Film Industry vs Piracy Part 1

Over the next few months I am going to discuss the whole connundrum of how the internet is single handidly both destroying and liberating the music and film industries.

Looking at what makes people think they can take other peoples work and listen or watch it for free?

Will downloading eventually mean that people no longer make art for profit? Who wins and who loses?

So to kick off with films and piracy - lets look a what is out there?

Asian Copies 

Once the only way you were likely to get hold of a film on DVD that hadn't appeared in UK cinemas was via black market sellers in pubs, boot fairs, street corners and markets. Between £2-5 would most usually buy you some piss poor low-res camera footage of Harry Potter, complete with someone getting up to use the toilet half way through. Cam versions of films still exist on download torrent sites, but they are more sophisticated and the video capture much higher resolution these days - although the sound is nearly always awful.

Torrent Sites 

No longer is it necessary to buy your copy of Die Hard 12 from a street seller, now you can go to enormous torrent search engines online and (then) through a third party download software help yourself to the following formats:

Quite a lot of screeners (films made available for review by the media by film companies) end up available for download. Most screeners are sent out with a seperate audio track to stop piracy - although what then reaches torrent sites is the screener but with sound captured seperately from within a cinema and then synched by the torrent creator. In fact hackers and geeks even create hand written hard coded subs for foreign films.... such is their talent for piracy.

As mentioned above already, these are films recorded by digital cameras in the cinemas themselves and mostly should be avoided as they ruin the experience of watching any film (as can be argued any download does).

DVD or Blue Ray Rips
A film that has been ripped directly from a DVD that somewhere in the world has been released. These appear after the official DVD release; but sometimes a DVD version of a film will appear in Asia or South America months before it evem reaches the cinemas over here!

PPV (Pay Per View)
This is a copy ripped from a pay per view channel, it seems that in America particularly a PPV channel will get hold of films still out in the cinema - much like some airlines?

Which leads me nicely onto the most controversial of all pirate film formats - the Workprint. Basically this is a leaked version of a film that is not yet complete and has been whipped from the post production cutting table. Usually it is missing soundtrack elements, whole scenes or CGI or effects that haven't even been finished. Although pretty rare the most controversial example of this was the leak of action sequel Wolverine Origins. Hell even the FBI went out for the culprits responsible for this one. Distributors Fox claimed the release would damage their profits and audiences for the film's release, it did neither. The film easily surpassed the profits predicted for it ($370+ million). So what does that mean - is piracy really not the death of film?

The honest answer is 'who knows?' - when i found out about the leak I had enough knowledge to be able to find a copy of the workprint, but instantly I thought why would anyone want to see a film that wasn't finished? I for one couldn't bare to see green screens were effects should be or silence where a compelling sound track should be building tension. Imagine if you will - watching a film and not knowing there was a scene missing and then finding out later??????!!!! Plus a film like Origins is meant to be consumed in the comfort of the cinema and on a enormous kick ass digital screen and speakers! Ok so Origins is a bad example because it was pants but you get my point. Some films were made for cinema and any experience less than that is just a waste, i say some films as certainly not ALL FILMS are good for just cinema consumption!

I Love Cinema - Piraters and Hackers Love Cinema
Most people if they see a downloaded film and love it will watch it at the cinema - as you seriously can't beat what a cinema offers especially with IMAX and the rebirth of 3D, most downloads act almost better than trailers for promoting films. Most downloaders are geeks who are passionate about film, they don't create the torrents and avi files to make money - they do it for kudos.... ok some they may do it to say 'fuck you' to the system, but those that challenge the system are more than likely also its core audience and beneficiaries. Most geeks and piraters want film on their terms and that is one factor that drives piracy.

The Cinema again
Ok so before i sign off and return for Part 2 I just wanted to state that ultimately it is the greed and limitations of the film industry that drives piracy. WHY? Well even when there was no internet Cinemas charged too much for people to see average production line films, whilst fleecing us senseless for drink and pop corn that had a 500% mark up. Surely if the big film makers want to compete with the pirate hordes then they need to make their product cheaper and more accessible and maybe just maybe once in a while fund or show something other than the mindless western block busters made purely for profit.

Why aren't films released the same date or week the world over? Why allow something to be released on DVD in another country before it has even had its full cinema run worldwide? Why do so few cinemas have a decent membership and rewards system?

More to follow......... 


The Revenant - (Zombie/Vampire Buddy Movie!)

This film looks damn cool, it NEEDs a UK release!


Excerpt from film


Metronomy ‘She Wants’ available as a free download


Gig Diary Part 1 - The Bravery (Hoxton Bar & Kitchen 1st Feb 2011)

Back in 2006/7 when the moon was made of cheese and people actually bought CDs! The Bravery were a band making a big noise, single 'Honest Mistake' had indie scensters flinging their combat themed attire round in delirious delight. Of course being something of a hardcore rock fan (not specifically a fan of hardcore rock) I sniffed at them and felt discomfort at the sight of their very centrally positioned hair styles.

