Film

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This article is about motion pictures. For other uses of "film", see photographic film or film (disambiguation)

Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. The origin of the name comes from the fact that photographic film (also called filmstock) has historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist — motion pictures (or just pictures), the silver screen, photoplays, the cinema, picture shows, flicks — and most commonly movies.

Image:Film reel and film.jpg

Films are produced by recording actual people and objects with cameras, or by creating them using animation techniques and/or special effects. They comprise a series of individual frames, but when these images are shown rapidly in succession, the illusion of motion is given to the viewer. Flickering between frames is not seen due to an effect known as persistence of vision — whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Perhaps of more relevance is what causes the perception of motion — a psychological effect identified as beta movement.

Film is considered by many to be an important art form; films entertain, educate, enlighten and inspire audiences. The visual elements of cinema need no translation, giving the motion picture a universal power of communication. Any film can become a worldwide attraction, especially with the addition of dubbing or subtitles that translate the dialogue. Films are also artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them.

Contents

History of film

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Mechanisms for producing artificialy created, two-dimensional images in motion were demonstrated as early as the 1860's, including the zoetrope and the praxinoscope. These machines were outgrowths of simple optical devices (such as magic lanterns), and would display sequences of still pictures at sufficient speed for the images on the pictures to appear to be moving. Naturally, the images needed to be carefully designed to achieve the desired effect — and the underlying principle became the basis for the development of film animation.

With the development of celluloid film for still photography, it became possible to directly capture objects in motion in real time using the new medium. Early versions of the technology sometimes required the viewer to look into a special device to see the pictures. By the 1880's, the development of the motion picture camera allowed the individual component images to be captured and stored on a single reel, and led quickly to the development of a motion picture projector to shine light through the processed and printed film and magnify these "moving picture shows" onto a screen for an entire audience. These reels, so exhibited, came to be known as "motion pictures".

Motion pictures were purely visual art up to the late 1920s, but these innovative silent films had gained a hold on the public imagination. When films began to tell stories, instead of just record brief events, exhibitors sometimes provided a commentator to narrate the action, but this became unnecessary with the development of printed intertitles containing the actors' dialogue and other written, descriptive material as part of the visual experience. Rather than leave the audience in silence, theater owners would hire a pianist or organist or a full orchestra to play music fitting the mood of the film at any given moment. By the early 1920s, most films came with a prepared list of sheet music for this purposes, with complete film scores being composed for major productions.

In 1922, new technology allowed filmmakers to attach to each film a soundtrack of speech, music and sound effects synchronized with the action on the screen. These sound films were initially distinguished by calling them "talking pictures", or talkies.

The next major step in the development of cinema was the introduction of color. While the addition of sound quickly eclipsed silent film and theater musicians, color was adopted more gradually. The public was relatively indifferent to color photography as opposed to black-and-white. But as color processes improved and became as affordable as black-and-white film, more and more movies were filmed in color after the end of WWII, as the industry in America came to view color an essential to attracting audiences in its competition with television, which remained a black-and-white medium until the mid-60s. By the end of the 1960s, color had become the norm for film makers, and by the 1980s, an expectation of the younger generations by then comprising the majority of the audience for commercial films. Only in rare exceptions is black-and-white film now used; the choice is motivated by artistic reasons. Film presented today in black-and-white, like the recent release Sin City, tends to have a greater dramatic tone and can be an inspired throwback to older cinema.

Origins of motion picture arts and sciences

Film as an art form grew out of a long tradition of literature, storytelling, narrative drama, art, mythology, puppetry, shadow play, cave paintings and perhaps even dreams. In addition, the technology of film, also emerged from various developments and achievements in human history.

Protean developments

About 400 BC - Mozi a Chinese philosopher ponders the phenomenology of an upside down image of the outside world beaming through a small hole in the opposite wall in a darkened room.

c. 350 BC - Aristotle tells of watching an image of an eclipse beamed onto the ground through a sieve.

c. 1000 - Alhazen experiments with the same optical principle, and writes of the results.

1490 - Leonardo DaVinci describes a structure that would produce this effect.

1544 - Reinerus Gemma-Frisius, a Dutch scientist, illustrates large rooms built for the purpose of viewing eclipses by this means.

1588 - Giovanni Battista Della Porta tips off artists to this trick. He used the Camera Obscura or Dark Room to help painters paint pictures with depth and [Perspective].

c. 1610 - Johannes Kepler refers to a construction that utilises this phenomenon as a camera obscura.

1671 - Athanasius Kircher projected images painted on glass plates with an oil lamp and a lens, his Magic Lantern.

1820s - Joseph Plateau: Anorthoscope; Phenakistiscope. Spindle viewers. Flip books.

1824 - Thaumatrope. Peter Mark Roget presents the persistence of vision to the world in his paper Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel when seen through vertical apertures. The article is often incorrectly cited as Persistence of Vision with Regard to Moving Objects, or On the Persistence of Vision with Regard to Human Motion, and given an incorrect date.

1831 - Faraday's Law of electromagnetic induction.

1834 - The Zoetrope (U.S.), a.k.a., the Daedalum (England).

Victorian cinema c.1860-1901

1861 - Henri DuMont patents an apparatus for "reproducing successive phases of motion", British Patent 1,457.

1861 - The Kinematoscope is invented. This is a series of stereoscopic pictures on glass plates, linked together in a chain, and mounted in a box. The viewer turns a crank to see moving images.

1872 - Eadweard Muybridge designs the zoopraxiscope. French astronomer Pierre Jules Cesar Janssen develops a camera with a revolving photographic plate that makes exposures at regular, automatic intervals.

1877 - Muybridge begins experimenting with "serial photography" (or "chronophotography"), taking multiple exposed images of a running horse (see main Muybridge article).

1878 - George Eastman manufactures photographic dry plates the same year Thomas Edison invents the first electric incandescent light bulb, archaically known as a magic lantern.

1880 - Muybridge begins projecting his studies of figures in motion.

1881 - Louis Lumiere develops a "dry plate" process with gelatin emulsion.

1882 - Etienne-Jules Marey, a French physiologist, makes a series of photographs of birds in flight. Hannibal Goodwin sells an idea to George Eastman, who markets it as "American film" : a roll of paper coated with emulsion.

1886 - Louis Le Prince patented his process for "the successive production of objects in motion by means of a projector".

1887 - Ottomar Anschütz creates the electrotachyscope, which presents the illusion of motion with transparent chronophotography.

1888 - Louis Le Prince shot the first "moving pictures" on paper film, the so-called Roundhay Garden Scene and "Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge" films. Roundhay Garden Scene is considered by film historians to be the first known motion picture.

