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India's Bollywood Opts for Low-Cost Digital Cinema

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the why-wait-for-a-limo-when-you-have-a-cab dept.

Movies 191

Makarand writes "While Hollywood is yet to figure out who will pay for the costly $100,000 digital projectors required for the digital roll-out of films, the Mumbai (India) based film Industry (called Bollywood) is settling for cheaper projectors of a bit lesser quality available at one-third the price, to proceed with their digital roll-out. Industry officials call this cheaper version of the digital cinema the 'E-Cinema', in contrast to the 'D-Cinema' which Hollywood is waiting for. Over 1000 films are made each year in India and just 1 film in 12 makes a profit. Transporting conventional celluloid prints to remote towns gives video pirates plenty of time to copy and make prints. Digital cinema will cut down on piracy and help the industry to increase its profits."

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191 comments

And? (-1, Flamebait)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907204)

I've been hearing about Bollywood for years. Anyone ever HEARD of a Bollywood movie? So who the fuck cares, then?

Re:And? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907211)

How about, "Bend it like Beckham" for starters?

Re:And? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907260)

Its movie about Indian but not a bollywood movie. The movie was made in UK

Re:And? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907281)

You would not expect your random US-fagot to know anything outside the graet and mighty United States of America, would you?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907286)

Yeah, and one of the actresses is well known from E.R.

Re:And? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907226)

There have been several, and several have been nominated for international awards. Besides, there is a significant percentage of Indian readers of Slashdot.

*shrug*

Re:And? (0, Flamebait)

mofag (709856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907238)

OMG the world is just overflowing with people who can't wait to flaunt their ignorance. Are the first two posts part of some new social movement I'm yet to here about - ignorant and proud? equal rights for occidental-centric fuckwits?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907279)

You mean, we're starting to outsource slashdot readers too now?

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

robdavy (850571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907242)

Maybe they're big, in, um, India???

Re:And? (0, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907293)

Maybe they're big, in, um, India???

People outside of India should care, why? They're certainly not big outside of India, and I've heard and even seen a little of their films, compared with the shit hollywood produces, I'd rather hollywood. I'm sure it's an aquired taste (which is helped by people outside of India who watch it feeling like they're superior to people who don't), but I doubt it's about to take the world by storm.

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907454)

People outside of India should care, why?

Because they're adopting a different technology strategy than companies in the US are. In particular, they're opting for better than we have now (if not better than we hope to have), and sooner to market, and cheaper. This is something that should make people

It's not as if these guys couldn't be selling us this technology in the near future, while our "better" technology is still trying to get off the dime.

I'm sure it's an aquired taste

Well, it's more of a cultural difference, the way that Hong Kong audiences love an incredily corny tear jerker. You probably don't realize how ridiculous the movies your countrymen like until you live someplace else. I kid an Indian friend of mine whenever he's going to piss his wife off by working late that she's going to make him climb to the top of a grassy knoll and dance around a tree. He hasn't thought of it yet, but I suppose he could tell me to check for a bomb strapped to the bottom of my car when I'm in the same situation.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907252)

I've been hearing about Linux for years. Anyone ever USED Linux for work and play? So who the fuck cares, then?

Re:And? (1)

rudinz (880354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907255)

All the Indians care...u fucktard.....Get a life....

Re:And? (1)

agile_architect (926983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907320)

Stop bashing India. Be mature, get a life.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907271)

There are literally billions of people who have heard of a Bollywood movie. And they don't give a fuck whether you give a fuck or not.

Lagaan (2, Interesting)

Cybertect (85900) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907292)

Awesome. I loved it.

And it's about cricket. :)

Re:Lagaan (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907373)

Indeed. The Indian cinema has found its Kurosawa.

Don't buy the DVD, though. I've had two copies of it, and something went wrong in the MPEG encoding very near the end of the match.

-jcr

Re:And? (Ignore his flamebait) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907309)

This ben guy has just thrown a flamebait. Please ignore it. I am sure there are better uses of one's time than to get embroiled in needless flamewars, as if there weren't enough friction in the world anyways.

Re:And? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907316)

Bollywood is big throughout Asia and other parts of the world. Yes, Hollywood is bigger, and at this time, more people see their movies. But, just as all the recent outsourcing should have shown you, things change. Hollywood, is trying to spend top dollars on equipment, acting, directing, etc. Most hollywood movies pay their top actor/actress more than what a bollywood movie costs. So what does that mean? For now, nothing.

