By Adarsh Matham
09th September 2012 12:00 AM
If I were in-charge of this world I would have space-elevators and jetpacks ready by tomorrow. That is how much I would love technology to change the world. But even for someone as welcoming of technical change as me, there are somethings that I would like not to change at all. Like steam trains. Traditional foods, ancient buildings. And cinema.
There was news recently that the Rajinikanth-starrer Sivaji is to be converted into 3D. And almost every movie made nowadays is made using digital cameras instead of 35mm print, and is projected digitally even in the smallest towns. Hollywood is aggressively pushing the digital format because it saves the studios loads of money on distribution, and storage charges. Indian film makers are taking to the digital partly because of the freedom it offers them in terms of saving money, and ease of use. If Ram Gopal Varma could make a Telugu movie in five days, and if he could portray the weirdest camera angles in the film Department, that is because of the ease of use of digital cameras.
There is a saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. While it does not apply to a lot of things, it does certainly apply to film making. Take the 3D for example. The 3D films you see today are made in either of two ways. Ten percent of them are made the way Cameron made Avatar. Using specially-made 3D cameras, which capture the scenes in stereoscope. The rest 90 per cent are made as normal 2D movies and then are converted to 3D in post production, like everything from Avengers to Sivaji. Of the two, Cameron’s method is a little better for us the audience. On the other hand, the 3D conversion is the worst thing that ever happened to cinema. If done right, it produces films like the Avengers, which you can watch with a hint of a headache. If made like Manoj N Shyamalan’s ‘epic’ The Last Airbender, all you get is some dark patches on the screen.
And digital cinema. It can be cost effective and liberating for the film makers. For audience though it takes the magic out of cinema. When you use 35mm film in a projector, it has a texture, a character of its own that gives it a romance. And when that film ages, its crunch adds to the experience of watching a movie. To put that in perspective imagine Once Upon a Time in the West being made in digital. It would be as boring as putting my life story on the screen.
Even though film makers like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino are standing up for the atrocities like 3D and digital, I have a sneaking suspicion that the assault on the good old cinema is not going to stop and just like steam trains I just have to bemoan another bygone era. 4D cinema? Don’t even start.
The writer is a tech geek. Email: email@example.com
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