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Digital Media Its Impact on the Film Industry
Digital Media: It’s Impact on the Film Industry
The popularity of the Internet and home computing has had a dramatic effect on day-to-day life in America and the rest of the modern world. It has changed the way we work, play and even communicate. What was once only available to college students at large universities, and corporations, now is easily accessible by anyone.
The so-called Digital Revolution has had a profound impact on many industries, the Motion Picture Industry being among them. What years ago would have cost Hollywood billions of dollars, and thousands of man-hours, a single person can now achieve at a fraction of the cost. This is possible on either a Mac or a PC home computer. Recent advances in technology have combined the variables needed to bring movie making out of Hollywood, and onto your desktop.
Just as the PC has revolutionized the way we receive information and listen to music, the same is also true for watching movies. Through a fast Internet connection called broadband access you can watch streaming video live, or download it to your hard disk for later viewing. Factors that include low cost storage media and super fast processor speeds have made the home computer an ideal environment for watching movies on your computer. It can also be used for manipulating Digital video through nonlinear video editing.
Digital video can be stored directly on your computer hard drive or any digital storage device such as a compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD), or digital video tape. It is a sharper image than most analog recorders and can have up to twice the resolution of the typical home camcorder (VHS), and has a higher quality image than most analog recorders. Another advantage to digital video is that a copy of the original will be an exact duplicate of that original. You can watch, pause, rewind, and forward advance without losing any clarity or quality.
The new Apple G4 and many new PCs on the market come equipped with the FireWire / 1394 adapters. This is the compression standard. If your computer does not have this, you can upgrade this hardware by installing a video card. A low-end video card can be purchased for around $50.00 and will go up in price the higher the card is rated.
If you plan on buying a computer solely for digital video editing, you may want to consider looking into a “Black Box”. A Black Box is a computer that has been bundled with software and hardware designed and configured to be used together as a package. This is a much more stable environment for working with digital video, and you will not have to worry about having an incompatibility issue. The main drawback with using a Black Box is that you cannot install new software or introduce any new hardware to the system.
On your home computer you can take your movie project from start to finish. There is screen-writing software called “Sophocles” to aid you in dialog and script, in addition to the many web sites that offer screenplays and movie scripts that have been released into the public domain. Once your script is set, if your film lacks the budget for location footage you can check online for web pages that offer stock footage on many subjects that you can purchase.
Once you have your digital video ready, you can begin to insert your transitions and special effects. Some programs that are well suited for nonlinear video editing are Broadway Pro, and Adobe Premiere. Both programs have a wide variety of features and are relatively easy to use. These programs also take full advantage of the tools which nonlinear video can provide. For example, this means that if you are unhappy with the lighting in a particular shot, instead of having to go out and re-shoot the scene, you just edit in another light source. Or take away one of the existing light sources if that is what you would rather do. With add-on filters and special effects packages, one is only limited by their own imagination.
When your movie, or project is complete there are still more options to think about. There are a variety of different file formats you can save your film as. Some formats work better on certain computer systems. There are yet others that work better over the Internet. And still others that are best when they will be saved to some media for later viewing. You will need to decide what format is best for you and what target audience you wish to attract. Based on the format you choose, the distribution and advertising of your movie will have to be modified.
Independent film producer Jon Shear recently completed a full-length movie called “Urbania”. The budget on this film was $300,000, it was shot in four months on super 16 film. Then transferred in its entirety to digital video for post production, finally being reconstituted to 35-millimeter film for release. Editing this film included changing the lighting, color, and saturation of every single frame.
If you plan on releasing your movie to be viewed over the Internet, I would suggest going to an online Film Festival Site. These sites will take submissions from independent film producers of all types and allow peo
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