But, in about another 3-5 years, bollywood will re-align some of their movies and will start targeting the hollywood crowd. In fact, Hollywood is guarenteeing that, by all their formulic approachs, and recently, their DRMs.

Re:And? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907378)

But, in about another 3-5 years, bollywood will re-align some of their movies and will start targeting the hollywood crowd.

I don't think so. The story isn't what sells a movie. It's the star(s). It's been that way for a very long time.

When was the last (or first) time you've seen a Bollywood star with massive international appeal without the help of Hollywood? Marketing is what Hollywood does best. Bollywood's got a ways to go on that.

Re:And? (2, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907726)

Many agree with you about the star system. The star system is waning though; the list of stars is short and has been static in the US for a while.

A lot of market research shows that younger generations are not really star-centric. Celebrity is disposable, so no long term relationships are made with actors/directors, etc.

So to address your statement, the story is actually far more likely to sell a story in the US film market. More accurately, HIGH CONCEPT. This is what hollywood terms a film that can be summarized succinctly, usually in the title. For example: Titanic... or The Perfect Storm, Anaconda, et al. High concept films focus on the simple catchy idea that is easily conveyed. This reduces costs because a name cast is not necessary; the film sells itself. The title is a marketing phrase. The way hollywood hedges bets is that they tie a name cast to a high concept film and assume that all bases are covered. Tom Cruise in American Samurai, or Tom Hanks in Castaway. These are sure moneymakers and everyone wants to bankroll those.

The star system is more effective for the older crowd. 45-64s make up about 25% of the moviegoing pop in the US, the second biggest chunk behind the 12-24s. Stars matter to them; they establish relationships with their artists and nurture those relationships.

That's why your summer blockbuster is packed with your rapper/pop star du jour and suitably MTVed dialogue. Serious films with stars are more likely distributed during the rest of the year on non-holiday weekends but most likely during Oscar season, typically considered to be the fall and winter.

Re: Bollywood. Bollywood movies won't cross over here for two reasons. Americans on a whole tend to be very culturally arrogant. If Bollywood films don't already fit the existing view Americans have of Indians, they will not be embraced. Americans watch films to affirm themselves, for the most part... and this attitude transcends racial, gender, and age lines. Americans for the most part, feel themselves superior.

Also, Bollywood movies are bound by cultural restraints that will make them less than viable here.

The other side of that, is that a Bollywood star who tries to cross over here risks alienating his bollywood audience, to the point where he/she might not be viable over there any more.

So much of the world has become acclimated to consuming our product, it is more likely that they'll come towards the US style of filmmaking as opposed to the other way around.

I've seen several. (2, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907331)

I have seen Bollywood films such as Mashooka, Saathiya, and Yeh Dil, amongst others. While I'm not a fan of American cinema, I think I am even less of a fan of Indian cinema. I found their films less than entertaining. The plots often lacked originality, and the filmmanship was subpar. They're often billed as being professional-quality, but the editing, audio and the general direction was often quite bad.

They are lacking overall, especially when compared to the masterpieces that regularly come from mainland Europe. Not that I'm suggesting every European movie is better. But if you pick one at random, the European one will most likely be far better done, the quality of the acting will be much greater, and it will be far more coherent.

If there's one good thing about the Bollywood films, especially compared to Hollywood ones, is that they're far less commercialized. That is, they're not plastered with ads for Coke, for instance.

Re:I've seen several. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907382)

I think I am even less of a fan of Indian cinema.

Try Lagaan, and Monsoon Wedding.

The Indian film industry is just like Hollywood. A lot of crap, and a few standouts.

-jcr

Re:I've seen several. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907507)

I have seen Monsoon Wedding. Again, I wasn't impressed. I heard many positive reviews of Naseeruddin Shah's performance, but I think it was lacking. Perhaps it was just the low quality of the editing that was most disappointing.

Re:I've seen several. (1)

rahultyagi (924414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907415)

you really chose the worst movies to sample as far as bollywood is concerned. Except for Saathiya, the other two are probably the kind of movies which 99% of indians haven't seen (and most likely 90% haven't even heard of). I'm not saying that the movies that most indians do see are great, but you won't be able to tell that unless you sample something a bit different than these.

