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Hollywood: Evolution Thru Technology

Has software / computer technology helped bring Hollywood production to new heights? Of course it has. Rhetorical question. Technology is completely synonymous with filmmaking these days. It is rare to find a Hollywood film that does not contain some aspect of visual effects.


But exactly how has software played such an increasing roll in movies? Not so clear. We will examine, in detail, below:


Editing


Did you know that back before films were edited on computers, the editing process quite literally included cutting film and stringing it together in the order mandated by the director? Probably not. But this seems like a painful and tedious process.





Animated Movies


Animated movies are all done EXCLUSIVELY on computers. A favorite of children, these movies are credited using 3D computer-generated animation. Without the software capability offered today, there would simply be no such thing as animated movies.


Special Effects


Even non-animated movies still have software to thank for the fact that their special effects continue to look more realistic. Some special effects are incorporated into the film entirely after live production is even shot. Another note: Computer-generated special effects are typically cheaper than performing a stunt on the actual set. Think about it.. blowing something up in real life might cost a pretty penny as opposed to designing that special effect on a computer with highly-sophisticated software.





Computer Science Nerds


When I think of Computer Science, I primarily think of Cyber Security. Very smart individuals who work for big companies to ensure no private and sensitive information that is integral to a company gets hacked. But as I read more and more about software in Hollywood, it is clear that computer professionals are playing a larger role every year in the production of movies. Think about it: Every director wants the very best computer person to not only design unique software crafted for their vision but to also be able to troubleshoot in a timely fashion so no production delays occur.

Drones


You know those beautiful panoramic shots that you see all the time in movies these days? You have drones to thank for this. These drones aren't just small little airplanes manned from a controller. They are also equipped with the highest levels of modern film technology to ensure perfect screen positioning and viewing angles. Before the evolution of the drone, helicopters were the go-to gadget for capturing such views. No longer is that the case. These drones not only offer higher capabilities on set, but also cost a good amount less money than attempting to film on a helicopter.





4K+3D Technology


I had never heard of this one either, if I am being honest. 4K+3D technology allows filmmakers to record movie scenes underwater and create scene depth. The final product makes it appear to viewers at home as if they are physically in the movie. The next step in this sect of technology will be 360-degree viewing. Can you imagine how neat this would look? Being able to look to your left and right while watching a movie as if it were real life? We are not that far off at all.


AI & Screenplays


Here is where it gets interesting. We have written about AI a good bit over the history of this blog. It is obvious that tech has helped filmmakers achieve new heights. But could AI replace a filmmaker outright? Certainly not out of the question. Recently, researchers at NYU created software through AI that quite literally writes screenplays. Side Note: This software, nicknamed Benjamin, was even able to create a pop song after NYU researchers trained the robot through giving it over 30,000 songs to learn from. Of course, designs like Benjamin have a long way to go to truly break into the industry. But it isn’t outlandish to think that at some point this technology could play a real role in filmmaking.





Summary


In this blog post I have outlined numerous instances how technology has aided filmmakers to not only make their vision a reality, but also make it come to life. Filmmakers, with all this technology at their fingertips, arguably have an easier and simplified job than they did decades ago. But where does this all go from here? And where does it end? Referring back to AI, do we really want movies written through AI? Sure, these robots could write a great film in due time. But is this what we want? To take the human element almost entirely out of filmmaking? I mention this to refer to more of a moral dilemma. I have written in the past about the capability/evolution of robots (AI & VR) and what the future could hold. These gadgets are impressive and have immense promise. But is there a point where we cross a line as a society where nearly everything becomes produced by a robot and the human (us) takes a back seat? There could be some major cons to this.





But the pros are many as well. The industry has adapted well to changes over the course of the last decade. I am sure you have heard family and friends at the dinner table speak of how they just no longer routinely go to the movies like they used to. What has happened? The industry has adapted. Hollywood has done this through streaming; Netflix, Apple TV, Roku, etc.. What will the industry do next to keep our attention in the modern world where so many seek instant-gratification?



 

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