They are watching. They are everywhere. You'll need special glasses to see them...

The plan was to catch the immature morons with video cameras who, for some reason, still think it’s okay to take video cameras into movie theaters. A nice effort, I can’t say I’m against it. But it seems more bright ideas have come to pass, and now…the concept of catching morons on camera filming theatrical films has expanded to average movie -goers as well. It isn’t just about crime anymore, or seeing which nitwit whips out a cell phone and chats during a movie. No, this is something a bit more dumb.

From Torrentfreak:

Besides traditional CCTV cameras, Aralia Systems offers elaborate piracy tracking devices. One of their products is an anti-camcorder system that projects infrared light beams onto a cinema audience. These beams are reflected back off camcorders and will trigger several alarm bells.

Basically, it comes down to extracting as much information from movie goers as possible, by adding analytics software that can read people’s physical reactions as well as their emotions.

According to Dr. Abdul Farooq from Machine Vision Lab, the project should make it possible to record and analyze the public’s emotions. These emotions will not be used to track down camcording pirates, but will serve as a market research tool for the movie industry and advertisers.

So let me get this right. The executives want audience reaction to the movie being shown for marketing purposes. That’s it in a nutshell. Now, there is some good that could come out of this. Advertisers can finally take note that the majority of commercials that play before movies (not trailers) are under the wrath of many patrons. I personally boycott any product I see for a month. If I already own the product, I won’t use it for a month. Commercials before movies are an annoyance. Reaction to movie trailers can REALLY be helped by this idea though. Maybe they will hear a moviegoer say “You buttheads! You just gave away the twist ending!” or at least the “oohs” and the “aahs”.

But as for the film itself? It is a waste of time. Why? Isn’t that what “test screenings” were for? Not only that, but if a film is already released, it isn’t going to help (or hurt) the marketing of that film. I’m sorry—but people don’t go to movies because one dude picks his nose. One person laughs at a joke on the west coast. Another yawns at the same joke on the east. Does that help? No.

And what about my pet peeve regarding First run films showing up on VOD? It won’t have any effect on those films.

If you want to use the tech to catch pirates in the act, fine. If you want to use the tech to catch a knucklehead texting and talking on a cell phone in the middle of a movie and alert an usher to ask them to cease, fine. But targeting John and Jane Doe to see them how they slurp up soda or do some necking in the back row? Come on now.

Forget the distractions, and find the fools with the camcorders in the multplex. Because you want to see what “others” are up to, suggests that you aren’t that serious about piracy in the first place. Hey, you never know. John and Jane Doe making out in the back row might be more interesting to see on a viral site that another poor pirated version of SAW 3D.

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