Try Lagaan, Satya, Sholay, Bombay, Kannathil Mutthamittal and such... you might just find them better than a randomly chosen European movie. Assuming you don't choose a Kieslowski movie randomly.

Re:I've seen several. (1)

Physician (861339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907468)

Aha! That's how Bollywood can start to turn a profit on all their movies. Place more product advertisements in their movies. Thanks for the great idea.

Re:I've seen several. (4, Insightful)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907529)

Who mods this crap up? I think the moderators today are angry programmers replaced by H1 visa guys.

I'm American born, of Bangladeshi descent and here's the deal. Most Indian movies suck. I would not watch them until very recently. And I learned something: there are some good ones. Most of them are crap.

But most American movies suck too (Stealth, anyone? The Island? Right before I left the country there was not one good movie coming out in theatres).

Until you've seen Lagaan or Monsoon Wedding or Earth (with, like Lagaan, features Aamir Khan, India's Mifune Toshiro, and is based on Bapsi Sidwa's excellent Icecandy Man/Cracking India novel) you've got no real right to malign the entire Indian movie industry.

That's not even mentioning Sajity Roy whose Apu trilogy is a classic of world cinema, of whom my favorite director, Kurosawa Akira said:

"The quiet but deep observation, understanding and love of the human race which are characteristic of all his films, have impressed me greatly... They can be described as flowing composedly, like a big river. Mr Ray is a wonderful and respectful man. I feel that he is a 'giant' of the movie industry."

"Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."

Let's not forget the work of Indian disporia: Bend it Like Beckham, the Sixth Sense, and other films which to varying degrees benefitted from Bollywood influence.

Re:I've seen several. (1)

pamri (251945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907582)

No doubt, the no. of good American films are more on an average than Indian films(especially Hindi movies), but you saw the wrong movies. Except the 2nd one, both are duds and the 2nd one was a remake of a Tamil movie, which is far better in terms of production quality, story telling, etc., I also suggest you try Tamil/Malayalam movies. They sometimes go over the top, but are more entertaining. Also, try the List of popular Bollywood films [wikipedia.org] at wikipedia and the forums at Desitorrents [desitorrents.com] , a bittorrent site.

Indian cinema is not Bollywood (4, Informative)

bayankaran (446245) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907593)

Bollywood is used to identify the 100 plus Hindi cinema coming from Mumbai (Bombay). India has major film producing centers in Chennai for Tamil films (Madras), Hyderabad for Telugu films, Bangalore for Kannada Films, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (Cochin)for Malayalam Films, Kolkatha (Calcutta) for Bengali films, Guwahati for Assamese films etc., where the other 900 plus films are made every year.

What you see in theaters in UK/USA/New Zealand/Australia/other countries are Hindi films catering to the Non-Resident-Indian audience. And most cities will have one or two theaters that cater to Tamil films, Bengali films, Malayalam films, Kannada films and Telugu films.

The examples you gave were of poorly made films. To understand Indian cinema, try the films of Satyajit Ray, Ritwick Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, Shaji N Karun, Shyam Benegal, Ketan Mehta, Girish Kasaravalli etc. You will not be disappointed.

Re:I've seen several. (1)

UnsolicitedHuman (760105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907595)

Well, I would tend to disagree to that.
Bollywood films , mainly are targetting the 'local' crowd. Which means that there is a 90% possibility of what 'u' like will 'not' be in one of the films. They are trying to (more so than hollywood) depict the local culture, happenings and way of life in India. The ones that are good (even if they are bad by ure standards) are really well appreciated and are worth watching as they tend to reemphasize the beauty of our culture/ happenings and the likings of the local crowd.
You cannot expect a 'Run Lola Run', 'The Chorus' 'Life is beautiful' from Bollywood, they wont be appreciated by the Indian/Asian Crowd.(Though there are some directors in here who try to make such movies ..referred to as ART films in Bollywood).

Re:I've seen several. (1)

sleepophile (568417) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907732)

Whoever made you watch those movies must really hate you.I didnt even know that a movie called Mashooka existed till I saw your post.Turns out its a B grade film.Check out their [indiafm.com] reviews [indiafm.com] While I agree that most of the Indian movies are crap ...there are a few that are really really good , just like any other movie industry.Checkout Nagesh Kukkonoor ,Mani Ratnam or Ram Gopal Verma's films ..they are pretty decent ...or Satyajit Ray's movies if you really want to see a master at work..

