10 Film Industry Predictions for 2014

As is customary at the beginning of every new year, we ask ourselves, “How will this year be different? What will change? What will stay the same?” As filmmakers, I’m sure most of us are asking these questions about the film industry, perhaps even making assertions and predictions about what we’ll be seeing in cinema in 2014, and founder of Sub-Genre Media, Brian Newman does the same. Here are his 10 predictions about the 2014 film industry. This is a guest post by Brian Newman.

Tricky business, these predictions, but I’ll try once more to get something right here.

1. This will be a deciding year in the film tech space. We’ve got a lot of platforms in this space: Vimeo, VHX, ReelHouse, Fandor, IndieFlix, Snag, Mubi, Distrify…the list of platforms is long, and I didn’t even mention the gorillas in that room. We’ve also got lots of competition in the discovery arena: MoviePilot, Letterboxed, SeenThat and Flicklist (which I’m still struggling to launch). Then we’ve got the tools like Assemble, MoviePass, TopSpin, Tugg, Slated, Seed & Spark, and more, all helping with various aspects of the film business. I won’t even begin to list the numerous online news and review sites. I don’t see many of these companies existing in 2015. I think 2014 will be the year where we figure out who is going to grow up and own this space (or, these spaces, these companies represent a lot of different business models). My money is on ReelHouse at the moment. They’ve just launched a partnership with Warner Brothers that is pretty interesting. If they can navigate the waters and merge indie, arthouse and studio discovery, viewing and engagement right, they could own this space. But there’s an equally good chance that someone new will launch and eclipse all of these guys, or that Facebook just launches better versions of their services by close of the year.

2. Branded Content Explodes. I hate every word I just typed, but it’s a better short hand than: Smart companies with a powerful relationship with their consumers/fans will realize that they can and should make smart films and other video content to better engage with them, and it will expand dramatically this year. I am biased, as one of my clients is in this space, but two non-clients are doing it best now: Red Bull and ESPN. I think we’ll see many more doing it soon, and indie filmmakers should watch and learn…and debate what indie means, because many of these companies will want to work with you soon.

3. Data finally taken seriously in this space. I remember roughly five years ago when Lance Weiler told the crowd at Sundance that data was the new oil. Everyone ignored him. I too have been preaching this for quite some time, and now everyone has woken up and is exploring data in the film world. I am consulting on one project in this space, and I know of many others. I expect we’ll see several amazing data projects in the film world this year, and we’ll learn what more we could know as a result, meaning 2015 will see some longitudinal studies and more people opening up their data as they see the value in sharing it.

data oil

4. Changing of the guard. We’ve just seen three or four major institutions in the film world lose their leadership, for various reasons. There will be some new leaders announced, but I think we’ll also see more shake-ups at a few more. I don’t have any feelings good or bad about the changes, but I am excited to see who takes the reins at these institutions, and what next steps they will (or won’t) make.

5. Direct Distribution Backlash. I’m already sensing this on the festival circuit and think it will become a more open topic of conversation. 2014 will be the year where everyone starts to dis direct distribution. Many will think I’m crazy for saying this – in a world of unlimited new tools to reach your fans and distribute your film right to them, how can I make this prediction? Because it’s hard work, and it doesn’t often pay off any better than going with a distributor. It’s a tough business whether you do it yourself or go at it with partners. Not everyone has the stomach for it, and everyone is starting to realize it works well for certain types of films, but not every film. I am not saying direct distribution will die, or that certain filmmakers shouldn’t try it. I am also sure we’ll see at least one project a month that nails it – does it right and makes bank. But many people are starting to realize that we’ve not gotten rid of the middle-men here, we’ve just made more of them (aggregators, bookers, marketers, etc) and that sometimes you just want to make the next movie instead of becoming a carny for 18 months.

6. That said, direct distribution will make someone a millionaire this year. Who will it be? Probably a film to be discovered at Sundance in January. We’ll see.

self distribution direct options

7. Distributor Shake Out. There’s too many players in the space. In the documentary world especially, it’s leading to unsustainable prices being paid to acquire content (good for filmmakers in the short term), and when that money isn’t made back, heads start to roll. I predict we’ll see some consolidation here, and several burn-outs.

8. Episodic Content Will Rule. It already does. It will explode even more this year, and my hope is that more indies will learn from those leading in this space. Six million subscribers is more valuable than a film fest laurel, or even an Oscar.