1889 - William Friese Greene developed the first "moving pictures" on celluloid film, exposing 20 ft of film at Hyde Park, London. George Eastman improves on his paper roll film, substituting the paper with plastic.

1890 - Friese Greene patents his process, but was unable to finance manufacturing of it, and later sold his patent. [1]

1891 - Edison patents the Kinetoscopic camera invented by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, which takes moving pictures on a strip of film (this was one of many inventions for which Edison claimed credit). A lighted box was used to view the pictures, the viewer was required to turned a handle to see the pictures "move". First called "arcade peepshows", these were to soon be known as nickelodeons. Fred Ott's Sneeze is the first Kinetographic film.

1893 - Edison Laboratories builds a film studio, in West Orange, New Jersey, dubbed the Black Maria. It was built on a turntable so the window could rotate toward the sun throughout the day, supplying natural light for the productions.

1894 - Louis Lumiere invents the cinematograph a single-unit camera, developer, and movie projector. Kinetoscopes, meanwhile, were popular and profitable. On January 7, W.K. Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film. In New York City in October Alexander Black debuted his "Picture Play" entitled "Miss Jerry" which featured sequential glass lantern slides projected onto a white sheet to illustrate a narrative story, predesessor to the full-length feature film.

1895 - The Arrival of a Train premiered on a large screen December 28 at the Grand Cafe in Paris, France. Louis and his brother Auguste Lumiere also filmed Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory that year, while in the U.S. Woodville Latham combined a Kinetoscope with a projecting device. People were avidly watching nickelodeons on Broadway in New York City.

1896 - Edison loses W. K. Dickson who joins with other inventors and investors to form the American Mutoscope Company. The company manufactured the mutoscope as a rival to the Kinetoscope and, like Edison, produced films for its invention. Expanding on the idea, American Mutoscope then developed the "biograph" which was a projector allowing films to be shown in theatres to a large audience rather than in single-user nickelodeons. Edison entered the competition for developmet of a large projector he called the Vitascope. This year also debuted the work of first female film director, Alice Guy-Blaché's The Cabbage Fairy. Vitascope Hall in New Orleans opened in June of this year.

1897 - U.S. President William McKinley's inauguration was filmed, the first U.S. newsreel. In England the Prestwich Camera is patented.

1898 - The Spanish-American War becomes the first war to be photographed using the motion picture camera. This war escalated the competition between the two prominant motion picture companies of the time, Thomas Edison Incorporated and the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, as both companies vied to get the best footage of the war. The increased revenue that war motion picture brought in stimulated the industry and helped jumpstart the Silent Era.

1899 - With the success of the biograph, American Mutoscope changed its name to American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. In England Edward R. Turner and F. Marshall Lee create chronophotographic images through red, green and blue filters and project them together with a three-lens projector.

1900 - Synchronized sound was first demonstrated at the Paris Exposition with a sound-on-disc system.

The silent era

1901-1919

1902 - Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, (Le Voyage dans la Lune), premieres, the first science fiction film with extravagant special effects. The Charles Urban Trading Company was founded by Charles Urban, an American, in England. The company produced original films and distributed films made by the Lumiere brothers and Georges Méliès throughout Europe. Méliès filmed a mock coronation of Edward VII and it was presented in theaters the same night as the actual ceremony. Léon Gaumont begins experimenting with the possibilities of sound on film.

1903 - Edwin S. Porter produces The Great Train Robbery.

1906 - Eugene Lauste patents a sound-on-film process in London.

1906 - The Story of the Kelly Gang, about the legendary Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, is released on the 26th December. It is widely regarded as the world's first feature length film with an approximate runtime of 70 minutes.

1909 - George Albert Smith produced a processed two-color system using panchromatic stock in Brighton for the Charles Urban Trading Company, this was dubbed Kinemacolor. The first public presentation of Kinemacolor was in February in London, when a series of twenty short movies by the Natural Colour Kinematograph Company was shown at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

1909 - the Electric Cinema on Station street, Birmingham is the oldest working Cinema in the UK and was once reputedly a haunt of George Bernard Shaw.

1910 - Wladyslaw Starewicz (Ladislas Starevich - Polish Director) - The Beautiful Lukanida - the first puppet animated film.

1912 - Universal Pictures Company is founded by Carl Laemmle in Hollywood.

1914 - Charlie Chaplin charms audiences as "The Little Tramp." Vaudeville begins to suffer from this redirected audience for entertainment, but early films soon became a new venue for many stage performers.

1917 - An estimated 3,000 cinemas in England. [2]

1919 - United Artists Corporation is collectively formed by Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford.

1920-1929

The 1920s represented the era of greatest output in the US movie market. An average of 800 films were produced annually. [3]

While developments in color and sound were still in the experimental stage a strong demand for movies and, therefore, potential for profit, encouraged productions for commercial release.

The French model of commercial movie houses became the international model, and entrepreneurs scurried to build impressive movie houses across North America and Europe including theatres to seat up to 5,000 people. Oscar Deutsch opened his first Odeon cinema in the UK in Perry Barr in 1920. By 1930 the Odeon was a household name and still thrives today across Britain with a vast array of purpose built cinemas.

1927 saw the introduction of some early zoom lenses. These were operated with a primitive hand crank. Optical lenses were not to be perfected for another 20 years.

With many technical obstacles overcome, film as entertainment began to blossom as an art form in the 1920s, a decade heralded by art deco and German expressionism. Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin rose to stardom in this era, which also saw the premier of the first Walt Disney animated cartoon. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences founded in 1927 with the first "Oscar" given in 1929. The popularity of horror movies is traced to this era with Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Abel Gance's Napoleon was one movie presented on three screens simultaneously, a hallmark of epic filmmaking and film editing that was to presage large format film projection system such as the three-projector Cinerama system of later decades.

Sound technology, both recording and playback technology, was slow in development. The 1920s would be largely dominated by silent features, often musically accompanied by an in-house organist, pianist or orchestra. Theatres would be the single largest source of employment for musicians. By the latter half of the decade, new innovations in audio, synchronized sound in the form of Vitaphone, allowed theatrical release of The Jazz Singer (1927), featuring Al Jolson. 1928 saw Disney's Steamboat Willie, the first film with entirely post-produced dialogue, sound effects and score. The first all-out Hollywood musical, The Broadway Melody, came to theatres in 1929. The demand for musicians would dry up at the onset of the depression.

1922 - The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America is created by Will H. Hays to serve as Hollywood's public relations firm. Hays would go on to dictate the motion picture production code which attempted to define objectionable content for US audiences. Other countries would institute their own "code" systems.

1924 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is founded by Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer.