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907493)

Kal ho na ho

It's about the tech. not about the content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907678)

RTFA, you dumbass.

only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (4, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907208)

Only 1 film in 12 makes a profit? Perhaps the films are not intended to make a profit, but instead are money laundering?
-russ

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907241)

The film industry in India is a little more complicated than that, and even one movie that may turn a profit usually tends to bring in a whole lot of money that would cover the losses of several failed movies.

And relative to Hollywood, the amount invested in Indian movies is far lesser, so that's another reason.

Finally, the Bollywood has a lot of families which have been in the industry for a long time, so money isn't really a problem for a lot of them - they'd rather waste a lot of money making absolutely crappy movies just to launch a new actor or an actress from their family.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (2, Interesting)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907368)

It's also notable that a 1 in 12 statistic is not as far off of american cinema as you would like to believe.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907403)

But don't forget, in the U.S. anyone with a camcorder and is willing to spend the time can become a 'movie maker'. Look at all the independent films there are online. Red vs Blue could be considered a sitcom. The hugely successful 'The Blair Witch Project' looks like it could have been made by a bunch of pranksters with a horror fetish. Heck, just look at 'America's Funniest Home Videos' and all its spin-offs. People getting paid for unprofessionally filmed, unedited, poor quality video clips.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

Zacha (581899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907484)

Look at the number of independent films there aren't online, as well. Despite the technology, in the U.S. - and in all the other countries who read Slashdot - the field is still taking off.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907575)

I've heard that 1 in 10 video games make a profit, and the profit on that one more than makes up for the losses of the rest, which isn't that hard. Say the other nine earn back 90% of their production & marketing cost, and the tenth that makes a profit three times its production costs. Assuming all movies cost the same, a net profit was made.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907622)

Very few movies in America make "profit," but this is more about screwing people with the fact that any percentage of zero is zero.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (0)

nunchux (869574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907698)

It's also notable that a 1 in 12 statistic is not as far off of american cinema as you would like to believe.

Really? Can you back that up? Because I don't really think you know what you're talking about. Most American movies make a profit. It may take years, but after DVDs, rentals and foreign markets there's a profit. We call a movie a failure and a flop if it doesn't make its money back in the first few weeks, but it's pretty rare that a movie will actually take a loss.

Foreign markets, by the way, are a huge cash cow for most American films... Even our worst will be shown in theaters and on TV worldwide-- in fact the worst often do quite well, because dumbed-down action flicks and broad sex comedies translate better than movies driven by dialogue and characters. Bollywood, on the other hand, doesn't make it out of India except for a few British or North American specialty stores and theaters.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (2, Insightful)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907760)

Hollywood bookkeeping is insane. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of films didn't make a profit... on paper.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907486)

I saw a video called "Ballywood", Jesus, I've never seen that kind of... 'Lovin'... before.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907318)

Only 1 film in 12 makes a profit? Perhaps the films are not intended to make a profit, but instead are money laundering?

11 in 12? That is a lot of clean shirts.
       

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (0, Redundant)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907334)

I normally hate this cliche, but I just can't resist

1. make crappy movies
2. ?
3. profit!

I guess the ? was answered by the parent poster

Do you have any proof? (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907344)

Do you have any proof to back up your accusations of money laundering, or are you just making unsubstantiated claims, Russ?

Re:Do you have any proof? (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907370)

It wasn't a claim or accusation, it was a bit of speculation. No need to take offense.

Re:Do you have any proof? (2, Informative)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907564)

No need to apologize - your bit of speculation is spot on. I'm Indian and the Indian film industry used to be awash in underworld money - it's gotten a bit better in recent years, but still is quite significant:

http://sify.com/movies/bollywood/fullstory.php?id= 13294051 [sify.com]
Of the 143 Hindi films (excluding dubbed ones) released in 2000, barely 5 or 7 were funded by the underworld. Of the 150 films of 2001 or 140 of 2002, not more than 8 or 10 in each of the two years could have been made with funds from questionable sources. How can 4 or 5 per cent be taken as representing the entire production sector?

Re:Do you have any proof? (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907673)

So is the US film market. I've worked on at least two films where the crew was paid in CASH. In fact, one of those two was a film where the DP was sent on cash runs, in a chauffered car, to pick up "packages" that were filled with cash.

the independent film industry in particular is awash with money laundering.

