Cinnect - Film Panel at The London Independent Film Festival

Watch Now: Cinnect’s Disruptive Film Technologies Panel At LIFF 2022

Big Picture Film Club / Cinnect hosted a panel at this year’s London Independent Film Festival discussing how filmmakers can utilise new technologies at each stage of the film process: from pre-production to distribution.

We would like to thank our fellow panellists for taking part: Mahesh Ramachandra, Co-Founder, Smash Media; Craig Heyworth, Co-Founder, Filmd; Craig Roberts, Co-Founder, Filmd; Nick Sadler, Producer & Talent Executive, First Flights (Goldfinch).

You can watch the full panel discussion below.

digital media

Why We Need New Media File Formats For Web3

Each passing technological revolution (within the media space) has seen file types have facilitated the development of that technology. The Napster peer to peer media boom of the late 90s wouldn’t have been possible without mp3s, the file type allowed for audio to be compressed and encoded in more manageable file sizes that made use of P2P networks. The traditional film reel for movie theatres was usurped by the much more efficient Digital Cinema Package, increasing efficiency and cost in delivering movies to cinemas – whilst retaining the quality of the picture and being rich in metadata to allow for better tracking of films. “Web 3” is no different in this regard. The Web3 & NFT space has great promise: from better ownership of rights, better distribution of content, security and verification of identity. However for web 3 and NFTS to truly work more thought needs to be given to how new technology is made easier for the end-user and if NFTs are going to exist in any meaningful way for media applications, our beloved mp3s and mp4s need to be upgraded. We need to create a new set of Web 3 File Types (W3FTs).

The fundamental issue with the web3 space is that the NFT metadata and the media file itself exist separately and are poorly linked – which is partly what has given rise to the “right-clicker mentality”. We need new picture, audio and video formats, ones that are richer in metadata that can encode corresponding NFT information to which they relate to. The media files: be it a picture, audio or video rather than being static, will need need to be able to communicate back to the blockchain about how it’s being interacted with. In short, whether used on a local or a web 3 application a new set of W3FTs will be able to improve the overall user experience for blockchain-based media.

Some key benefits we might see with W3FTs:

Security: with a new set of W3FTs and applications that support them, we will be able to better reduce piracy of content, allowing only the people who have rights to access the content to view it. Web 3 browsers are a key growth area, having W3FTs can bring about a better native browsing experience.

Unique User Experiences: What if you wanted to thank your top supporters, who have streamed your movie, music or read your work? A W3FT may have the ability to know which user (wallet address or Web 3 id) has interacted with it and communicate this back through the blockchain to the rights owner. The rights owner can then easily distribute prizes, gifts, thank-you’s etc to these supporters; or even unlock hidden content to the users once milestones have been reached.

Upgradable Media Assets: Having media formats that can be upgraded to reflect an upgrade in a blockchain/token standard can ensure “evergreen” web3 media file types.

Web3 is a fractured space with a lot of potential. A lack of seamless interoperability between blockchains and continually changing token standards will mean developing the framework for these much-needed new media file types in a way that is chain agonistic – and then getting them widely adopted – will take many years (and failed attempts). However, we’ve already seen the potential of this type of innovation through the first generation of programmable NFTs. It will require the crypto community to collaborate in a way not seen before to develop these new file standards.

In launching our film & TV licensing platform, Cinnect, our vision is to be part of this new ecosystem, one that can better connect content owners with the rest of the world in new and exciting ways.

Paramount

The History of Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures is an iconic and historically important film studio that has housed many important movies and franchises over the years. And in this article, we are going to briefly explore: how the company was created, several key moments from its history and the notable films the studio had a hand in.

Paramount’s Origins

The story begins in 1912 when Adolph Zukor established the Famous Players Film Company. Then in 1914, along with Jesse L. Lasky’s Feature Play Company, Famous Players began distributing films through W. W. Hodkinson’s Paramount Pictures Corporation. During this time the classic Paramount logo, 24 stars, representing the film stars it had contracted, above a mountain was unveiled. Come 1916 the three companies merged into Famous Players-Lasky. Later, the company changed its name to Paramount Pictures, Inc. as part of a reorganisation in the mid-1930s. Its origins make Paramount one of America’s longest surviving film studios.

The Logo of Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Film Company with Paramount as the distributor // Credit: Paramount Pictures

A Long History

The company’s first few decades were very successful. It was recognised for producing high-quality films (Famous Players-Lasky’s Wings won the first Oscar for best picture) and contracted bankable movie stars and talented directors like Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Ernst Lubitsch and Josef Von Sternberg. But another key to their success was their ownership of a large number of cinemas and a process called block booking. Which allowed Paramount to pack cinemas exclusively with their films.

But several hardships set Paramount back. They filed for bankruptcy in 1933. A number of factors may have contributed to this. Including the great depression, the difficulty in adapting cinemas for talking pictures and more. After recovering, in 1948 the supreme court ruled that film studios could not control cinema chains in the case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. This loss and competition from television hit Paramount hard. Leading them to release many of their stars and reduce their personal productions to a few more, expensive pictures.

Gulf + Western bought Paramount in 1966 and restored the studio’s success with acclaimed star-driven hits and high concept pictures. It also bought Desilu Productions. With this acquisition, Paramount gained the rights to produce TV hits like Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.

This era continued until 1994 when Viacom (now ViacomCBS) gained a controlling share in Paramount. After this, they created the UPN TV network (later it became the CW after striking a deal with Warner Bros). And with 20th Century Fox it co-produced and distributed the highest-grossing film ever made at the time, Titanic. During the 21st-century things have remained relatively steady. With Paramount briefly acquiring DreamWorks and gaining the distribution rights to Miramax’s back catalogue. Recently the studio also leapt to streaming with Paramount+.

Notable Movies Made and Released by Paramount

Beginning by distributing the film Queen Elizabeth through the Famous Players Film Company, Paramount and its earlier iterations would create and showcase many highly regarded projects. The studio has been responsible for making and distributing many best picture winners across the world. Including Wings, Going My Way, The Lost Weekend, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Godfather Parts 1 and 2, Ordinary People, Terms of Endearment, Forrest Gump, Braveheart (in North America), Titanic, No Country for Old Men (in the UK) and The Kings Speech (in Australia).

And it is also responsible for creating and distributing many successful and acclaimed film series such as The Godfather, Star Trek, Friday the 13th Parts 1 – 8, Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible, Transformers and the Paranormal Activity series. But these selections only scratch the surface of the many great, successful and important films the studio has been involved with.

The posters of all the Star Trek films which Paramount owns the rights to // Credit: Paramount Pictures

Conclusion

Paramount has come a long way from it’s beginnings. It is one of the oldest surviving film studios, having formed over a hundred years ago. It quickly became a huge movie production, distribution and exhibition company which owned its own chain of theatres.

And over its life it has fought receivership, was at the centre of a landmark legal case and changed owners several times.

But despite this turbulent history Paramount has helped deliver many important films and franchises to audiences. And has had an immeasurable effect in shaping the modern movie landscape.

Also Read: The Unlikely Success of A24