Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

From ‘The Art of Filmmaking’ to ‘The Ease of Filmmaking’

Having just watched “The Maltese Falcon” (1941), it got me thinking about how lucky we are to live in such a technologically advanced period in time where movies can be shot from the palm of your hand. The primary thing I took from the three 40’s classic was it’s cinematographic elements and the brilliant craftsmanship whilst working with black and white photography, a much more challenging form of filmmaking in my opinion.

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To me, the heavy focus on shadows, lighting and the effects they have on a scene are unparalleled by the rich colour pallets of current day filmmaking, which have a separate affect of their own.

Given the likeness in appearance of black and white films of the era, lighting features and the attention on what lighting adds to the picture as a whole undoubtedly goes a long way, particularly when looking at films from today. Not having anything close to the technology of today, the work involved in developing films from the 40’s, 50’ and 60’s (both b&w and colour) commands a lot of respect and admiration.

The process of making films has advanced so dramatically over the decades and it’s only getting better. Some are against the ease and endless variety of everyday devices that are capable of recording footage and at such good quality; they’re overwhelmed and find it all too much. HD recording on mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and now portable recorders like GoPros have to some, killed the art of filmmaking, as it is available to every man and his dog; however it excites me a lot.

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The endless possibilities that can be achieved with a GoPro is astonishing, the ability to record 4K quality footage from the palm of your hand is fascinating and simply incredible. Perfect exposure, crisp focus and supreme sound recording are all standard features of these amazing devices.

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GoPros have eliminated the rigging for a car chase scene. Rather than attaching a roller coaster to a studio car in order to prop up a full size, man operated cinema camera that allows for a good car chase shot, all that is needed is a GoPro and a suction cup, theoretically. Sure, it’s easier said than done, and the quality of GoPro is nowhere near cinema standards, but for aspiring filmmakers, a GoPro is your best friend.

Recently I noticed that my new iPhone is able to shoot slow motion footage at 120fps, which for a standard mobile phone is a fun little feature. Combine a few slow-mo shots with some unconventional angular shots from a GoPro and a high quality film can be created just like that. Editing programmes are standard on some computers, with iMovie making editing a breeze, adding to the simplicity of the whole process. A film can be shot, edited and exhibited within an hour.

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So with the plethora of possibilities at the fingertips of the average Joe, is it ‘the end of cinema as we know it?” Of course not. It’s an amazing achievement in technology that will simply advance the art of movie making and will bring a whole new aspect along with it.

What is possible now with GoPros, digital cameras, mobile phones and tablets is incredible. The universal online communities and social media forums such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and of course YouTube just further the simplicity of sharing and promoting content, resulting in up and comers getting recognised and appreciated.

Times have changed, and I feel it is for the better. With the amazing advancements in technology adding limitless possibilities to the art of filmmaking, anything and everything is possible, and that is truly an exciting prospect.

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