I'm really sorry about that btw.

Re:Do you have any proof? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907560)

It's widely believed that oreganized crime is deeply embedded in Bollywood financing, herbs, and spices. Indian slashdot readers will be coming online shortly, and I'm sure that some of them will concur.
-russ

Re:Do you have any proof? (2, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907750)

Its pretty common in the movie business. Way back when the Mob had a lot of money in Cinema.

Mario Puzo wrote about it in The Godfather so it must be true.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (2, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907389)

Only 1 film in 12 makes a profit? Perhaps the films are not intended to make a profit, but instead are money laundering?
 
You're kidding, right? One in twelve movies making a profit is stellar performance. Compare to Hollywood, where no movie has ever made a profit. See: "Hollywood accounting".

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907466)

Movie soundtracks make a lot of money that might not count in movie profits.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907487)

Perhaps the films are not intended to make a profit,

Nah, it is to see how often the same boy meets girl, girl or boy is from the wrong side / right side of the tracks, and then suddenly everyone breaks out into signing and dancing stories they can come up with. You know, like Taco Bell does with 4 ingredients.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907599)

If they're signing, why do they need music? Deaf people can't ..... oh I see, the signing is for the deaf people, and the music is for the hearing people!
-russ

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907544)

This is a viable business model if the one hit movie generates enough profit to also cover the losses on the other 11 failures from the studio's point of view.

And it's not too far off from what happens in Hollywood, book publishing, and the music industry. Surely you don't think a majority of the albums you see at the record store are profitable? In all media, they throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, and the "Top Ten" are so successful that the profits end up subsidizing the next round of stuff thrown at the wall.

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

FarHat (96381) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907554)

There is certainly a number of films made with that objective in mind (see "Bombay Boys" for a nice introduction to that). But its partly just that films are so much cheaper. The average movie there probably costs less than the average TV ad in the US. So that 1 movie which is a hit (and when its a hit Indians go solidly crazy over it) can easily pull 12 failures behind it.

-F

Re:only 1 in 12 makes a profit? (1)

utopicillusion (843168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907557)

It's also a factor that Bollywood rolls out more movies than Hollywood. Plus, there are a lot of regional movie industries, almost one for every state (and there are 26 of them, with a completely different language). Hence, 1 in 12 is not bad at all.

Decrease Piracy? (2, Insightful)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907218)

Digital cinema will cut down on piracy and help the industry to increase its profits.

Last time I checked it was 100x easier to pirate a digital format by simply copying it as oppose to the usual digital-camera-at-screen method or even more difficult and costly telecine process.

Correction... (2, Funny)

ViaNRG (892147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907254)

It's only 10x easier to pirate the digital media, but it is 100x easier to seed the torrent =)

Re:Decrease Piracy? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907269)

I think the point in the article was that it brings movies to locations that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford them. In such a situation, piracy isn't costing the industry money, but rather the lack of availability is encouraging piracy.

There are also scary things that you can do with digital film to discourage piracy, such as watermarking films by theater, date, and time. If you look at a modern digital film, such as Spiderman 2, you'll occasionally see some dots along the bottom of the screen. That's what they are. If that mark appears in online versions of the film, police can track down which group of people saw the movie, and if you paid in advance or with a credit card, they know who was there. Otherwise it just helps narrow their search down for them.

I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of watermarking showed up in DVD's soon.

Re:Decrease Piracy? (5, Interesting)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907387)

I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of watermarking showed up in DVD's soon.

This is actually pretty unlikely for the near future. Commercial DVDs are generally stamped on a die rather than burned like a CD-R; I'm not quite sure, but I assume burning a DVD would take at least ten minutes on home equpment and this could probably be cut down a little, but one minute or even thirty seconds would probably be too much time on industrial presses. And the machinery required for burning high volumes would be much more complex and error prone than stamping. Stamping greatly reduces the cost and increases the durability of high volume runs, but pretty much ensures that every copy is identical, so watermarking would not be realistic, AFAIK. As for the small volumes sent out for promo copies and advance screeners, those could realistically be burned, and so watermarking those makes some sense and that is where you hear about this being done.

Re:Decrease Piracy? (5, Informative)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907273)

True. However, that's not the problem. It dosen't really matter how hard it is to copy a film, it's currently happening.

