Before I started writing this blog, I used to get up every morning and watch a movie on the computer.
I couldn’t sleep… I wake up every morning at five like clockwork…so to be quiet while everybody else in the house was still in bed, I’d check a couple of the different sites I’d found and pick out a movie to watch.
Most of the movies that were on the site were still in the theaters…some hadn’t come out in America yet..so to get a chance to watch them was kind of strange and exciting.
I learned that there are a lot of different ways someone can bring a movie to the internet early. There is the “screener” where a copy that was sent out for review is leaked to the internet. These movies are usually just like watching a dvd…because the source material was a dvd. This is the most desirable way to watch a movie early…the best quality and sound is going to come from a screener.
The other most common format is what they’ll call “cam” on the movie sites. This is where someone has brought a camcorder into the theater and recorded the movie. This is usually pretty sketchy in quality…bad sound, shaky camera work, outside noise…lots of weirdness can happen with a cam quality movie.
One of the most entertaining things about the cam movies is the people leaving and coming back to their seats. People come back with popcorn…big cups of soda…giant pigs heads pickled in some sort of pungent brine (just kidding about the last one….it’s too dark to really tell that much detail)…outlined in silhouette against the grainy movie screen, the cameraman not telling them to get out of the way of the camera because he’d probably go to prison if he got caught filming….so why draw attention to yourself by being too demanding?
It seems like a lot of these cam movies come from foreign countries…Russia, China, maybe some of the Middle Eastern countries. It’s kind of like a twisted black market National Geographic. Because all the action off-screen takes place in silhouette, you really have to use your imagination to pick up any cultural nuances.
This is really against the rules. The MPAA doesn’t condone taping a movie off the screen and then posting it on the internet…no matter what country it happens in. Next time you go to watch a movie, check out the poster warning of the penalties for taping in the theater…it’s something they take pretty seriously.
Watching a movie recorded in a Chinese theater kind of brings the “social element” back to the movie going experience. We are so isolated in some ways…Netflix and other streaming (legally streaming) sources take all the social element out of the experience…we don’t have to see anybody and watch what we want, when we want…so to get the impression that other people are in the theater kind of grounds us in our humanity. Maybe there is a legitimate market for that kind of experience? I’m sure there are a lot of lonely people in the world who would sacrifice video quality for the feeling that they weren’t alone in watching another movie at home. It’s kind of like watching a fireplace video on the big television…maybe better than nothing….but not by much.
I wouldn’t mind too much if an Asian man needed some fresh popcorn every once in a while.