Some 4 years on and I am sat wearing my mandigan thinking the band had all but vanished which to a large extent they had, but only from these shores. Contractual issues meant that their last album never made it to dear old Blighty (but is now on it's way!). As a result instead of playing venues like Brixton Academy the hip NY five piece last night found themselves at the more modest yet pretty funky surrounds of Hoxton Bar & Kitchen. The place was packed, more precisely the place was packed with very slight, young females jiggling about as their heroes plowed through a (just over) hour long set (some lucky girls got to grope the band and jiggle about on the stage during the encore) .

As I said before The Bravery were not a band I remembered liking, or even the type of band or music I liked, or thought I would like..... and yet on the night.... like them I did. Songs like 'Believe' and the wonderfully titled 'Hatef*ck' had me nodding my head with gusto and forcing me to swallow my previous huffy indie opinions of the band. Yep it be true Sam Endicott is a greatly endearing vocalist and frontman... and what's more it turns out the band have done some really awesome rocking tunes (most of which they played tonight).

So there you go, I am a 'The Bravery' convert and judging by the incredibly enthusiastic and young audience (who weren't even born 4 years ago) I wasn't the only one!

wait wait wait............ a worthy mention goes out to the support in the form of Transfer, who were also pretty great! So hurrah to them, and if you ever get to stand next to their giant of a lead singer in the gents, try not to sneek a peak to see if his wang is as big as his size 13 boots!

The Bravery are doing a residengcy at HBK and i'm gonna be nice and give out the dates and ticket links, despite no promoter or management people bugging me to do so!

 Sat Feb 5 - Newcastle, UK - Academy 2 - BUY TIX
 Sun Feb 6 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms - BUY TIX
 Mon Feb 7 - Portsmouth, UK - Wedgewood Rooms – BUY TIX
 Tue Feb 8 - London, UK - Hoxton Bar & Kitchen  - BUY TIX  
 Thu Feb 10 - Bristol, UK – Thekla - BUY TIX
 Fri Feb 11 - Cambridge, UK - Haymakers - BUY TIX  
 Sun Feb 13 - Manchester, UK - Ruby Lounge  - BUY TIX  
 Mon Feb 14 - Leeds, UK - Brudell Social Club – BUY TIX   
 Tue Feb 15 - London, UK - Hoxton Bar & Kitchen  - BUY TIX  
 Tue Feb 22 - London, UK - Hoxton Bar & Kitchen  - BUY TIX


Message to all you January dieters

Hey I'm all for healthy living - no really..... ok ok stop laughing, I do go to the gym... well very occasionally AND I love nothing better than to injure myself playing squash. But still... that just about gives me cause to rant about seasonal fitness freaks! I nor many of you out there want to spend the first two months of the year wading through a throbbing mass of cranberry sauce sweating fad dieting new year's resolution bleating simpletons.

YES...we all sit around like seal pups at Christmas gorging on turkey and quality streets. We all fart the national anthem during the Queen's speech and smile vacantly at the 'One Ronnie Special' on the old idiot box; hitting the booze whilst again piling after-eights and cheese straws into our slavering cake holes. But sure enough come January a sudden sense of guilt and hope overrides common sense and the same vacant twats fall out of the rotting woodwork to embark on some ill-conceived health drive. January the gyms are rammed like a tube train, then by late Feb they've all retreated back to their binge drinking, recreational drug taking and sofas.

But we live in a society where guilt is preyed on. Even before Christmas has finished we are being bombarded by adverts for diet books, low fat food, gym memberships and slimming aids and worst of all ads for the celebrity endorsed work out video. Yep.... it is the same morons that flood the gyms that buy this ten a penny z-list crap - 'Oooh Sonya from Enders has made a Hula Hoop and home enema to get slim video!.'

You can only truly judge how low a 'so called celebrity' will stoop to for cash when you've seen them cynically shit out some god awful aerobics or keep fit video in the hope of riding the January wave of eaters remorse. Usually it's soap stars, TV presenters, desperate glamour models - or general Z-listers on their way down. Even worse is the marketing and PR leaches that pick off that one celebrity that has crashed and burned in the public eye.... yes they 'let themselves go!.' They get them fit, get them off the funny juice or in rehab, parade them around long enough to get you to notice their 'miraculous transformation' (amazing what paying for surgery and personal trainers 24/7 can do) then sell you a video or book of how they 'supposedly' did it! Fucking genius! But plenty of morons lap it up 'Owww if that Kerry Katona can turn 'er life araaaand, and wind 'er tits back up from underneath 'er knees, then why carrrrnt I?'

So I say to all you January dieters, fuck off home and watch Hollyoaks so I can get my regulation twenty minutes on the running machines you selfish bastards! Or else I will come round your house and force feed you kebab until you stop!