Free digital camera!

If you want a free digital camera, just follow these easy steps:

  • Go to Cinema Guzzo in Greenfield Park.
  • Watch for someone who goes into the cinema, then goes back to his car for a minute, and then returns to the cinema.
  • Break into the car and steal the camera that he put there because he’s not allowed to take it into the screening room.

I would have been one of your victims on Friday night, except Martine and I opted instead to refund our tickets and leave. We had gone to see “Knocked Up,” only vaguely aware of the silliness brewing around Bill C-59, the “anti-camcording” bill. As a result of the bill (which has not yet been debated or passed), the cinemas are in a frenzy over the issue of “camcording” movies.

A bit of background: the media has been reporting that a lot of pirated movies seem to be coming out of Canada. Specifically, pirated moves of the “camcording” variety. That means pirate copies that were made by someone filming the movie screen with a video camera.

The cinemas are supposedly outraged over the practice, as they feel these crappy pirated versions keeps people from plunking down $12 to see the movie in a cinema. Cinema Guzzo in Greenfield park (and possibly other cinemas too, but Guzzo is the only one where I personally witnessed this), now have a security guard checking people’s bags for cameras. The guard is on the other side of the box office, with no warning signs outside. So you only find out about the bag checking after you’ve paid for your ticket.

They nailed me. I had a still camera in my bag (not a video camera). The guard gave me the option of putting my camera into a big cardboard box along with a bunch of other captured ones, or of going out to the parking lot and leaving it in the car.

Uh…

First, there is no way I’m putting my $600 Lumix DMC-LX2 into a box with no access control on it. It wasn’t even like a coat check – no chits or numbered tickets. Just toss it in the box and take your chances. (Oh, by the way, that’s another way to get a free digital camera and you don’t even have to break anything. Just go see a movie at Cinema Guzzo and on your way out walk over to the guy with the box and say “I’d like my camera back now” and grab one.)

Second, there is no way I am going to walk out to my car in front of all those people – people who are aware of the new camera policy – to pay a 15 second visit and then turn around and go back to the cinema. I might as well just pull out a bullhorn and yell THE CAMERA IS IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT!

If you think I’m being paranoid, I’ll remind you that there are plenty of people who make a living by hanging around parking lots waiting to spot people who park their cars, deposit something in the trunk, and then walk away. I’m not making this up, call your local police department and ask.

There are lots of things going on here, so let’s pause for a breath:

  • Parliament is about to pass a very stupid law based on flawed information from bone-headed lobbyists.
  • The cinemas are over-reacting to the issue, and acting as if cameras were firearms or something.

What really burns me about all of this is how over-blown the problem is. I can understand why the industry is upset over people distributing unauthorized copies of DVDs, because those are direct digital transfers with no loss of quality. They’re indistinguishable from the originals.

But what does a “camcorded” version of a movie look like? I’ve never seen one, but I’ll bet the image is shaky and blurry, and it’s probably twisted into a trapezoid because of the angle of the camera. The edges of the frame are probably clipped off, or there are large black borders because the camera isn’t zoomed enough. No doubt the sound is terrible.

So then the question becomes “who watches such a video?”

I can imagine it playing in a run-down cafe in some tropical jungle village, or at some beach bar in South-East Asia that’s full of Eurotrash pot heads. But no one who actually enjoys going to the cinema would bother with such a thing.

In other words, the “market” for camcorded movies is likely very small, and limited to people who wouldn’t spend $12 on a movie ticket anyway. So in fact there is no loss to the cinemas or the movie industry. It’s like screening a pirated movie to a wall of trees or a field full of sheep. It has no bearing on the box office.

Cinema Guzzo likely did not prevent anyone from camcording “Knocked Up” last Friday night, because it is unlikely anyone would have camcorded it anyway. Or if they had, the only people who would have watched the pirated version are people who wouldn’t have paid in the first place. But their ill-conceived “security” check cost them at least two tickets that night (mine and Martine’s). Cinema Guzzo is just shooting itself in the foot.

If the cinemas really want to prevent the loss of box office sales, I suggest the following game plan:

  • Stop charging $4 for a 79-cent bottle of water.
  • Stop charging enormous prices for popcorn and other “food” items.
  • Stop treating customers as if they were crime suspects.
  • Stop subjecting customers to 20 minutes of advertising and previews before the show starts.