At the moment, with film, it's not economic to roll out a film everywhere at once. Therefore there is a time lag between the first showings, and when it's available to view locally. This time lag is where the pirates are operating. If you can remove this lag, then one of the benefits of pirated films (faster access) is removed. Digital projectors bring the benefits of digital copying to the movie producers, as opposed to currently, where only the pirates are reaping the benefits.

As I understand it then, Bollywood is trying to defeat piracy by starving the pirates of a market.

Re:Decrease Piracy? (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907429)

This time lag is where the pirates are operating.

I agree that is part of the motivation - but what about people that just want free movies?

^What he said^ (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907288)

The article says nothing about encrypted disks/formats or whatever.

BUT I found a press release from RealImage [real-image.com] which explains that the distribution method is by satellite.

So I'm assuming they'll use an encrypted satellite feed to send the movies to theaters.

Film distribution via satellite is yet to pick up in other countries chiefly because distances are not too daunting overseas and thus it is not viewed as much of a cost saver, says a trade observer.

But in India it has become an instant hit, given the vast geographical spread
Reading some of their other press releases gives some good info: The distro method is web based, so theaters can pick whatever they want from a server.

The other tidbit i picked up is that "The films in the MPEG 2 format will take 20 hours to download depending on the connectivity"

Re:Decrease Piracy? (2, Informative)

L.Bob.Rife (844620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907333)

Yes and no. The problem with distribution is, it costs a couple of thousand dollars to produce 1 copy of a film at a film lab. So, in order to minimize the costs, companies will only make a certain number of prints, and then ship them around. Now, person X at the far end of the country, or another country, cannot go to the movies to go see it. Its simply not available in that region yet. But, he can buy a copy on the street corner because the organized criminals are using digital transfers.

Simply, organized crime is beating Bollywood and Hollywood, because they have a faster distribution model and this cuts into profits.

If it was a digital distribution, there is no delay in shipping, or limits to how many theaters can play the movie at one time. Now instead of "See lowsy street corner quality" or "Not see the movie at all", it will be a choice between "See lowsy version" or "See decent version on the big screen".

So the shift to D cinema is not trying to eliminate piracy, its an attempt to catch up with Organized crimes better, cheaper, faster distribution model.

Entry cost $33000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907392)

Great news. Perfect digital copies, and the entry price of 33K keeps away pesky street pirate wantabees. The big 'Players' will be cheering this, and even the trusted couriers who can demand a bigger cut between suudio and far flung cinemas.

Re:Decrease Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907693)

Not exactly. The films are to big to fit on a DVD (even at low resolution) so they are usually sent via the internet or on a USB hard drive. The trick is that the film itself is sent encrypted. Just before the first showtime, a key is sent encrypted with SSH for that particular projector.

The only way to decrypt the film is to intercept the key after it has arrived and been decrypted at the projector. Obviously the OS on the projector is responsible for making that difficult.

Re:Decrease Piracy? (1)

AgNO3 (878843) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907710)

Uh i would guess 70%+ of all major release uses a digital intermediate for color correction and and editing. So the movie is already digital. Why would I telecine a movie unless I need it for broadcast? I'm not editing on tape decks. There is a difference between telecine and just doing cineon scans. Anyway the film is in digital format. Its a matter of how they choose to display the product. Output back to film or digital projection. Either way its already digital.

I smell a con (0)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907219)

Digital cinema will cut down on piracy and help the industry to increase its profits.

And if you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you. I'll even give you 10% off.

Re:I smell a con (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907253)

I don't believe piracy impacts cinema receipts, but I do believe it impacts DVD sales.

Re:I smell a con (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907422)

I'd be willing to bet piracy does impact theater reciets. People will be able to see whether they like a movie before they go out to actually see it. Excellent movies will have more people seeing them, while subpar movies will have a drastic decline in ticket sales. The stance and actions of the MPAA against piracy make much better sense with that fact in mind.

Re:I smell a con (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907463)

I don't believe piracy impacts cinema receipts, but I do believe it impacts DVD sales.

I think it depends on the individual more than anything else. One of my roommates back in college and I bought hte same DVD at the same time knowing the other was buying it. We each wanted our own DVD copy, not a DivX copy. We also wanted the ancillary material that comes with it. We may not be like most people, but for some reason some people are fine with low quality copies like theater-cam rips.

That said, I have bought more DVDs due to finding out I liked the series/movie after dloading it than otherwise.

