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Streaming Wars analysis & Predictions

Hollywood business is one of my few hobbies. I don’t mean celebrity news (which I don’t give a hoot about), but the actual business side of it. I’ve been following the streaming wars closely too, and this below is my analysis and my predictions:

– Netflix did a huge mistake for not pursuing franchises. Instead, they went for quantity, hitting as many as 450 originals in 2020 (almost as much as ALL the other US services and TV channels combined!). And most of what they released, was random garbage (quantity over quality). What sells instead, is escapism. The ability to make the viewer believe what they see is real, by using interconnected stories/characters a’la MCU. Now that they realized their mistake, they’re paying Sony $1 billion, just to get “first look” rights, and $450 million for Knives Out sequels (that number doesn’t even include the production cost of the movies, only the rights!). They’re hemorrhaging money left and right to catch up with existing Hollywood franchises, while their debt has reached $30 billion.

– Another mistake they did was to release all episodes at once. While consumers (think they) want that, it’s a really bad business decision, because it kills the hype of the show — resulting in untimely cancellation. The reason why cult TV shows were successful in the long run, like Twin Peaks, Lost, etc, is because viewers had time to process an episode, and spread it to new viewers, week after week. This was deemed “the water-cooler effect”, as employees would gather around the water-cooler in their workplace to discuss and theorize the episode they’ve just seen. This created cult status, that makes shows rewatchable in the long run. By releasing all episodes at once on Friday nights, the best Netflix can hope for are a couple of Youtube review videos by Sunday. By Monday, the hype is over. The show is gone from the collective conscious. And with it, millions of dollars down the drain.

– Having reached a ceiling of about 200 mil worldwide subscribers, Netflix will have to enter the streaming gaming market (like Google’s Stadia). A possible collaboration with Nvidia can bring them the tech required. Netflix said a couple of years ago that youngsters (8-22 yo) don’t watch TV anymore, they play games instead. That’s their main entertainment. So that’s the natural next step for Netflix: game streaming, in addition to film content.

Streaming Wars

– By 2024, we will have the first casualties in the streaming wars. My guess, these will be Peacock, and Paramount+. Apple might, or might not continue with AppleTV+, not for the lack of money, but maybe they just wouldn’t want to compete in that crowded sector anymore (as they’ve decided the same thing for many other of their products in the past too). Hulu might fold-in into the adult section of Disney+, as it already has in the international version of D+ (named “Star”). Discovery+ is a future mystery (so far they’re not doing great).

– HBOMax will continue to be middle of the pack and will probably survive. The market has space for 5 paying streaming services, no more than that.

– AVOD (streaming service that is free with ads) will become much bigger than it is now. It is possible that a lot of currently paying streaming services will turn to that instead of going bankrupt or sell out.

– Sony was the smartest of all the 6 major Hollywood studios. It’s the only one without a streaming service. They waited for the dust to settle in, and then they put their content into limited-window licensing auction. Now, they’re gaining billions on the back of Netflix, and as it was announced today, Disney.

– Amazon’s recent announcement that the first season of Lord of the Rings TV show will cost them $465 million, won’t bring them money in. That amount is astronomical for a service where subscribers don’t grow fast, and either the production studio WETA overcharged them, or Amazon really doesn’t care, and they just want to show off.

– Jason Blum, of the popular Blumhouse Productions, is a known genius of making blockbuster horror movies out of very, very low budgets. He makes the films for $2-$3 million, and sells them to big studios for distribution (he usually gets a 10x-30x return, which is unheard of in Hollywood). Well, in 2017, that guy went and knocked the doors of all big studios and told them he can make quality streaming content for $400k per episode (which is dirt cheap). The reply he got: “we don’t care about saving money”. Studios are currently in battle mode, and they don’t care how much they spend, as long as their foot stays in the race. Which will be fatal for some of them by 2024.

– Disney+ will be the only service that has a chance to touch 500 million subscribers worldwide. Then, it too will reach a ceiling. The golden era of streaming will be in the years of 2020-2030.

How Twilight should have been done

I’m not a Twilight hater. I love the first movie/book, but I dislike how the story progressed. It became unnecessarily convoluted.

