New technology has a long history of revolutionizing the film industry from Technicolor to the digital camera itself. In the digital age, new technologies have the potential for an exponentially larger impact on the filmmaking process. Our blog posts tend to focus on new technology in the film industry and this one is no different. In fact, there are five technological advancements on the horizon that can change everything from post-production to distribution. Here's a look at what's coming.
Robots and Artificial Intelligence are changing every industry, but one industry many wouldn't expect them to have a big impact on is the film industry. Robots are being used more and more by directors. Setting up a camera and handling it manually can be time-consuming while only producing mediocre results.
By using robots to hold the camera, filmmakers can free up the movement of the camera and get incredible shots efficiently. The movie Gravity used industrial robots frequently not only to capture shots but to also control the lights, props, and even actors. The result was an immersive space drama that made everything look all too real.
As we've covered at length on this website, camera technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Cameras are getting better in low-light, cinematic cameras are getting smaller and cheaper, resolution is getting higher and higher, there hasn't been a better time to be a videographer. The democratization of higher-end camera features drive the advancements in camera technology even in cell phones. While there are clear differences in quality between iPhones and DSLR cameras, comparisons about the photographic capabilities between these two devices have already been made. A testament to how far camera technology has come.
You may have seen videos of celebrities that turned out to be completely fake. Yet, you probably couldn't tell the difference. This forged content is commonly known as deepfakes. Deepfakes are when artificial intelligence is programmed to replicate a person's likeness in recorded video. The term deepfake comes from the technology deep learning, which is a form of artificial intelligence that uses deep learning algorithms to teach themselves how to solve problems when given large sets of data. Deep learning programs are used when swapping faces in video to create a convincing fake portrayal of someone's likeness. The potential for the technology are great and a little scary but Hollywood is looking to deepfakes as a method for filmmaking.
This Youtuber used deepfake technology to switch Alden Ehrenreich's face for Harrison Ford's in Solo: A Star Wars Story. The result is eerily believable and it got the Youtuber a job at Lucasfilms.
From pre-production with previsualization to post-production, the implications to the use of Virtual Reality in the film industry are practically endless. VR can be used in pre-production to remotely scout locations and to plan out heavy CGI scenes or it can be used to create a new visual storytelling experience in itself. Filmmakers have been attempting to create immersive stories through Virtual Reality. However, it is clear that many of these VR experiences have obstacles that blatantly disrupt the immersion. For example, the 360 degrees makes it hard to direct the viewer's attention. With video games creating stronger narratives and allowing players to make their own choices, the market for VR stories only grows as time goes on.
Filmmakers are always looking for new ways to capture scenes. For decades, it was difficult to get an aerial shot of a film; helicopters were only rented by those with big budgets but now, drones have made capturing aerial shots simple. Drones have even been used as a replacement for cameras in normal conversation scenes. DJI even shot a short film entirely on their Inspire 2 Drone to showcase its cinematic capabilities. Drones are also becoming more autonomous, being able to frame and maintain composition while performing aerial maneuvers. In 5 to 10 years, drones may be shooting films themselves with AI programming.
These are some of the new technology in the film industry to look out for in the near future. Cameras are improving while remaining inexpensive. Artificial intelligence is being used to create new visual storytelling experiences as well as realistic face swaps of actors. New technology including Drones are being used to capture aerial shots for films or replace handheld cameras altogether. Every technology has the potential to drastically change the film industry and this is only a glimpse of what's to come.