9. Online Episodic Creators will roll out more feature projects. As Freddie Wong has already done twice, more creators will launch feature projects, and many of them will do it through crowd-funding direct from their fans, turning those millions of followers into real gold, and making the most exciting, truly independent work out there.

10. More investors will lose money in film than ever before. Thanks to the JOBS Act and the upcoming expansion of crowd-funding and crowd-investing initiatives, more people will get the chance to lose their investment on crappy film ideas with no business plan, and no chance of success. It will make it harder for the rest of us with good ideas to get funding, because we’ll find more burned investors in the pool.


Breaking Bad Creator Signs Multi-Year Deal with Sony TV

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan signed an eight-figure, multi-year deal at Sony Pictures Television, the same studio that produced the highly acclaimed AMC drama.

Gilligan told the Hollywood Reporter that his relationship with programming presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack VanAmburg, who bought Breaking Bad after the first pitch, is what really sold him on the deal.

“I’m pleased to continue my professional affiliation with these people who have become my friends,” Gilligan said. “I’m happy to dance with the gal that brung me, as we say in the (grammar-impaired) South.”

Gilligan is currently working on a spin-off of Breaking Bad starring Bob Odenkirk called You Better Call Saul and a CBS cop-drama called Battle Creek.

The deal with Sony is for TV only, though Gilligan has expressed interest in writing and directing feature films.

Keanu Reeves film based on true Japanese story


TOKYO (AP) – The director of the Keanu Reeves 3-D film “47 Ronin” says he hopes his adaptation of a true Japanese story becomes a Hollywood blockbuster.

Film director Carl Rinsch, Reeves and co-stars appeared together in front of a Tokyo audience on Monday.

The film is based on an actual historical event during the Edo Period known as “Chushingura.” It involved a lord who was wrongfully put to death and his followers – ronin – who sought revenge.

Rinsch said he took on the film subject and sat down with Keanu Reeves about two years ago. They wondered how they were going to take on a popular Japanese tale and do it justice. Rinsch said they decided to make the story their own, making “it a Hollywood blockbuster and see it through that lens.”

“These themes of revenge, loyalty, perseverance, were things we knew from the very beginning were universal,” said Rinsch, who is making his directorial feature debut with the film.

Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada stars as the main supporting character, Kuranosuke Oishi, a leader of the men. Sanada said that during the filming Reeves became more and more of a samurai, while the character he played became more “wild” in style.

Sanada said Reeves and himself hoped to depict the friendship of two characters, which transcended borders and social positions, in the film.

Reeves said “47 Ronin” is a story where people “share this journey to reclaim their land, their honor, their way. It was very special to me to be part of it.”

Reeves, who grew up attracted to martial arts movies, makes his directorial debut this year with the martial arts action movie “Man of Tai Chi.”

The film “47 Ronin” premiers in Japan on Dec. 6 and opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Now Available, Here’s How to Get 40% Off a Subscription

Adobe Creative Suite 6 is now available. For filmmakers, the bundle of interest is Production Premium CS6, which includes: a redesigned Premiere Pro, Speed Grade for color grading, the new log and ingest application Prelude, new versions of After Effects and Audition, and Creative Cloud integration. Creative Cloud is scheduled to launch May 11th, and will give you access to all CS6 apps for $50/month — or $30/month for the first year if you’re a registered user of any Adobe product since CS3 and use this link by August 31 (that’s 40% off). The new Premiere Pro integrates some speed-focused features borrowed from Apple’s much-maligned Final Cut Pro X, including “hoverscrub,” which was one of my favorite FCPX features; here’s a look at the new version of Adobe’s NLE.

  • Cinevate HDSLR Products

Production Premium will be retailing at $1899, and if you want it all, the Master Collection will be going for $2,599. Subscriptions are available for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Speed Grade, Photoshop, and others for $19.99/month per app — but what I’ll probably be doing is going with the one-year plan for $29.99/month once Creative Cloud launches at the end of this week.

Also of note, the video apps have gotten a new third party API for hardware integration – Adobe Mercury Transmit – which should allow broadcast video monitoring to connect directly into the Mercury Playback Engine via third-party cards from AJA, Blackmagic Design and Matrox. As Apple’s Final Cut Pro X goes a different direction and tries to bundle all functionality into the app itself, Adobe seems to be stressing the “Pro” part with more hardware support. Speaking of which, their purchase of Iridas’ SpeedGrade now brings a full high-end color-correction suite to CS6, though the purchase was so recent I wonder how integrated the application is. Here’s a look at the Adobe-branded version of SpeedGrade, included in CS6:

Are you in for CS6? If so, will you be going to old-fashioned way or the newfangled subscription route? Have you been using the beta? Let us know your thoughts!

