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welcome to Technical Aspects of Film

The Muse Of Film welcomes you to this exploration of the technical aspects of film.


About this feature

Ever wonder why filmmaking is considered by people who work in the film industry to be a technical subject? Popular Hollywood- and Bollywood-style motion pictures are so natural and easy to watch, to many laymen moving pictures don't seem to require much technical effort to produce.

Why do films like these seem so easy to make? Because they're not.

The majority of entertainment movies like these actually are very technically demanding. So are most other kinds of films. They may be fun for audiences, but they're a virtual hell for filmmakers.

In most films, producers go to great pains to make sure that the technology they exploit is maintained at a very high level; if high levels weren't employed, quality would fall. But producers also go to great pains to mask the technology; otherwise, the technical nuts-and-bolts would detract from the film's realism and entertainment. Many things happen behind the scenes that audiences don't see because cadres of technocrats work extra hard to hide them.

Film technology is not anywhere as complex, esoteric, or as hard to comprehend as the LHC particle accelerator at SLAC. The technical challenges films present are not nearly as difficult or costly to overcome. But neither are they easy or something to ignore.

In this feature, The Muse Of Film explores some of the challenges that film technology has overcome and has yet to overcome. The Muse is not just interested in examining the techniques and technologies involved in making entertainment flicks. The Muse addresses the technology of film in all its fields and in all its aspects, from still photography to high tech moving pictures; from high speed photography to underwater photography; from exposing and developing film to archiving it.

In the sense used in this feature, film is motion pictures collectively: the motion-picture industry, its productions, and its operations. Film is motion pictures as a genre, an art form, and a field.

The technology of film is not just a matter of strips of cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate coated with emulsions to digital data and television; it includes apparatus, equipment, techniques, and technologies arising in all aspects of film, from taking pictures to making movies to selling, showing, and distributing them.

Film technology isn't getting simpler; it's getting more complicated. 4-D movies are on the way, 3-D movies in cinemas with seats that rock and special effects like wind, fog, strobe lights and scents that are synchronized with the on-screen action. Surround sound systems with loudspeakers that circle overhead and all the way around are just around the corner.

In this feature, you'll keep abreast with what's going on, what's coming, and how we got here.

Birth of the film industry—the advent of motion pictures—An overview of the people and events who created the film industry

The motion picture arts and sciences, as the movie field is called today, are an art form, a collection of technologies and equipment, a set of standards, and a group of techniques for making motion pictures. But movies are much more; they're a social and cultural milieu and an artistic ambiance. They're an agglomeration of skills and people with certain points of view.

  • In this feature, The Muse Of Film chronicles the birth of the film industry and the advent of motion pictures. See this feature at the page titled Birth Of The Film Industry, Page 1 - Moving Image Curiosities: click here.

The glossary of film terms

The Glossary Of Film Terms is a collection of definitions of terms commonly used by the movie industry. Many are technological.

These terms stretch back to the invention of moving pictures and to the inception of movie making for fun and profit. They span well 100 years and reach from before Edison and the Lumière brothers up to the present day.

Do you know what the difference is between an ADR editor, a Foley artist, and an SFX editor? All three of these editors add background sounds to a movie soundtrack, but they're very different technical specialties.

What's a gaffer? Do you care? Find out more about them now at The Muse Of Film's Glossary Of Film Terminology.

  • The Muse Of Film invites you to look up terms used in the film industry and in the field of film: click here.

The Advent of motion pictures

Devices that can represent moving images have been around for a long time—since late in the second century of the common era, as a matter of fact; but the images they displayed could only be hand-drawn and the duration of presentation was measured in seconds. They possessed many other drawbacks and their representations were crude in the extreme.

  • Explore how and where motion pictures began and where they are today. See a short review of the people who brought movies to us and their place in the history of recording. It's located in the section titled The Advent Of Motion Pictures—The Magic Lantern. You'll find the section on Page 4 of the feature titled History Of Recordings And Recording—Page 4: click here.

The History of recording

Today, movies are a field in which recording technology is preeminent. Film that records images, film that moves, digital recording, 3-D film, 3-D sound, color, animation, computer-generated people, figures, and objects, and a host of other incredible developments that too many of us take for granted. None of these advances would have been possible without contributions from a host of brilliant inventors People like Gutenberg, Niépce, Daguerre, Edison, and the Lumière brothers—they stood on the shoulders of the giants who went before them.

Even so basic a development as pictures that move would not exist today without a series of technological advances that began in the 14th century, lasted 1600 years, and is still going on.

  • See how motion pictures evolved out of previous inventions and came to be. Explore the history of recording and the major technical advances that led to today's movies. Visit Electricka's feature titled About The History Of Recordings And Recording: click here.

recordings And Recording—An Historic Account

Electricka's feature titled The Account of the history of recordings and recording is a concise account of the the nexus of recordings, recording, and playback. All recording media are examined because all the arts are affected by and affect every medium, including movies.

This history treats many facets of recording and the recording industry, from technology to science to engineering; from scientists and technologists to businessmen; from research and scientific institutions to corporations to commercial outlets; and from to performers and performances to venues and the public. Because they are so tightly interwoven, knowledge of the interactions among these elements is crucial to an understanding how events in the field of recording have unfolded.

What's special about this account?

The Account is contained in The Table Of Recording History, a table that you can manipulate with your computer. Important historic and current events are concisely presented in chronological order, event-by-event, from the inception of recording to modern times.

With the aid of the table's automated facilities, you can use keywords to conveniently search entries for occurrences of text strings that represent and express your interests. Consult it to see how recording began, progressed, and burgeoned into a major industry; see the players; find the breakthroughs.

  • Explore and utilize The Table Of Recording History at Electricka's feature titled recordings And Recording—An Historic Account: click here.

ETAF Recommends

There is a superabundance of books and other materials about movies.




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