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Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access

Wheeler Winston Dixon
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Film stocks are vanishing, but the iconic images of the silver screen remain -- albeit in new, sleeker formats. Today, viewers can instantly stream movies on televisions, computers, and smartphones. Gone are the days when films could only be seen in theaters or rented at video stores: movies are now accessible at the click of a button, and there are no reels, tapes, or discs to store. Any film or show worth keeping may be collected in the virtual cloud and accessed at will through services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant.

    The movies have changed, and we are changing with them. The ways we communicate, receive information, travel, and socialize have all been revolutionized. In Streaming, Wheeler Winston Dixon reveals the positive and negative consequences of the transition to digital formatting and distribution, exploring the ways in which digital cinema has altered contemporary filmmaking and our culture. Many industry professionals and audience members feel that the new format fundamentally alters the art, while others laud the liberation of the moving image from the "imperfect" medium of film, asserting that it is both inevitable and desirable. Dixon argues that the change is neither good nor bad; it's simply a fact.

    Hollywood has embraced digital production and distribution because it is easier, faster, and cheaper, but the displacement of older technology will not come without controversy. This groundbreaking book illuminates the challenges of preserving media in the digital age and explores what stands to be lost, from the rich hues of traditional film stocks to the classic movies that are not profitable enough to offer in streaming formats. Dixon also investigates the financial challenges of the new distribution model, the incorporation of new content such as webisodes, and the issue of ownership in an age when companies have the power to pull purchased items from consumer devices at their own discretion.

    Streaming touches on every aspect of the shift to digital production and distribution. It explains not only how the new technology is affecting movies, music, books, and games, but also how instant access is permanently changing the habits of viewers and influencing our culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4224-1
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. 1 On Demand
    (pp. 1-30)

    There can be no doubt that the digitization of the moving image has radically and irrevocably altered the phenomenon we call the cinema, and that the characteristics of this transformation leave open an entirely new field of visual figuration. For those who live and work in the postfilmic era—that is, those who have come to consciousness in the last twenty years—the digital world is not only an accomplished fact but also the dominant medium of visual discourse. Many observers have remarked that the liberation of the moving image from the tyranny of the “imperfect” medium of film is...

  4. 2 The Lost Age of Classicism
    (pp. 31-70)

    On June 30, 2011, Chuck Viane, then president of Walt Disney Studios’ Motion Pictures Division, wrote an open letter to exhibitors, shortly before his retirement. The point of the letter was simple and direct: 35mm is becoming obsolete; adapt to digital, or face obsolescence. As Viane wrote:

    At the end of this month I conclude 40 years in exhibition and distribution. I do not want to make this transition without sharing my deep concern with you. Some of you are among the dwindling number still playing only 35mm prints, apparently without plans to migrate to digital cinema. . . ....

  5. 3 Content Wars
    (pp. 71-100)

    Streaming accelerates everything. It creates a voracious appetite for new content. How do you think those 100+ YouTube channels get through the day, providing new programming for their millions of viewers? A look at the promo video on theYOMYOMF(You Offend Me, You Offend My Family) channel demonstrates that it runs like a factory; it’s designed to spew out masses of content—good, bad, or indifferent—simply to keep the channel up and running. In many ways, it’s like a movie studio in the boom years of the 1940s: some great films were made, but the simple law of...

  6. 4 The Moving Platform
    (pp. 101-128)

    As the web continues to expand, like the universe, into a maelstrom of almost inconceivable complexity, it’s important to remember that there is a life apart from virtual existence, a real world where we possess corporeal existence. We ignore this at our peril, and the risks of video game addiction or Facebook’s demands on our time come with an additional warning: too much time online can, in and of itself, be hazardous to our health. This is particularly true of watching television, no matter what the source of the content is. As Crystal Phend discovered:

    A couple of hours of...

  7. 5 Streaming the World
    (pp. 129-168)

    As streaming technology progresses, the vast amount of information that each of us possesses will become more and more available to even the casual observer, who won’t even have to search for it. No search engines, using either keyboards or voice commands, will be necessary. Simply walk around the streets, and your entire history will soon be on display. The reason: Google glasses. Whether one regards Google glasses as invasive or not is almost beside the point; like the other technological advances discussed in this volume, they exist and will inevitably be utilized. Basically, Google glasses turn every person, building,...

  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 169-170)
  9. Works Cited
    (pp. 171-182)
  10. Index
    (pp. 183-192)