Movie-making has gone through a massive shift with vast changes in technology. But is this a good thing?
For more than 80 years, filmmakers explored every possibility of shooting a movie on film and then there was a paradigm shift with the advent of digital era. Now, some filmmakers in the west have pushed the bar. Who would have imagined that one day a feature film will be shot using a smartphone? Yes, a smartphone. Hooman Khalili has an entire film titled Olive using a Nokia N8 and the film is getting a theatrical release later this month. It wasn’t a piece of cake as he had to hack the phone to turn off its auto-zoom and auto-focus features in order to get the technology to behave as he wanted. Hooman is not the only filmmaker who made headlines for the use of latest gadgets for making a film. Earlier this year, Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook shot a 30 minute short film, Paranmanjang (Night Fishing) using the iPhone 4.
In Telugu film industry, RGV holds the credit of using Steady cam for the first time in Telugu cinema for Shiva, back in 1989. Twenty two years later, he used five Canon 5D cameras to shoot an entire film Dongala Muta and it became the talk of the town. Although the film sank without a trace at box office, RGV’s experiment proved that there is a way to keep the production costs down. “Shooting on film has already reached a saturation point. The advent of digital cameras has opened up a lot more possibilities and we are still trying to figure out how to use them efficiently. Currently, we are learning on a trial and error basis,” says filmmaker Anand Ranga.
Technology has not just the way films are shot it has had its impact in several other crafts of film production. The advent of Avid Suit and Final cut pro (FCP) has changed the way films are edited. “Digital technology just minimized the process to get the output, but you still have to stick to the basics of film making. It did make film making more reachable but it has its pros and cons. Now anyone can make a film, but what people should understand is that the basics of film making will remain the same,” says Dharmendra, an editor.
In Hollywood, analysts are already predicting that shooting on film will become a passé in near future. It’s the age of digital cameras like Red One, Red Epic and HD cameras like Phantom camera. “Whether you like it or not, you can’t stand against the advent of technology in any field. I feel sad that digital technology in cinema is being welcomed because it’s cheap and not for its excellence in most of the cases. One has to understand the technique before he or she applies it,” says Vijay K Chakravarthi, a cinematographer.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.