The story needed to be only 3 films/books long and had a more traditional story structure with real stakes, and not that laughable things that happened at the end with weddings, and children that reach maturity at the age of 7. I mean, come on.

Instead, the end of the first film/movie should have been Edward and Cullens leaving Bella in order to protect her, seeing Victoria telling the Volturi, and Bella going to the prom by herself all alone (or with Jacob after her dad arranges that with the school). No Arizona trip either, the James attack could just as easily happen at Forks.

On the second film we see her relationship with the werewolves, and their fight against the Volturi sent force of 4-5 vampires, with Edward coming back after he’s hearing about it. On the third film, there is the final battle against the Volturi with the help of the werewolves, Jacob DIES in the battle, and Bella has to be turned to survive. She lives happily ever after with Edward, but with the occasional sad thought about Jacob. The end.

Instead, we got a super convoluted story about imprints, weddings, children, abortion politics, and other such stupid off topic themes that are not central to the love triangle of Jacob-Bella-Edward.

An even more more interesting approach would be to give us 6 books overall, 6 months apart. 1 from the PoV of Bella, and one from Edward (as she did with the recent Midnight Sun book), but for all 3 books. Then, the films would be filmed as such too: one film release in May during blockbuster season, and the Edward version for Christmas release. The films would be shot together and then split during editing. Especially for the second film, it would be very interesting to see Edward’s story away from Forks, where 75% of the story would be different than that of the Bella 2nd film/book! This would have been a great innovation IMHO and provide a richer universe building.

Later on, she could release 1 book, encompassing the whole story, from the point of view of Jacob. Maybe a film too, if it was deemed a good idea.

I think that would be the best way to do this series.

To appease the boys and the haters, the vampires could have fangs when they would drink blood only (they would retract otherwise), and when in the sun, we should be seeing their corpse or demonic face, not sparkling diamonds. Having Bella seeing Edward like this, it would have a real conflict to actually making a decision that she STILL likes him, rather than having a teenage love situation kind of falling onto her without being able to fight it off. If Edward looked like a corpse or a demon under the sun, there would be some decision time for her, raising the stakes in the series, and making the Jacob option more likable and realistic.

I have no trouble with Edward stalking her btw. If we take his PoV, where he’s being alone for a century, then stalking someone he suddenly falls in love with, is only natural (creepy, but natural behavior).

In conclusion, great first film/book 9/10. It went downhill from there on. It could have been a bigger classic than it is in both literature and film mediums. And they should have never fired the first woman director, because she really captured Bella’s romance perfectly. Both the books and the subsequent male directors made a mess out of it.

Wide gamut video colors

I was always jealous about how cinema cameras and film was able to render an image. High dynamic range, amazing color separation. But no matter what I tried with 8bit dSLRs, it was not possible to reproduce that look. When the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k came out, I thought that it would look like that, since it could shoot in RAW 12bit. Unfortunately, the look that was coming out of it was anemic, and it had a weird yellow cast. Finally, a year after purchasing the camera, and days after thinking of selling it, I found a workflow that transforms its problematic color science to Linear, and then transforming it again to ARRI LogC. Suddenly, all the color magic unwided and became available. Watch in 4k if you can, on a TV.

Anamorphic look

Getting back to my video hobby, and bought a bunch of vintage modded lenses to have cine-gears, declicked apertures, and most importantly, an anamorphic aperture, to make them look like Hollywood movies. Subscribe to my Youtube channel if you’re interested in my upcoming tests with these lenses.


Aliens. Even the NYTimes wrote about the Pentagon research on the UFOs. Since then, the MIT, military news sites, and other respectable news outlets reported about it. There are so many theories abound as to who “they” are:

  • People from other planets
  • Us, from the future
  • Our ancestors
  • AI, self-replicating drones
  • Interdimensional beings
  • Angels
  • Demons

What’s the correct answer?

It’s my opinion that it’s ALL of the above, depending on your point of view. Just like the Indian proverb with the elephant, where everyone sees part of the picture, but not the whole picture.

