For over half a century, Hollywood has been making computers do whatever they damn well please. Routinely featured on television and in movies, supercomputers, desktop rigs and laptops—and in some cases, the people that use them—are all too often imbued with near-magical capabilities, painting a deceptive picture of what our beloved machines can and cannot do. Not sure of what tech-centric malarky we’re talking about? No problem: We’ve put together a list of our top ten Hollywood TV and Movie myths. We’re betting they’ll be just as familiar and irritating to you as they are to us.
When was the last time you bought a DVD? Net-who – oh, Netflix? Yeah, that's what we thought. You aren't alone in your gradual migration to streaming video content. A new report indicates that DVD sales have dropped off 20% in the first quarter of 2011 when compared to a year ago.
If you're planning to pay for the delivery of a digital movie to your home, odds are strong that you're paying Netflix for the privilege. A new NPD Group study tells us that Netflix holds a whopping 61% of the digital movie market. That's fairly impressive in and of itself, but the complete scattering of the rest of the market is remarkable as well.
We won't go so far as to say that MovieReshape's human reshaping algorithm is the coolest thing we've ever seen, but it's pretty damn nifty. By crunching numbers obtained from a bunch of 3D models, MoveReshape is able to change people's on-screen attributes, making actors appear more muscular or taller, to name just two.
"The approach is based on a morphable model of 3D human shape and pose that was learned from laser scans of real people," MovieReshape's developers explain. "The algorithm commences by spatio-temporarily fitting the pose and shape of this model to the actor in either single-view or multi-view video footage. Once the model has been fitted, semantically meaningful attributes of body shape, such as height, weight, or waist girth, can be interactively modified by the user. The changed proportions of the virtual human model are then applied to the actor in all video frames by performing an image-based warping."
Sounds geeky enough, but you really have to see the algorithm in action to appreciate what's going on. Carve out about three and a half minutes of your time and hit the play button below. You'll be glad you did.
The new Polaroid bears little resemblance to the clunky Polaroid cameras of days gone by, but it does look strikingly similar to a more modern model, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7. It's not hard to figure out that there's a bit of rebranding shenanigans going on, but nevertheless, Polaroid is touting its newest camera as the beginning of the "Polaroid Movement."
"We are thrilled that today marks the return of instant. It's bigger -- and better -- than ever. The Polaroid Movement is one of that we heartfully embrace and intend to build upon by reaching the creative community and global Polaroid fans alike," said Giovanni Tomasell, Managing Director of the Summit Global Group, the exclusive worldwide licensee for Polaroid branded imaging products.
The "Movement" doesn't come cheap, however. Polaroid has priced the 300 at $90 for the camera itself, and ten-packs of instant film run $10 each.
YouTube, in an effort to continue expanding as a media hub for more than just low quality, user-made content, is trying to hash out a deal with Sony Pictures to secure licensing rights to some of the studio's full-length movies, CNet reports. Such a deal would help YouTube better compete with the likes Hulu, Netflix, and other web video services.
It was just a week ago that YouTube was able to license short-form content from Disney, which also includes Disney brands like ABC and ESPN. But when it comes to feature-length content -- a crucial component if YouTube is to compete with other streaming services -- YouTube has only been able to snag a small number of titles from MGM.
Neither company is commenting on the report, but it's not hard to see why each one would be interested. Sony Pictures acquired streaming video site Crackle in 2006 for a cool $65 million and has since posted a bevy of full-length films on the site. By licensing a handful of flicks to YouTube, Sony would be promoting its Crackle acquistion. And of course it makes sense for YouTube, which was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion three years ago.
Do you think is a good move for either company? Hit the jump and sound off.
If nothing else, give PNY points for creativity. In an attempt to differentiate its USB keys from other companies, the memory maker will attempt to sell a 2GB USB flash drive with the movie Ghostbusters pre-installed.
"As a market leader in the USB market, PNY's focus is to offer consumers added value by providing enjoyable blockbuster content on their USB," said Stefanie Summerfield, UK and Nordic sales and marketing director for PNY Technologies.
It remains to be seen exactly how many people will be interested in receiving a free 20-year-old movie with their USB key, but if it proves popular enough, it's conceivable that the partnership between PNY and Sony could lead to more flicks on more flash drives. That's assuming consumers won't be put off by the DRM scheme. According to a PNY spokesperson, customers will be able to download Ghostbusters to their laptop or PC, but they'll have to have the USB key plugged in if they want to watch the movie.
Is PNY on to something here, or are pre-loaded movies ultimately just a marketing gimmick? Hit the jump and post your toughts.