The Sound Era & The Golden Age of Hollywood

"The Golden Age of Hollywood" in cinema history roughly refers to the period beginning with the advent of sound (this was, of course, prior to The Great Depression) until after the end of WWII. This was the heyday of the Hollywood studio system with tremendous output from Universal, MGM, Columbia, UA, RKO, Paramount Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Brothers. Genre films became popular in the 1930s: westerns, comedies, musicals, dramas and cartoons. Dracula and Frankenstein incarnated into their silver screen depictions in 1931. King Kong premiered in 1933. Howard Hughes produced Hell's Angels in 1930. Disney released several short animations in the beginning of the decade, including the first Technicolor production in 1932. The Golden Age included some of the most celebrated American movies ever made. Such films as King Kong, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, and Citizen Kane, are examples of the accomplishments in cinematic technique in this era. Walt Disney also began producing his first feature-length films in this period, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938), Bambi, (1942), and Pinocchio & Fantasia both from 1940. Fantasia is notable for Fantasound, a project that incubated significant developments in film sound recording and playback techniques adopted and expanded upon by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, particularly, SMPTE -- pronounced SIMP-tee.

The "Golden Age" effectively came to a close in 1948, when in a landmark legal decision the Supreme Court of the United States found several major studios guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, through their monopolizing control of the production, distribution, and exhibition of their movies.

French film critics began to notice a certain stylistic approach to certain genres in American film, Gangster movies and crime dramas in particular, and began to refer to this type of movie as "Film noir". Robert Siodmak's The Killers (based on the Ernest Hemingway short story) is a prime example. Suspicion, (1941), and Saboteur, (1942) were Alfred Hitchcock's contributions to the style. Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941), one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, helped to establish film noir and became one of its icons. Other examples include Laura, Murder My Sweet, and Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (all 1944).

The 1940s: the war and post-war years

The onset of US involvement in WWII brought a proliferation of movies as both patriotism and propaganda. American propaganda movies included Desperate Journey, Mrs Miniver, Forever and a Day and Objective Burma. Notable American films from the war years include the anti-Nazi Watch on the Rhine (1943), scripted by Dashiell Hammett; Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Hitchcock's direction of a script by Thornton Wilder; the George M. Cohan biopic, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), starring James Cagney, and the immensely popular Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart. Bogart would star in 36 films between 1934 and 1942 including John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, (1941).

The need for wartime propaganda also saw a renaissance in the film industry in Britain, with realistic war dramas like Forty-Ninth Parallel (1941), Went the Day Well? (1942), The Way Ahead (1944) and Noel Coward and David Lean's celebrated naval film In Which We Serve in 1942, which won a special Academy Award. These existed alongside more flamboyant films like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946), as well as Laurence Olivier's 1944 Henry V, a film adaptation of the Shakespearean history.

The strictures of wartime also brought an interest in more fantastical subjects. These included Britain's Gainsborough melodramas (including The Man in Grey and The Wicked Lady), and films like Here Comes Mr Jordan, Heaven Can Wait, I Married a Witch and Blithe Spirit. Val Lewton also produced a series of atmospheric and influential low budget horror films, some of the more famous examples being Cat People, Isle of the Dead and The Body Snatcher. The decade probably also saw the so-called "women's pictures", such as Now, Voyager, Random Harvest and Mildred Pierce at the peak of their popularity.

1946 saw RKO Radio releasing It's a Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra. Soldiers returning from the war would provide the inspiration for films like The Best Years of Our Lives, and many of those in the film industry had served in some capacity during the war. Samuel Fuller's experiences in WWII would influence his largely autobiographical films of later decades such as The Big Red One. The Actor's Studio was founded in October 1947 by Elia Kazan, Robert Lewis, and Cheryl Crawford, and the same year Oskar Fischinger filmed Motion Painting No. 1.

In 1943, Ossessione was screened in Italy, marking the beginning of the Italian neorealist movement. Major films to come out of the movement in the forties included Bicycle Thieves, Rome: Open City, and La Terra Trema. In 1952 Umberto D was released, usually considered the last film of the movement.

In the late forties, in Britain, Ealing Studios embarked on their series of celebrated comedies, including Whisky Galore, Passport to Pimlico, Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Man in the White Suit, and Carol Reed directed his influential thrillers Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol and The Third Man. David Lean was also rapidly becoming a force in world cinema with Brief Encounter and his Dickens adaptations Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger would reach the peak of their creative partnership with films like Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes.

The 1950s, Widescreen, 70mm, Stereo,and even 3D

The House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated Hollywood in the early 1950's. Protested by the Hollywood Ten before the committee, the hearings resulted in the blacklisting of many actors, writers and directors, including Chayefsky, Charlie Chaplin, and Dalton Trumbo, and many of these fled to Europe, especially Britain.

The cold war era zeitgeist translated into a paranoia manifested in themes such as invading armies of evil aliens, (Invasion of the Body Snatchers); and communist fifth columnists, (The Manchurian Candidate).

In the post-war years Hollywood also faced another threat. Living rooms were beginning to be invaded by television, and the increasing popularity of the medium meant that some movie theatres would go bankrupt and close. The demise of the "studio system" spurred the self-commentary of films like Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).

Distressed by the increasing number of closed theatres, studios and companies would find new and innovative ways to bring audiences back. These included attempts to literally widen their appeal with new screen formats. CinemaScope, a 35mm optical widening technique, which would remain a 20th Century Fox distinction until 1967, was announced with 1953's The Robe. VistaVision 35mm, run sideways for width, and Cinerama, 3 strips of 35mm blended into one wrap-around, and taller screen. These boasted a "bigger is better" approach to marketing . This lead to the re-emergence of the epic film to take advantage of the new larger, more detailed screen formats. Film size was increased to 70mm in many large theaters, stereo sound became commonplace. Some of the most successful examples of these Biblical and historical spectaculars include The Ten Commandments (1956), The Vikings (1958), Ben-Hur (1959), Spartacus (1960) and El Cid (1961). 70mm perhaps reached its zenith in 1962 with epic Lawrence of Arabia but continued on for years with most of the truly "big" movies when shown in truly "big" theaters.

3D stereoscopic movies (with "colorless" polarized glassses, not the "red-blue" comic book type), was the other "technology" applied to lure in audiences. The heyday of 3-D film would last only about 2 1/2 years, 1952-1955. Some 51 Hollywood titles, were shot in 3D. The 3D was well received, especially by children, and teens. It was the inate costliness, and complexity that killed 3D, not just the "tiresome eyes stress" dissmissing it in retrospect. 3D films included: House of Wax, It Came from Outer Space, Kiss Me Kate, Dial M for Murder, Hondo, The Maze, Second Chance, The French Line, Charge at Feather River, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon, were a few. Other "gimmicks" were used as well; Producer William Castle would tout films featuring "Emergo" "Percepto", the first of a long line of gimmicks that would remain popular marketing tools for Castle and others throughout the 1960s.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954) set the stage for The Blackboard Jungle (1955), and some notable early TV productions like Paddy Chayefsky's Marty and Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men would be turned into critically acclaimed films.

