With reference to at least TWO films from the film list, discuss the way that new digital technology has had an effect on film form and/or exhibition Digital technology has transformed the way we have our cinematic experiences has evolved (DreamWorks). With evolving technology the cinema has taken leaps and bounds in expanding the vision of a director to showcase his talent . Keeping the perspective of technology in our view ,we move on to explain its impact on two very popular blockbuster movies of our time a) The Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott and b) The Avatar directed by James Cameroon.
Gladiator is a historical epic film directed by Ridley Scott. The movie depicts the life of loyal Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius. He is shown to be betrayed by the Emperor’s ambitious son, Commodus, who happens to murders his father and thus seizes the throne. Reduced to a state of abject slavery, Maximus is seen to rise through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the Emperor and the murder of his family. Gladiator is a movie of the kind upon which Hollywood has carefully built its reputation but unfortunately very rarely makes anymore: the spectacle.
Replete with larger-than-life characters, wonderful scenery, set design of amazing grand scale, and storytelling of epic nature, Gladiator is designed not just to entertain, but to enthral. It draws audiences in and immerses them in a reality that is not their own. A boisterous reaction is expected every time the protagonist defies the odds and wins a conflict, or changes the tide of battle in his favour. This is filmmaking on a grand scale (The Tech). Use of virtual reality to recreate scenes of Roman arcade has been extensively used in this movie.
The entire city of Rome has been digitally recreated for this movie with entire effective reconstruction of ancient setting. It is as if the entire city has been recreated with complete recreated spaces with the characters moving in and out of the spaces.. The virtual reality created makes it surreal and thus gives the movie a more of life experience bringing parts of history into the present context. . The initial battle scene in which Maximus is leading an army to quell a rebellion has also showed wonderful use of fast paced camera technique.
This technique of capturing more frames in a given shot has made sure that the scenes have been beautifully captured and the exact imagery is being provided to the audience. The colossal fire power and the destruction ,along with the fast paced weapon movement has been because of the use of technology . Careful looking at the scenes we would realise that they start with a very fast movement of the weapon sword or axe but then it gradually slows down as the weapon comes close to the body of the individual . This carefully magnifies the annihilating power of the weapon.
The heads roll slowly, the bodies tumble as if the characters are in trance. The very nature of death has been magnified with the use of digital technology. One of the most dramatic use of technology in the movie has been the recreation of the entire Roman empire. The cities, the decoration, the costumes of the characters are such that they look like pulled straight out of the old times of the Roman Empire. The entire set of Roman buildings and the grandeur involved has been exquisitely created out of digital technology.
The entire set of war arenas, the prisons where the slaves are kept have been remarkably lit and crafted using digital technology. One of the other important features present with the movie is the surrealism of the flashback scenes. The flashbacks have been move from immediate fast paced scenes. to the slow paced scenes. This the director has used to differentiate between reality and dreams involved. One of the most amazing scenes of surrealism used in the movie is that of Maximum dreaming about his wife and children .
Out of extreme pain he shuts his eyes, the camera there moves out of focus. Then gradually he moves into a slow surreal dream which has been exquisitely captured by the cameras. One of the other striking features of use of technology in the movie has been the arcade battle scenes between the Gladiators and the slaves. The quick jabs of the axes, the thrust of the spears and the movement of the fast axes has been captured remarkably well. It is interesting to note that even the tigers used in the movie have been digitally created.
The battle scenes with the tigers are a visual treat making the battle scenes even more deadly and thus visually appealing. One of the other marvels of the battle scenes is the way the moving chariots have been captured. The camera focuses in and out carefully out of the rolling giant wheel . Then there is an obstruction and out of extreme slow motion the chariot swings into the air . It lands and the places is strewn with bodies . The scenes have been made even more gory with blood and rattles bones almost filling up the entire scenes.
Everything however digitally recreated . One of the major crowd puller in Gladiator is its action scenes (Film Review). Thanks for the presence of digital technology the movie have done justice to Roman grandeur. One of Scott’s greatest achievements with the epic Gladiator is not in keeping the pacing of a 2 1/2 hour movie tight nor is choreographing a spectacular battle scene, but it with creating a second-century Rome that looks entirely credible and powerfully stunning in its detail.
Ancient Rome has always been one of the most romanticized civilizations in the history of mankind, however rarely has it been brought to life with the grandeur as that in this film. The Coliseum, for example, has been resurrected to its full glory (largely through the use of digital technology). Gladiator consistently looks good, although, during some of the fights, rapid cutting creates a sense of disorientation and confusion This movie is also helped with the fact Ridley Scott is at the helm of affairs ().
