Movie theaters to use emotion-detecting anti-piracy cameras

By on November 3, 2010, 4:25 PM
We often see reports of invasive security measures at airports, but TorrentFreak warns that movie theaters are increasingly guilty of trampling your privacy. Theaters already use metal detectors, night-vision goggles, as well as bag and body searches to catch camcording pirates with limited success, but most box office flicks still wind up on torrent sites in cam-form. That being the case, the movie industry is endlessly pursuing new ways to stop people from capturing films in-theater, and it may have found a solution: emotion-detecting cameras.

According to TorrentFreak, video surveillance firm Aralia Systems recently received a grant worth more than 215,000 from the Machine Vision Lab of the University of the West of England to build elaborate piracy tracking equipment. Aralia already offers a basic solution that uses infrared light beams to detect camcorders and notify theater employees, but the goal is to implement analytics software that can read people's physical reactions and emotions.


"We want to devise instruments that will be capable of collecting data that can be used by cinemas to monitor audience reactions to films and adverts and also to gather data about attention and audience movement," said Dr. Abdul Farooq of the Machine Vision Lab. "We will use 2D cameras to detect emotion but will also collect movement data through a 3D data measurement that will capture the audience as a whole texture," Dr. Farooq explained to TorrentFreak.

By analyzing the crowd's emotion, Dr. Farooq says the system will not only be able to detect camcording pirates, but it will gather valuable marketing information for the movie industry and advertisers. "Film companies and cinema advertising agencies can learn so much from their audiences that will help to inform creativity and strategy," he continued. Now, the question remains: will theaters require consent from viewers, and would you be comfortable even if they did?




User Comments: 67

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Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

this is bad for privacy, for now someone will eventually know (with proof) that you weren't at work / school or sick & were at a local theater :P

yet i appreciate all effort in decreasing piracy.

cheers!

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I go to a movie to watch, not be watched. Don't they gather enough information about what viewers like based on box office returns and later dvd/bluray sales?

I think the theater in my town is too small to draw this kind of technology, but if I lived in a big city and the one nearest me used this, and one a few minutes further away didn't, I think I'd go to the one that didn't just out of principle.

hello ...

this is bad for privacy, for now someone will eventually know (with proof) that you weren't at work / school or sick & were at a local theater :P

yet i appreciate all effort in decreasing piracy.

cheers!

The cameras detecting emotion aren't using emotion to fight piracy. If its even the same camera... The piracy ones use infrared to detect cameras. They could easily use that and leave out the emotion detection.

The headline and first paragraph (all you see if you view news from the forums) are a bit misleading as to what is said in the rest of the article.

frenzoff said:

personally i see this failing and rather than wasting money into a system which in my opinoin wont work, actually put the money towards enfourcing current anti piracy methods

mikeusru said:

I'm getting more and more used to the fact that i am monitored everywhere I go, but for some reason, this is extra creepy even to me. And emotion detection for piracy? really? This seems like a lot of money to spend for a system that be circumvented by... actually watching the movie while you're recording it. Oh, and I can already see the false positives...

"Sir, our cameras show that you did not cry when jack the puppy died. Care to explain yourself?"

"...what?"

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm fine with them using it for marketing purposes as long as they notify me ahead of time and pay me to watch the movie. If I'm being used for their financial gain, I'd like a piece of the pie dammit!

mikeusru said:

oo good call, pay me.

gnarph said:

This seems more frightening simply as the movies are watching you. I would think that the pirates are a secondary benefit and the theaters just want to know what you're thinking/feeling.

I prefer to be the one doing the watching at movies.

Guest said:

sounds like a multimuliion dallar waste of time. a bunch of bullshit. I never download the prated cam versions anyway. Only the dvd screeners, which are all over the internet. Even after they watermarked them digitally to prevent piracy. You can see that worked well ;-)

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

This seems like a lot of money to spend for a system that be circumvented by... actually watching the movie while you're recording it. Oh, and I can already see the false positives...

The cameras don't watch your emotions to tell if you are recording it. Like I said earlier, if you only read the headline and first paragraph it makes it sound like that, but that isn't the case.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Lemme guess...they're going to use the Kinect for this. :p

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Now if they could only do something with the people texting during movies I'd get excited.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

jmmd said:

I'm fine with them using it for marketing purposes as long as they notify me ahead of time and pay me to watch the movie. If I'm being used for their financial gain, I'd like a piece of the pie dammit!

More like we get free movie viewings since they want to study our reactions .

But seriously I have no interest in my emotional reactions being used as a "marketing tool" for some advertising & film industry. And trying to throw in the piracy argument to justify this is pretty ridiculous, especially when they already have tools to combat it. On top of the fact that cam recordings are usually of poorer quality and it's the leaked movies & screenings that are popular. Oh well, guess I'll be saving money if this comes to a theater near me .