Disney's Sleeping Beauty was released on January 29, 1959 by Buena Vista Distribution after nearly a decade in production.

The 1960s

The 1960s saw the increasing decline of the studio system in Hollywood. Many films were now being made on location in other countries, (Lawrence of Arabia being a stellar example). or using studio facilities abroad, such as Pinewood in England and Cinecittà in Rome. Hollywood movies were still largely aimed at big family audiences, and it was often the more old-fashioned films that produced the studios' biggest successes. Productions like Mary Poppins (1964), My Fair Lady (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) were among the biggest money-makers of the decade, but American films were losing the creative impetus to British with breakthrough films like, Tom Jones,(1963) and European film makers. The growth in independent producers and production companies, and the increase in the power of individual actors and directors also contributed to the decline in traditional Hollywood studio production.

There was also an increasing awareness of foreign language cinema in this period. The late 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of the French New Wave with films like Les quatre cents coups and Jules et Jim from directors such as François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. Italian films like Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, and the stark dramas of Sweden's Ingmar Bergman were also making an impact outside their home countries.

In Britain the "Free Cinema" of Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and others lead to a group of realistic and ground-breaking dramas including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Kind of Loving and This Sporting Life. Other British films such as Repulsion, Darling, Alfie, Blow-up and Georgy Girl (all in 1965-1966) helped to break taboos around sex and nudity on screen, while the casual sex and violence of the James Bond films, beginning with Dr. No in 1962 would turn the series into a worldwide phenomenon.

Africans had been denied the right to make movies for decades. In the sixties, however Ousmane Sembène produced several French- and Wolof-language films became the 'father' of African Cinema.

In Latin America the dominance of the Hollywood model was challenged by many film makers. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino called for a politically engaged Third Cinema in contrast to Hollywood and the european auteur cinema.

In documentary film the sixties saw the blossoming of Direct Cinema, an observational style of film making as well as the advent of more overtly partisan films like The year of the pig about the Vietnam War by Emile de Antonio.

By the late 1960s however, Hollywood was beginning to claw back some of the creative impetus with films like Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), and The Wild Bunch (1969). Bonnie and Clyde is often seen as the beginning of the New Hollywood.

The 1970s

The 1970s saw the emergence of a new generation of film school-trained American film makers, like Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian de Palma. This coincided with the increasing popularity of the auteur theory in film literature and the media, a development which gave these directors far greater control over their projects than would have been possible in earlier eras. This lead to some enormous critical and commercial successes, like Coppola's The Godfather films, Spielberg's Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Lucas's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It also, however, lead to some inevitable failures, including Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love and Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate. The latter almost single-handledly brought down its backer United Artists following its release in 1980.

The phenomenal success of Jaws and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in particular, lead to the rise of the modern blockbuster, with the Hollywood studios increasingly intent on producing a smaller number of very high budget films with massive marketing and promotional backing.The" blockbusters" were being shown in 70mm in key theaters, as the "flagships" of the distribution. That "big movie" approach still continues, but mass distribution of many 35mm prints to far more screens, has superceded the 1970s "flagship theater" strategy, killing off the 70mm epic presentation by the early 90s.

The 1970s had also seen a big increase in adult cinemas and the legal production of softcore and hardcore pornographic films in the U.S. Soft core, The Stewardesses, in a revival of 3D, was the first high grossing film to bring discreet sex and nudity into mainstream theaters and earned 300 times its production cost. Later Deep Throat and it's star Linda Lovelace became something of a phenomenon and lead to a spate of similar sex films throughout the decade in special adult venues. These theaters would finally die out with the introduction of VCR technology in the 1980s, which brought hardcore porn directly into the home.

The early '70s also alerted English language audiences to the new West German cinema, with Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders among its leading exponents.

The end of the decade saw the first major international interest in Australian cinema. Peter Weir's films Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave and Fred Schepisi's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith gained critical acclaim, while George Miller's violent futuristic actioner Mad Max was a substantial hit in 1979 and marked the beginning of Australian attempts to target the international market.

The '80s: sequels, blockbusters and videotape

The shift that occurred in the 1980s from seeing movies in a theater to watching videos on a VCR, is a move close to the original concepts of Thomas Edison. In the early part of that decade, the movie studios tried legal action to ban home ownership of VCRs as a violation of copyright, which proved unsuccessful. That proved most fortunate, however, as the sale and rental of their movies on home video became a significant source of revenue for the movie companies. THX Ltd, a division of Lucasfilm launched in 1982, included [4] Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980); After Hours (1985); The King of Comedy (1983).

The well proven strategy, of using a limited number of 70mm prints to dazzle the public, gradually fell by the wayside as smaller auditoriums were being built in multi-cinemas in the late eighties. The architects, and accountants managed to kill a key ingredient in the magic of the movies, by eliminating the larger screen and audience possible with 70mm. Since the early ninties, almost all movies are presented in the same attenuated scale.

The Digital Age

After the decade of the 1970s helped define the blockbuster motion picture, the way Hollywood released its films changed. Now films, for the most part, would premiere in an much wider number of theatres (and screens) in 35mm only, although, to this day, a few movies premiere using the route of the limited/roadshow release system in very limited simultaneous 70mm IMAX release. Until this new "Digital Age", the primary way for audiences to see their favorite films again and again was to re-release films, but the medium of home video VHS & DVD would change all of this.

Among the terms most associated with this new era include:

The '90s, and new Millenium: technical advances

The history of film and video distributed online began in the year 1994 with the first public showing of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. In the 1990s, cinema slowly began the process of making another transition, from physical film stock to digital cinema technology. By early 2006 there are still only about 200 modern digital installations in North America. That will be changing rapidly, due to the recent success of 3D stereo animation films. Polar Express in IMAX (film) 3D, earned an amazing 14 times as much per screen as in flat (2D) version. Disney's Chicken Little did very well in digital 3D. Now 7 animation features are scheduled for release in 2006 in digital 3D or IMAX 3D. Ironically, this "gimmick" is now helping to transform the mainstream method for the theatrical presentation of films, by encouraging digital projection.

