Posts Tagged ‘ movies ’

Why Piracy works ?

[tweetmeme] It is a long debated topic, Software / Movie Piracy industry is growing and people seem to be adopting it very well finding a way to get through all the blocks. But is it just money that is an issue for consumers ? I guess there is an alternative point for why piracy is doing great check out the image below.

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Reality from fiction : Fabric that deflects bullets (Indian again)

[tweetmeme] Remember The Matrix? When Neo asks Morpheus if he was trying to tell him that he could dodge bullets and Morpheus replies “No Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”


If engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, have their way, then soon the cops of the world could all be attempting a Matrix scene. If not stop the bullets in mid-air, they can surely bounce them off their bodies.

Till today, bulletproof gear that cops across the world use is made up of multiple layers of Kevlar, Twaron, Spectra (Thanks Guybrush) or Dyneema fibers which offer blunt resistance to the brutal force of a bullet. They tried to stop bullets from penetrating by spreading the bullet’s force. But the people who use them can still be left with severe bruising or, worse, damage to critical organs.

The new material, however, not only stops bullets but deflects them, rather than absorbing their force. The study by engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, is published in the Institute of Physics’ journal Nanotechnology. The elasticity of carbon nanotubes means that this so called “blunt force trauma” may be avoided, say Prof Liangchi Zhang and Dr Kausala Mylvaganam. The Indian and Chinese duo who have help fortify the argument that Innovation does not happen only in the west.

The teams’ testing was done on Carbon nanotubes in the dimensions of 0.7 nanometers in thickness & 7.5 nanometers in length. Bullets made out of Diamond were fired at 1000 to 3500 meters per second at the target material and the fabric successfully bounced the bullets off of its surface. Now if diamond bullets could not make it through, then I doubt if anything else will. Engineers claim that 6 layers of such yarn, which would be about 600 nanometers thick, would be sufficient to design a fabric for practical purposes.

To say that this technology is amazing would be a gross understatement. It could prove invaluable in fighting terror across the planet.Just hope the Bad guys are not wearing the same.

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YouTube – not just for cute cats anymore

When looking at the Indian Movie Industry adopting technology I mentioned how 3 Idiots will be available as a paid service in India 12 weeks from the release of the movie, it might be more of a PR stunt than adoption of technology. The point to be taken from this is the fact that YouTube is now getting involved more into the main stream media and this mostly in India. All of us have spent time on YouTube looking at cute cats, music videos, of just FAIL videos. This is what they have in mind.

In fact, YouTube is not only looking at the cute cats and crazy stunts of Indian guys, but is looking at the core entertainment medium of the sub continent. Movies and Cricket, yes you read it right, being the 2 most discussed topics in India along with Politics, this is the best route to get into the Indian conversation.

Starting with Cricket

Like a lot of people say, cricket is not a game in India, its a religion. If that is true, the IPL is the Haj of the cricketing world these days especially considering that the T20 format of the game was made famous by IPL. YouTube is now the official match partner for the IPL T20 of 2010. Yes, you read it right. No need to scout the web for an illegal source to watch IPL, you can see it live on YouTube. Check out the IPL Channel here.

Watch Movies Legally

I am not sure how many of you know about the foray of YouTube into movies, it now has a channel dedicated to full length movies and documentaries that can be watched online for free and yes legally. most of them even with english subtitles. What’s more the movies section features a grand “Bollywood” channel, showcasing some good movies like Andaz Apna Apna, Hulchal, Maine Pyar kiya, Hera Pheri, Mumbai Salsa and Amar Akbar Antony amongst others.

You can check out the channel here.

Movie Premiers

Yes you read that right as well, YouTube will be premiering a first in the land of song and dance, the Bollywood movie ‘Striker’ will be premiered on YouTube. At this moment they have mentioned that this will not be visible if you are signing in from India. Users in the US will be charged $4.99 to watch the movie, and everywhere else it will be available for free. Being in Dubai I am sure I will be able to watch the movie online.  I hope bandwidth issues will not hinder us watching this, the YouTube intro for Striker says 4 Days to go. I am sure this is a first of its kind in India.

Check out Striker’s Page here.

I think Google are playing their cards right in India, from landmark based navigation introduced in Google Maps by Google India, Transliteration tools to now YouTube innovations. If things go well, they might be able to bring back people into Orkut, Google’s Social network from Facebook.

Another inspiration from Minority Report ePaper

Minority report is one of my favorite movie from the 2000’s which actually displayed some technology way ahead of its time. In fact a lot of the devices that we are seeing today are somehow inspired by great sci-fi movies like the Minority Report. In fact in my earlier post I wrote about how real technology taking a lot of inspiration from movies, check it out.

