India Uncut

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Monday, March 13, 2006

The future is digital

Of cinema, that is. Richard Corliss writes:
It has often been noted that if Henry Ford were to come back today, he would wonder why no one had come up with a better idea than the internal combustion engine. A similar thought may occur to any visitor to a movie shoot. Dozens, maybe hundreds of technicians adjust the lights, apply the makeup and dress the set, much the way it was done almost 100 years ago. And as in D.W. Griffith's day, the film still runs through a camera, then is processed, reproduced many times and sent to theaters.

The addiction to doing things that way baffles [George] Lucas. "Do you still use a typewriter?" he asks a TIME movie critic. "Do you go to a library and consult books for most of your research? Is your story set in type, letter by letter? No. Your business takes advantage of technological advances. Why shouldn't my business?"
Romantics, of course, will rave about the 'texture' and 'depth' of celluloid, but digital technology, as Corliss's excellent article explains, now outdoes film in all those aspects. Even with still photography, we saw this curve of adoption where professionals resisted digital cameras, but as they got better and produced equivalent results with far greater ease of use, adopted them. Cinema, with people like Lucas, Michael Mann and Steven Soderbergh acting as early adopters, will no doubt move through that same loop.

And you know what this will do? Just as technology has made it far simpler for you and me to create our own music and publish our own writings and photographs and podcasts, it will drastically reduce the entry barrier to film-making. There will be a revolution in independent film-making, and it will be accompanied by new and radical ways of distributing the work we create. We live in an exciting age.
amit varma, 6:50 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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