By Famarie Battung
It used to be only the 35mm reel. And the cost is very expensive.
The emergence of the cheap digital handycams is a big boost to the short films, documentaries and even the feature films, not to mention the TV tapings. Some theaters are now equipped to screen films in digital formats. Conversion from digital format to the traditional 35mm is possible although still a bit expensive.
Technology is fast becoming the norm particularly in the film industry. The tedious and messy editing of yore has been replaced by complex yet easy to operate softwares. Scene transition is as easy as clicking on the mouse. The camera tricks are fast fading in lieu of the digitally-created effects. That also goes with the digital animation that is gradually replacing the framed cartoons.
Music, canned or live, is not left behind. Several softwares are at hand for musical editing, insertions and mixing. Live orchestra accompaniment is now giving way to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) which is markedly cheaper. Sound effects used to be created with props but computer-canned sound effects are proving to be of a better genre, not to mention the cheap cost.
The pinnacle of the digital age is almost here. Digital characters are in waiting to replace real-life actors as tested by Japan. Digital sceneries and landscapes, supersimpositions and other visual effects are getting to be in vogue due to the simplicity and economy. Expensive location shoots can now be avoided. Indeed, a technological revolution in the entertainment industry is overwhelming.
But technology is not all roses and chocolates. The music industry was the first to complain about piracy. In the early 1990s, a couple of websites started offering copyrighted songs in MP3 format for free downloading. All one has to do is to log in to the music website and click on their choice of songs. The digitally-formatted recording goes straight to the home computer that can later on be burned into a CD. And for the uninitiated, all you have to do is get inside a search engine (yahoo, etc.) and search for “free music.”
Optical piracy started with music and eventually extended its long arm to the film industry. Movie producers started to feel the pinch of the pirated VCDs and DVDs. From an average of 200 films per year, it’s now down to 50 or so. For a mere 50 pesos, one can obtain a pirated copy of their favorite movie in the mall (Vira Mall in Greenhills is the most notorious but Divisoria and Raon are now taking the top stops in piracy retailing). As a direct effect, legit video rentals have gone bankrupt. To counter the illegal and immoral trend, the government created a patsy of an agency called VRB (Video Regulatory Board) and later changed the name to OMB (Optical Media Board). Both agencies, with the objective of curbing the rampant illegal sale of pirated CD, VCD and DVD, miserably failed amidst the regular press releases.
Another ugly face of technology, but most potent, is the cellphone. Aside from bastardizing the spelling of words, the celphone is getting to be an instrument of nasty rumors and intrigues. If the malicious texts were to be believed, the Pope had died several times already. Famous actors and actresses have been the targets of malicious texts. Some have complained but others preferred to keep their cool. The latest victim is the actor son of the Philippine president, although it had been denied many times but the malicious texts keep on persisting. And lately the game had changed for the better. Video texts (or picturegraphs) are being used to circulate “doctored” sex videos of celebrities and politicians.
Technologically speaking, the most widely used is the internet and email. With the millions of websites in the so-called cyberspace, one can find practically any information they need. And it may be a food for thought to the MTRCB (Movie and TV Review and Classification Board) that the highest rated sites in terms of visitors are the pornographic websites. There are only a few instances when the pornographic websites were relegated to number two ranking. One, during the 9/11World Trade Center bombing and two, during the recent Philippine election where ABS-CBN got 1.2 million visitors in one day.
Like the celphone texts, the powerful email is also being used to spread lies and deceit. Most emailers are content with receiving and forwarding religious items but some are still prone to believing, in effect they forward, malicious emails particularly those pertaining to celebrities. (Ed’s note: FAPWEB recently published the malicious emails against Gretchen Barretto and Lucy Torres. See previous issues of Explosive in our Bodega). Aside from text email, now prevailing are attachments containing nude photos or sex videos purportedly those of celebrities.
For the movie industry, unsolicited advice regarding piracy are a-dime-a-dozen. In principle, only the unity and cooperation of all those concerned can defeat piracy and bring the movie industry back on its feet. That’s the only tip we can offer for the present OMB leadership. Where there’s a buyer there’s a seller.
Famarie Battung is currently IT manager of a universal bank. Feedback to this article can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .