The film industry, like every other industry, is in a constant state of change.
Every year, new technologies emerge that force the industry to reinvent itself and that pace of disruption is only getting faster and faster.
To learn where it’s headed, we spoke with film industry experts and asked them one question:
Where is the film industry headed?
Take a look at what we learned…
Neil Mandt, Founder of MANDT VR
“The backdrop for the film industry is ever-evolving. With the introduction of VR and 360º video currently a hot topic in Hollywood, the next step is obvious. Major studio players will of course want to jump on the current trend in order to offer moviegoers the ultimate immersive experience. The time frame of about 10 years (maybe even a little less) is about right for this shift, as widespread consumer adoption of VR needs to grow, as well as theatre adaption to accommodate this relatively new medium. Additionally, as VR technology advances and becomes more seamless, filmmakers will be afforded more options for storytelling, making both short and long form content will be viable.”
Dominick Balletta, Managing Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center
“Speaking for film exhibition, there are two distinct pathways. The first is the corporate multiplex, where comic book characters and tent-pole films reign supreme, interrupted only by audiences consuming foods of varying price and quality. The second is the community-centered cinema, where people go to connect with the world and their neighbors. As social media isolates people into a pre-selected menu of opinions, these theaters will fill the need to bring into public view the issues affecting us all, providing a forum for sometimes uncomfortable (but always essential) conversations. With a good rom/com, thriller, or musical thrown in to ‘change the channel.’ In order for this to succeed, we must consciously focus on stories outside of our comfort zones, support storytellers from all walks of life, and stake out our turf as the town crier. As we say in Pleasantville: ‘Globally sourced, locally shown.’”
Marc Becker, CEO at The Tangent Agency
“The technology used to create theatrical-quality content will be much more accessible, benefitting talented filmmakers. Major studios must continue innovating to stay relevant, because entry from new players is inevitable (e.g. Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation, Amazon Studios’ Manchester by the Sea). Everything will be even more fast-paced resulting so we need to stay as nimble as possible. On the technology front, VR/AR will finally be available to the masses and then hopefully someone will develop the right content for those platforms. There will be a completely different release window landscape. The ability to effectively use data and machine learning will be critical to the greenlighting phase all the way through marketing and beyond. The smartphone will be even smarter and so will the consumer. Transparency, brand interaction and UGC will be very critical. At the end of the day, regardless of change, good content and sound storytelling will always be king.”
Ziad Lammam, Director of Product Management at Teradici
“The film industry is becoming more and more IT-intensive and technologically advanced. Key aspects of filmmaking from video editing, to animation, to VFX are all moving to the cloud. The cloud can help solve data complexities that face the production of a film including real-time access to data sets from any global location. As the industry continues to innovate there is more data being generated from higher frame rights, 3D imaging and computer generated imaging, which is difficult for legacy technologies to handle.
In 10-15 years, Hollywood will be a global enterprise, particularly given China’s growing role in the film industry. Major film studios will embrace more distributed teams around the world to collaborate on their highly top-secret film projects. With feature film data sets in the cloud, these post production editors will be able to securely access the data from anywhere and studios can be confident that their next big blockbuster is protected.”
Michael Chaney, Film and Television Professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design
“The future of film is in virtual and augmented realities. Predicting the future of VR/AR is a bit like trying to predict the future of the internet 15 years ago. It is doubtful that VR and AR will head in a singular direction.
I think we’ll see a broad diversity of virtual reality and augmented reality applications. We will see immersive storytelling platforms emerge that embrace both passive cinematic experiences and encourage viewer agency that invites us to participate in the story itself. We can expect to see new art forms develop that vacillate between, or even defy, traditionally “hot” (passive) and “cool”(interactive) media. We will see the rise of applications in social media environments that allow us to communicate in both virtually and augmented environments for personal and professional purposes. Imagine an immersive Facebook environment or virtual “third spaces” that create new opportunities for creating community. Augmented reality could develop as wearable mobile devices that provide information access and heightened experiences to our daily lives and become as ubiquitous and commonplace as mobile phones are today.”
Sean Hampton, Managing Partner at Crash Site Films
“With the rise in quality and affordability of 4K TV, streaming services, and home theater systems, you will see more people staying home to watch movies. Our industry must face this wave head on with better stories, more attention to quality filmmaking (not simply following a formula), and high personal standards that produce movies so entertaining a viewer won’t bend to the easy distractions watching a movie at home provides.”
Evan Money, President of Take Action Productions
“On the distribution side I see the big studios taking over the Netflix model and doing it themselves, so customers would subscribe to the Universal or the Paramount channel for exclusive content. On the theatrical side, I see the a huge rise in the theater experience being where it was in the 20’s & 30’s, where people dressed up and it would be an event. Causal theaters, like casual dining will still be around, but the high end experience will create a new and exciting market.”