Cinema in a fast changing digital world

Welcome to the brand new home for my discoveries and thoughts on editing and post production. I hope to be able to share some great articles and info from all over the web, as well as start some fruitful discussions that will, in turn, descend into pointless flame wars. I will also post the best of the videos and images that I come across on my travels, and periodically some of my work here too.

First up is an article from Mike Jones about where and when special effects stop being so special, and start becoming the norm. It’s an interesting and thoroughly researched essay well worth a read, but it has got me wondering about whether it really should be technology that drives artistic expression in cinema.

http://www.mikejones.tv/journal/2010/9/13/not-so-special-fx-theorising-visual-normality.html.

Here’s my somewhat simplistic  two pennies worth.

As a film editor, I am keenly aware of the ‘special’ effect becoming a normal part of the moving image design process. Some of what I work on has few, if any ‘cuts’, but is for example, a complexed compositing or animation job. It is indeed true that technological advances have meant that we now receive imagery in extraordinarily dynamic ways from many different sources, creating a plethora of new languages and codes, but I would argue that the human brain, no matter how well versed in the new faster, 3d, multi-layered language sets, is still fundamentally and biologically just as affected by traditional ‘framic’ cinema language as it was 50 years ago.
I recently had an interesting experience to illustrate this from a personal point of view.

I went to see Avatar, as it should be seen, at the Imax cinema in London. I found it an extremely visceral experience and certainly came out feeling that I had been part of a rich, almost tactile experience that had blasted the senses in new and unique ways. However, 2 days later that had faded away, the adrenaline breaking down, to leave- well, not much. Perhaps the word ‘unobtanium’ repeating in my mind like a bad sandwich, but that’s a little harsh.

Then that thursday, I went to see ‘A Prophet’ at the small local cinema. This is a traditionally ‘framically’ composed film about a life spent behind bars, but not only was the experience fully emotionally immersive at the time, but it’s impact resonated for many days after leaving the theatre. The point is not that one is a better film than the other, just that as a ‘cinema’ experience- my brain was fully emotionally occupied by the second film despite the fact that we live in such a fast moving world of digital imagery and messaging, and I’m used to reading images in a different way in this digital age.

For me, there is plenty left in the old 2D bird yet. That said, I have just finished working on a music promo which allows the viewers 360degree control of where they’re looking throughout the video. The experience is certainly a new and exciting one for the form, but I’m not sure I would put it in the same box as cinema.

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~ by cutlertv on September 14, 2010.

One Response to “Cinema in a fast changing digital world”

  1. Totally agree about avatar and LOVED a prophet, best thing I’ve seen all year. Looking forward to next set of thoughts…

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