Technology

These recent innovations help you to decide what films to watch

Several recent innovations are allowing people to decide what films to watch, when, and where

Watching a movie is no longer about being surrounded by strangers in a dark hall, or even watching Netflix or Amazon alone on the living room couch. Like everything else, the way we watch films is changing, thanks to these services:

Teriflix

Girinagar, Bengaluru

Teriflix is about enjoying the big screen experience with family and friends. All you need are Netflix and Amazon Prime Video accounts to watch a film of your choice in a 13-seater AC auditorium, with a 135-inch screen, full HD projection and 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos sound system.

“Customers log in to their own account at TERIFLIX. When they rent the space we help them understand our system, including login and playback control information. So customers are in control of their account. They decide who to watch the content with, and we don’t fill empty seats because we work on space rentals and not on seat/ticket sales. Once they occupy the venue and sign a few waiver forms with us, they decide how to organise their time during the booking period. Once they leave, we reset our streaming apps – so any personally identifiable content that may have been stored temporarily is deleted,” says Prashanth Udupa, who founded the mini-theatre along with brother Praveen in their ancestral house in 2017.

These recent innovations help you to decide what films to watch

“Here, guests can sit in the lounge-like area outside the hall and talk. We don’t sell food but people order food online and we provide cutlery. Recently, a young professional organised a screening of a film for his father and his senior citizen friends on his birthday. After the film, they sat for some time, absorbing the film, followed with a healthy discussion,” recalls Praveen. Teriflix has had 160 bookings to date.

The duo mentions that filmmakers can hire the space to showcase their films to producers. “In that case, we need a censor certificate, NOC and ID proof,” the duo add. Teriflix has plans of building a library of films.

PictureTime

Sushil Chaudhary started this digital mobile theatre unit to let rural India access good quality entertainment at affordable prices in 2015. Trucks carrying inflatable movie screens have screened shows in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Jharkhand and plan to start operations in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra soon. Their USP is that they show the newest movies, both in Hindi and regional languages.

The IoT backed, DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives)-compliant Mobile Digital MovieTheatre (MDMT) operates on a cloud-based software. “It is a comprehensive portable MDMT and the first E-cinema/DCI compliant MDMT in India and the world, developed as a day-one release platform. The idea is to build an integrated infotainment/education platform to bring a quality experience to interiors of India. It is also a transparent, cost-effective cinema release platform for small and mid-size content/ film producers,” says Mallika Kakra, who works closely with Sushil.

It’s showtime Content curation and customisation are important features of these platforms

It’s showtime Content curation and customisation are important features of these platforms   | Photo Credit: tech

The content is curated based on the region it is operating out of. “For example, in Chhattisgarh, some of the interiors have a migratory population from Haryana and Punjab, we would do a movie catering to this population by having some shows during the week,” she says.

1018MB

1018MB is a platform that allows users to watch classics, regional, and niche movies on a big screen, provided there is ample demand for it. This movie-on-demand service was set up in 2015 by Soumya Tandon, Saurabh Devendra Singh, Shishir Ranjan, Santhosh Kumar Sundaram and Abhay Salve, and has had more than 1,000 screenings across India. Viewers can select a title from their online library along with a date and venue and the title with maximum number of interest gets a screening.

The inclusion of titles in their library is based on the analysis done by the analytics engine, an AI-enabled algorithm that predicts the rate of success of a film based on its past records, location, time slot etc. "When people choose the movies available at a desired venue and create a screening, it ends up giving us a lot of data on what people want to watch. We also keep in touch with customers to know their requirements," says Parth Savla of 1018MB.

These recent innovations help you to decide what films to watch

There are technical challenges when it comes to older moves though. "A number are not in the right theatrical format (DCP) and to convert becomes an expensive affair. We have developed our own software for it, which is cheaper than the other available DCP conversion companies in the industry but it is still sometimes a lot to ask from niche film-makers or producers who do not have surplus money. Also transferring the content to various locations and servers becomes a technological and cost challenge.”

Vkaao

With PVR as its parent company, Vkaao has access to classics, niche documentaries and unreleased Hollywood content. A viewer picks one in PVR's library and creates a screening on Vkaao's app or the website. If a film for that particular venue and timing find enough takers, the film is screened. Though the threshold number starts from 30, it depends on the size of the theatre, and average occupancy depends on time slots.

"The initial take up was in metro cities. but our presence in now being felt in smaller cites as well where lots of Hollywood content doesn't get released," says Karan Ahuja, head of online initiatives at PVR Pictures.

He adds that Vkaao has also started to pick up fresh content, particularly small budget films. "It started with "An Insignificant Man" a 2017 documentary on the rise of Aam Aadmi Party. About 200 shows were organised at 50 theatres. We then released S Durga, which also did well," explains Karan.

For old films, Karan feels data plays a key role. "On 14th February, we came out with DDLJ in our library. It doesn't matter how old the film is. We looked at the data to find where Shahrukh Khan's films do well. We mapped that data. Then we waited for "Harry Met Sejal" to release and when it did, we had ImitiazAli's "Jab We Met" in the library."

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 6:43:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/beyond-the-big-screen/article24792737.ece

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