Meanwhile, in the home video realm, the DVD has become the new standard for watching movies after their standard theatrical releases. This will soon evolve into high-definition (HD) with HD DVD or Sony Blu-ray disks, as tens of millions of people now own HD TV big-screens. Theaters will likely have to innovate to lure people from their home theater systems.

Film theory

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Film theory seeks to develop concise, systematic concepts that apply to the study of film/cinema as art. Classical film theory provides a structural framework to address classical issues of techniques, narrativity, diegesis, cinematic codes, "the image", genre, subjectivity, and authorship. More recent analysis has given rise to psychoanalytical film theory, structuralist film theory, feminist film theory and others.

History

The Italian futurist Ricciotto Canudo (1879-1923) is considered to be the very first theoretician of cinema. He published his manifesto The Birth of the Seventh Art in 1911. Another early attempt was The Photoplay (1916) by the psychologist Hugo Münsterberg.

Classical film theory took shape during the era of silent film. It emerged from the works of directors like Germaine Dulac, Louis Delluc, Jean Epstein, Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov, Dziga Vertov, Paul Rotha and film critics like Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs and Siegfried Kracauer. It was not an academic discipline.

In the 1960s, film theory took up residence in academe, importing concepts from established disciplines like psychoanalysis, literary studies and linguistics.

In the seventies, the British journal Screen was very influential.

During the 1990s the digital revolution in image technologies has impacted on film theory in various ways. There has been a refocus onto celluloid film's ability to capture an indexical image of a moment in time by theorists like Mary Ann Doane, Philip Rosen and Laura Mulvey. There has also been a historical revisiting of early cinema screenings, practices and spectatorship modes by writers Tom Gunning, Miriam Hansen and Yuri Tsivian.

Specific theories, styles and movements in film

Film criticism

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Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films. In general this can be divided into academic criticism by film scholars and journalistic film criticism that appears regularly in newspapers and other media.

Film critics working for newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media mainly review new releases. Normally they only see any given film once and have only a day or two to formulate opinions. Despite this, critics have an important impact of films, especially those of certain genres. Mass marketed action, horror, and comedy films tend not to be greatly affected by a critic's overall judgement of a film. The plot summary and description of a film that makes up the majority of any film review can still have an important impact on whether people decide to see a film. For prestige films such as most dramas, the influence of reviews is extremely important. Poor reviews will often deign a film to obscurity and financial loss.

The impact of reviewer on a film's box office performance is a matter of debate. Some claim that movie marketing is now so intense and well financed that reviewers cannot make an impact against it. However, the cataclysmic failure of some heavily-promoted movies that were harshly reviewed, as well as the unexpected success of critically praised independent movies indicates that extreme critical reactions can have considerable influence. Others note that positive film reviews have been shown to spark interest in little-known films. Conversely, there have been several films in which film companies have so little confidence that they refuse to give reviewers an advanced viewing to avoid widespread panning of the film. However, this usually backfires as reviewers are wise to the tactic and warn the public that the film may not be worth seeing and the films often do poorly as a result.

Some claim that journalist film critics should only be known as film reviewers, and true film critics are those who take a more academic approach to films. This work is more often known as film theory or film studies. These film critics try to come to understand why film works, how it works, and what effects it has on people. Rather than write for newspaper or appear on television their articles are published in scholarly journals, or sometimes in up-market magazines. They also tend to be affiliated with universities.

The motion picture industry

The making and showing of motion pictures became a source of profit almost as soon the process was invented. Upon seeing how successful their new invention, and its product, was in their native France, the Lumieres quickly set about touring the Continent to exhibit the first films privately to royalty and publicly to the masses. In each country, they would normally add new, local scenes to their catalogue and, quickly enough, found local entrepreneurs in the various countries of Europe to buy their equipment and photograph, export, import and screen additional product commercially. The Oberammergau Passion play of 1898 was the first commercial motion picture ever produced. Other pictures soon followed, and motion pictures became a separate industry that overshadowed the vaudeville world. Dedicated theaters and companies formed specifically to produce and distribute films, while motion picture actors became major celebrities and commanded huge fees for their performances. Already by 1917, Charlie Chaplin had a contract that called for an annual salary of one million dollars.

In the United States today, much of the film industry is centered around Hollywood. Other regional centers exist in many parts of the world, and the Indian film industry (primarily centered around "Bollywood") annually produces the largest number of films in the world. (Whether the ten thousand plus features a year produced by the Valley porn industry should qualify for this title is the source of some debate.) Though the expense involved in making movies has led cinema production to concentrate under the auspices of movie studios, recent advances in affordable film making equipment have allowed independent film productions to flourish.

Profit is a key force in the industry, due to the costly nature of filmmaking; yet many filmmakers strive to create works of lasting social significance. The Academy Awards (also known as The Oscars) are the most prominent film awards in the United States, providing recognition each year to films, ostensibly based on their artistic merits. Also, film quickly came to be used in education, in lieu of or in addition to lectures and texts.

Stages of filmmaking

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The nature of the film determines the size and type of crew required during filmmaking. Many Hollywood adventure films need computer generated imagery (CGI), created by dozens of 3D modellers, animators, rotoscopers and compositors. However, a low-budget, independent film may be made with a skeleton crew, often paid very little. Filmmaking takes place all over the world using different technologies, styles of acting and genre, and is produced in a variety of economic contexts that range from state-sponsored documentary in China to profit-oriented movie making within the American studio system.

A typical Hollywood-style filmmaking production cycle comprises five main stages:

  1. Development
  2. Preproduction
  3. Production
  4. Post-production
  5. Distribution

This production cycle typically takes three years. The first year is taken up with development. The second year comprises preproduction and production. The third year, post-production and distribution.

Development

This is the stage where an idea is fleshed out into a viable script. The producer of the movie will find a story, which may be from books, other films, true stories, original ideas, etc. Once the theme, or underlying message, has been identified, a synopsis will be prepared.

This is followed by a step outline, which breaks the story down into one-paragraph scenes, concentrating on the dramatic structure. A treatment is produced, a 25- to 30-page description of the story, its mood, and characters, with little dialog and stage direction, often containing drawings to help visualize the key points.

A distributor will be contacted to assess the likely market for the particular genre of the movie.

The screenplay is then written over a period of perhaps six months, and may be rewritten several times to improve the dramatization, clarity, structure, characters, dialog, and overall style.

The movie pitch is then prepared and directors are approached to see if the movie can be continued. If the pitch is successful, then financial backing will be required from a major studio, film council or independent investors. The deal is negotiated, and contracts signed.

Preproduction

In preproduction, the movie is designed and planned. The production company is created and a production office established. The production will be storyboarded and budgets allocated. The shooting schedule will also be drawn up at this stage.

