It’s a fact that the cinema and the technology worlds have gone hand in hand since the beginning, in 1872, when the first “movie” were presented in Philadelphia and 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 was 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 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.
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 big theaters to be able to enjoy a good movie; platforms such as Netflix or HBO are making this 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’s been a huge change within. There are more and more movies using the latest technologies to allow us, at least for a few hours, 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 doesn’t feel this way within. 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 may become a double-edged sword.
Movies such as Disney’s Wall-e or shows such as Black Mirror depict a future where humanity depends on technology in excess (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 into society that is difficult to distinguish what is natural and what is artificial.
Fortunately, not in every case humanity is endangered. In Passengers, is thanks to technology that humanity can find a new home among the stars
Cinema within reach for 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 enhancements in devices, there are now much more alternative means so that anyone with an idea and a mobile phone steps into a film director’s shoes and create his own project.
One of the clearest examples is the Spanish movie La fiesta; with a 6.000€ budget it managed to collect up to 1.280.000€ in box office.
Another means that has revolutionized films production industry, by making it much more available, is platforms such as Youtube. These platforms have allowed that anyone, without needing to spend a single €, 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 they were stolen all kinds of data, 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 Game of Thrones that was not yet aired and to scripts of series that had not yet been launched. As a caution measure, 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 get to; maybe the next step is to make personalized movies through virtual reality. What we do know is that movies and tech will keep going hand in hand, the same way they go with a good bucket of pop-corn.