The New World of Digital Filmmaking
Digital filmmaking has opened up greater possibilities and opportunities for filmmakers than ever before, and if you are interested in breaking into the film industry, you should know as much as possible about how technology has changed the way in which movies are made. Every movie, from the massive big budget summer blockbusters, to the small independent films made on a shoestring budget by first time directors, has been changed by the advents in digital technology and filmmaking. How you use these technological advances will depend a great deal upon what you are trying to accomplish, and what type of film you want to make.
The term “digital filmmaking” can refer to a number of different processes and techniques used in modern films, and can simply mean the use of digital cameras, or more extensive digital aspects such as characters and environments created completely within a computer. Digital cameras have greatly simplified and reduced the costs of making films, as expensive film has been replaced by digital storage methods that last longer, are safer, and cost less money than film. Film itself degrades over time; the celluloid that traditional films were printed upon will actually decompose and turn into a gelatinous material over a long enough period of time. This destroys the print of the film, and a number of classic movies have been lost forever due to improper storage or protection.
Film is also extremely flammable, and a small fire can quickly grow and destroy millions of dollars worth of property and movies. Traditional film is also quite expensive, which required most directors to work with major studios that could afford the investment needed to produce a movie and shoot the feature on film. Digital filmmaking, however, does not require such costly materials, and though digital motion picture cameras are certainly expensive, the overall investment is significantly smaller.
Digital film also makes adding special effects and editing much simpler than traditional film. As most modern effects are created digitally, it is a fairly simple process to composite the digital special effects into the digital copy of the movie. Editing is also achieved more easily as computer programs allow a filmmaker or editor to easily piece together a number of digital video and audio files into a complete work, and render that edited feature out into a single file. All of these changes have helped to make the process of making a motion picture simpler, as digital filmmaking has given filmmakers greater tools for creating movies.