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Monday, October 01, 2007

Ridley Scott on 'Blade Runner' ... Will Fans Set Reasonable Prices for Radiohead's New Album?

- Wired has a lengthy Q&A (in text and audio) with 'Blade Runner' director Ridley Scott, on the occasion of the movie's 25th anniversary (has it really been that long?) From the interview:

    Scott: ...With digital the painting book is unlimited, and there are advantages and disadvantages, you know. The world in, say, Lord of the Rings would have been nothing like as impressive as that 30 years ago, as it is today where he can literally do anything. Although I must say Star Wars was one of the first — the one that George [Lucas] directed is still, honestly, the best by far. There was the beginning of some interesting digital thinking in that one. [Stanley] Kubrick really showed the way with 2001: [A Space Odyssey], where he had some very simple variations and versions of digital work. It was not digital so much as computer-driven shots. And that was [Douglas] Trumbull. Trumbull was working with Stanley. They got through that pretty magnificently. That was the first of the really great science fictions, where I went, "Wow, that works." Everything up to that one, I always felt, was a bit too much fantasy and not enough reality.

    Wired: But that's digitally controlled cameras, which is really — I suppose the mechanical precision is related to current CGI. But today you have a plastic universe. You generate it the way you want it to look.

    Scott: You can't say it's not as good, because good things have come out of it, like the variations of some films where they've really used it discerningly, I think is the best way of putting it, rather than going to massive overkill, which is when it becomes the end, not the means. And that's OK, because there are audiences who want that, right? I still have to have the story, so the digital is purely not the end. It's the means to the end.

- Radiohead will offer its new album, 'In Rainbows,' only on its own site, and the band will let fans set the price they want to pay, according to the Wall Street Journal. From the story:

    By letting consumers dictate what they will pay for a digital copy of the album, the band will test theories of online pricing that have been the subject of much speculation in recent years -- most notably, the notion that fans will pay a fair price for downloads if given the freedom to do so on their own terms.

    At the same time, the digital-sales setup goes against the grain of the standard set by Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, where music is generally priced at a uniform 99 cents a song and $10 or so an album. Radiohead hasn't made its music available for sale on iTunes, apparently because the band wants to sell only full albums and not let users pick and choose songs.

That'll be a cool experiment to watch.

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