One Reason to Get a Sony F3 Instead of the Canon C300: Flexibility

I’m not here to start a camera flame war between the Canon C300, Sony F3, and RED SCARLET. The fact is, with any of these new large-sensor camcorders, you can tell your story effectively, and that’s what’s important. However… these cameras are an investment. And a much more serious investment than a DSLR at that — $15k does not come easily, and that’ll just get you started with each. So I thought I’d share a thought I had the other day when watching Philip Bloom’s latest camera shootout. Bloom didn’t include the RED and I’ll have plenty of thoughts to share on RED going forward (to the chagrin of some of you!), but if I hadn’t gone the RED route I would go with an F3 over the C300. Why?

Renting an upgrade

Because you can rent the S-Log upgrade. Yes, it’s true — you don’t have to buy the firmware if you don’t need it all the time. Because it comes on a SxS card, you can rent the S-Log firmware ($150/day is one example), which is installable/removable from any F3, as far as I know (corroborated). Basically you can “unmount” the upgrade from one camera and use it on another — it’s valid for any F3 so long as it’s only being used on one at a time. Here are some F3 with S-Log results (and a dynamic range test). This to me changes the equation regarding the C300 — while shooters are going gaga over the Canon, and it certainly has its strengths (small size and low light), for the same price you can shoot on an F3 and then, when the need or desire arises, take your F3 to another level by renting an external recorder and S-Log firmware. This gives you the flexibility that I think the C300 is lacking, given the Canon is an 8-bit camera that most people will want to be able to use for the next several years, and not just for web stuff but potentially for features and/or television as well.

I thought I would share my own thoughts as everyone is lauding the Canon — I have no vested interest in either camera, but this site has been focused on cameras lately (to a fault, I know, but it’ll all even out in a few weeks) — and since it looks like the C300 will come in at roughly the same price as an F3 — I thought I’d put in my $0.02. I’ve owned and shot on both Sony and Canon cameras, and neither one is paying me or sponsoring this site or anything of that nature. Also, I recognize not everyone has the budget or desire to get one of these cameras, but for owner/operators, let’s take a quick look at the C300′s advantages.

Small size

Again, referencing Bloom’s shootout, without S-Log the F3 looks comparable to the C300. The C300 has no such “S-Log with external recorder” equivalent (just a flat picture profile setting). But it is much smaller and lighter. The amount to which the C300′s small size is an advantage depends on your own needs… if you’re trying to steal locations the diminutive profile of the C300 may be worth the price of admission alone (though a DSLR will be equally if not more incognito). Larger size comparison:

Low light

The C300′s “headline feature” is 20,000 ISO. That’s an astronomical number, and kudos to Canon’s engineers for making it look as good as it does. However, the F3 at 6,400 w/ S-Log also looks good (UPDATE: and in fact goes up to 12,800). In fact, you would think an astronomically high number like 20,000 ISO would look a world apart from 6,400 ISO, but I didn’t find that to be the case; here is a comparison from Philip’s result (no color correction other than to dial down saturation on the C300 image to more closely match the F3):

The C300 is certainly brighter — further evidence in the histogram at left — but if the high ISO setting is one of the C300′s main selling points, I’m not sure 20,000 ISO would yield a better image than pushing a F3 (recorded to an external recorder at 6,400 ISO at 12,800 ISO) in post. I won’t push the F3 here, given this is a screen capture from the 1080p h.264 download — and also because the F3 with an external recorder is more expensive — but… what do you think? It’s the F3′s versatility that makes it appealing to me, once you take into account the ability to buy or rent the S-Log firmware for a feature or larger paying job. And it’s worth noting this example is taken from an extremely low-light situation that just a few years ago wouldn’t be exposable at all. Getting a solid exposure at 6,400 ISO is already pretty amazing (and much better than what my RED SCARLET is capable of… with its current sensor, at least).

