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Challenges for Film Theory


Discuss about the Film Studies for Cinematic Technology Shifts.

The digital imaging technologies have swiftly transformed every stage of contemporary film production. The contemporary filmmakers storyboard, shoot as well as censor their corresponding films together with computer image manipulation. The utmost visible application of such technologies hinges the novel wave of computer-produced/generated and computer-enhanced special effects which are producing images. [1] The swift nature of such technological alterations is creating challenges of the theory of the film. Since digital image manipulation is extremely new and creative feasibilities it provides are extremely unprecedented, the effects of such cinematic representation alongside response of viewers remain ill understood. The theory of film is yet to come to terms with such salient issues. The photographically concepts anchored on realism is a part of great implications of computer-generated imagery for the cinema portrayals. [2]

The digital reproduction of perceptual correspondence for a film viewer remains a largely complex task with accompanying ramifications precisely elongated well past film theory alongside aesthetics to include social, legal as well as ethical issues. The film theory will then require to keep pace with such a swiftly surfacing novel category of capabilities of imaging and grasp it in each of its complexities. [3] The theory of film to this end, has focused on the minimization of significance of perceptual correspondences, yet the digital imaging advent illustrates how imperative they are as well as have been all along. The theory of film should now closely focus attention on what the audiences see on screen, how audience see it, as well as the connection of such processes to extended issue of how audience see. This shall imply that the theory of film individually shall alter. Digital imaging denote both novel cinema experiences domain and a novel threshold for film theory. The critical analysis uses two films by James Cameron (Aliens (1986) and Avatar (2009)) to showcase how the cinematic technology shifts have led to new types of film based on the imagery aspect of production.

Initially, there was light which hit the flexible film strip running mechanically via a camera like cases of Aliens.  For great movie history, this indicates how moving images were established: light reflected off individuals and objects would filter via a camera and transform emulsion physically. Upon processing, such a light-kissed emulsion would unearth Humphrey Bogart hurtling Maltese Falcon in the shimmering white and black. [4] More and more, albeit, films remain either partially or wholly digital constructions created with computers and ultimately retrieved from the drives at one’s local multiplex/streamed to huge small screens of one’s choice. [5]

The Role of Realism

Right before viewers’ eyes, motion images go through the revolution which could have increasingly far reaching, and substantial influence than the sound, color or TVs introduction like in the case of Aliens. Whether such shifts are visible scarcely or overwhelmingly unhidden, DT has been transforming how audience look at movies and what the movies appear like, from self-effacingly budgeted movies shot using digital still cameras to blockbusters laden with CGI.  [6]

The cinematic technological shifts lead to novel kinds of films show in Avatar. Shifts in the cinema technology have permitted filmmakers to adopt novel ways of creating alternative genres through the exploration of increasingly complex storylines with accompanying visuals. Such a progression or a shift in digital technology has eventually transformed the cinema industry and has subsequently augmented spectator anticipation. The development of CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) alongside special effect have enabled the creation of visual aesthetics on the entire novel level. The 2009’s Avatar (film) by James Cameron remains a typical instance of how digital technology shifts in cinema has been utilized in creating humanesque creatures of the Pandora to back the imaginative storyline as contrasted with James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). [7]

The contemporary film production is swiftly transforming due to the digital imagery technologies, permitting digital processing to eliminate unwanted elements from screens to create the sense of realism for the spectators. The computer imagining capacities and capabilities “challenge certain traditional assumptions regarding realism alongside cinema thereby posing digital technology an imperative and necessary tool or technique in making fantasy worlds coming to life. [8] Jean-Luc Godard (French filmmaker) believed that filmmaking equipment impact or dictate the types of images which can be made, and the ways stories are told. Accordingly, the present shift in cinema technology has availed a podium of novel techniques and tools for filmmakers to adopt and embrace as well as develop novel kinds of cinema on the basis of visuals that were lacking during the production of Aliens (1986) which impact or influence extra creative genres and complex storylines. [9]

