What is it?
Small Screen Machine is a new Video on Demand streaming service, brought to you by the team at Screen Machine mobile cinema. It enables you to enjoy more of the kinds of films we’d bring to you on the Screen Machine, without having to wait for a visit, and in the comfort of your own home.
Why are we launching it?
Small Screen Machine began life in March 2020, at the start of lockdown, as a way of recommending films that you could watch free of charge on TV. But the lockdown has also caused a revolution in the way that films are viewed. We know that many of our customers are not only enjoying films for free on terrestrial TV channels, but also on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. Now we have the technology and opportunity to launch our own Video on Demand platform, with films selected specifically for the Screen Machine audience, by the team that has been choosing films for you for more than 20 years.
What does it mean for the Screen Machine service?
This is a great opportunity for us to expand what we can offer our customers, so please don’t be concerned that Small Screen Machine will lead to any curtailment in the Screen Machine service. On the contrary, we see this is a way to be your friend in film, 52 weeks of the year, introducing you to more great films, and keeping in touch about the films you enjoy.
What’s the thinking behind it?
Some may say that Screen Machine is the greatest cinema on wheels, but we’ve always been aware of a few of the shortcomings of the service. We visit some locations for four days, others for only two. So some of you can choose from six or seven different films, others only three or four. Lots of films have only one screening per location – which is great if you’re quick enough to get your tickets booked, not so great if you miss our early notifications or if the date and time of our screenings don’t suit you. There are lots and lots of great films that we don’t bring to any locations – as we just don’t have space in the programme. We’ve never screened any films directed by Martin Scorsese or the Coen Brothers. You want Fast and Furious? Sorry. The latest Francois Ozon? Non.
Screen Machine visits many, many communities in the Highlands & Islands, but we’d like to find a way for you to enjoy a little bit of Screen Machine magic, whether you are in Gairloch or Glasgow, Durness or Dundee, Liniclate or London.
How do I get started?
Have a look through the films we have selected for you. Once you are ready to choose and watch a film, you’ll be asked to create an account. There’s no charge to create an account, and there’s no monthly subscription fee – you’ll pay only for the films you watch. When you have made your selection, you’ll be asked to pay by credit or debit card. The film will then be available to watch. There’s more detail in the sections below.
Do I need to set up an account?
You do not need an account to browse our selection, read the film information or watch a trailer. But if you want to hire a film you will need to set up an account.
What does having an account enable me to do?
An account enables you to pay to hire a film and watch it on your choice of device.
How much does an account cost?
There is no cost to set up an account. You will only be asked for payment when you have selected a film to watch.
How much do the films cost to rent?
Rental costs are between £3.49 and £10. Additionally, we will from time to time have special promotions, and ‘bundle’ films into discounted packages.
What do you do with my account information?
How old do I need to be to have an account?
You must be aged 18 or over.
What if I forget my password?
Click on Forgotten Your Password on the login page, enter the email address you used when you created an account, and a link to reset your password will be sent to you.
What is My List?
This is your personal reminder of films you are interested in. When browsing you can select Add to My List and the film will be saved here.
What is My Library?
Once you pay for content it is automatically added to your library. It will remain here until the end of the specified rental period.
How are the films selected?
Films are specially selected for Small Screen Machine by the team at Regional Screen Scotland. Our aim is to share with you the full range of films that we’d like to be able to show on the ‘big’ Screen Machine if we had no limits on time or space: blockbusters old and new; the best of world and independent cinema; films that all the family can enjoy; films that shaped cinema as we know it today.
Do you take requests?
The catalogue for Small Screen Machine is drawn from a very much larger library of films brought together by Shift72, the company which provides the technical ‘platform’ for this Video On Demand service. We’ll also be adding films ourselves that we think will be of particular interest to our customers, especially those which are made in Scotland. So we welcome suggestions for titles to add, but please bear in mind that any additions will be based on negotiations with film distributors, and not every film will be available.
How often are new films added, and old ones removed?
Once we’ve built up our core catalogue, we’ll aim to add at least three or four new titles each month and, once the service has been up and running for a few months, we’ll start to remove a similar number of titles each month.
Will every film shown on Screen Machine be shown on Small Screen Machine?
No. That will depend on whether separate arrangements can be made to add a title to Small Screen Machine. For some titles, especially smaller, independent films, we hope to be able to host the film on Small Screen Machine at the same time as it is on tour on the big Screen Machine. For more high profile titles we may have to wait until the film is released on DVD/Video on Demand. But, post-Covid, what is known as the ‘theatrical window’ is shrinking, and many more films are being made available to stream at the same time as they’re released in cinemas, or only a short time afterwards.
Will my payment support the Screen Machine service?
It certainly will! Every rental fee is split 3 ways: 10% to Shift72 as platform hosts; a percentage to the film’s distributor (the percentage will vary from film to film); and the balance comes to Regional Screen Scotland, which is the charity which owns and operates the Screen Machine.
Additionally, setting up and launching Small Screen Machine has not been of great expense to Regional Screen Scotland, and we would like to acknowledge the support of INDY Cinema Group in making it possible.
Is that Screen Machine in the wee teaser before I watch a film?
Yes. This is our ident, which plays before the start of every film. It’s a 10-second clip designed to put you in the Screen Machine viewing mood. It was created and edited by our own Shona Thomson, with the music by Laurie Cameron.