Tag Archives: hi-def

Video Streaming and the Death of the Quality Film Viewer

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Over on the WorcsFF site the administrator has been considering the differences between cinema, home and streaming techniques regarding film distribution, and although he makes some very good observations regarding the current state of affairs with this technology I think there is more to be said.

one of the main issues that, for me at least, surround the current move to watch TV and movies online is that it once again it panders to the throwaway nature of modern consumers.

With so many sites offering free alternatives when it come to our viewing tastes it’s clear that there need be no act of contribution and therefore no obligation to make a serious attempt to work with the piece being viewed. Simply put, the very act of searching for, selecting and purchasing a movie is a part of the viewing process itself; and properly done it adds immeasurably to the final experience.

Many of the lesser known greats require considerable effort from their audiences for their greatness to shine. All we have to do to prove this hypothesis is to look at something like Coppola’s Rumble Fish, or Milius’s Big Wednesday to see this. Both movies were much maligned on their initial releases but because those people who did see them had to pay for the privilege there was a great deal more effort put into the understanding of these films, and the eventual realisation of the movies worth.

I can’t help but wonder how many talented film makers are disappearing under the dross of both the films they have to share bandwidth with, and the “viewers” that do not truly watch them. I do believe that the likes of Rumble Fish and Big Wednesday would disappear under this onslaught and would have many others.

His isn’t the end of this problem however, just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Once again we are allowing the promotion of an “on demand” culture where patience and understanding take a back seat to a persons immediate whims. If something isn’t working then just turn it off and select something else, it’s simple right?

Perhaps this attitude is why single parent families are so rife, and why when the youth feel under appreciated or frustrated (just as I did in my own youth) it seems acceptable to run literal riot over other peoples lives. Of course this would seem acceptable to these people, because there is not much of an attempt to make a society that values anything outside a persons immediate whims.

As a collector of movies and comics I resist the digital age. The reason isn’t simply because I am a Luddite (I am not, I am probably the most technologically minded person I know) but because collecting is supposed to be difficult and it is supposed to compromise the collector.

Part of the reason a collection is a collection is that it takes up space and forces the collector to make literal space for it in their lives. Not only do I have to live with my thousands of movies and comics, but my family also have to. They have to because to accept me they have to accept my collection, they too have to compromise as much as I do. This is part of the reason the collection, and the knowledge I gleam from it, has real value; as all things that cause difficulties have value if only because of the fact.

You could look on the old proverb “out of sight, out of mind” and consider how a thousand films tucked neatly away on a hard drive can truly effect the owner of such a “collection”. Perhaps when they are viewing them (if you don’t consider my comments regarding the acquisition of films to be part of the viewing process), but there is certainly less of a sacrifice made for this “collection” and sacrifice is what gives anything it’s true value… Surely.

Of course this argument could also be used against DVD or Blu-Ray, they are in themselves a technology of convenience when considered against the true place to watch film, the cinema (as the admin of WorcsFF so rightly says). This is utterly true, but I see DVD and Blu-Ray working in conjunction with cinema; unfortunately I do not see the same act of conjunction with downloading and streaming. In essence I see a pecking order with cinema as King and streaming as the lowly serf who mucks out the pigs.

So if that’s the company you want to keep, stay with the pigs and watch your streamed movies, but if you want to be with the kings then enter the palace of film.

What can I say, I think that line says it all…