Friday, 4 December 2015

What significance does the continuing development of digital media technology have for media institutions and audiences?

In this essay i will be outlining wether the changes seen by audiences and institutions, that have been brought about by advancement in digital technology, are improvements or degradations.

One major significant change relating to institutions (the big six/companies that produce films) is the ability to use digital cameras to film movies. Digital cameras are lighter than film cameras, they do not require film which also helps with logistics and running cost (which means the money that is usually spent on film/transporting the film etc can be spent elsewhere). In mad max: fury road, small, hand held cameras (canon 5Ds) with wide-angle lenses where originally used to get close up shots of the main characters from within the vehicles, so the camera operator would be in the passenger seat for example whilst Tom Hardy was in the driver's seat. This, unfortunately, led to members of the crew sometimes appearing at the edge of the shot which became to costly to 'paint-out' every single time. These small cameras where then replaced by a big 'edge-arm' camera that had the same quality as the rest of the big cameras that they were using for filming such as the Alexa plus and sat on a moving rig next to the vehicles. The camera could then be moved right into the window of the vehicle essentially getting the same shot as they were before with the wide angle lenses in the passenger seat. The 'edge-arm' was, however, much more versatile and manoeuvrable so could not only film close ups but then switch to mid-shots and wide angles of other characters in different cars and finish with a long-shot of every vehicle in the chase (150-ish) in one fluid movement. This would not have been possible with any film camera or even most digital ones. This then added to the quality of the final product so should be considered as significant in a positive way.

Furthermore, post-production has seen significant changes in relation to the continuing development of digital media technology in the form of CGI and editing. Previously in films, all stunts performed had to be performed, wether with guide wires and harnesses or by using dummies and models e.t.c. The development of CGI has given the power to producers to create things that could never actually happened, wether that is giant planets exploding fully rendered, real life cities being destroyed or even making a person see-through as 'Ava' is in 'Ex_Machina.' The character of Ava, an AI that was designed to look more like an expensive bicycle or F1 car than a robot, has a torso (as well as other body parts) that is virtually completely see through. They did this by scanning Alicia Vikander in her costume and then filming all the scenes with her in, they then re-scanned her and re-filmed all the same scenes so they could 'Rotoscope' the background onto her torso e.t.c making it seem transparent. Although 'rotoscoping' has been around since 1915, it could never have been used in a live action film in this manner and still have the visuals look as realistic as they were. Now that these kinds of visual effects are possible, i believe that audiences particularly will benefit from this significant development.

Moreover, marketing has developed in leaps and bounds thanks to the internet. The main significance with regards the films and the Internet (beside online streaming) is probably the ability to target advertisement to specific audiences on social media and YouTube. For example, if you watch a movie trailer on YouTube for Mad Max 2, it will most probably recommend the trailers for either Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or Mad Max: Fury Road. Targeted advertisement allows distributors to spend less money on marketing but use their funds more effectively and efficiently. Not only this, but the use of viral advertisment also helps distributors get a lot of hype and reach a lot of people for little money. One example of this is the leaking of the trailer for 'Batman VS Superman' a day before it was officially released, the trailer was slightly altered and then re-released so that the first trailer was a just a trailer for the official one almost, the word of mouth boomed and over 9 million people saw it not long after it came out. So, for little investment, it can be expected that a lot of people will go to see this film. This development is possitive mainly for the institutions as they will most likely recieve more money from ticket sales etc but it also helps audiences as it shows to them films that may have sliped under the rader previously.

In conclusion i beleive that most of the developments in digital media technology have had a possitive significance for both audiences and institutions.

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