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Friday, September 01, 2006

Apple, Wal-Mart, and Downloadable Movies ... ILM's New Pre-Viz System ... Soderbergh Interview ... A Start-Up 2-D Animation Shop

A few links, on the verge of the Labor Day weekend:

- BusinessWeek says that Apple has been negotiating with the movie studios, and that downloadable features should be available on iTunes in mid-September, priced at $14.99 for new releases and $9.99 for classics. (In the background is Wal-Mart, hustling to preserve its DVD sales business...and simultaneously developing a digital download site of its own.) Ronald Grover writes:

    News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox Entertainment Group may join in later [selling movies on iTunes], as might independent Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), say Hollywood sources, but only if other studios come along, too. So far, other large studios have taken a pass, especially after Wal-Mart earlier this year threatened not to sell Disney's High School Musical for a time after Disney released it initially only on iTunes.

- VFXWorld writes about some cool new pre-viz software that's in development at Industrial Light & Magic. A snippet:

    Barbara Robertson: What mandate did George Lucas give you?

    Steve Sullivan: The mandate was broad. We knew a little about what he wanted from previous previs systems: It had to be simple, simple, simple— simple enough for George to use. He said, “Directors should be able to sit on the couch watching TV while they mock up their shots.” It gave us a certain focus. But the target audience was also 12-year-old kids. George wanted a system that could teach people how to make movies: something that changes how things are done.

- An enjoyable conversation with Steven Soderbergh, from The Believer.

- The LA TImes has a fun piece on `Keeping 2-D Cartoons Alive in a 3-D World,' which focuses on a former Disney animator's attempt to bootstrap a new animation studio in Wisconsin. The company is called Miracle Studios.