He has as always been a fine visual stylist; in this movie he fantastically uses ample digital effects to re-create the complete world of Ancient Rome in its full living glory on the screen. Carefully looking at the shots of Coliseum, perfectly intact and brimming with crowds of spectators, are breathtaking. Moreover, Scott has perfectly staged half a dozen elaborate action sequences like this is the Apocalyptic end , pulling out all the stops, and filling the screen with swords and tigers and chariots, visually amazing.
The use of digital technology is also carefully amplifies in the movie Avatar. Being one of the very first movies to use SFX technology and extreme high speed camera. The movie was a visual treat with 3-D viewing. Interestingly the entire movie sequences have been recreated out of use of beautiful 3-D techniques. Avatar has used a lot of innovative visual effects. The work on the film was delayed because the visual effects to be used had to be researched carefully and developed to reach the required level of expertise.
Photorealistic computer-generated characters were used by the director they were , created by the thorough use of the new motion-capture based animation technologies which Cameron had been developing for straight 14 months leading up to the date of release of December 2006 The innovations used in the movie encompassed the introduction of a new system for lighting up of gigantic areas like Pandora’s jungle, a motion-capture stage or “volume” six times larger than any previously used, and an improved method of capturing facial expressions, enabling full performance capture.
To implement the new method of facial expression the artists used skull caps fitted with camera that were positioned very close to their faces These cameras captured images and information that were later transmitted to computers. Thus this new method allows filmmakers to transfer 100% of the physical performances of the actors and thus helping to digitalize them and thus to codify as per the requirement. Moreover this kind of camera technique also allowed the actors to have multiple angles for each performance.
One of the most technically challenging part was when computer generated forms interacted with human forms, where proper attention had to be paid to the lights used between the forms and the shadows that are formed. The digitization used in the movie was so humongous that at a time around 900 people were employed for the computer graphics section. The extent of data to be used was so huge that a new cloud computing system called Garia (Digital Asset Management) was created by Microsoft to manage the data stored.
It helped the technicians to co-ordinate all the different stages of digitization. A special server was specially designed to handle the graphic requirement of the movie. Special texturing and paint software system called Mari was also used to automate the rendering processes. A lot of other companies like The Foundry and Industrial Light and Magic worked along with Weta to create the battle sequences of the movie Thus James brought a different world of virtual reality into light with this movie based on his entire new set of camera and filming system.
The fictional planet of Pandora was thus brought to life with the co creations of James and his team . Thus it was a movie based on virtual cameras and stereoscopic cameras of the order no other movie had ever used. The 3D effects thus allowed the viewers to almost immerse in the world of Pandora(Avatar Review). Specifically made by Vince Pace and filmmaker James Cameron, the Pace-Cameron System combines a modified type of stereoscopic 3D camera, a virtual camera and performance capture staging.
Utilizing a virtual camera Cameron helped to film computer generated scenes in real time. For this movie, using the technology the director can jolly well look through the virtual camera and see the world of Pandora and its computer generated characters. He can manipulate staging, camera angle direction and manipulate commands to both the live and CG actors in the film. The augmented-reality view makes pulling the live action and the computer generated elements together giving a seamless look to the final project.
Thus the entire sequence helps to make more of a realistic virtual world .Thus one could see the overwhelming response received by the movie . It was probably for the first time in the movie that characters used Lycra sensor suits on a sensory stage. The effects thus were enthralling and visually splendid. Thus the Lycra based sensors made sure that every bit of information about the movement of the artists are tactfully captured and thus exhibited.
Avatar thus introduced an entire new era of filmmaking that has now become a sort of benchmark for all movie makers. It takes the concept of virtual reality to an entirely new level full of graphic images and actions that were developed using state of the art software’s and packages that were specifically developed for this movie. Thus one can jolly well say that Avatar proves that computer graphics are not meant to produce lifeless actions but their very motto is develop actions and sequences that are closer to reality and thus closer to being believed.
Avatar had received a special audience response being even translated to vernacular languages across the globe . It added the perfect icing on the cake of Cameron’s movie ,thus portraying his love for technology and his love for taking cinematic experience by use of technology to all new level all together. His repertoire of movies if closely looked has been nothing short of splendid with iconic cult movies of the status of Terminator and Titanic.
Each of his movie depicts the careful use of technology sometimes profoundly ground breaking to heighten the effect of film making and thus give a visual delight to the audience. Thus Avatar carries this tradition forward with Pandora and the Navy’s both the concepts although completely out of the world are made more believable by the superb use of technology specifically developed and crafted for the movie. Nonetheless Avatar is an icon in the world of sci-fi movies. It is also a digital visual treat for the audience.
Courtney from Study Moose
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