The production sets, costumes, makeup, music, and sound will all be designed, and the crew will be recruited for the following roles:

  • The director is responsible for the overall look and feel of the movie. A director is usually the primary creative force behind a motion picture.
  • The casting director hires actors for the necessary roles. Sometimes this requires an audition on the part of the actor, but many parts, especially lead roles, are handed out based on an actor's reputation and "star power."
  • The location manager manages detail surrounding filming on location. The majority of a modern motion picture is shot in a studio, but occasionally outdoor sequences will call for filming outside the studio, on location.
  • The production manager manages the production budget and schedule. He or she also reports on behalf of the production office to the financiers.
  • The director of photography (DOP) designs and coordinates the picture and lighting. He or she cooperates with the director, first assistant director (1AD), director of audiography (DOA) and assistant director (AD). He or she may also be listed in the credits as cinematographer. There is no real difference between the titles.
  • The production designer designs the look and feel of the setting and costumes.
  • The storyboard artist/graphic designer helps the director and production designer communicate their ideas by creating artwork for the production.
  • The director of audiography (DOA) designs and coordinates the sound and music. He or she cooperates with the director, 1AD, DOP, and AD. This role is common in Bollywood films but usually overlooked in Hollywood films, where dialog is often replaced in post-production.
  • The sound designer creates new sounds with the help of foley artists.
  • The music composer creates new music.
  • The choreographer creates and coordinates the movement and dance, typically for musicals, although some films credit a fight choreographer.

Production

"Production" is the actual creation of a film. More crew will be recruited at this stage, such as the property master, script supervisor/continuity, assistant directors, stills photographer, picture editor, and sound editor. Actual shooting is also referred to as principal photography.

A typical day's shooting begins with a schedule being distributed by the director. The settings will be constructed and the props and camera set up appropriately. The lighting is rigged and the actors put on their costumes and make-up.

The script and blocking is rehearsed. This is vital for the picture and sound crews. The action is then shot with as many "takes" as necessary.

Each take of a shot is marked by a "clapperboard," which helps the editor keep track of the takes in post-production. The clapperboard records the scene, take, director, producer, date and name of the film written on the front, displayed for the camera. The clapperboard also serves the necessary function of providing a marker to sync up the film and the sound take. Sound is recorded on a separate apparatus from the film and they must be synched up in post-production.

The director will then check to see if the shot was "good" or "not good". The continuity, sound, and camera teams mark every take as either G or NG on their own report sheet. Each report sheet records special facts about every take.

When shooting is finished for the scene, the director declares a "wrap." The crew will "strike," or dismantle, the set for that scene. The director approves the next day's shooting schedule and a daily progress report is sent to the production office. This includes the report sheets for continuity, sound and camera teams. Call sheets are distributed to the cast and crew to tell them when and where to turn up the next day.

For productions using traditional film, the day's takes, known as rushes are sent to the laboratory for processing overnight. Once processed, they become known as dailies and are viewed in the evening by the director and selected cast and crew. For productions using digital technologies, shots are downloaded and organized on a computer for display as dailies.

When the entire film is finished, or "in the can," the production office holds the wrap party for all cast and crew.

Post-production

Here the movie is assembled. During this stage, the movie is edited and the visual effects composited. The voice recordings are synchronized and the final sound mix is created. The sound mix combines sound effects, background sounds, foleys, ADR, dialog, walla, and music.

The titles are added and the movie is locked, resulting in the final cut. The edit decision list (EDL) is generated and the master negative (film) or edit from the master tapes (video) created. An answer print of the movie (containing sound) is produced from the master and duplicated to create a theatrical release print.

The movie will be previewed with the target audience and their reactions gauged. Any changes to the movie may then be made following audience feedback.

Distribution

This is the final stage, where the movie is released to theaters or, occasionally, to DVD or VHS. The movie is duplicated as required for theatrical distribution. Press kits, posters, and other advertising materials are published and the movie is advertised.

The movie will usually be launched with a launch party, press releases, interviews with the press, showings of the film at a press preview, and film festivals. It is also common to create a Web site to accompany the movie.

The movie will play at selected theaters and the DVD is typically released a few months later. The distribution rights for the movie and DVD are also usually sold for worldwide distribution. Any profits are divided between the distributor and the production company.

Film crew

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A film crew is a group of people hired by a film company for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. Crew are distinguished from cast, the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film.

Production Team

These are the senior personnel responsible for the creation of a film:

Film producer
A person or persons responsible for accepting or creating, securing or providing financing for, and controlling from a business perspective the project to be filmed, on behalf of the film production company. Films may have many "producer"-like credits, which suggest a priority from "Executive Producer" to "Producer" to "Co-Producer" to "Associate Producer" to "Line Producer"; in Europe, there is also a credit which translates as "Production Director" and appears to be similar to a Line Producer. However, in some cases, one or more of these may be "honorary" titles accorded film financiers, and the exact tasks of each type of "producer" can vary widely across films, companies, countries and periods in the history of Film. In general, however, as the producer is financing the project, he/she will have some say in the creative process including, if he/she originates the project, as in the days of the studio system, selecting major actors, the film director and other major artistic staff.In the USA, in recent decades, producers have organized under the Producers Guild of America.
Line producer
A type of Film Producer with on-set, day-to-day responsibility for the making of the film, in terms of keeping the production on schedule and within budget, and making executive decisions during artistic conflicts or in unexpected circumstances.
Production manager 
Responsible for tracking expenses versus budget and making sure production stays on schedule. May assist the Line Producer or serve that role in the absence of a separate Line Producer.
Writer
The person(s) responsible for the script - plot development, character development, dialogue and general scenic descriptions - which constitutes the core of the production.
Film director 
Responsible for translating the script into a dramatic performance, working directly with the actors to develop characters and actions, and collaborating with the other major behind-camera artists in their contributions to the film, and making final artistic decisions in the face of disputes or options. In the USA, directors currently belong to a guild, the D.G.A. Directors Guild of America ( http://www.dga.org/ ).
Assistant director
Assists and collaborates with the director in the performance of his/her duties, may physically direct secondary scenes, extras shots, and substitute for the director in his/her absence on the primary shooting. Guild in the USA: D.G.A. Directors Guild of America ( http://www.dga.org/ ), the same as of the Film Directors.
Unit manager 
The "production manager" for special or secondary "unit" shooting.
Script supervisor/continuity person (formerly script girl
Keeps track of what parts of the script have been filmed and makes notes of any deviations between what was actually filmed and what appeared in the script. Ensures that consistency is maintained from shot to shot.

