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Which are the new digital technologies transforming Filmmaking Industry ?

Thomas Alva Edison while filing the patent for his movie projector, 'The Optical Phonograph' on October 17, 1888, said: " I am experimenting upon an instrument which does for the eye what photograph does for the year". Edison presented the Kinetoscope in 1893 which was regarded as the first filming device but was limited in scope to a single person view. The Lumiere Brothers rose to this challenge and build a camera which could playback the roll and use light to project the images, and hence the first screening for 200 people was made possible.

Filmmaking since then has evolved from short films to the 35mm format, which stayed for over a century. It was in the winters of 2000 that the world was introduced with digital cinema projector technology showcasing the epic space opera of "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace". The technology then spread across various countries and is still relevant for various filmmakers although the new digital generation of directors is using Smartphones along with various accessories for filmmaking.

Let me help you discover which are the new technologies that will reshape the filmmaking in the near future.

1.Autonomous Drones

The world of overhead and aerial shots has been transformed by the use of drones during Filmmaking. Gone are the days when shoots were delayed due to crane maintenance or the director merely refused to take aerial shots due to vertigo. Technology in the form of Autonomous drones has taken over control which can be programmed to take different shots at different angles during a movie. Autonomous drones are GPS enabled and can be controlled via a Smartphone app or remote control devices. The rooftop action sequences, aerial shots of the city and the chase sequences are often filmed through autonomous drones.

Here is one of my favourite chase sequence that was shot using drone technology,


2. 3D Printers

3D Printers have brought a new outlook to the way manufacturing is done. The cost of this technology has come down in recent years and therefore its application in various industries has increased. Filmmaking was not far behind in adopting this technology. 3D printing is still in the early stages of creating camera equipment but it is really beneficial in creating set design and prop making. 3D printing allows studios to create custom props quicker and cheaper than traditional methods.

Laika the animation studio behind movies like Coraline, Kubo and the two strings uses 3D printing to create set pieces in its motion films. 3D modelling software is used by the artist to create characters such as in the movie Alien. 3D printing is also being used by the costume industry, a lot of the costumes seen in the Black Panther movie was created using the technology.

Now when you look back at the trailer of Alien, remember its just 3D printing plus CGI.


3. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has created an alternate universe for consumers and is lately giving them control over making their own changes in the universe. Technology has evolved to be more comfortable and secure for its various applications in gaming, education and filmmaking. Virtual Reality films revolve around the 360-degree virtual sphere and create an immersive experience for the user.

The world of Virtual reality filmmaking is small as the script, editing and characters have to be designed from the perspective of a virtual world which gives it limited scope but it is slowly being pursued by filmmakers. The famous Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez along with Emmanuel Lubezki made Carne Y Arena which won an oscar in 2018. Once viewers put it on the virtual headsets they could experience the fear of immigrants from Mexico and Central America entering the USA.

A four-part Virtual documentary made by Strauss and Dennis on Climate change was presented at the American Film Institute.

4. Algorithmic Video Editing

Algorithmic Video editing is the technique of editing or reassembling raw footage from a scene. The process of editing is tedious, slow and requires more focus than any other process of filmmaking. Researches at various universities have come up with various tools that use audio and visual labels to design algorithms and make the process more fluid. These techniques are used by independent filmmakers in documentaries and short movies but still has not reached the mainstream cinema.

There are a lot of challenges which still need to be conquered by the AVE therefore the traditional mix of software and editors is still more trustworthy when it comes to big production houses.

5. Smartphone Gear

Apple has transformed itself into a camera company by including three lenses and Samsung Galaxy S11 is pushing to four lens cameras with one having a 108-megapixel resolution and depth of field effects with the ability to create 3D objects to be used for Augmented reality Apps.

This Competition between the tech giants brings the opportunity to both accessory companies as well as filmmakers. The push towards OTT platforms and demand for original content has brought a lot of filmmakers out of the closet and back on the street. These directors work on small budgets and therefore require gear that is of high quality but affordable at the same time. DJI OSMO Mobile 3 collection caters to solve the problem by providing different variants across different prices. These handheld devices are used in filming sequences which require parallel movement of actor and director through rough terrains and capturing sequences from multiple locations.

OSMO and other similar gear are preferred because they are light and therefore causes less fatigue which gives the director ample time to get the perfect shot. There are a lot of films that were entirely shot on iPhones and the trend will supposedly continue.

By- Swapnil Bajpai

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