The action adventure spectacular, the Avatar, encompasses such elements of romance and groundbreaking digital effects for the creation of 2 extreme unique worlds which were not seen in Aliens (1986). The film pioneer and digital innovator, James Cameron has utilized the technological advancement to create novel kinds of cinema (Avatar (2009) as opposed to Aliens (1986)) based on narrative structures as well as visual effects. James wanted such special effects utilized for the Pandora creatures (like the Avatar’s case) to appear as realistic as feasible by utilizing actors as underlying model instead of being purely created via special effects as witnessed in Aliens 1986. Accordingly, James embraced the creatures as an extension of the characteristics and facial expression of the actors that is something which had never been emphasized on previously. The Avatar’s success remains attributed to the realism of the Pandora world that has enabled audience to become immersed completely in such an alternative universe. James’ ambitious project was regarded as the utmost technologically advanced piece/work of cinema ever carried out before and it would act as the poignant era in the history of cinema. [10]

The Evolution of Cinema Technology

The cinema technological revolution has been propelled by the inventiveness and initiatives of the human exemplified via James’ extensive study, eventually widening the podium of techniques and tools available for the filmmakers. Accordingly, people get novel kinds of cinema based on visuals that accompany a complex storyline. The revolution in digital is propelled by the development of the unique styles, movements as well as methods which would have been infeasible without growingly advanced apparatus. This provides filmmakers the latitude or flexibilities of producing the narrative in absence of restrictions; hence people get a growing development in the structures, genres and visuals of the narrative. [11]

The filmmakers can expand or expound on the creative potential as well as use this technology for the exposure of the unknown digital effects as well as narrative conventions in the history of cinema. Eventually, the digitaltechnology convergence acts as a pivotal era for the filmmakers as well as the film industry as they can unceasingly reinvent cinema entertainment for the audiences. As people currently live in an extremely high globalized extreme paced surrounding, it remains an objective of the filmmaker to continue to create spectacular films which propel audience to cinema to experience or experience revolutionary special effects as well as the 3D experience. [12]   

The production of the Avatar culminates live-action series/sequence alongside digitally captured performance in the 3D, computer generated world. James has utilized the three-dimensional technology as an extra element of the consumption of cinema to additionally encapsulate audiences. This remains a merger or a combination with James’ innovation of the humanistic special effects characters and has eventually created a novel podium for the production of visuals in cinema. James work remains a groundbreaking for its era and is the starting point of the humanistic digitally improved visuals on the screen.

Whereas James’ treatment for film started in 1995, it took ten years before technology had developed to the level where Avatar was even feasible. The hybrid character production behind Australian actor Sam Worthington too an elaborate amount of study, developing as well as funding. James managed to override the technological challenges which came with the Avatar’s creation. James’s goal, as a film pioneer, was to have a hybrid alien as near to human face, this remains exemplified in film quote, “this is your avatar” that characterizes the facial expression, mannerisms as well as movements of the actors.

The Success of Avatar

James Cameron is known both as the digital innovator and film pioneer. By being “distinct hybrid of scientist, inventor and artist” James continues to innovate and invent new mechanisms of bringing his envisioned dreams to realism. The quotation, “you are not in Kansa anymore, you are in Pandora” in his film eventually showcases the contrasting variations in the surrounding within Avatar film. This can solely be accomplished via the digital technology effects that permit additional opportunities for the filmmakers to adopt/embrace creative podiums and explore the hidden visuals in cinema. Such an advancement in the DT has impacted upon the storyline via the explorations of the unknown Pandora world as well as bringing to surface the environment as well as its associated creatures.

James’ piece or work remains exquisite based on the visual production as he gives spectators a stark contrast between earth, hybrid alien’s transition into an Avatar from a human and seeing such a creature as loosely set into this fantasy world. James’ desire to accomplish technological perfection remains a credit to high-quality alongside worldwide success of his pieces. [13] Accordingly, James remains a typical example of the filmmaker which has assumed complete edge of cinematic technology development whereas being share of production course himself to make his remotest dream come to pass. [14] This permits James to embrace a unique style of visual effects that are improved via three –dimensional. It is asserted that every novel film remains a golden opportunity to advance the cinema science. The Avatar’s profound success will go down in the history of cinema as a turning point which shall impact the manner in which films are captured, censored a swell as even acted.  