Since they were infamously announced the same night, I’ll use the SCARLET as a point of comparison: the C300 is for all intents and purposes a cheaper camera (especially if it’s coming in at $14k instead of $20k, and also taking into account RED’s price increase). However, the RED has interchangeable lens mounts — so if you’re sitting on an expensive pile of Canon glass, you can get the SCARLET, shoot with your own lenses, and if you’re working on, say, a feature, rent a PL mount and PL glass. If you’re buying a C300 to own and operate, on the other hand, you have to choose EF or PL version. And you’re stuck that way until you sell your camera (I’m actually getting a BNCR mount for my RED, but that’s another story). Similarly, the F3 has a PL lens mount available, and in fact because of its short flange depth can be adapted to a wide variety of lenses. Plus, both the SCARLET and F3 have upgrade paths — the former with an announced but mysterious Dragon sensor in a year or two (not to mention the ability to use it as a stills camera), the latter with S-Log firmware and an external recorder (not to mention the 3D link upgrade, which I assume is also rentable) — whereas the C300, to me, does not have the same amount of flexibility going forward.

People often focus on the base price, but to me it’s less about sticker shock and more about answering the question, “how much can you get out of your camera over the next four years?” Flexibility is a big part of that equation. Just my $0.02 — if you’re in the market for the C300 and/or F3, what do you think?

Light it Up: Enhance your Avid Projects with Boris Continuum Complete

Light it Up! Enhance your Avid Projects with Boris Continuum Complete

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Join Steve Holyhead as he demonstrates how to create stunning light effects with Boris Continuum Complete 8 AVX. Learn how to create cinematic looks, stylish broadcast design elements, and beautiful transitions with BCC Lens Flare 3D; simulate production lights, projectors, or stage lighting with BCC Stage Light; create the soft feel of exposed film with BCC Film Glow; and generate eye-catching title effects with glints and rays.

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Steve HolyheadAbout the Presenter: Steve Holyhead
Steve’s education began with 16mm film, and he transitioned to videotape when he started his career in television. In Toronto in the mid 1990s, he edited his first TV series using Avid Media Composer. Steve quickly became an expert user of Media Composer and other non-linear editing systems, and he began training others in how to use them. He is known for masterfully synthesizing complex information into a plain-English, user-friendly learning experience.

In 1999, Steve post-produced and edited Wilfred, one of the very first UK 35mm digital intermediate (DI) projects. Since 2000, through his work in the Hollywood and Burbank production communities, Steve has become an expert in HD cameras, film and DI processes, file-based production, and visual effects.

He has worked for world-class media and technology companies, including Autodesk, Avid, BBC, and Discovery Communications, in addition to running his own company BloomCast.

Video Tutorial: Create Audio-Driven Effects with Boris Continuum Complete

Create Audio-Driven Effects in Sony Vegas Pro with Beat Reactor

If you have ever tried to sync visual effects to a musical beat, then you know how much time and effort is involved, and you are going to love Boris Continuum Complete 8’s new built-in Beat Reactor technology. In this Boris TV episode, Senior VASST Trainer John Rofrano shows you how it’s done.

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Boris Continuum Complete 8 Wins StudioDaily’s Prime Award

Prime Awards

Boris FX received multiple Prime Awards at the StudioDaily Prime Awards Breakfast that was held at NAB 2012. Boris Continuum Complete 8 won a Prime Award for “Best New Technology – Upgrade” and Boris Transfer Suite received an Honorable Mention for “Best User Interface/User Experience – New Product”.

StudioDaily Prime Awards

Boris Continuum Complete 8 delivers the most comprehensive VFX plug-in suite ever created for leading video editing and compositing applications on Macintosh and Windows. A whopping 200+ filters include 3D particle effects, image restoration tools, lens flares and lights, keys and mattes, 3 Way Color Grading and other color correction tools, 3D Objects such as Extruded Text, time-based effects such as Optical Stabilizer, warp and perspective effects, and blurs, glows, and cinematic effects. All filters take advantage of either multi-processing or OpenGL hardware acceleration for an interactive effects design experience.

Boris Continuum Complete 8

Over 1,000 professionally-designed presets are included free with every installation of BCC. Customers can save and freely share their own presets and build customized preset collections tuned to the specific needs of a project – without the need for a costly subscription service. Presets can be shared with matching BCC installations on any host application in which BCC is installed. In addition, via the Boris Transfer workflow utilities, BCC is the only plug-in set that allows easy VFX migration between Avid, Adobe, and Apple editing software – with parameters and keyframed information intact. Boris Transfer AE transfers Avid or Final Cut Pro sequences to After Effects while Boris Transfer FCP transfers sequences between Avid and Final Cut Pro.

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