These are beings beyond our spacetime that are ultra-connected AI-like and more ethereal than us, physical beings. What do they want with us? Well, they are us and we are them. They’re our tech support. We “incarnate” as humans in this simulation-like reality, to gain individual experience while severely limited in our perception (for maximum effect), that after “death” we share with our collective. We all evolve that way. We go “down” to physicality, so we can evolve “up”. The name of the game is always evolution. Existence is all about novel experiences, if we stop having them, we stagnate, and the universe naturally gets rid of us. So, constant evolution via all means necessary is a must, and that also means incarnating into supposedly “lower”, meat bodies. So we are not alone. The angels (or demons) of the past, saints, miracles, our spirit guides, aliens, fairies, goblins, Sasquatch etc etc, it’s nothing but THEM in disguise, our tech support, making sure that we stay on a certain life path & plan.

As for the reported genetic experiments and hybrids via alien abductions, these are occasionally necessary to upgrade the human species, when it has reached a point where intellectual and technological activity requires more broad understanding of the repercussions. It’s an upgrade. Go with it and stop whining about anal probes. It must be done, you’re doing a service, and you’ve agreed to it before coming to this life anyway.

After 30 years of research on the subject (after seeing a UFO in the early ’90s, or ’89 — can’t remember exactly when it was), I went through many stages to my understanding of it all. I started with the “nuts & bolts” theory, which is that these are “people from another planet”, a theory that over the past 70 years after the Roswell crash has gone nowhere. I only started connecting the dots around 2014 between the so-called paranormal (no such thing btw, it’s just our limited understanding of physics), religious visions, and psychedelic reports, and their extreme similarities to the UFO cases. It sparked a different level of understanding of the phenomenon in me. I concluded that it’s ONE AND THE SAME phenomenon. Wherever it originates from, it comes from the same place. And we’re connected to it, in a symbiotic manner.

After I realized all that, there was no mystique about it anymore. It was a much more pedestrian (==natural) phenomenon than I thought it was all the years prior. So, nothing to see there, move along. Live your life. You came to life for a reason, probably not to hunt lights in the sky, or to whine on forums about your scary abduction. You can’t stop them anyway. So let them do their job, and do yours. Simple.


It’s possible that for the next 3-4 years I might do illustration. I started on February, and so far I have averaged more than 1 painting per day (using gouache and watercolor). I get bored of things easily though, which is why I always changed my profession every 5 years or so. I’m just bored to death in general from life on this planet.

The state of instant film cameras

I invested quite some money on instant film cameras in the last few months, trying to get the right vintage look for an art project of mine. After buying a few of these cameras, and testing them, I could never get the pictures I needed, because they are not as full featured as a 35mm film camera, for example, which allows different lenses, or filters etc. Here are the negatives I found on some of these models. I won’t list their positives, because anyone can read a feature-list on their respective web site, this is only about what I found annoying in them.


– No manual shutter speed.

– Shutter is not faster than 1/500th (overexposes at f/5.6, even with the strongest ND filter that Mint provides separately. It also overexposes at maximum f/22 if no ND is used).

– Proprietary filter thread, so you can’t add fun filters or more ND.

– F/22 aperture has massive vignetting.

– No flash sync.

– Can’t use the sun hood while using the filters.

– Instax Mini is tiny.

PROs: Good all around camera for artsy pics with nice bg blur. Lovely, large screen.


– Fixed lens, with no possibility of wide, or tele. For that price, I would have liked some choice, or at least add-on lenses.

– Shutter is not faster than 1/500th (overexposes by 1 stop at f/5.6 under sunlight, even with the ND8 filter that Mint provides separately).

– Proprietary filter thread limits the use of other filters or add on lenses. This is really, really annoying, because it’s what really limits this camera from expandability. If they had gone with a standard filter thread, this camera would actually be useful for most photography cases.

PROs: Full manual controls, flash sync, wide format.


– No support for the Mint Flash while using the Time Machine. It’s one or the other.

– Proprietary filter thread limits the use of fun filters.

– No flash sync (more expensive -X model supports it though).

– No frog tongue is installed by default (Polaroid Originals film requires it, or it will come out washed out).

– Camera was modified to have fixed aperture at f/8 (not great for macro or for most landscapes, but great for portraits).

– No internal meter (requires phone app, or professional light meter).

PROs: Fastest shutter speed than anyone else, ensuring it won’t overexpose. SLR finder, easiest to compose. Focusing guide.