Primary Production Artists

These are some of the persons, in addition to the director, who are primarily responsible for the execution of the production:

Production designer 
Person responsible for creating the physical, visual appearance of the film - settings, costumes, properties, character makeup, all taken as a unit. The term was created in 1939 in respect for the amount and level of design work single-handedly accomplished by William Cameron Menzies on the film Gone with the Wind. Previously, and often subsequently, the person(s) with the same responsibility had been called Art directors.
Art director 
See Production Designer. In the presence of a Production Designer credit, the AD more directly oversees artists and craftspeople who carry out the production design.
Set designer
The architect who actually realizes structures or interior spaces called for by the production design.
Location manager
The person(s) responsible for locating existing natural or manmade segments of the environment to be used in the production, in lieu of especially constructed settings, according to the production design; and arranging for their usage with their owners.
Set decorator
The person(s) responsible for building or acquiring, and placing, set furnishings called for in the production design.

Camera and lighting

Cinematographer or director of photography 
A cinematographer (from 'cinema photographer') is one photographing with a motion picture camera. The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP or DoP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and techical decisions related to the image. The cinematographer is sometimes also the camera operator. The term cinematographer has been a point of contention for some time now; some professionals insist that it only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person, although this is far from being uniformly the case. To most, cinematographer and director of photography are interchangeable terms.
The English system of camera department hierarchy sometimes firmly separates the duties of the director of photography from that of the camera operator to the point that the DP often has no say whatsoever over more purely operating-based visual elements such as framing. In this case, the DP is often credited as a lighting cameraman. This system means that the director will consult together with both the lighting cameraman for lighting and filtration, and the operator for framing and lens choices.
The American system tends to be the more widely-adopted, in which the rest of the camera department is totally subordinate to the DP, who with the director is the final word on all decisions related to both lighting and framing.
Guilds: A.S.C. American Society of Cinematographers, B.S.C. British Society of Cinematographers
Camera operator 
Works under Cinematographer to set up and choreograph shots. Physically operates the camera during shots.
Focus puller (First assistant camera) 
Responsible for keeping camera in focus during a take. Assists camera operator.
Clapper loader (Second assistant camera), formerly clap boy 
Operates clapboard at beginning of each take and loads film stock into film magazines. Assists first assistant camera.
Gaffer 
Chief electrician
Best boy 
Assistant to gaffer
Key grip 
Supervisor of the grips. Grips are responsible for jobs such as setting up equipment and moving props.
Light technician 
Sets up and controls lighting equipment

Production sound

Production sound mixer 
Head of sound department on the set. Responsible for recording all sound on a set.
Boom operator 
Assistant to production sound mixer. Responsible for microphone placement and movement during a take.
Recording mixer 

Postproduction picture

Film editor 
Assembles the separate takes into a coherent motion picture. Typically, the editor follows the screenplay as the guide for establishing the structure of the story and then uses his/her talents to assemble the various shots and takes for greater, clearer artistic effect. An important guild in the United States is the American Cinema Editors (A.C.E.).
Chyron operator 
Creates titles and/or text graphics. (Chryon is a brand name for a character generator.)
Color timer 
Works in film lab to adjust the film color balance.

Postproduction sound

In the traditional Hollywood system

Dialogue editor 
Responsible for balancing, assembling and editing all the dialog in the soundtrack.
Sound effects editor 
Responsible for balancing, assembling and editing all the sound effects in the soundtrack.

Northern California system

Sound designer 
Responsible for all aspects of a film's audio track. (See Walter Murch, Skywalker Sound.)

Common to both systems

Music supervisor 
Works with composer, mixers and editors to create and integrate the film's music. Also known as musical director.
Music editor 
Foley artist 
Creates and records sound effects.
Re-recording mixer 
Mixes together all the final sound elements, including dialog, music and sound effects.

Independent filmmaking

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Filmmaking also takes place outside of the Hollywood studio system, and is commonly called independent filmmaking.

An independent film (or indie film) is a film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major movie studio. Creative, business, and technological reasons have all contributed to the growth of the indie film scene in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Creatively, it was becoming increasingly difficult to get studio backing for experimental films. Experimental elements in theme and style are inhibitors for the big studios.

On the business side, the costs of big-budget studio films also leads to conservative choices in cast and crew. The problem is exacerbated by the trend towards co-financing (over two-thirds of the films put out by Warner Bros. in 2000 were joint ventures, up from 10% in 1987). An unproven director is almost never given the opportunity to get his or her big break with the studios unless he or she has significant industry experience in film or television. Films with unknowns, particularly in lead roles, are also rarely produced.

Until the advent of digital alternatives, the cost of professional film equipment and stock was also a hurdle to being able to produce, direct, or star in a traditional studio film. The cost of 35mm film is outpacing inflation: in 2002 alone, film negative costs were up 23%, according to Variety. Film requires expensive lighting and post-production facilities.

But the advent of consumer camcorders in 1985, and more importantly, the arrival of high-resolution digital video in the early 1990s, have lowered the technology barrier to movie production significantly. Both production and post-production costs have been significantly lowered; today, the hardware and software for post-production can be installed in a commodity-based personal computer. Technologies such as DVDs, IEEE 1394 connections and non-linear editing system pro-level software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, and consumer level software such as Final Cut Express and iMovie make movie-making relatively inexpensive.

Since the introduction of DV technology, the means of production have become more democratized. Filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a movie, create and edit the sound and music, and mix the final cut on a home computer. However, while the means of production may be democratized, financing, distribution, and marketing remain difficult to accomplish outside the traditional system. Most independent filmmakers rely on film festivals to get their films noticed and sold for distribution.

Animation

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Animation is the technique in which each frame of a film is produced individually, whether generated as a computer graphic, or by photographing a drawn image, or by repeatedly making small changes to a model unit (see claymation and stop motion), and then photographing the result with a special animation camera. When the frames are strung together and the resulting film is viewed at a speed of 16 or more frames per second, there is an illusion of continuous movement (due to the persistence of vision). Generating such a film is very labour intensive and tedious, though the development of computer animation has greatly sped up the process.

Graphics file formats like GIF, MNG, SVG and Flash allow animation to be viewed on a computer or over the Internet.

Because animation is very time-consuming and often very expensive to produce, the majority of animation for TV and movies comes from professional animation studios. However, the field of independent animation has existed at least since the 1950s, with animation being produced by independent studios (and sometimes by a single person). Several independent animation producers have gone on to enter the professional animation industry.

Limited animation is a way of increasing production and decreasing costs of animation by using "short cuts" in the animation process. This method was pioneered by UPA and popularized (some say exploited) by Hanna-Barbera, and adapted by other studios as cartoons moved from movie theaters to television.