One interesting thing though. I have seen fewer movies in the past few years than ever before. Just not that interested in most, and the rest I sometimes miss seeing in theaters. All I am pretty sure of is that the digital distribution is going to open up a few more holes in their chain to piracy.

Re:I smell a con (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907740)

I have to agree completely with your sentiments. I often buy a copy of a movie when I know that other people have copies which I could burn. As stupid as it may seem, generally if I like a movie it's worth the $20 to have the real case and movie in my entertainment center. I've also been burned on buying movies that I haven't seen before. A while back Blockbuster was offering 3 DVDs for $15 here, and I picked up a few movies that I hadn't seen but that seemed like they might be worth it. For the most part I tended to get movies that were absolutely worthless (I'm looking at you "The Forgotten").
Along those lines, nearly every TV series that I own on DVD are series that I didn't watch during the initial run but later downloaded. The only show that I have on DVD that I've never actually downloaded is M*A*S*H which I got on DVD mainly because it was one of the few shows I watched regularly when I had cable.
Somewhat offtopic, but I think that even if iTunes or some other service offered shows that I really wanted to see for download I would probably only buy a few episodes to decide if I wanted the DVD set. I just really like having a full box set of any given series out on display.

Re:I smell a con (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907617)

That's not a con you're smelling; it's curry.

Re:I smell a con (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907733)

And if you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you. I'll even give you 10% off.

Don't listen to him. I have an almost identical bridge only slightly fuzzier than his and without the credits that I'll sell you off a blanket on the street corner for only 20 rupees and a gourd of yak yogurt.

Cut down on piracy? (0, Redundant)

vespazzari (141683) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907235)

I find it really hard to believe that the move to digital cinema will facilitate less piracy.

I'm not sure (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907247)

that this will cut down on piracy, but it will certainly be interesting to watch what happens. This is one area where DRM would work very well. There are others, of course, but this one application is a good place for DRM and encryption etc.

Besides, all those call center reps need a night out once in a while

Re:I'm not sure (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907268)

Besides, all those call center reps need a night out once in a while

If so I hope they tell the rest of us when it will be. I could use a night in once in a while

reason for less piracy (2, Interesting)

vasanth (908280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907264)

The reason the digital system will reduce piracy is, in India movies are usually copied while moving the film tape (reel) from one place to another.. For example a movie released in a particular city might just have one reel and it has to be shared between cinemas and are exchanged on a show to show basis...

Excuses, excuses. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907284)

"Over 1000 films are made each year in India and just 1 film in 12 makes a profit. Transporting conventional celluloid prints to remote towns gives video pirates plenty of time to copy and make prints. Digital cinema will cut down on piracy and help the industry to increase its profits.""

"But, but, it doesn't hurt anyone"

"It's free advertising"

"I never would have spent the money on it anyway"

BensBargains.net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907295)

Maybe the Indian "movie" community got a good deal on some refurb Infocus X1a's that was on besnbargains.net or woot.com?

Ah....Bollywood. Look for the next Ashiarya Rai (or whatever her name is) film to be coming to a xvid/mp4 avi file playing off of a Thinkpad T42 that doubles as a laptop for an outsourced IBM employee. Gotta love that dual monitor support!!!!!

Note: One of you will complain about lack of DVI on the T42. Get the docking station, slacker

Of course, low budget cameras BUT (2, Funny)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907310)

high budget microphones to hear their voices while singing every 2 minutes.

Rapsani: You killed my brother, how dare you then sleep with my sister!
Hajil: No, it was him Gandapana! Look, he's running away. Let's Sing!

Then you see 30 indians break into a dance while the evil killer is running away WHILE singing AND dancing.

I bet the stories in Bollywood movies are much more interesting than the stories of today's Hollywood movies, regardless of how much they sing and/or dance.

They're where Hollywood was in the 1950s. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907357)

Indeed, they often do use dance and song. Take a look at many 1950s movies from Hollywood. You basically have the same thing going on there, especially in non-musicals.

That could be because many of the top Bollywood performers are also singers. They become famous because of their music, and then get top billing in many of the Bollywood movies. It only makes sense for them to sing, as that is their first talent, before acting.

Re:They're where Hollywood was in the 1950s. (3, Insightful)

Gja (926839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907410)

That could be because many of the top Bollywood performers are also singers.

Actually, this really isn't true.

