The future is already here, right? Did you not see Avatar. We’ve made it. There is no room for improvement in the world of cinema. Wrong. There’s a bunch of awesome technologies just on the horizon that may change film forever.
Back in 2001, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a thing. It was hyped to be the future of cinema and usher in a new age of CGI actors. Sadly, that didn’t work out with Final Fantasy making $85 million from a $137 million budget.
The technology for CGI since 2001 has improved drastically. With nearly every blockbuster released today using some element of CGI. Even the technology used to record CGI characters using the means of motion capture has improved. It’s a proven success with films such as Avatar, being the highest grossing film of all time.
We have CGI characters already, and everyday CGI in films is getting better. However, these characters are based off human movement. In the near future, we could expect to see our first complete CGI Actor. One that isn’t based off any real-life person and is in fact their own identity (of sorts).
Already huge in the gentlemen’s cinema, it’s now starting to cross over to the big screen. The biggest release to date is Hardcore Henry which, filmed entirely in point-of-view, manage to prove that POV is concept that can work. The initial idea for Hardcore Henry started in a short YouTube video found below.
Coupling this new method of filming with the emerging technology of Virtual Reality we could see a future with VR films that allow the viewer to look where they want and at what they want, providing another layer of challenge to film directors and allowing audiences to feel even more immersed.
As mentioned, VR can be a technology we may see take off if produced correctly for cinema. Interest in VR is already happening with big companies such as Facebook with their Oculus Rift. Additionally, Google is attempting to show the capabilities in film with VR by releasing short films on YouTube that are compatible with 360 viewing. The trailer below is for the short film Pearl that has been made for VR by the director of the short film Feast which won Patrick Osbourne as Oscar.
This may challenge what the definition of ‘film’ really is, as VR and the ability for the viewer to look where they want takes away one of the fundamentals to cinematography: framing. But, I feel that this will only be considered a challenge for a new-age of directors and cinematographers on how a scene can be set up to draw the attention at key points and add layers of intrigue in others.
Now, it’s time to get creepy. Disney’s research team have come out with FaceDirector. A software which allows directors and editors to change, blend and merge actors performances to work in the way they envisioned. The video above explains more.
This sort of technology has already been used. It was used in Star Wars – Episode III by George Lucas. They blurred together multiple takes of one shot to create a new shot that Lucas felt happier with. The edit comes in at 1:24.
In the near-future, what it means to be an actor may drastically change, with actors’ performances being edited in post if the director doesn’t like a certain take. If this technology grows, then would a good actor be necessary? Wouldn’t it be easier to get a pretty face and plaster the correct emotional faces onto them?
Now we’re getting into science-fiction, right? Wrong. The technology is here, however perhaps not how it was imagined in shows like Star Trek. The basic concept being that a viewer can experience a film first hand. They can be part of the film, they could be the lead character.
The film experience also wouldn’t have to be singular. It could be a collaborative vision, with your friends making live appearances in the film that you are watching. This really challenges what it is for something to still be considered a film, the divide between video gaming interactivity and the film industries targeted singular broadcasting may blur.
I feel as though POV was the first step, leading to VR and ending with Holodecks. Audiences want to be transported to magnificent worlds and the technology is out there. A Holodeck doesn’t necessarily have to be a room where holograms are projected. It may take the form of augmented reality whereby the viewer wears a headset and the virtual world is projected onto their current surroundings.
Although I’d love to discuss in full our new robot overlords, I’ll attempt to keep this strictly to the movies. The robots of the future will replace many jobs from today. Many people feel as though only manual jobs will be replaced. However as detailed in the video above, robots may also be able to replace more creative jobs. Including music and I think possibly film.
Extensive research is already done into trying to understand what audiences like in films. If a software, which combined the data of what audiences like, were able to make its own film it may produce some of the best films of all time. Now, this may be a stretch and many will disagree. But, like all on this list, it’s already happening.
The trailers that all seem the same feel that way for a reason. Marketers do an incredible amount of research on people’s reactions to trailers. They use heart monitors and eye trackers to understand what works and what doesn’t. The next time you see a trailer for a new blockbuster, notice how it follows the same pattern.
Hopefully I have terrified and excited you. What do you think will be the future of film? Do you agree with some of my predictions?
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