Film Education


The Future of Cinema

Cinema evolved within modern history. Technology is at the heart of cinema. If there was no camera to capture and a projector to project there would be no cinema. ‘what’  and ‘how’ you capture and ‘why’ and ‘where’ you project/display is crucial to the understanding of the future of cinema.

Capturing cinema

What:

If we look back at the birth of cinema we could say that Cinema started as a scientific curiosity and technological ingenuity. It was not considered a medium of great art but started with being a spectacle which raised curiosity, then gradually entertained, informed, and finally evolved into an artform at one end and an industry at the other. What was being captured ranged from ‘reality’ to ‘fantasy’ and everything in between. So to ask ourselves the question, ‘what’ we will be capturing in the future of cinema will be an interesting point to look at. But will it depend on the ‘how’ , the tools available to capture it. In other words will the ‘how’ effect ‘what’ we capture.

How:

Digital Technology has made it possible today for a filmmaker to truly use cinema as a pen with its affordable costing and availability. The technology itself does not require a very technically skilled individual to get good results. But what has this resulted in? Have we been able to shape the language of cinema beyond the great cinematic movements of the past – Italian Neo Realism and the French New wave (who in turn were also liberated by light weight and cheaper equipment at that point in time).Can we take the baton forward in the race of cinematic history with changing technology ? The relationship of reality and cinema has always been an interesting one. We have come a long way from being naively unobtrusive with the capturing of reality to making the camera invisible. The journey from the Lumiere actualities to the sting operations/spy cameras of today. So what next, how closer to reality technology can take us and are we closer at reaching the truth. On the other end of the spectrum we have a hyper real world with virtual truths. Today CG or computer graphics can add or delete anything that you can image and has blended the real with the unreal with the blurring of lines between the two. So much so that now we are going the other way round, real actors are made into animated forms of existence on screen. How far will this go and where will it lead. In this marriage of ‘fact and ‘fiction’ , ‘reality’ and ‘fantasy’ what will be the outcome and how will it end. Will they have an offspring and where will that take the legacy of cinema.

Projecting/displaying cinema

Why

Why do you want to show cinema – for an artistic end or to make money. Many times its not that one excludes the other but usually there is a priority of one over the other or rather should be so, so each has their individual space to function in. What aspect will hold more value in the times to come could affect the nature of the future of cinema.

Where (Exhibition space)

The old system of Control will continue if not because of ideology then because of money politics. But what is an interesting development that technology has given birth to is a parallel space of display like the internet. An exhibition space which can bypass the industry and directly reach the audience. This puts the artist in direct communication with her/his audience. Of course that has its own challenges but it does offer a tremendous freedom and is empowering. Cinema started with a community viewing, then entered the home and now the personal space of a computer.

Active audience:

Technology has played a key role in creating a more active audience. An audience had absolutely no control in theaters, then came the video player which offered control to see the film and made it a personal possession but now the audience is given total control with digital technology at their finger tips not only to see but also to create and change the film to their own liking. Will technology succeed in creating a more active audience and where do we go from here?

How does the artist and audience communicate with each other is an important aspect of the future of cinema. Films can have in them algorithms etc to involve the audience but what this does is it puts the onus on the audience. The better equipped the audience the richer the experience. Thus this would require the audience to be more equipped and be ready to be a co-creator in the true sense. Modern art and cinematic art movements have attached great value to an active audience and have fought against the passive traditional Hollywood style of filmmaking but how far can we take interactivity and how do we make the experience more enriching for each viewer is where the challenge lies according to me.

Coming back to the basics and the traditional form of cinema itself – the core language of cinema compared to the traditional arts, in its very nature puts the audience in the midst of action and this is its unique quality. If cinema can take us further beyond ourselves into other worlds but within the confines of ourselves then that itself is an exciting experience that would be worth waiting for. Having said that the gaming industry today is about interactivity, so is that the future of cinema? I feel the important question in this interactive space is how do we maintain the balance between the genius of the gifted artist/filmmaker and at the same time actively involve the common viewer as a co-creator, that is the challenge that lies ahead.

Oorvazi Irani

This post is dedicated to the memory of my late friend Dr. Vivek Adarkar

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

artistic expression with cinema is very much democratised now. all aspects of cinema is accessible to common man. Only investment required is imagination and dedication to make it real… thanks for the article.
We are working on a middle path for film exhibition — in between main stream and the no-man’s world of internet

Comment by satheesh mullakkal

Dear Satheesh,
Great ! Thanks for visiting my site. Would like to know more about what you do.

Comment by oorvazi

Dear oorvazi,
I am a film maker by passion. Right now located in Dubai. recently we made a feature length malayalam (with English subtitles) film, a family drama based on Dubai economic recession.

Comment by satheesh mullakkal

Great article Oorvazi, thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
But,as usual 😉 i have a comment to make. The statement “The technology itself does not require a very technically skilled individual to get good results” stood out for the reason being, as technology evolves to provide better solutions, it also makes the utilization complicated. And the evolution of technology is on “Hyperdrive”. I feel that an individual inclined towards using this technology to create a better work of art, needs to adapt to knowing and continuously updating the learning curve. Please let me know of your thoughts 🙂

Comment by Vikram S Dwarakanath

Vikram ! thanks for your feedback and nice to know you enjoyed reading it.

In regards your statement, what I am referring to is the uncomplicated use of the medium which does not require a very skilled person to operate, but this is in a context – where I say that filmmaking has become more accessible to the common man and is not limited to technical qualification or knowledge. Let me give you an eg. still 35 cameras in the manual mode, few years ago required the photographer to be skilled and have technical knowledge to be able to shot a decent shot but today when you have a digital camera, you can set it at auto and still get decent results. And this is not for the high end professional use

So having said that ofcourse highly skilled use of modern technology can get you fascinating results.

Hope i have been able to clarify my point.

Comment by oorvazi




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