Lomo’Instant Wide:

– No aperture or shutter control (it almost never gives you a good bg blur, despite its rather big aperture at f/8).

– Slow leaf shutter makes the camera overexpose by 2 stops in sunlight, while it only provides a -1 compensation.

– Provided wide lens flares a lot. And I mean, a lot.

– Add-on lenses don’t have a filter thread.

– Focusing with it is (almost) a joke.

PROs: Add-on lenses, double exposure and compensation, wide format.

Polaroid OneStep+:

– Proprietary filter thread (which doesn’t even provide you the right color filters to compensate for tungsten lights).

– Manual controls, light painting, and double exposure available only via phone app, so it requires a tripod to operate it (or an assistant).

– Shutter too slow at 1/125th max.

– Aperture just f/12.

– Weak flash. No flash sync.

– Focusing with it is a joke.

– Firmware bugs! I need to press 3-5 times for the shutter to activate (I’ve been hearing about this bug by others too).

PROs: Great battery life, manual controls when possible.

Fuji Instax Mini 90 NeoClassic:

– No aperture or shutter control.

– Slow leaf shutter (1/400th) makes the camera overexpose in sunlight often.

– Focusing with it is a joke (deep field of view every time).
– No filter thread.

– Instax Mini is tiny. Fuji doesn’t have an equally powerful camera for their square or wide formats.

PROs: Double exposure, exposure compensation.

Fuji SQ6 Square & Wide 300:

– They’re toys.

My opinion is this: If you’re shooting portraits, or objects within 2-3 meters, or landscapes (except for the SLR670), then these cameras are good. If you want to shoot precise macro, or have a very precise framing of far away objects that require a zoom (e.g. architecture geometry, city photography where you have to be far away-enough to not spook people), then you should shoot digitally and then buy an Instax or a Polaroid Lab printer to give these pictures the film/vintage treatment.

What each manufacturer needs to do to get one step ahead:

– Mint: Stop making proprietary filter threads. They ruin everything.

– Lomography: Decide if you want to be serious, or a toy. You can’t have it both ways in the instant world, as you can in the 35mm film world. The choices here are so few, that you could be a serious player.

– Polaroid: Be less toy-like with your more expensive model.

– Fuji: Stop making, essentially, just toys.

Psychedelic trips with just weed

For some people, weed can be a mild psychedelic. But for most, it’s not. I did some research to find out what can turn marijuana into a psychedelic, since it’s now legal in Canada and in some of the States. Here’s what I found:

1. Only smoke once a month (or less), as high tolerance kills the psychedelic ability. If after a few months you find that you’re losing the ability to get into the psychedelic mode, then don’t smoke for several more months, until THC is completely out of your system. This is key. You’ll have to decide if you’re doing weed for casual fun, pain management, or for spiritual purposes.

2. Turn off the lights to help intensify your visuals.

3. Get really high using specifically the Blue Dream strain. Use a product that contains high THC levels. Basically, any “haze” strain can get you there, but Blue Dream seems to be the most reliable.

4. Close your eyes, and relax or meditate. If you’re already a seasoned meditator it will help you remember your trip afterwards easier. So regardless, pick up meditation as your daily practice.

5. You will soon enter a dream-like state. When your eyes are closed, you’d be in such a mode, but because you’re not actually sleeping, if you open your eyes, you would completely jump out of that mode into a “normal” weed high. You can easily re-enter the dream state if you close your eyes again and relax. During that mode, you should be able to see patterns and more. For example, some people have reported carnivals and jesters, just as seen on DMT, but the user is not completely immersed into that world as they would be with DMT. They’re more like distant spectators, like in dreams, rather than having their soul jumping out of their body and flying in warp speed.

Happy travels!

Dynamic Range test in Canon picture profiles

I put up a video showing the dynamic range achieved with various third party Canon EOS picture profiles in video mode.

Shooting a movie? You only need TWO lenses

In a previous article I mentioned that the best cheap cinema camera you can get today is the Canon EOS M, that can be found for $150 on eBay. In that same article, I listed the hardware you’d need to pull off a believable spectacle. The lens I suggested was the 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8 ($70). You can shoot a whole movie with that lens. But sometimes, you just need something wider. That’s where the Opteka 12mm f/2.8 comes into play ($199).

