In recent years we’ve heard a lot about how digital filmmaking compares to its traditional counterpart. Filmmaking technologies have completely overhauled the cinematic landscape and have lead film in a different direction, revolutionising every aspect of cinema.
Crossing into digital filmmaking largely means opting for practices that allow filmmakers to produce, edit and finalise their films while saving time, money and energy. Because of the technology behind digital mediums, filmmakers find that they are able to complete more work in less time, managing to complete their projects under or close to budget. Although Hollywood started to capture films digitally in the early 2000s, it wasn’t until 2013 that the majority of commercial films released in the US were shot digitally. The film industry as a whole has therefore been moving towards embracing new technologies, with many pre-established companies reinventing themselves. Although founded a century ago, camera company Arri has adapted to technology and developed cameras, some of which are amongst the most-used in large-scale commercial film production.
Digital technologies have helped filmmakers revolutionise the industry during every step of the filmmaking journey. Post-production is one area which has proven that new digital technologies trump traditional ones. Digital effects can now be seamlessly blended into a film without audiences noticing when they are being used, creating a clean final product. The digital landscape has also allowed film editors to work on long sections of film, piecing together certain takes and scenes after visual effects have been added to the original footage.
With software like FinalDraft, emerging technologies have helped filmmakers behind the scenes for years. Digital technologies have also made their way into revolutionising on set practices, with many hair and makeup departments abandoning polaroid film for digital cameras in order to catalogue their work. The future of film has also changed thanks to digital filmmaking, allowing for more robust film preservation. Although many studios have released re-mastered versions of iconic films, film is highly flammable and deteriorates over time while digital archives are easy to back up and restore.
While the film industry has openly embraced new digital technologies, there are a few areas with untapped potential. Many production companies have turned to websites like YouTube to aide in a film’s promotion and use digital technologies to distribute motion pictures, however this market has yet to reach its full potential with the business side of filmmaking still catching up with what digital distribution can promise.
With the new technologies emerging everyday it truly seems that digital filmmaking has come out on top. The majority of commercial and independent cinema is now filmed digitally and in 2013 almost every UK cinema had turn to digital projection. The future of cinema is digital and emerging filmmakers and their mentors need to work alongside technology to embrace its potential. Without embracing emerging digital technologies, it would be nearly impossible to produce the growing volume of increasingly diverse films released each year – and this is the world your students will all work almost exclusively in. The king is dead, long live the King?