Computers and the Film Industry
Computer technology invades the film industry. The existence of computers have aided in the production of genres of film ranging from action movie special effects, to cartoon animation and claymation. Computer Generated Imagery, better known as CGI, assists filmmakers in many ways. An image can be made two-dimensional from a three-dimensional scene, camera angles can be altered to make a character seem larger and thus more important than its surrounding bodies, and colors can be brightened or neutralized, among other things (Parsons, Oja 1). Without the aid of computers, movies would not have the ability to be what they are today.
The demand for the manual animation technique known as “in-betweening,” where an artist draws hundreds of images to produce the idea of motion, takes countless hours and requires the dedication of an artist’s full time. With the aid of computers, images are generated at face paces and movement can be altered with the click of a mouse. Thus, those hired to do such jobs have the opportunity to better the product with far less time and frustration.
Like “in-betweening,” morphing, another film technique, requires long hours and hard work. Unlike “in-betweening,” which can be done without the aid of a computer, morphing is a special effect that is unable to be produced without one. It consists of filming a beginning and ending shots and the middle is left for the computer to generate. Despite the aid of the computer, this process is still quite complex. Short scenes can take a year to morph, but the end product may make all the difference for the enjoyment of the film.
Computers are not only used for animation techniques and special effects, they are used for things as simple as sound generation and clarity. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), utilized computers for the bird noises. Scenes from the movie, like the one with the main bird attack, were able to play without background music because of the realistic nature of the bird sounds that the computer created. Hitchcock’s special effects leader, Ub Iwerks, even managed to grab an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Special Effects (Dirks 1).
The movie industry has evolved over time. In the early stages of Hollywood (pre 1930s) movies were black and white. Although groundbreaking for the time period, a movie of 1930s caliber could not be enjoyed by the masses today. When silent films turned to “talkies,” actors and actresses were made famous if their voices lent easily to audiences’ ears.
When people stopped attending movies and opted to stay home and watch television, the film industry knew they had to try something new. Wide-screen and 3-D movies were experimented with, and movies began being created and geared...