THE SHOW GOES ON, SAYS DR S RAGHUNATH, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGY, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (IIM) BANGALORE TRACKING THE CHANGING DIGITAL FACE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE AFTERMATH OF COVID-19
In the Covid-19 era, it appears that in the immediate and the short term, production and consumption of cinema will undergo change driven by considerations such as social distancing and reduction of local travel for leisure activities including entertainment.
On the production side as the lockdown has impacted film shooting schedules, a whole lot of creative work is continuing to take place in various geographies. Therefore the content pipeline is stacking up well,
while shooting schedules are being delayed. While the silver lining is in the learning curve amongst industry professionals who are increasingly interacting with each other and engaging on digital platforms with experienced experts to discuss and update their knowledge.
As social distancing is a necessary requirement on production sets, use of technology can improve processes in studios. Virtual post-production processes may find their way to replace the traditional ones such as dialogue replacement where actual dialogues are recorded in a studio but are dubbed over live footage. Actors might also choose to perform live within a digital environment.
Pre-visualization software is now available for directors to plan and visualize better to make creative choices and plan logistics taking the current realities into account. Tools and techniques are now available to virtually construct shots, sequences, or an entire movie, without physically visiting a location. The traditional format of development pre-production-production-postproduction sequential processing is going through radical change in productions that contain VFX or CGI. In a virtual production, it is possible for all the creative processes, including live action, video and CGI imagery – to begin simultaneously and in real-time within virtual environments – as the recent re-make of The Lion King demonstrated.
These are also days of potential opportunity for ready content shot on a low budget with clever camera work which can deliver closeup scene shots from a distance to stream their content on OTT platforms. Movie makers on a tight budget are trying to establish mass market connect through the OTT platforms. Therefore digital release of films is beginning to happen and will increase in the foreseeable future for modest budget movies especially with the increase in consumption of entertainment on OTT platforms.
We are witnessing an era where movie goers have turned into movie viewers consuming content in the digital space. This change in the habits of the audience changes the relationship between producers of movies and consumers of movies. As the audience have the privilege of choosing the mode of consumption, cinema has to evolve to deliver impact on multiple screens in multiple formats. Movies must be available on mobile phones, on touch screen tablets and consider the widespread use of a device in delivering cinematic experience to the audience.
There is also gradual change emerging in supporting independent artistes who are changing the art of storytelling through movies, media, live performance, music with the help of technology. With remote working becoming the norm and with educational institutions going online, people are looking for entertainment within self-quarantined areas. Therefore in the foreseeable future, the subscriber base and viewership levels will continue to rise on Amazon Prime, Netflix and pay TV channels. There are other emerging forms of entertainment which include online drama, Alternate Reality Gaming, etc. The action is on!