that matter), pay a few quid more and watch it in a cinema.

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  1. Mark W's Avatar
    I have a good prited copy of slum dog - if I like it I will buy it.
    I have priated DVD images too - no loss of quality - but I still buy 2 dvds a week on average.

    People who pirate stuff buy stuff and the industry needs to stop taking people, thier customers to court.
  2. Marc Peters's Avatar
    Surely that's what trailers are for?

    If someone steals content from my website, I get annoyed. It's the closest analogy I can come up with. If I could afford it, I'd take legal action against anyone that stole my intellectual property. The simple thing is that these companies can afford it, so they do. The easiest way to avoid being taken to court is to comply with the law. If you want the film, you pay for it. If you don't want to pay, you risk a fine. I really see it as that black and white.

    I'm open to being persuaded otherwise...
  3. Mark W's Avatar
    Trailers are not inended to help you make a infoimred purchasing decision - they are in effect an advert and will go to great lenghts to convince you to buy - not show you what the film is REALLY like - and I hate trailers.

    The world has changed. The internet has changed it. Now the distributors need to change too.

    Everyone I know pirates films and everyone I know buys heaps of DVDs - often of stuff they pirated.

    I buy DVDs cos I like to own a bit of the dream that is the film. I love to see it on my shelf and enjoy the ritual of picking what to watch with friends. I like the extras and the other guff. I love film.

    Instead of pissing of people who buy DVDs with that bloody anti priacy ad - christ I bloody hate it - distributors should join the modern world.

    If distributors released slighly lower quality torrents of all thier releases for people to try and mounted and POSITVE ad campaign stressing the joy of buting and owning what you love they would sell MORE films. And get rid of that bloody ' dont steal ' on DVDs that I just bloody paid for ! lols.
  4. Mark W's Avatar
    Also - do you lend your DVDFs? That is as illegal, and that is just silly.
  5. Marc Peters's Avatar
    When you buy a DVD, you're purchasing a licence to watch that film for private, home use. You're not buying the film, but the right to watch it. At no stage do you own the film, and downloading or otherwise sharing the film with others is theft.

    I have no doubt that you buy many of the films you pinch. I'm sure many people are the same. But how many? And that model is never going to succeed. Imagine not paying for food after you've eaten it? Exactly the same argument.

    Why don't you walk into HMV and just take a few films off the shelf? If you like the film, go back and give them the money. Again, exactly the same argument. People don't do this because they fear getting caught. And yet it's the exact same crime.

    If you want to watch a film, I'm afraid you have to pay the agreed price. If you don't you're breaking the law which exists for good reason.
  6. Mark W's Avatar
    For the record I have pirated no mivies this year - I borrwed slum dog pirated by a firend cos the hype amused me. I wont be buying it.
    However this week I have spent near on 100 on nearly 20 dvds - been shopping a few times with film obessed friends.
    I also watched 5 borrowed dvds this week - that is as illegal as d loading - and that is stupid.

    Older folk - like forty plus - may recall the ' home taping is killing music' camapaign in another age - referring to the evil of recordable comact casette - that was lie. The comact casette and the consequent sharing invigorated the market - has the music died - no.

    Will the film industry die cos of the internet - no - it is thriving cos of it.

    Laws are not made for the common good in all cases but are often shaped by the short sighted greed of huge rights owners.

    And anyway - pirates dont praite a film istead of buying it - most never would have purchased it.
  7. bgarthp's Avatar
    My view:
    My housemate has all available seasons of House on DVD, about 6 DVD's in each season, it is easier to download an entire season of House illegally, use XBMC (on an old xbox) to grab all the episode info, thumbs etc. and then stream it to one of our TV's than to dig out the relevant DVD and watch it - complete with annoying piracy warnings every episode.

    I downloaded a DVD rip of Wall-E to watch at home via the network, I had already watched it at the cinema - (14 in leicester square!!! worth every penny) and I have the special edition DVD too.

    I recently set up my (non-tech-savvy) Mums laptop - she wanted to download a few pop songs so for ease of use we put i-tunes on there, she was pretty excited when she saw films were available too - we looked at Finding Nemo - 12.00 - you can buy it in Tescos for a fiver (probably), and then I had to explain that it wasn't exactly simple to get a DRM laden film out of i-tunes running on Vista and onto her TV (and would probably mean breaking the law in the process anyway).

