Saturday, 8 July 2006

Film effects

While talking to J- today about film effects, I stumbled onto the Digital Air site, a firm that deals with digital manipulation of multiple cameras, and I thought it was quite cool how they described and demonstrated the various effects possible.

Which made me think: how much of our acceptance of even basic effects involving time in films (fast forward, reverse, etc.) is based on our experience of them, simply because film-watching (or film fast-forwarding/rewinding?) is such a common part of modern life? Did we have to learn to accept time effects as being a natural vocabulary of films, or was that innate? I mean, they are so obviously artificial, but at this point it's hard for me to even think of fast forward, reverse, etc as being "special effects" at all - they're just part of the language of films, like jump-cuts (although of course even jump cuts can be special, for instance the famous Lawrence of Arabia jump-cut).

In fact, how much did we have to learn to accept films, to distinguish them from reality? I think about those (possibly apocryphal) stories of people watching The Great Train Robbery and running from the theatre screaming... yet I think even 5-year-olds these days know the difference between film and reality.

Going back to the virtual camera idea, I was thinking what it would be like if you could use that multiple-camera + computer setup for live sporting events. Not just for dramatic effect as in a finish line, but let's say to judge the difference between diving and being legitimately foulled by viewing it at any conceivable angle.

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