I own five cinema-worthy cameras, but the ones that are most in my heart because of their ratio of features vs price, are the EOS M, and the BMPCC. The M has a more manageable codec at 45mbps, some basic autofocus, and support for picture profiles to expand its rather limited dynamic range (I’d suggest either Miller’s CLog3 ($25), Technicolor Cinestyle (free), or if you don’t like color grading much, the VisionColor CineTech ($20)).

The BMPCC on the other hand, while more of a pain to operate, particularly because of its poor battery life, it delivers the most pleasing film-like image, since it has a lot of dynamic range. I’d suggest you shoot at ProRES LT with it (84mbps), since RAW takes too much space, and its other ProRES variants don’t have much difference between them. The first feature-length (and serious) movie shot with the BMPCC, the sci-fi drama “Cosmos”, was shot just in ProRES LT and it looks amazing.

Now, regarding the lenses. You’d need one long/portrait, and one wide lens. Whole movies have been shot with just such a two-tier selection. The 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8 and the Opteka 12mm f/2.8 lenses can fit that bill nicely. If you do have an extra $150, go for the 12mm f/2.0 Rokinon “cine” lens instead of the Opteka, however, it’s not necessary. I suggest the Opteka 12mm f/2.8 ($199) instead of the very similar 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 ($188), because of a slightly better design, and because of a smaller filter thread on the front of the lens — which is important for the reason that I’ll mention below.

Now, one thing you have to consider when choosing lenses is the crop factor. The EOS M is an APS-C sensor, which has a crop factor of 1.6 compared to full frame 35mm. It’s basically a smaller sensor than 35mm. The BMPCC is tiny, being a super16mm sensor, having a crop factor of 2.88. What this means is when we speak of a 12mm lens, and we may think that nobody needs such a crazy wide lens, you’ll have to take into account the crop factor. So on the EOS M, the 12mm becomes a 19mm in 35mm full frame equivalency (12 x 1.6 = 19). As for the BMPPC, the 12mm lens becomes nearly 35mm! Not so wide now, is it? You can barely see the head of your actor from a close distance!

7Artisans 25mm -> 40mm (35mm equivalent)
Opteka 12mm -> 19mm (35mm equivalent)

7Artisans 25mm -> 72mm (35mm equivalent)
Opteka 12mm -> 35mm (35mm equivalent)

For the EOS M, these two lenses would be all you need. They’re wide enough to do the job. For the BMPCC though, you’ll need extra help. You can buy a “Speedbooster” accessory, that widens the field of view of your lens, but at $750, it’s a ridiculous purchase. Instead, a cheap $50 wide angle adapter (0.43x, with a 67mm thread) will help you fix the problem. These cheap wide angle adapters are quite fuzzy on the edges (low quality optics), however, since the BMPCC can’t see the edges of the lens (because of its massive crop factor), the quality that comes out of them is acceptable. In fact, the guys who shot ‘Cosmos’ also used such a cheap wide angle adapter without visual problems.

You will also need a 46mm to 67mm step up ring (to mount it to the 25mm lens), a 67mm to 72mm step up ring to mount it to the Opteka, and you will need to have a 72mm variable ND filter and an IR CUT filter when shooting outdoors (to mount it in front of the lens or the adapter when needed). You will also need a 46mm to 72mm step-up ring, in order to mount these filters in front of the bare 25mm lens.

Basically, with the wide angle adapter, it’s “like” you have four lenses instead of two, depending on the shot you need:

7Artisans 25mm -> 72mm (35mm equivalent, bare lens)
7Artisans 25mm -> 60mm (35mm equivalent with wide angle adapter)

Opteka 12mm -> 35mm (35mm equivalent, bare lens)
Opteka 12mm -> 29mm (35mm equivalent with wide angle adapter)

To put it in perspective, the guys who shot Cosmos, after using both a speedbooster, and a wide angle adapter, their widest lens they used (28mm) was only about 40mm in 35mm equivalency. If they can do a whole movie with a 40mm lens, why can’t we do the same with more readily available and more flexible options? Let’s get to work!