What comes to your mind at the mention of Netflix?

The word echoes movies… right?

Movies in the modern age have come a long way. The industry adopts various innovative solutions to improve the experience of watching movies to draw and capture the attention of its audience.

With old outdated techniques out of the way, new trends emerging and better techniques being adopted, moviemakers are able to keep you wanting more.

Film directors, producers, and other industry stakeholders often look for new ways of keeping up with trends in the industry as they come up.

Moreover, according to SelectUSA, the film industry of the United States of America generated $31 billion in 2013 as revenue. The annual expenses at the box office were almost $11 billion.

The ever-increasing revenue in the movie industry is a testament to the popularity of the films released every year. Movie fans aren’t just in the U.S but also across the globe.

The global film industry is technological art. This explains the role of technology, business and culture in the movie industry.

Here’re some trends redefining the film industry.

They include:

  • Netflix revolution and internet video streaming technology
  • The 4K+ technology
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Incorporating and celebrating diversity
  • The renaissance of cinematography

Top 5 trends reshaping the film industry

  1. The Netflix revolution and internet video streaming technology

Netflix is a pioneer in the streaming video market. It ushered in the existing battle of big media names for a share of the market.

The internet has shifted cinema (both theater-wise and outside it) from television, DVDs, and cable to online media streaming.

As the pioneer of the internet streaming business, Netflix dominates the industry segment. It has invested heavily in acquisitions and production to support the making-of features and series.

According to an article published on Forbes, Netflix invested $6 billion dollars in 2017 in video content. It hit a subscriber base of 117 million in the same year, 50% drawn from the U.S market and the other 50% from other parts of the world.

The internet streaming giant generated $11 billion in revenue; a figure almost similar to that of the US Box Office’s total revenue for the same year. The company registered an increase in revenue by 36% from its earnings in the previous fiscal year.

In 2018, the company invested an additional $8 billion on 80 feature films and 700 series.

According to the same article, the e-Commerce giant, Amazon, is trailing behind Netflix in the internet streaming business. It invested $4.5 billion in 2017 in movies and series.

According to a statement made by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, “…we get to monetize that video content in an unusual manner. Winning a Golden Globe helps us sell more shoes.” He explains that quality movies help develop his brand.

Both Netflix and Amazon also buy top quality video content from recent directors and innovative filmmakers such as:

  • Alfonso Cuaron
  • Coen brothers
  • Todd Haynes
  • Ildiko Enyedi
  • Dees Rees
  • Bong Joon-Ho

Disney, worth $155 Billion, launched the Disney Plus, an on-demand streaming service, in 2019 for a share of the internet video content market.

Facebook (worth $511 billion) and Apple (worth $888 billion) are also set to enter the market and compete with Netflix (worth $130 billion), Amazon (worth $722 billion), and the new entrant, Disney.

There’s an ongoing rumor that Apple wants to buy Netflix. Think of big fish swallowing the small fish in the “video content” tank with lots of small fish.

  1. The 4k+ resolution technology

Netflix also attributes its success to the adoption of 4K technology. This is projected to be the standard for feature- and post-production in the future.

The internet streaming giant only produces video content with UHD resolution (3840 pixels or 4K quality). It works on a “4K rule” it follows strictly.

The new Alexa LF camera and iPhone help movie producers to meet the strict quality requirement. Additionally, the likes of Dan Sasaki and Michael Cioni provide 6K and 8K resolutions using large format cameras.

Oversampling allows 8K videos to be downsized to 4K content quality.

  1. Virtual and augmented reality

Technological changes in the film industry are redefining storytelling. Virtual reality has become possible in the recent past. It involves simulations being generated in 3D settings or images using computers.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented technology is an emerging trend in the film industry that experienced significant growth in 2019.

The global economic impact of virtual and augmented reality, according to Statista, was projected to hit the $29.5 billion mark by 2020.

The virtual environments are confined within a headset to provide the unlimited potential to safely create content that resonates with consumers. VR and augmented reality can instruct, entertain and even educate audiences in totally unique ways.

For instance, Martin Percy, a BAFTA award winner, placed viewers in a scenario of a house fire in the VR 360 film that lasts two minutes. The VR film uses auditory and visual cues to immerse viewers safely in a situation that’s life-threatening. It also promotes secure ADT products for safety simultaneously.

More film producers will follow in Percy’s footsteps, using VR to tell their stories. Ultimately, technology is bound to redefine the future of filmmaking.

  1. Incorporating and celebrating diversity

Cultural changes in the film industry are seeing more women and blacks taking up roles of power in movies.

Character diversity on screens is growing as a critical cultural trend. The first female superhero protagonist, Wonder Woman, sends a powerful message to young viewers through the strength and charisma of Gal Gadot.

Similarly, Black Panther by Ryan Coogler generated billions of dollars in record time as gross income, sending a strong message to the heads of studios. The film marked a milestone in the genre.

Diversity has also been witnessed behind the scenes. Mudbound by Dee Rees saw Rachel Morrison, a female cinematographer, win an Oscar. She also shot a big action movie, the Black Panther.

Unlike two decades ago, in 2017 18% of females hold positions in behind-the-scenes roles. This is according to an article published on Indie Wire.

Bradford Young, an African-America, shot A Star Wars Story; Patty Jenkins, a female director, ranked in the box office top 20; Greta Gerwig, an Oscar nominee, directed Lady Bird; and Ava DuVernay, a female African-American, directed a movie with over $100 million budget.

Hopefully, the increasing trend of diversity in the industry will evolve big studio films’ stories and themes.

  1. The renaissance of cinematography

Various techniques and tools are opening doors into the renaissance of cinematography.

Filmmakers are using various formats such as spherical digital, anamorphic and negative film to drive their cinematographic roles. Films are being shot with Panavision 65mm, Imax, Red 8K and Alexa 65 to produce large formats.

With increasing cinematography tools, filmmakers have more options (including tech security solutions) to gauge and tell their stories. Additionally, they use different technologies on a single project for a unique and better outcome.

As an example, Steve Yedlin used a combination of Alexa 35mm, 65mm and Alexa camera with spherical and anamorphic lenses to produce Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Unlike before, cinematographers have more tools (lenses, cameras, and formats) at their disposal. They encompass full-frame, supper 16, 65, super 35, spherical, digital, film and anamorphic variations.

The professionals are more INNOVATIVE, CREATIVE and PLAYFUL with film textures and imagery to produce better experiences. Other talented cinematographers driving the industry include:

  • Larry Fong
  • Javier Aguirresarobe
  • Matthew Jensen
  • Paul Cameron
  • John Mathieson
  • Salvatore Totino
  • Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Stephen F. Windon
  • Chung-Hoon Chung
  • Henry Braham
  • Michael Seresin
  • Fabian Wagner

Conclusion

Other trends shaking the film industry include faith-based movies becoming hugely profitable and increased social commentary films. The use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) technology for practical effects and found or handheld footage in horror Indie films are also trending.

Films are also more emotionally engaging and feature more vaping than cigarettes. Seat reservation, movie review platforms, better food choices and availability of longer movies are also redefining the industry.

Do you know an eruptive trend in the film industry not covered in this article that you’d love to share? Leave your comment in the box below.