The Future of Film

The title is not as daunting as it may make it seem to be. How movies are being made is changing. New technologies are being tested and made and soon, to the fear of everyone who watched Rogue One, we may not even need actors if CGI can create them.

In Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast, they relied on technology to make the Beast and his servants a perfect mix of realistic and fantastical. To do that, “the film relied on an ambitious mix of motion-capture and CGI, both on set and in the studio”. The digital team on Beauty and the Beast used a technology called Digital Domain “which utilized their new Direct Drive process to capture performances and render them into startling life-like creations.” What that means is that they put parts of the actors faces into their characters. You can see some of Dan Stevens in the Beast,  some of Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Plumette, etc. Technology can help make the fantastical even more fantastical, so it is able to suck you more into the story because it seems real.

In India, they are recreating whole scenes from films in virtual reality and people can experience those scenes right in front of them. The Bollywood film Sholay‘s fictional village is being “built” by the Karnataka tourism department. The village will take up real space though and “will be spread over 42,184 sq. feet and will cost roughly 7.5 crore rupees. The project will bring to life scenes and characters using three-dimensional printing and virtual reality technology, with the help of audio and visual equipment, multiple screens, virtual-reality headsets, goggles and laser-disc based systems.” This project will be even bigger than the virtual reality sets at Comic conventions, and will be almost like a theme park – a virtual reality park if you will. This is an amazing feat for virtual reality technology and gives an idea of what can be done with it in the future.

New technology can even give us access to things we have never had the chance to see before. In Planet Earth 2, filmmakers used amazing new cameras to capture up close and personal footage of wild life. They use a new camera called the Red Epic Dragon that shoots 6K footage, works in even the worst conditions, and weighs just 5 pounds without a lens. There is the Sony A7S II which can shot wonderfully in low-light situations. The crews also used drones to capture in flight animals. To capture fast animals like a Costa Rican frog the size of your fingernail, John Brown used an un-named high speed camera. These high frame-rate cameras can capture fast (and tiny) things and then slow it down so we can actually see it.  Of course this footage would be meaningless if we can’t see it and the crew also relied on stabilizer rigs like the DJI Ronin and Freefly Movi Pro essential. You can put any camera in these rings and “you can run alongside a monkey and capture pin-sharp, rock-steady footage”. This allows them to “literally follow along in the animal’s footsteps” and can let us as the viewer fly through the air next to birds.

Virtual Reality technology also is being used to recreate the works of Renaissance painter Raphael in a 3D movie that looks at Raphael’s life and art when he was alive, and uses actors to portray him and his friends of that era but also uses VR to recreate his paintings and the Vatican as it looked during the Renaissance. “One of the highlights is the virtual reality reconstruction of the Sistine Chapel as it was when the seven tapestries designed by Raphael were first displayed there in 1519.”One of the highlights is the virtual reality reconstruction of the Sistine Chapel as it was when the seven tapestries designed by Raphael were first displayed there in 1519.”
This is an amazing example of what technology can do when it works with the form of film. We can create life like recreations of the past and bring it into the future. Imagine what Hollywood could do if it utilized this? Instead of Avatar we could have something more.

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