Feb 18
MOVING PICTURE by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Feb 18, 2011

Movie or Film or Motion Picture.

Motion picture is the term to describe a movie. It runs 24 frames every second where each frame is a slight variant of the previous frame so as to denote movement. The frame is a film (or slide) that represents exactly one photograph or picture.

The word film is the exact connotation of the material which was invented by George Eastman in 1889. This roll of film was made into reel that was inserted in a projector for continuous display of the captured images therein.

Movie, as I guessed it, is an abbreviation of Moving Picture. In the early days of the cinema, the movie was actually called moving picture by ordinary people simply because the first movies were like caricatures in their movements.

The cartoon is the best way to demonstrate a moving picture. The variations in the drawings clearly show the movements. And when the frames are run in the projector, there was movement indeed.

But before everything else, it was actually photography that started it all. The process of capturing images via the camera lens and into the negative which would later be developed into a photograph.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the camera was witness to historic events which were recorded in photographs. Usually for group photos like class picture, big cameras with exploding flash bulbs were used.

And then the moving picture came along. Cinematography—the art of capturing moving images– was the backbone of the motion picture. As what a cinematographer would say, “It always depends on the lens and in the lighting”

Before the turn of the century, Louis Lumiere came up with the first movie camera in 1895. This pioneering gadget gave birth to cinematography, movies and theaters. Five years later, the movie had become a major pastime in the US.

To produce a movie, the salient ingredients are, aside from the story and script, is the camera plus the medium, of course. With film as medium, producing a movie was quite expensive and time-consuming.

Shooting a movie requires a light meter and distance of the camera to the object should be measured for precision of focus. The negative had to be developed in the laboratory to be processed into positive.

Linear editing is tedious since the editor was dealing with rolls of films. The desired footages were cut and connected in the proper sequences. And the audio would be inserted in the lower part of the physical film.

As technology advanced, the motion picture was not left behind. After the generation of the video tape storages like Betamax and VHS, the new technology came to fore—CD (compact disc), DVD (Digital Video Disc) and lately the Blu Ray (high capacity disc).

Grabbing the limelight now are the digital cameras which are capable of capturing high quality videos. With the demise of the V8 and mini-dv tapes, digital cameras now use memory cards for storage.

New models of HD cameras produce high definition video with a frame size of 1980×1020 pixels. High end models can output up to 7,680×4,320 pixels which is actually bigger than the frame size of the traditional film projection.

Definitely, the digital video had clearly overtaken the quality of the traditional film. And with the kinescoping process, where the video is converted to film, there’s not much left to be desired.

The Social Network, a movie released in 2010 about the creation of Facebook, earned $200 million worldwide. It was shot with a digital camera. Same with Black Swan, a thriller about a ballerina.

David Fincher, the director of The Social Network, claims that he has been using the digital camera since 2007. And the audience didn’t care much with the difference of his product’s quality vis-à-vis with the traditional film.

For Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky, with cinematographer Matthew Libatique, used an SLR Canon with video function. Note that a single lens reflex camera is mainly used for capturing still pictures.

Another movie worth looking at is Tiny Furniture, a family drama written and directed by Lena Dunham. The digital camera she used was cheaper than the Canon used by Darren Aronofsky.

So now they’re using the term digital cinematography. Fincher used the Red camera which sells for $25,000 while Aronofsky had the $1,600 SLR Canon. But Dunham used another Canon, a lower model that sells for less than $1,000.

The big advantage for the digital camera is the unlimited takes. It took Fincher 99 takes for the opening sequence of The Social Network. Other directors would only agree since there’s almost no added cost in the number of takes with a digital camera.

Aesthetically speaking, the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Besides, most modern directors ask what aesthetic really is. You can use any camera and there’s no need to compare the output.

(This author remembers the Citer viewing in 2005. Veteran cinematographers, after knowing that the movie being shown was digital, would hurl unfriendly criticisms. So next time they asked, my automatic answer was “not digital” to stymie their attacks).

However, traditional movie makers contend that film could capture the warmth and depth of a moving picture. For digital camera users, they say that digital video has the soul because of the unique complexion it produces.

But whatever the argument is, there’s a tendency for producers to turn digital. And the main reason? It is cheaper.

Comments to this article can be sent to ajsocorro@yahoo.com


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