129 thoughts on “Free digital camera!

  1. OZ, at this point, you guys are just cracking me up with your hysterics. I mean REALLY cracking me up. I have to leave my priso… cubicle to take a breather and refocus :D

    People snapping are always extremely entertaining to me.

  2. Trust me Dave, this isn’t snapping. This is channelling my annoyance as a means to accomplish an end, the end being to never have to listen to any of you dumbasses ever again. Dave, you’re really something though you know that. What happened to your little, “loss of freedom” argument? Did you conveniently forget about that? Or did you just realize that bringing it up again to would cause you a great deal of shame knowing that a 17 year old completely owned you in that, and pretty much all the other issues?

    Go get hit by a bus (see that would be me snapping).

  3. Hey Oz / Vince’s bitch.

    You are clueless if you think that Vince is more worried about camcording than people smuggling in snacks. People not buying his overpriced treats directly affects his bottom line while the ineffectual and pointless search of people’s bags will have ZERO effect to his profits.

    BTW, sorry to fill up your email inbox with yet another post. So very very sorry.

  4. Correction:

    the ineffectual and pointless search of people’s bags for CAMCORDERS will have ZERO effect to his profits.

    Sorry about that. Please merge both postings Oz. Don’t want your inbox overflowing now.

  5. I kept bringing up my arguments, no one addressed them. Instead, y’all sidetracked them with nifty deflections that reeked of sophistry. Then Y’all began disintegrating into this puddle of hysterics and suddenly it got entertaining so I ran with it.

    ah wishing ill of others, always a character building attribute.

  6. OUCH, I’m “Vince’s bitch” now? Well, at least you’re not calling him “Vinny” like certain people (who will remain nameless). Let me remind you of something Jonas, what you probably don’t realize is that if Vince did nothing to combat piracy, there would be a very good chance of him losing certain rights to show movies (something which would probably affect his bottom line as his business model kind of revolves around that). Now, even if he was checking bags for the sole purpose of looking for food, which he isn’t, he has every right to as he owns the damn place.

    And back to the whole “Vince’s bitch” thing, I prefer to be called a crusader; the cause which I’m fighting for (although an annoying one at that), is to keep the ideas and voices of idiots, such as yourself Jonas, from becoming fact in other, more susceptible minds. Wouldn’t you say that that’s a noble one?

    Oh ya, and thanks for your gracious caring of whether or not my inbox overflows, some advice though, your sarcasm sucks, why not stick with your shoddy grammar skills as your main writing technique for your posts.

  7. Dave, I addressed ALL of your arguments individually, and any that I missed have no standing anyway because VINCE OWNS THE PLACE!

  8. Settle down guys. Discussion? Yes. Argument? Yes. Senseless bitch-slapping? No.

  9. It simply comes down to the shift from corporations treating people as consumers rather than as customers. It’s an important shift that naturally causes people to be upset. Searching through people’s bags is a part of that shift. Instead of respecting customers they are now seen as the enemy.

    I acknowledge that a private business probably has the right to do this but that still does not make it either right or more importantly engender loyalty towards said business. The lack of respect towards customers will actually only fuel the piracy it’s trying to stop. You need only look at all the good will that has been lost by the record companies suing it’s own customers.

    Lastly, the ironic part of this whole story is that all this will not make the slightest difference. Telesyncs and Screener versions of movies are still readily available and of superior quality to Cams anyhow. This will make no difference to professional pirates. This is another innane and misdirected attack that will only further alienate customers and make them feel like consumers/criminals. And at that point why not go ahead and download that movie.

    P.S. Oz I’ve tried my best to use correct grammar this time. Please proofread this post and make any corrections you feel are required. Also crusader is an apt title for you. You obviously are unable to question authority and think for yourself. The perfect soldier.

    And tell Vinnie I say hi.