Well today I am looking at another technology that is well from Minority report. The really awesome ePaper. Of course I mentioned about ePaper earlier in the same post mentioned above. But this time its even more like the real thing. Can’t quite recall where it comes in the movie, see the clip below.

And then there is the part where these technologies are coming into reality. One of them is Bonnier. Bonnier is now a multi-channel media company with experience and knowledge from a full range of media in 175 countries across 20 countries. Check out their version of the ePaper or rather eMagazine below

Well most people might be telling now that devices like this are many these days and well with the launch of the iPad from Apple i will really say that the field is just got bigger with devices like this. However there is another interesting invention from LG, yes LG the company known for their amazing TV’s and failed mobile phones.

The concept of the ePaper that the Korean company has announced has a 19-inch-wide display, about the size of a regular newspaper page. At a thin 0.3mm, it’s slightly thicker than a piece of paper (about 0.06mm), and its 4.5-ounce weight will feel a lot heftier than a newspaper. Once commercialized, the revolutionary technology will slim down bulky dailies and hopefully save tons of paper, wastewater and carbon emissions.

Please check out some other concepts of the ePaper and eInk concepts from other developers.

via Inhabitat

Indian movies embracing technology – Part 1

Some of the biggest movie buffs around, my friends and me do go and watch nearly all of the movies that are released from the Mumbai film industry. The Indian Movie industry is now the biggest movie industry in the world. The reach of the Indian Movie Industry these days is not judged by the viewers but only with the technologies that are used for distribution since the Indian Movie Industry is now breaking culture barriers and language barriers world over.

The most successful movies of all time commercially have happened in the recent past, with Ghajini and now 3 Idiots. Inflation adjustment might make these movies just below the legendary Sholay, but having said that these movies had a big advantage that many other movies in the past did not have. Digital Distribution.

It is now a certifiable fact that Ghajini, the Aamir Khan starrer was released in over 1200 theaters the highest ever for a movie. Screening in small villages as well as in metros at the same time, the biggest strength of this movie was the reach into small towns and villages where movies would normally release a few weeks and even few months later. Digital solutions in filmed entertainment are now helping the producers to reach relevant audience & increase the number of prints without any additional cost. The Advantage of Digital Distribution over normal distribution would definately be :

  • Reduction in the cost of sending the movies across, with the Analog tapes which were heavier as well as large in size it is definitely reduces the trips to the movie screens etc.
  • Low Budget ‘different’ movies : Usually good stories that are not lapped up by the big banners had to be funded out of the excess money of someone, since they used to struggle to find the big budgets required for shooting, post processing and distribution. With new technologies more interesting different movies will get a voice without having to shoot a big hole in the producers pocket. And like me a lot of us movie buffs like these different movies.
  • Reach out to a bigger Audience : Like the examples mentioned before, the higher reach means higher gains to the producers as well as and the motivation for the piracy industry is reduced since the movie is more available to the masses. This would also mean that the return on investment of movies would be faster.

However the physical barrier is having too few digital screens. Currently only about 11% of screens in India have the digital screening system. To overcome this barrier, the movie industry is trying really hard to bring the movies closer to us, via the mobile phone. One of the most carried personal gadget in the world might soon become the new center of the movie industry. Personal Movie screening is taking off slowly but surely, when I bought my N95 8GB it came preloaded with a digitally protected copy of Spiderman 3; and my friends in India got the cult movie Sholay preloaded.

The increase in mobile penetration can be seen with other famous Bollywood movies like Om Shanti Om which is now available for download for the ‘Really Small Screen’ i.e. the Mobile Phone through iTunes as well. Furthermore, Mobile Movie cards are now entering the market, through the service HotSpot. Hotspot is offering movie titles along with trivia, wallpapers, special cut scenes etc on a 1GB SD Card that is suitable for the mobile phones.

I can already hear some of you reading say, a movie is not made for the Mobile Phones, computers are OK, but not mobiles. So enter the omnipresent Google. Google has decided that it will get into the pay per download mode of movies, through its flagship service YouTube. YouTube has just signed a deal with the producers of 3 Idiots, to be able to provide the movie for download for a nominal fee after 12 weeks of release of the film. With the small internet penetration in India along with the bandwidth hungry download of the movie would still not stop people from downloading / buying / sharing pirated copies. However I believe it is a step in the right direction especially since the internet penetration is slowly and surely increasing in India.

So taking this into account I do believe that there us a very nice opportunity to mobile providers and local handset manufacturers in the country to get into the mobile Bollywood bandwagon. Let me know what you guys think as well ?


