Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.



The 'Blu Ray Into Darkness' Edition

This week sees the release of Star Trek Into Darkness on digital download and DVD and Blu Ray. While the movie itself garnered rave reviews from everybody apart from some Star Trek fans, the home video release of the movie has brought about a lot of controversy amongst fans and customers alike. This is because the distributor Paramount has disseminated the special features for the movie across several different platforms. To obtain all of the special features for the movie, fans will have to digitally download the movie and purchase a special edition of the Blu Ray disc from the retailers that have signed off on the deal with Paramount to obtain the exclusive rights to those specific special features.

I am not naïve enough to suggest that a movie studio does not have the right to sell off exclusives to a plethora of retail outlets, what saddens me about this instance is the fact that this is a distinct sleight of hand toward movie fans across the globe.

  • Alice Eve in Star Trek Into Darkness

In the current climate of media sales it is clear that hard copies of movies will probably cease to exist altogether over the next decade or so to be replaced solely by digital downloads. I myself have a problem with this, not out of nostalgia but necessity, anybody who is passionate about art or movie culture demands the best quality of product for the art form that they love. I myself still buy compact discs and I have noticed that there is a significant difference between CDs and downloads as the bit rate (the data used to compress MP3 files) on digital downloads is not as good as it is on a compact disc. Therefore it is compact disc buyers who are now squeezed out of the market even though we demand a higher standard of quality for our musical purchases.

This aesthetic also applies to the digital download of movies where uncompressed sound, pixel quality and of course special features vary in quality when downloaded via one of the major providers. While a certain amount of customers are not bothered by some of the concerns of cinephiles, it seems to be the case that those people who are passionate about cinema are being disregarded by some of the technological developments of the past few years. The Star Trek Into Darkness problem seems to be an emblematic signifier of how the market will change over the next few years and into the future. Sadly none of these problems are new.

For some reason the distribution deal that Twentieth Century Fox signed with Warner Bros to distribute Mr and Mrs Smith (2005) on Blu Ray subsequently meant that a longer cut of the movie was available to French audiences but not UK and US audiences. The UK edition of the The Avengers (2012) featured a different cut of the movie and did not include the commentary from the movie’s director Joss Whedon that was available to viewers in the United States.

  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr and Mrs Smith (2007)

For some reason the US edition of The Hunger Games (2013) features the trailers for the movie and the UK edition does not. While I am aware that these obstacles can be beaten with a certain amount intelligence on the part of the customer, the question I have is why do we as customers have to face these obstacles in the first place?

We are fans and movie lovers, contextually the amount of homes with a huge amount of disposable income is not great in the current climate so why are we being faced with an unstructured home video market that seemingly requires a major in DVD buying to get the product we want. I don't think casual audiences or cinephiles should be faced with any of these issues to simply get the product they know and love. Perhaps Blu Rays and DVDs are headed into darkness but we as customers don't deserve to follow them.