Movies And Tech: A Love-Hate Relationship

It is an undeniable fact that the filming and technology worlds have gone hand in hand from the beginning, in 1872, when the first “movie” was presented in Philadelphia where the Lumiere brothers presented their silent movie, Exiting the Factory. Both worlds have experimented such a huge change throughout the 20th century that they have transformed the way we see the world.

Interpretation within the movies has been evolving at the same time society has evolved but technology improvements have helped to define the cinema as we know it nowadays.

Ever since Luke faced the dark side and ended the Empire, the improvements in the so-called ‘special effects’ have been increasingly growing, from the animatronics in Jurassic Park to the 3D tech in Avatar, where actors were almost relegated to the background.

Technology And The Movies Experience

Cinema is gone”, those were the words that the well-known director Martin Scorsese pronounced when referring to current cinema; the director thinks the movies experience as he knew it is no longer there.

The Internet has broken not only in mobile phones and tablets, but also in televisions, and it has just changed the way we watch movies. There is no longer need to go to large cinemas to be able to enjoy a good movie; platforms such as Netflix or HBO are making it much more accessible, as you can watch any movie or TV show from almost anywhere and any time.

The ‘user experience’ outside both the big and the small screen is not the only side affected though; there has also been a huge change inside. There are more and more movies using the latest technologies to allow us, at least for a few hours, to save the world from the dark lord or pilot giant robots while protecting the Earth.

Those effects that, a few years ago, were reachable for just big blockbusters, are now available for almost any picture, no matter which their argument or cast are. Maybe we do have to agree with the veteran director on this.

Technology As Theme

We have already seen that technology and cinema have a pretty stable relationship outside the screen, but it does not feel this way within it. Since in 1984 Skynet tried to lead humanity towards the verge of its extinction, cinema has warned us quite a few times about the dangers of the over-tech and what could become a double-edged sword.

Movies such as Disney’s Wall-e or shows such as Black Mirror depict a future where humanity depends in excess on technology (the latter with examples so close to reality that is sometimes terrifying)

Another theme that is extensively used in cinema is artificial intelligence. Movies such as I Robot or Ex Machina transport us to a reality where technology is so developed and integrated within society that it is difficult to distinguish what is natural and what is artificial.

Fortunately, humanity is not endangered in every case. Regarding Passengers, thanks to technology, humanity is able to find a new home amongst the stars.

Cinema Within Reach Of Everyone

Years ago, if someone wanted to film a movie (even a short movie), they had to make a huge investment in equipment. Thanks to the improvement in devices, there are now much more alternative means such that anyone with an idea and a mobile phone can step into a film director’s shoes and create his or her own project.

One of the clearest examples is the Spanish movie La fiesta; with a 6.000€ Budget, managed to collect up to 1.280.000€ at the box office.

Other means that have revolutionized the film production industry, by making it much more available, are platforms such as Youtube. These platforms have allowed anyone, without having to spend a single Euro, can publish their ideas, reaching millions of people.

The Cybersecurity Challenge

Finally, one of the biggest fears Hollywood has when talking about technology is cybersecurity. In 2014 Sony suffered a cyberattack that caused a huge impact within the company, as all kinds of data were stolen from them, from employee’s personal data to the latest 007 movie, causing an estimated loss of around 200 million Dollars.

One of the biggest recent attacks was the one on HBO, where thieves got access to a  chapter of the Game of Thrones that was not yet published and scripts of series that had not yet been launched. As a measure o caution, HBO actors will no longer receive the whole script of their show; they will film a sequence and after that, they will be told what will happen next. “We will all have earpieces, and someone will tell each of us the line we need to say next and then will film it.” explained Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who gives life to Jamie Lannister, in his interview in Skavlan.

Nobody knows where cinema will come to; maybe the next step will be to make personalized movies through virtual reality. What we do know is that movies and tech will keep going on hand in hand, the same way they do so with a good bucket of pop-corn!


Article written by Rubén Sánchez Medina, App Developer at Barbara IoT.