    My life is a lot easier without DRM and physical media, so Piracy is a very attractive option. Until they make it as easy for me to Legally put a non-DRM film on my home network and let me then do what I want with it, I'll probably keep pirating.
  8. Marc Peters's Avatar
    You've pretty much described my view. Yes, it can be much easier to download a ripped copy of a DVD than transcode the bugger yourself. I previously had my entire movie collection backed up on my HTPC (that died with the death of a hard drive). It's much easier (and quicker) to download a film rather than rip it. Is it legal to do so? Not exactly. But there is a huge difference between this and buying a pirate film from the chinese woman in the pub. That is what my rant was really about.

    DRM is dying a death. Thank god.
  9. bgarthp's Avatar
    I did cherry-pick my examples - I also download films which I have no intention of buying, I don't buy copies from people - but only because I can get the same copies online myself and make sure they are decent quality.

    I justify it morally by going to the cinema fairly frequently, buying on DVD if I really like it, and the knowledge that me not downloading it won't make any difference (the last one's a weak argument I know).

    Paying for downloads of niche sports videos is something I've considered, but the shocking DRM has put me off so far, when it finally dies I will definitely buy a couple if only out of curiosity about the quality.

    A few years ago I wouldn't have a clue how to get hold of a pirated movie file, Now even my girlfriend knows the difference between a Tele-Scene and a Cam.

    Piracy has gone mainstream, I no longer associate it with dodgy people in the pub', it's everyday behaviour for most of my peers, the only way to beat it is to offer me a comparable service: no DRM, fast downloads, high quality, choice of codec, reasonable prices.
    Updated 02-16-2009 at 07:53 PM by bgarthp
  10. TimStannard's Avatar
    Everyone does it, so its OK, eh?
    If the filmmakers here relied upon sales of their wares to feed themselves etc (as some do) I think they'd atke a different view.
    I agree the current model is not sustainable in a digital world (and this is totally different from the MU's Home Taping is Killing Music campaign as there was a niticable loos in quality back then) but simply stealing is NOT the answer.
  11. bgarthp's Avatar
    Everyone does it: so the people who are missing out should offer a valid alternative.

    If the film studios whose films are being stolen couldn't feed themselves or employ people to make more films, they'd already have created an alternative business model which would allow them to.

    Smaller producers who earn a living from it are producing things which aren't going to be pirated anyway, their business model is good - event and corporate videography will not suffer because of piracy, and people are willing to pay reasonable prices for professional work.

    My point is: the illegal downloading of films is happening because there is no decent alternative, if there was one I'd use it, I am the target market for the film industry - I go to the cinema regularly and spend money on DVD's - The movie industry can't offer me what I need so I go elsewhere.

    One answer to all my needs is piracy, I cannot legitimately purchase a film and watch it the way I want to.

    If stealing films isn't the answer, what is?
    Updated 02-18-2009 at 05:37 PM by bgarthp
  12. Mike Shaw's Avatar
    So, you guys ever had your house burgled? Same thing. Smaller scale. How would it be if, in your job, people ripped off what you do, for next to nothing? That's different? No it isn't. You invent a gizmo, someone comes along and copies it, and without all the development costs to amortise, sells it for a fraction of the price. That's OK? It's Ok to rip off, until its you being ripped?

    On the other hand, obscene profits are made by some films/production companmies, obscene salaries are paid to (some) actors (and other 'non-productive' people - in my view - like footballers. The price of a ticket for a football match has to be high to pay these obscene salaries).

    So, the solution lies in the hands of the film producers (et al). Too many people want a massive cut - if they took a 'reasonable' and acceptable return for their effort (it can still be skill and talent based), end product prices could be slashed to the point [I]where piracy isn't worth the trouble[/I].

    Cut down the obscene sums people are being paid, and DVDs could be sensibly priced. And the whole family could go watch a football match without taking out a second mortgage.

    Supply and demand? Well the demand (for pirated copies) suggests the suppliers would do better to lower their prices - and sell more. 100 at 5 is better than 30 at 10 (even allowing for additional material costs for the extra 70).
  13. mamata's Avatar
    I will watch it in a Cinema coz there is a difference
  14. BritishEye's Avatar
    The only reason cinema prices are souring is because they're losing customers who are now downloading films illegally.

    Yes, downloading illegally is free, relatively quick and 1080p HD, but it's still illegal. That is the law, and the law exists for a reason. If you are against it, complain, or put yourself up for MP. Don't simply become a criminal.

    It's the career we're all looking to get into - film-making, and it's independent as well as multi-million companies who are having their content stolen and thrown across the web for free takings.

    Someone's finger is hovering above the download button.
    Tens or hundreds of people worked on that film. Millions of dollars were poured into its production. For 12 to 24 months it was their soul aim to produce the best film they could, make others proud, push boundaries and impress audiences. The film is then exhibited in cinemas for less than 10 a ticket.
    That person then clicks the mouse, and all that work is wasted.