The music industry and the film industry rarely have people crossing over.

They work together very closely, as music is a very important part of the scene, but singers rarely become actors and vice versa.

However, every Ms India / Ms India who became Ms World / Universe / Foo automatically has a long acting career ahead of her

Re:They're where Hollywood was in the 1950s. (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907737)

This is true. The actresses are there to be cute and dance. They tend to mime to soundtracks recorded by professional singers who are probably not as cute, and thus don't get the credit they deserve.

Re:Of course, low budget cameras BUT (-1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907358)

high budget microphones to hear their voices while singing every 2 minutes.

"I'm an H1B and I took your job, fa la la la la"
"My name is Rihaji, but call me Rob, fa la la la la"
"Globalism's great when it makes me rich, fa la la la la"
"But we'll can its ass when it becomes a bitch, fa la la la"
   

Re:Of course, low budget cameras BUT (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907367)

Then you see 30 indians break into a dance while the evil killer is running away WHILE singing AND dancing.

I took a business trip to India a couple of years ago, and happened to see a bit of Indian MTV in my hotel. All of the Indian singers had vast throngs of dancers. Whenever an American or European act came on, it was jarring to only see the singer and four of five dancers. It looked like they just couldn't get the budget for a full-scale production. ;-)

-jcr

Re:Of course, low budget cameras BUT (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907511)

How representative of Indian culture is Indian MTV? Is it a station that is involved with the American MTV in any way, or is it just a wholly-Indian equivalent?

Re:Of course, low budget cameras BUT (2, Informative)

alphakappa (687189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907647)

It's affiliated with the American MTV, but the shows are produced in Mumbai(Bombay). They show plenty of english music videos, but the majority of videos shown are Indian pop music videos or songs from Indian (not just Bollywood) movies.

MTV India website [mtvindia.com]

Just ecomonics - weak piracy argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907390)

The anti-piracy argument is pretty weak. It is really the economics that makes sense. From the article "While it takes around 70,000 rupees to make a celluloid print, RealImage rents out digital copies to cinema owners at less than 400 rupees." So it costs a lot less for the movie theaters, so it makes the industry profitable by cutting the distribution costs. It doesn't change the production costs (at least not from that article).

Less piracy (0, Troll)

CyrusD (926988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907427)

There is absolutely no way that digital cinemas would curb piracy!

Kinds of Cinema (4, Funny)

carcosa30 (235579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907469)

Do the terms E-Cinema and D-Cinema have anything to do with the fact that 99% of films that are coming out these days are B movies?

Re:Kinds of Cinema (1)

ephex (898529) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907706)

B might be a bit generous.

eliminates financial risk of distribution... (3, Informative)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907471)

Low-cost digital cinemas should theoretically slash distribution costs, but I suspect the cost savings will be a negligible percentage of the total cost to make, publicize and distribute the film. What the shift WILL do is slash the cost of distributing the 11 out of 12 films that are money losers in a manner that will transform the industry. Currently, movieplexes *have* to play stinker films for a short while, because the print is couriered to them and there aren't extra prints of the popular films to replace them. The distributor manufactures hundreds of prints of marginal films, and wants to see at least some return on their investment. So the film lingers for a few weeks in the cinema. With digital distribution, money losers can be quickly deleted from distribution at not cost -- it's not like there are hundreds of film prints that suddenly become worthless.

WTF is a 'bolly'? (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907641)

Why do they call it 'bollywood'?

Re:WTF is a 'bolly'? (2, Informative)

Trotsky820 (543230) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907688)

It's a conflation of Bombay and Hollywood.

hollywood + bombay (1)

adamgeek (771380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907691)

the majority of indian film production takes place in bombay, i believe.

hence, bollywood.

Digital Cinema and ticket prices... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907762)

So the movie industry says that digital cinema will save them money and of course they'll say it will have increased clarity, sound etc... and they'll probably even say it will be cheaper to make movies...

In the end they'll raise ticket prices to "recover the cost of the digital cinema investment" and ticket prices will go up...

It's like how there are 'conveinence fees' for paying bills online, it saves the company $$$ by having me pay for something online (1 less person opening mail), but they twist it around to make me pay >${cost_of_stamp}.

Look at Fandango... i have to pay service charges so I don't have to stand in line... they love the fact that I don't have to stand in line... but i'm not paying an extra $3 to not stand in line...
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