During one of our tutorials in university we were given the task of coming up with a prediction of where film will be in 100 years.
During one of our tutorials in university we were given the task of coming up with a prediction of where film will be in 100 years. The concept originated from an article written by (if I remember correctly) the silent film director DW Griffith, in his piece he described what he felt would happen to motion pictures over the next century, he made some accurate predictions as well as some questionable ones (he didn’t think films would have sound in a 100 years). The answers provided by the class varied from a completely immersive experience to films being beamed directly into people’s heads.
Clearly it’s a question for better minds, but it does bring up the question—what is the next major development for feature films?
Over the years cinema has had several major leaps forward: from the addition of sound, to the progression from black and white to colour. The last major advancement was the use of digital cameras at a feature film level, although the progression has been slow, within the next 10-20 years the usage of film cameras at a mainstream level is going to die out; until only a hand full of directors are using 35mm cameras.
It could be argued that 3D was the last big jump forward but as far as I’m concerned it’s just been a gimmick for film studios to make more money off their movies. 3D, in one form or another, has been around for years and has improved, maybe, half a dozen films. It doesn’t add anything apart from the occasional cool shot and an inevitable headache once the film is over. More often than not 3D doesn’t create a more immersive experience—it takes you off of it because you spend half the time either adjusting your glasses or seeing what the film looks like without them.
So what is the next major contribution to the film industry? Well, as far as I’m concerned I think we are on the cusp of a major change in the distribution of feature films. Studio output over the past few years has fallen dramatically, and the recession means that producers have little faith in any film that isn’t superheroes or a book series. This has left the market open to amateurs and small production companies.
Although this change feels small the growth of video streaming (companies like Netflix and Hulu) means that, if the film is sold to the right bidder, it can be seen by a wider audience. It’s going to get to a point where people are only going to the cinema to see Superman and Katnis, and to be honest, for a large part of the population, this is already the case. When was the last time you saw a small film at a cinema? Something without explosions. Quite possibly a long time while.
The question is—is this a bad thing? Well although it’s always better to see any film in the cinema (the sound changes everything), what’s important is that the films get seen; and the filmmakers make a profit so that they can do it again.