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Attack Of The Digital Cinema Essay

1327 words - 6 pages

While discussing the magic of movie-making, progressive film director Joel Schumacher once said, “The people who came before us gave the world new ways to dream, and I think it is our job to continue that and try to give people new ways to dream.” Since its invention in the late 19th century, film has enabled storytellers to create amazing pieces of art through a unique and visual medium. For more than a hundred years, filmmakers shot motion pictures exclusively on celluloid film stock. This lengthy photochemical process remained the gold standard in the cinema world well into the new millennium. However, in more recent years, a technological leap into the digital realm arose to challenge old film. For many years, critics of digital film predicted the fall of this new technology, claiming to be highly inferior to film in quality. Then in 2002, digital film pioneer and director George Lucas released Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the first full-length film to be shot completely with high-definition digital cameras. Despite failing in the eyes of most critics and fans alike, Attack of the Clones pushed the boundaries of digital technology in cinema while simultaneously leading to the possible demise of film.
The method of capturing, developing, editing, and showcasing motion pictures was an extensive and time consuming task. Film cameras were cumbersome and loud devices, which allowed light into the lens that would then capture the image on the celluloid film inside. On set, camera operators and technicians would load the magazine with the film stock, giving the crew approximately ten minutes to film before the reel was full. Once completed, the operators had to reload the magazine, a process that could take an additional five minutes. At the end of the day, the reel would be shipped to a film lab to be developed overnight and then the footage (termed ‘dailies’) would be viewed the next day by the crew. Since there was no real way of seeing what the cameras recorded until the following workday, directors had to trust their cinematographers while shooting. In the documentary Side by Side, cinematographer Donald McAlpine said, “The director of photography was a magician. He was the only one who actually probably knew what was going to be on the screen the next day...and this gave you a lot of authority and power.” While there was a sense of excitement every morning while viewing the dailies, some directors craved an easier and faster alternative to film. A few filmmakers believed the solution to this predicament could be attained in digital cameras.
Originating in the late 1970s, digital technology was accessible to the public as consumer home video cameras. In the early 1990s, some independent filmmakers began toying with the notion of creating movies with video cameras, yet the vast majority of Hollywood players regarded the concept as ludicrous. Although digital cameras were immensely cheaper and hastened the production process, the...

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