Next November marks the 120th anniversary of film, an illustrious art form that has produced over 1.7 million pieces and thanks to the invention of the home camcorder and more recently – “everyone has a video camera on their phone” – new titles are added to the list daily.
Here are a few advancements tech has had upon the industry:
#1: Special Effects
The first “special effect” was actually an accident. As the story goes, a photographer was photographing a lady walking with her baby carriage when suddenly his camera jammed, causing a short fit of rage followed by a little tinkering until he fixed it. When he started rolling again, a children’s school bus was passing; thus causing the small buggy to seem as if it had magically turned into a school bus. Since then, the possibilities of fooling the audience with camera tricks have become nearly limitless.
Technology has definitely widened this arena, adding CGI (computer graphic imagery) to the mix, green screens (putting actors in fictitious backgrounds), and many other “enhancements.”
Pro: thanks to CGI – in 50 years – this writer will still be able to write a movie where Harrison Ford plays the protagonist.
Con: it won’t really be Harrison Ford.
Thanks to modern tech, film previews are more readily available not only via television networks but as YouTube video pre-rolls, side-ads on websites, verified fan accounts on Twitter and Facebook, and as viral teaser trailers across the web.
Though online piracy is a crime, experts argue that ticket sales can sometimes increase due to the popularity of a pirated film.
Pro: Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan, stated that illegal viewers of his show gained him TV ratings in the long run and was a positive impact for the show taking over in later seasons.
Con: Though rumored that it would help ticket sales, pirated films such as this year’s Expendables 3 show a 19% average decline in sales as opposed to non-pirated films. Over 1.9 million people illegally downloaded the film after it was leaked. One would think some of those would want to still see it in IMAX 3D.
#3: How We See It
The many advances in tech have not only brought the 3D phenomenon back, but it’s better than ever. Innovations have led to stunning IMAX photographed and adapted films so audiences feel “they are there” when watching the latest X-Men installment or action flick.
Pro: It’s cool and a lot of fun to feel like a train is headed out of the screen to crush you (when it’s really not).
Con: Aristotle ranked “spectacle” as the very last in importance in his Poetics as having to do with how a play is produced, plot being first and foremost. Sadly, one would wish every producer and director would re-read this as it seems many times this is tragically reversed.
Back in the day, if you didn’t watch the film in the theater, you would just never ever see it unless you were fantastically rich and had a home projector. A decade ago, you could spend a small fortune at Blockbuster to watch the latest and greatest “for one night only.”
Today, thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and other syndicated services, binge-watching your favorite films and shows legally has never been cheaper and easier.
Pro: This writer has watched every season of 24 in a very short time (he will not admit exactly how short in order to save face).
Con: He did very little else during that time.
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A former Internet Marketing Manager, Joe Cunningham is a dad, a screenwriter, playwright and all-around adventurer. He blogs for Kinani Blue and charms Google at Terakeet. You can follow him on Twitter at @IndianaJoe77 or at [email protected].