The introduction of digital photography, the rapid transformation in data storage which came along and the development of internet paved way for the digital filmmaking era. We are witnesses to this transition. Though the ‘Film Vs Digital’ is one debate that may continue for few more years (some veterans have criticized digital technology because of quality and other conversion issues) it is notable that film technicians from around the world have been adapting to the changes. It is true that the impact of digital technology has its pros and cons but the transformation cannot be ignored. New-age aspiring film makers are required to be geared up to the latest developments and should be aware of how the art of film making has gone through various stages in the past 100-150 years. Most of the experts are of the opinion that the current digital era is one of the major transformations the world of cinema has gone through till date.
Filmmaking – A Little Bit of History
The history of filmmaking has always revolved around the developments that have taken place in camera technology. The first motion picture of the world was produced during the 1880s and the first commercial public screening took place in the 1890s. It didn’t take much time for motion pictures to enter India. According to one source, the first film came to the country in 1896 when a couple of short movies were screened in Watson Hotel, Bombay (now Mumbai) for British audience. Soon there were few Indians who started working on producing footages using equipment that was imported. The first Indian film was screened in 1913. Ever since the first movie was made, Indians have been on the forefront when it comes to adapting to technology of filmmaking. Indian movie industry has left its mark in world cinema and the ‘new wave’ of 1960s is considered to be an important stage in the history of movies. Today the country produces large number of movies in multiple languages.
Digital Era of Filmmaking – What are the Major Changes?
Change in Production
Production is the stage of filmmaking where the movie is actually shot. In recent times there has been a steady rise in use of digital cameras (cameras that capture images in digital format rather than on films) in Hollywood and all other movie industries around the world. Though few big budget Hollywood movies of recent times were shot using film cameras, the industry currently is relying mostly on digital equipment for producing films. More than 90% of Hollywood films are shot using digital cameras today. The cost of production is low for movies produced using digital cameras. This is one of the major reasons why filmmakers from around the world are preferring digital over film cameras for making movies. Today, we have aspiring film makers who use equipment as simple as a mobiles and handy-cam to make movies. The capability of digital technology has simply destroyed all conventional boundaries and has opened the door for a new world of great possibilities.
Change in Post-Production
In the past, editing or post-production was one of the most tedious jobs in filmmaking process. Filmmakers had to rely on manual techniques during filming to create visual effects in movies. Thanks to advanced film-editing software products, today it is possible to create the effects of an imaginary world and fuse it seamlessly to the footages that are shot using digital camera. This is one of the biggest leap digital technology has brought in the process of making movies. Visual effects is a dedicated field in movie business which has been in great demand in recent times.
Change in Screening Methods
When asked about the biggest responsibility after completion of the movie, producers often point out at the job of handling and storing the canister (the circular box that has the film roll.) With digital technology, the storage method has changed and today it is much easier to handle and transport movies to theatres than in the past. Servers, hard disks and video tapes are being used to store movies and digital projectors are being used to screen them. There are other alternative platforms new-age film makers are looking at. Internet has made it possible for filmmakers to showcase their film to audience of a greater geographic range. Social media platforms and all other online promotional strategies can be adopted to ensure that the movie reaches out to more number of audience from around the world.
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