Film venues

When it is initially produced, a film is normally shown to audiences in a movie theater. The first theater designed exclusively for cinema opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1905. Thousands of such theaters were built or converted from existing facilities within a few years. In the United States, these theaters came to be known as nickelodeons, because admission typically cost a nickel (five cents).

Typically, one film is the featured presentation (or feature film). There were "double features"; typically, a high quality "A picture" rented by an independent theater for a lump sum, and a "B picture" of lower quality rented for a percentage of the gross receipts. Today, the bulk of the material shown before the feature film (those in theaters) consists of previews for upcoming movies and paid advertisements (also known as trailers or "The Twenty").

Originally, all films were made to be shown in movie theaters. The development of television has allowed films to be broadcast to larger audiences, usually after the film is no longer being shown in theaters. Recording technology has also enabled consumers to rent or buy copies of films on video tape or DVD (and the older formats of laserdisc, VCD and SelectaVision—see also videodisc), and Internet downloads may be available and have started to become revenue sources for the film companies. Some films are now made specifically for these other venues, being released as made-for-TV movies or direct-to-video movies. These are often considered to be of inferior quality compared to theatrical releases. And indeed, some films that are rejected by their own studios upon completion are dumped into these markets.

The movie theater pays an average of about 55% of its ticket sales to the movie studio, as film rental fees. The actual percentage starts with a number higher than that, and decreases as the duration of a film's showing continues, as an incentive to theaters to keep movies in the theater longer. However, today's barrage of highly marketed movies ensures that most movies are shown in first-run theaters for less than 8 weeks. There are a few movies every year that defy this rule, often limited-release movies that start in only a few theaters and actually grow their theater count through good word-of-mouth and reviews. According to a 2000 study by ABN AMRO, about 26% of Hollywood movie studios' worldwide income came from box office ticket sales; 46% came from VHS and DVD sales to consumers; and 28% came from television (broadcast, cable, and pay-per-view).

Development of film technology

Filmstock consists of a transparent celluloid, polyester, or other plastic base coated with an emulsion containing light-sensitive chemicals. Cellulose nitrate was the first type of film base used to record motion pictures, but due to its flammability was eventually replaced by safer materials. Stock widths and the film format for images on the reel have had a rich history, though most large commercial films are still shot on (and distributed to theaters) as 35 mm prints.

Originally moving picture film was shot at various speeds using hand-cranked cameras; then the speed for mechanized cameras and projectors was standardized at 16 frames per second, which was faster than much existing hand-cranked footage. A new standard speed, 24 frames per second, came with the introduction of sound. Improvements since the late 1800s include the mechanization of cameras, allowing them to record at a consistent speed, the invention of more sophisticated filmstocks and lenses, allowing directors to film in increasingly dim conditions, and the development of synchronized sound, allowing sound to be recorded at exactly the same speed as its corresponding action. The soundtrack can be recorded separately from shooting the film, but for live-action pictures many parts of the soundtrack are usually recorded simultaneously.

As a medium, film is not limited to motion pictures, since the technology developed as the basis for photography. It can be used to present a progressive sequence of still images in the form of a slideshow. Film has also been incorporated into multimedia presentations, and often has importance as primary historical documentation. However, historic films have problems in terms of preservation and storage, and the motion picture industry is exploring many alternatives. Most movies on cellulose nitrate base have been copied onto modern safety films. Some studios save three B&W negatives exposed through red, green, and blue filters. Digital methods have also been used to restore and preserve films. Film preservation of decaying film stock is a matter of concern to both film historians and archivists, and to companies interested in preserving their existing products in order to make them available to future generations (and thereby increase revenue).

Some films in recent decades have been recorded using analog video technology similar to that used in television production. Modern digital video cameras and digital projectors are gaining ground as well. These approaches are extremely beneficial to moviemakers, especially because footage can be evaluated and edited without waiting for the film stock to be processed. Yet the migration is gradual, and as of 2005 most major motion pictures are still recorded on film.

Endurance of films

Films have been around for more than a century, however this is not long when you consider it in relation to other arts like painting and sculpture. Many believe that film will be a long enduring art form because motion pictures appeal to diverse human emotions.

Apart from societal norms and cultural changes, there are still close resemblances between theatrical plays throughout the ages and films of today. Romantic motion pictures about a girl loving a guy but not being able to be together for some reason, movies about a hero who fights against all odds a more powerful fiendish enemy, comedies about everyday life, etc. all involve plots with common threads that existed in books, plays and other venues.

The reason motion pictures endure is because people still want escapism, adventure, inspiration, humor and to be moved emotionally. Civilization develops and changes, at least in surface features, and so calls for a constant renewal of artistic means to channel these desires. Films provide them in an accessible and powerful way.

See also

Wikibooks

Basic types of film

Lists

plus:

Other

References

  • Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (ed.). The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0198742428
  • Hagener, Malte, and Töteberg, Michael. Film: An International Bibliography. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2002. ISBN 3-476-01523-8
  • Vogel, Amos. Film As a Subversive Art. Weidenfeld & Nichols, 1974.
  • The Oxford History of World Cinema, Oxford University Press, 1999; Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, ed.
  • Glorious Technicolor: The Movies' Magic Rainbow, Fred E. Basten. AS Barnes & Company, 1980
  • Reel Women. Pioneers of the Cinema. 1896 to the Present by Ally Acker, London: B.T.Batsford 1991
  • Reel Racism. Confronting Hollywood's Construction of Afro-American Culture, Vincent F. Rocchio, Westview Press 2000
  • New Hollywood Cinema: An Introduction, Geoff King . Columbia University Press, 2002.
  • Notes on Film Noir Paul Schrader. Film Comment. '84?
  • Celluloid Mavericks: A History of American Independent Film by Greg Merritt; Thunder's Mouth Press 2001
  • Africa shoots back. Alternative perspectives in sub-saharan francophone african film by Melissa Thackway, Indiana University Press 2003
  • Glorious Technicolor; directed by Peter Jones. Based on the book (above); written by Basten & Jones. Documentary, (1998).
  • Francesco Casetti, Theories of Cinema, 1945-1990, Paperback Edition, University of Texas Press 1999
  • The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, Oxford University Press 1998
  • Walters Faber, Helen Walters, Algrant (Ed.), Animation Unlimited: Innovative Short Films Since 1940, HarperCollins Publishers 2004
  • Trish Ledoux, Doug Ranney, Fred Patten (Ed.), Complete Anime Guide: Japanese Animation Film Directory and Resource Guide, Tiger Mountain Press 1997
  • Steven Spielberg in The making of Jurassic Park

External links

Look up [[wiktionary:{{{1|Special:Search/Film}}}|{{{1|Film}}}]] in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

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