Journalist Scott Kirsner presents an illustrated spin through his new book, Inventing the Movies, which offers a technological history of Hollywood -- and an exploration of why revolutionary new ideas so often face intense resistance in any industry.
In Hollywood, even after the debut of "The Jazz Singer," studio chiefs still dragged their heels on adopting sound technology. Technicolor was founded in 1915, and helped bring "a rainbow of colors" to the silver screen in movies like "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind" -- but it wasn't until the 1950s, when TVs started showing up in American living rooms, that Hollywood rushed to convert to color production. In the 1980s, Universal Pictures and Disney sued Sony over the Betamax; within a decade, they were making more money from home video than ticket sales.
And even today, most studios don't offer their full catalogs in digital form (hoping to make more money by selling us high-def DVDs) and Hollywood's top cinematographers prefer to shoot on film. Scott's very interactive talk is geared to both movie buffs and techies -- and will be followed by a discussion about why people resist new ideas, and how innovators can overcome that resistance.
Scott Kirsner is a contributing columnist for the Boston Globe Business section. His column Innovation Economy, appears in the Globe every Sunday. Kirsner’s writing has also appeared in BusinessWeek, Variety, The New York Times, and other publications.
Kirsner is the author of the book The Future of Web Video, editor of The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England, and a contributor to The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston. Kirsner was part of the founding team of Boston.com in 1995, and he is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication.
Film technology journalist Scott Kirsner highlights the resistance of Hollywood studios to make their movies available for purchase in a digital form by conducting an experiment of making a list of classic movies all the studios won't sell in a digital format.