KG363 KG363 said:

people actually watch cam movies? I tried once but the quality put me off. I'd rather pay

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All this security isn't free. It's going to be yet another reason for them to hike the price of my movie ticket. And that's just one more sale that they'll lose.

I do understand anti-piracy, but I don't understand why they treat everybody as a pirate. I'm not a criminal and I don't enjoy being treated as one. Why can't they use some other tracking method such as a code in the film to track where the bootleg copy came from?

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

i for one have never watched a cam movie off of a torrent site lets see a low quality piece of crap that is probably to dark to see anything versus waiting till the dvd comes out ill pick the DVD thank you very much. Im not to hyped about the movie industry recording me while im in the movie that just seems like privacy invasion. This is the wrong way to go to beat piracy seems like it wont do much in the way of deterring pirates.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"Emotion-detecting anti-piracy cameras", huh?

Neat O, they should combine this with a methane sniffer, so we'd actually know who it really was that just farted.

Oh, oh, my mood ring just turned brown, what does that mean"?

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

captaincranky said:

"Emotion-detecting anti-piracy cameras", huh?

Neat O, they should combine this with a methane sniffer, so we'd actually know who it really was that just farted.

Oh, oh, my mood ring just turned brown, what does that mean"?

Mine went gray in the early 90's..and never went back on.

treeski treeski said:

Wow I am so not okay with having my emotions and movements analyzed while watching a movie. I seriously hope this kind of technology does not enter the US markets and... theaters.

aj_the_kidd said:

SNGX1275 said:

I go to a movie to watch, not be watched.

Agreed. Its kinda creepy thinking someone will be watching you whilst you watch a movie not to mention they will also be detecting how i feel at the time.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why do people get so offended when some body tells them they are being analyzed by cameras? I really don't get it, if this does stop piracy in theaters good. Watch me watch your stupid movie, see what I care, literally, I spend a good 8 hours of my day being watched by security cameras where I work, don't care. Its even funny to watch sometimes. Creepy Schmeepy (<- Good Word) get use to it, its only getting more and more common. Think about it, do you have anything to hide?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Why do people get so offended when some body tells them they are being analyzed by cameras? I really don't get it, if this does stop piracy in theaters good. Watch me watch your stupid movie, see what I care, literally, I spend a good 8 hours of my day being watched by security cameras where I work, don't care. Its even funny to watch sometimes. Creepy Schmeepy (<- Good Word) get use to it, its only getting more and more common. Think about it, do you have anything to hide?
In this case, it's not the invasion of privacy, as much as the fact that you're essentially working for nothing. If you want me in your focus group, at least treat me to a free ticket.

ViNCiLiCiouS said:

like everyone else, i think this is ridiculously hilarious.

huge waste of time and money. the quality of the data returned about the audience should be nonconclusive and difficult to decipher. infrared scannings of facial expressions for an audience of multiple dozens? are you guys kidding me...

also the whole cam aversion thing is foolish. CAM quality is horrible, and any movie worth seeing would be seen in theaters and not on CAM. if youre somewhere with internet and a computer, it shouldnt be too difficult to find a theater (unless youre tethered to your phone... oh boy lets not even get there).

in reality the blu-ray rips are a much greater threat. they bite deeply in home media sales. rips have much more flexibility and functionality. custom shaders / subtitle styles / detailed speaker setup, etc.etc.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

also the whole cam aversion thing is foolish. CAM quality is horrible, and any movie worth seeing would be seen in theaters and not on CAM. if youre somewhere with internet and a computer, it shouldnt be too difficult to find a theater (unless youre tethered to your phone... oh boy lets not even get there)

Believe it or not, there are people that buy cam movie rips on the basis that they're illegal. The matter of having something before you're entitled to it, seems to be it's own reason and end. Quality doesn't enter into this dynamic. It could be total crap, but as long as it's illegal, and you're the first kid on your block to have it, it's golden.

Me, I wait for the real DVD, (and then some).

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Think about it, do you have anything to hide?

Ad,

I hope you don't have that attitude when it comes to the government, say the police walking into your house to 'have a look around'.

...and yes...I have quite a lot to hide :p

blimp01 said:

thats creepy having a camera on you while you watch a movie lol

IAMTHESTIG said:

Wow... what a waste of time and money. Seriously... all these ****-blocks in the MPAA are a bunch of greedy dishonest no good chumps if you ask me. Look I understand and respect getting paid for the film some creators made being distributed through you, and trying to prevent those from distributing it for free without your consent. But this is going too far... you want people to stop pirating movies? Lower the pricing of your distribution rights and stop being so damn greedy. A much lower and reasonable cost of movies in physical media, online streaming, or movie theaters will have a considerably better effect on deterring would-be piraters. On top of this, embrace low cost distribution schemes for online streaming for Netflix and the like. This WILL work if you get the costs down to see and buy movies. Why? Because the two primary reasons people pirate a movie is because 1. it is free, and 2. it is easy. If you make the costs reasonable so people feel a movie is worth their money, and you make it easy for them to obtain the movie, they will be a LOT less likely to want to get a pirated copy of the movie.