Avatar’s uniquely creative genre alongside visuals are brought into culmination, as “the fantasy experience is served beset by the sense of detail besides textual reality reinforcing the narrative moment by moment”. This means that whereas visuals remain a pivotal share of the film production, they usually back the propelling force of film; the storyline. [15] Accordingly, it is such innovative exploration of novel technology which has allowed storytelling to surface, as digital capabilities remain visually able to aptly back this move. James believes that it is the merger of production aspects or elements like visual, sounds as well as design which need to work collaboratively to bring the alternate fantasy world into realism. [16] This is additionally enhanced via the utilization of the 3D that acts as an elongation of these elements of production.

The Role of Filmmakers in Technological Advancements

The above mentioned technology remains specifically efficient and effective for the action, fantasy alongside animation genres, permitting filmmakers to deeply explore character development alongside the creation of the surrounding to a novel periphery. [17] Digital technology (DT) permits the expansion of the cinematic formal aspects/elements hence widening the available toolset for the filmmakers for the development of greater narrative clarity alongside character relatability.  The digital special effects’ transformation can be displayed in the James’ past pieces/works, Aliens 1986, staring Sigourney Weaver. Her subsequent appearance in Avatar highpoints the transformation of digitally established/created hybrid since they currently have humanoid faces. [18]

It remains imperative when examining digital cinema alongside the development of spectacle film to comprehend early intentions of the cinema as the novel entertainment form. In this regard, Thomas Edison established/created the projecting kinetoscope in the discovery of a way of portraying images as a visual entertainment form.  Accordingly, the intention of the cinema to entertain audience, as the DT progresses so do audience anticipation of the visual effects. [19] Cinema has remained renowned for its aesthetic of appealing or attraction alongside astonishments as eventual escape of spectator from the realism. Such an idea has been heightened as audiences endlessly have the desire to experience surreal visual effects by experiencing, observing or witnessing imaginative world alongside characters surface to life. Accordingly, filmmakers have to strive to undertake the exploration of unknown borders and continually reinvent the cinematic experience. The role of cinema as a predominant form of entertainment of the 20th century has to endure this idea of spectacle film creation on an enormous scale by embracing and adopting the surfacing technological capabilities. [20]

Realism remains a necessary element of image in cinema as several spectators alongside critics have extreme anticipations of visual effects alongside manipulation of characters on the screen. The era of technology remains presented as the shift towards realism and the capability or ability of creating the object via computer generation in order that it remains indistinguishable from the photograph. Accordingly, the cinematic technology digitization has a pivotal role in the fantasy genre development. It eventually avails filmmaker with the freedom of manipulating visuals to accomplish the desired storyline of the film. [21] The fantasy genre image usually compels the belief of the people in what they see even via the image has heavily been constructed. This permits spectators to become comprehensively immersed in contemporary film fantasy genre, ongoing the anticipation of cinema being the form of the bewilderment as well as spectacular entertainment. [22]    


To this end, shift in the cinema technology have permitted the effective exploration of various cinematic genres as special effects currently have the capability or ability to bring the innovative storylines to screen. Accordingly, the cinematic technology advancement have assisted the filmmakers to create extremely adventurous, action propelled alongside fantasy genres entail the special effects which are able to accompany an advanced narrative. This has permitted the development for the film auteur’s to adopt/embrace more unique styles of filming than ever witnessed before as the filmmakers have become the integral share of experimentation alongside study progress of specialized effects. [23] The Avatar’s development by James was designed to propel borders in the cinematic digital effects as the integral share of production elements of moving image alongside the influence this would have on the narrative creation. [24]Therefore, the DT advancements have given the filmmakers a promising opportunity to create novel surrounding that has permitted more complex narrative alongside alternative genre development in the digital cinema.

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