Our friends at the British Board of Film Classification are sharing some background on the latest episode of the the BBFC Podcast, including a look into how films are moving to the at-home streaming experience during the lockdown, and how their team is producing the show remotely.
Life has changed completely since restrictions were brought in to combat coronavirus, but lockdown has not only changed the way we work, it has also changed the way we watch content. It is more important than ever that we have ways to feel connected, and film can be a great shared experience. As families are spending more time online during these strange times, the BBFC are there to help them choose content well and feel confident before they settle in together for a good old fashioned movie night.
The film industry has had a quick response to the situation and many are releasing films straight onto streaming services, bypassing a traditional theatrical release. You can now experience new releases that you would usually watch in cinemas in your own homes during lockdown.
The latest episode of the BBFC Podcast takes listeners through some of these releases, and explains how they were classified. Trolls World Tour was the first major film release to go straight to streaming services since the coronavirus outbreak forced cinemas to close, and it’s one we discuss in depth. It’s also a great film to watch as a family, as it explores values such as diversity, friendship and working together. It’s an ideal film to kick off the podcast.
The other films spotlighted, Bloodshot and The Invisible Man, both had initial cinema runs that were cut short, but streaming services have offered them the chance to still reach audiences despite the pandemic. Streaming services are clearly still on the rise, now more than ever, and moves like these have set precedents for other film distributors to follow suit, with more and more content heading straight to services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.
In the episode, you can hear directly from Compliance Officers, who age rate all of your favourite films, as they share everything families would need to know about each film’s classification, content and age rating before settling in for a movie night. They also offer some well-needed tips on how to recreate the cinema experience at home, from the best snacks to dimming down the lights and turning off phones.
We also touch upon our recent research into classifying domestic abuse, which was published earlier this year after working with Women’s Aid and Respect. The Invisible Man was one of the first films to use domestic abuse – rather than domestic violence – in its rating info, offering consistency in highlighting all instances of domestic abuse in films to support victims.
But this episode also marks the first time in seven years that the podcast has been recorded remotely. We’re used to the comfort of professional equipment, and our very own mini-studio. After a few tests, trials and errors, we settled on Zoom, as we felt it gave us a good way to ensure a smooth conversation. If other podcasters are thinking about ways to carry on remotely, then we’d suggest to have the camera turned on while recording – we found that being able to see each other, albeit on our laptop screens, helped to keep the conversation flowing, and it recreated those all-important visual prompts that we’d usually get in our studio when face to face. We asked each guest to record their own audio using their mobile phones, and sent the files to be edited together using Ableton. This ensured everyone was clear and there was a limited difference in sound quality.
We’re planning to continue to record in this way during lockdown in order to bring families and film enthusiasts regular classification insights, debate and entertainment during lockdown. Right now we’re busy recording one in time for VE celebrations looking at war films over the years, and we’re also setting up a few special guests, so watch this space! But of course, like many others, we can’t wait until the day that cinemas reopen and we can catch a film on the big screen once again.
The BBFC Podcast is available on their website, Spotify, and Apple podcasts.