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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ridley Scott Observes That Physical Media Is Still a Thing

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

While it's exciting to consider the possibilities stemming from this era of innovation—which directors and futurists for decades have envisioned—that allows us to watch a movie "anywhere, anytime," the more preoccupied we become with the technologies of how movies can reach us, the less we seem to ask the most important question: How do we really want to experience a film?

That's what Ridley Scott talks about in this short piece on the Huffington Post. He's totally right—despite chain theaters' attempts to make going to the movies as unpleasant of an activity as possible, the best way to see a film is still inside a theater, and, barring that, on Blu-ray. Not, in other words, via streaming. "Technology," as Scott notes, "will need to make many more huge leaps before one can ever view films with the level of picture and sound quality many film lovers demand without having to slide a disc into a player."

But all that said, I'm not entirely sure that the image and sound quality Scott prizes so highly really matters to most people. People are lazy, and convenience generally wins out; most will gladly accept degradations of picture and sound quality, provided they can get the film (or music, or TV, or whatever) easily and cheaply (or steal it). I can't help but think that Blu-ray, as impressive of a storage medium as it can be, will be the final generation of the ever-evolving physical media we've used to transfer movies.

I should also note that, like Scott, I'm also firmly in the theater/Blu-ray camp—I'm one of the obnoxious film nerds who care (probably too much) about such things as aspect ratios and 1080p. (There's no way, for example, that I'd watch Scott's upcoming Prometheus for the first time at home or on a computer—I'll be there in a theater, pretty much no matter what.) But I'm pretty sure that when it comes to stuff like that, I'm in an ever-shrinking minority.

Via (naturally) @Criterion.

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