These are exciting times for motion picture film in the digital age; technology is having a profound effect on film in the motion picture film industry. First there was a silent movie, and then there was the sound. Movie formats and new ways of accessing video, including streaming and downloading means that power has shifted from the production to the consumers.
But wait, there’s more. The internet is changing the manner in which films are consumed and distributed, not to mention the types of films we watch and who is making them.
Instant access, worldwide distribution and everyone with a cell phone are now all players in the video creation game. What was once a medium of the few – those who could afford the equipment – is now the most democratized (and sought-out) medium available. Everybody wants video, and they want it now.
Movies that tell stories, much as in the tradition of stage plays, are narrative ﬁlms. These features ﬁlms are promoted heavily, their titles and actors on marquees. Most are in the 100-minute tales. A French magician and inventor, Georges Méliès, pioneered narrative ﬁlms with fairy tales and science-ﬁction stories to show in his movie house in 1896. Méliès’ Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella ran less than 10 minutes—short stories, if you will. Notable innovations in narrative ﬁlms since the earliest ﬁlms have been sound, color and computer generated imagery.
Before films talked, they were heard through musical accompaniment. Sound is the input we take most for granted. The explosions, kisses, etc., are simple recordings but, there is a whole set of technicians and technologies that gives you the sense of what the action should look like.
Technology has a most profound effect on film in this day and age, and the industry must realize that the medium is moving into an age of digitally made, and digitally distributed movies. Not only must the industry adapt to find new ways of monetizing digital consumption so that the legal ways of accessing films becomes more appealing than piracy, so must filmmakers, old and new, otherwise they run the risk of being left behind.
The art of film holds a unique place in the story of humanity. A human language, an art, if you will. It is a medium for education, inspiration, and so much more. It provides employment for hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and enjoyment for countless billions more and provides a living record of the human condition and imagination at any given point in the human story.
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