  10. Jonas, I agree with you that this step could very well alienate customers. I also agree with you that corporations are now treating customers more and more like consumers, and, as such, treating them a lot worse. I especially agree with you that they (corporations) have every right to do just that. However, I don’t agree with you that these measures won’t change anything. The truth is that a huge percentage of pirated movies come from Canada, with Guzzo being a relatively large player in the theatre business. If nothing else, this is at least the first of many steps to help combat the problem, and ensure that movie creators receive the credit they deserve.

    And I didn’t mean the grammar thing literally, I only felt like insulting you. Truthfully, I think your arguments make a lot more sense than Dave’s as I can actually agree with the majority them. And please, I said before why I’m doing this and it’s not in the least to defend the COO of the company I work for. He probably has no idea I’m doing this. So thanks for saying I’m unable to question authority, I am such a “perfect soldier” aren’t I?

    P.S. Stop it with the insulting one-liners in the end of your posts, you’re not good at them, they make you look bad, and take away from quality, grammatically correct (I just had to), arguments.

  11. Last point.

    Oz Wrote

    “if Vince did nothing to combat piracy, there would be a very good chance of him losing certain rights to show movies”

    I’d respect and and frequent his establishments more if he actually stood up to the industry and refused to turn his customers into consumers. Instead he’s no better or no worse then the rest of them. And don’t tell me he can’t as he’s very proud of the fights he’s had and won with the distributors when it served his own interests.

  12. Dave, that’s very big of you to suggest that you were just following everyone else when you have been setting the tone. Quite a coincidence that this sort of degradation of comment strings seems to follow you around.

  13. […] disponible en entier sur le Web (illégalement, bien sûr). Il y a dû y avoir quelqu’un qui a mal fouillé un sac à l’entrée d’un cinéma… […]

  14. After a nice shift that fulfilled my Gestapo quota for the day, I see TWENTY-SEVEN new e-mails in my inbox. I’m with Oz on the need to unsubscribe, lest I blow my brains out.

    I haven’t read everything, since it’s getting kind of petty… I don’t think I really ever went that low. So, blork, I implore you to please figure out a way for me to stop receiving e-mails every time someone replies, aside from getting a new e-mail address.

    I feel like all my hard work to discuss things in a sensible manner has gone out the window.

  15. Hey Jonas, thank you for the link to the “U.S. movie piracy claims mostly fiction” article. Looks like perhaps someone researched their facts and didn’t just retype a press release.

  16. Asking someone to open their bag is illegal for a cop. Period. They will ask. But they do so knowing that they really can’t. It’s a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Period.

    If the cops can’t do it, I really have no idea why a Cinema employee has the right.

    I’ve had this conversation twice this week with nice people at Francofolie.

    They are wrong. So is Guzzo.

  17. OK folks, I’ve upgraded the “subscribe” plugin, but I don’t know if it’s going to make any difference. Stupid plugin writers are notoriously bad at not giving very clear instructions and leaving huge gaping holes in their products (like, um, giving the ability to unsubscribe). So there are three possibilities:

    (1) The updated plugin will allow you to unsubscribe,

    (2) It won’t allow you to unsubscribe, but your old subscription will be broken because of the update,

    (3) Nothing has changed.

    Let me know!

  18. OK, I just subscribed and then unsubscribed myself, so anyone who wants to unsubscribe should be able to as well. Just look for the subscription manager link under the box where you type your comments. Go there, and you’ll be able to unsubscribe. But then you have to COME BACK HERE and un-check the “notify me” box or you’ll just end up re-subscribing.

  19. (1) was correct.

    I love you. You are the greatest person in the entire world.

    No more e-mails, yay! Thanks!

  20. Now if only Blork could get this kind of arguing over his food.

    GEORGE “No!! Rare meat is an affront to ALL animal lovers !!”

    Penelope “Rare meat is a right that all gourmands have, live with it.”

    Francois “Red Meat is just another way for The Man to make money…..”

    >;)

  21. i should have said, “….over his food Posts.” I am sure a number of people would fight over his food… fight in order to get some :)

  22. Oh Guzzo, Guzzo, where art thou Guzzo…

    Well I decided it was time to look up what was going on with my buddy Guzzo. Nothing much has popped up. Only a few articles.
    Slashdot has picked-up on it, as you can see with this cool graphic.

    But most interesting is the National Posts’ lenght…

Comments are closed.