20 May 2006

More Moore

There's an interesting discussion going on about the cost of film-making - and whether we are likely to see huge falls from the exorbitant $200 million level for typical blockbusters.

This is particularly relevant in the context of copyright, since one of the principal arguments for copyright - especially in its more Draconian forms - is that huge sums are at stake. Once the production costs are not so huge - as is the case with texts, and increasingly music - then it is possible to contemplate other ways of generating revenue without needing to sell the right to read/view materials as in the past.

As the example cited - the Star Wreck films - shows, the key to reducing costs is to do as much as possible using virtual sets, and ultimately virtual actors. Once the analogue film-making becomes digital, Moore's Law kicks in, and things just get cheaper and cheaper.

This is already evident in children's cartoons, many of which are computer generated. Similarly, many major films depend heavily on computer-generated special effects. Both of these just get better all the time - presumably for the same up-front costs.

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