It's really simple... get it through your thick heads. You can't rip people off forever, it is just as morally wrong as pirating a movie.

/rant

UT66 said:

im ok with this as long as the movie is free... wait a minute

Jetatt23 said:

This technology seems to assume that pirates who are recording movies won't show emotion during the movie. Does this mean that somebody who isn't into the movie will set off the detector and get questioned about his/her motives? This doesn't seem right to me, even though I don't really mind my internet privacy.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They are taking it waaay too far, not liking the idea at all!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well, there is the messy business of being filmed playing, "how many fingers am I holding up", with your girlfriend. Bet her parents can't wait until that hits Youtube.....

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I can see them using this in a free preview, its really no different (albeit creepy) then you filling out the survey, and the crew/stuido members in the audience that are watching the audience for reactions. Its no different than a director looking to see who laughs at what parts, just a bit more scientific.

But outside of free previews I would never agree to pay money while being monitored for my reactions. If I'm paying you, you're not getting any extra information out of me for free.

ruzveh said:

My take on this is if u have purchasing power then lets not pirate. But there are many public who wants to watch and get some entertain and at the same time they dont hav deep pockets to spend so what about those ppl. Who will think abt them if not the film industry? This is where these general public support piracy. And there will be continued demand for the same until or unless these costs doesnt come down significantly. Not everyone is born millionaire.

IkarugaShiver said:

kg363 said:

people actually watch cam movies? I tried once but the quality put me off. I'd rather pay

^This. Seriously, I will always wait for the movie to come out on DVD *cough* rather than deal with the dreadful AV quality inherent to camcorders -___-

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is a joke right? Is it April again already?

arod916 said:

Im gunna be pissed when they try to sell the video of me and my girl making out in the back lol!

EDO219 said:

Imagine this technology being used to prevent the piracy of a remake of George Owell's 1984.

xD

maestromasada said:

this is the most stupid idea I have ever heard, like we all agree. What happens if you are watching a film about people who illegally record video on cimenas, what the emotions will be recorded by the cameras?? aha,aha major flaw!

anyway, most of the piracy films are liked long before they reach the big audience and being broadcast in cinemas

lyladeeasperin said:

Hahaha. this is no good for teens who do romance in the theater!

On the other hand, it is actually a brilliant idea. It is just like the scanner in International airports. I really don't care if they can see the you know for as long as it is for the security of our country!

lyladeeasperin said:

Hmmm. For me, it's a pro to prevent piracy.

sMILEY4ever said:

blimp01 said:

thats creepy having a camera on you while you watch a movie lol

It's weird and creepy.

dlen said:

This is insane. What's next? Stripping down people before entering the cinema? They don't want to record the movie but they record and process people's faces. I don't want to be regestered in database that I visited cinema on e.g. Thursday afternoon an my emotions were not so good.

aalsheh said:

so, this'll work in places like the US or Europe but what about pirate heavy places? I really don't see it as something against piracy, rather something against our privacy... they better say that this movie theater uses this technology before we get in, and I can guarantee no one will get in

Guest said:

I wonder what makes more ppl not go to the cinema, ability to watch cam recordings or being recorded while there

edison5do said:

Well, I feel that maybe we should nos go to your homr bath cause maybe google or movie industry are watching you....

Brockxz said:

Now, the question remains: will theaters require consent from viewers, and would you be comfortable even if they did?

Actually all they need to do is to post a warning that there are cameras monitoring you and that's it. The Warning sign must be somewhere before you buy the ticket. So basically if you buy the ticket to the movie you give permission to be recorded while you watch the movie.

sambob said:

Seriously... the last time I was In a theater was In 1987 to see Predator, I've been renting movies In one form or another ever since then.

Now with this big 3D craze I'll be renting fewer movies, C'mon It's been 50 years and where STILL wearing stupid glasses.

Uvindu said:

They will go on forever trying to find ways to prevent piracy but the bottom line is, where there's a will, there's a way. In the same way anti-pirates try and prevent piracy, pirates will still find a way to overcome that obstacle until something new happens. They will be disabled for a while but then they will overcome that new obstacle and continue piracy. Everything in life is a cycle, think about it...

AbsolutGaloot said:

further invasion of privacy in the name of "preventing piracy". just wonderful. The worst part is, the majority of people won't know or won't care that it happens.

Neojt said:

this is kinda odd

Wouldent a lithium detector be more simple !

and not because someone is filming the movie dosent mean hes not enjoying it !!

gobbybobby said:

I don't like this, There gonna watch me watch a film and study me to see what I do and then chuck adverts in my face. No thanks! Is it not obvious if someone is recording the film with a great big camara. I myself have watched a few pirate films that where shot in the theater, they are annoying as you often see people getting up and the sound/picture is crappy. Its better just to go to the theater.

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