Avatar …. the beginning, read on ..

Is it the Sifi plot line ? the amazing special effects ? the pace at which it reached $ 1 Billion Dollars ? the technological advancements ? The hype created on the internet ? James Cameron the name ? Whatever maybe the reason, Avatar is definitely going to be the highest grossing moving of all time. I guess you already know that, but the fastest movie franchise to make over $1.3 Billion Dollars has something right, that is making audiences wanting to see it more. And the fact that it is one of the most pirated movies of all times is not making a difference to its collections either. I am not going to do a review of the movie, you can find tonnes of it on the internet.

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Personally, I believe this marks the stand point of the movie industry trying to desperately fight off illegal movie downloads and piracy. You can download the movie but you cannot download the ‘experience’, and thats what its boiling down to. Setting the stage up, were some animated movies that got onto 3D, then came IMAX and now IMAX 3D. 3D technology has existed for a long time, but somewhat sidelined as they wanted to make a version compatible for the home, and also keep down on cost. What followed was that the global piracy causing the movie industry to crash or get there pretty quick. Now the focus of movie makers worldwide is to keep the users away from the homes and get them back into the theaters.

And then out of the ‘blue’ James Cameron works up his average script which is rumored to be 17 years old and unable to materialize as technology did not exist. Don’t know about that one … lol. I say average script cos its very predictable, in face I found this awesome picture bought up by someone on failblog.org, priceless.

Having said that, the visual treat that your eyes is subjected to and the experience that your mind is subjected to is unbelievable. Most friends of mine who saw the movie in 2D did not like it, obviously since the ‘experience’ was missing.

Apart from the technology required to shoot the movie, like the awesome motion capture that brings the characters to life, quite literally, the content of the movie also hid well thought of Science. And of course so, the most expensive movie ever made must have definitely had technology advisors that made most of the decisions regarding the science that the movie would feature. Some examples of this would be :

  • The choice of putting Pandora on a moon in the real Alpha Centauri star system (the closest system to Earth) was neat since scientists are looking at moons for life.
  • Those floating mountains. Many comments expressed disappointment with them, however, it’s not quite as implausible as you may suspect. The filmmakers put thought into this: Superconductors expel magnetic field lines, so the effect could make these mountains levitate like magnets away from the surface. (Details here).
  • Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of a research scientist was uncharacteristically good. Dr. Grace Augustine conveyed the natural curiosity about the world that you would normally observe in Research Scientists.
  • If gravity on Pandora is less than that on Earth, larger organisms would be supported, like the giant ‘Home Tree’.
  • Pandora’s atmosphere is not breathable to humans. In Star Wars, Star Trek, and just about any other sci-fi film, there are countless planets with human-breathable air, which is not very realistic.
  • The hybrid antimatter/fusion rocket combined with a beam-powered light sail. That’s exactly the sort of complicated trick that real-world engineers would use to reduce fuel and mass constraints on the spacecraft to travel at sub light speeds to other planets.

In fact just to be able to satisfy the blazing questions of all the geeks out there, as well as some critics who just seem to need a reason to bash up something or anything of interest, the movie staff came up with the awesome pandorapedia. An encyclopedia for anything ‘Pandora’ or ‘Avatar’. (More ‘Avatar science’, links at the end)

Like, the 3D hyper realistic holographic image projectors, the 3D Heads Up Displays in the flight control rooms, the title technologies showcasing direct Brain-Machine Communication, or even the AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform) for the humans on ‘Pandora’ are all technologies that are based on more scientific fact than fiction. Looking at some of them :

3D Holographic image projectors : CNN had tried its hands with 3D holographs a while back with its recent election coverage. Granted, the anchors and reporters being videotaped weren’t actually looking at holograms. Instead, they were looking at monitors, and CNN used 44 small, fixed cameras and 20 computers to insert virtual holograms with real-time effects processing. Fake holograms! Wait, that’s kind of redundant, isn’t it?

Brain Machine Communication of the Avatar : Brain Machine Interfaces and Mind Reading by computers is growing ten fold every year. New research in this field is enabling a new genre of applications for the computer check out more details here.

Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) : Already featured in movies like the Matrix Trilogy and the Iron Man, this seems to be the next form of Personal Military technology that is going to be widely anticipated and made available. Tests on primitive versions of this technology already are under trials under the name of exoskeletons. more on Wikipedia about exoskeletons and powered exoskeletons.

Amino Tanks: Used to harbor the avatar to deliver the required nutrition to survive, this innovation is also being used in various research laboratories for organ regeneration.

There is a lot of resources available for the science of the movie. You can check out some of the links below :