Film: Past and Present

By: James Monahan

Film. It's not just the stuff that movies need to exist. It is the embodiment of anything and everything visual, moving or not. Think motion pictures. The silver screen. Flicks. That coveted golden statue more commonly known as the Oscar. Bright lights and flash bulbs.

It is an art form that has evolved into the much-loved industry it is today. You can count on this medium to touch people's hearts, to impart a significant message, to move people to action, or to teach them a thing or two.

Wise teachers have resorted to film every once in a while when classroom discussions turn a bit dry, and well, boring. It is every person's momentary sometimes when they like to be enclosed in dark spaces and watch things happen on the silver screen. If you feel like any of these things, you know what you can turn to. Film.

You can trace the roots of film back to the days of still photography. With the development of celluloid, you can use this compound to capture moving objects in real time. In the early times, you needed a special device to see the pictures, and these could only be used by one person at a time.

With the development of the motion picture camera, these captured images could then be stored on a reel, which then led to the invention of the motion picture projector which allowed a number of people to view this presentation at the same time.

Film became known then as "moving picture shows," then, with the development of the reel, the term evolved to "motion pictures."

Nowadays, film involves skyrocketing budgets, overwhelming special effects, stunning computer graphics, and the use of sophisticated movie-making equipment or software. But they didn't have that in those old days.

In fact, they didn't even have sound with the film. They were purely visual art, until film started to portray stories with the advent of silent films. There was usually a narrator to comment on the story, and occasionally, an organist or a full-blown orchestra for grand silent film producrions.

Then arrived the 1920's. Technology had advanced enough to make filmmakers attach soundtracks to the film, that already had the speech, the music, and the sound effects that were essential to the story of the film. It allowed for a simultaneous and synchronous movie enjoyment. The film was known then as "talkies," or "talking pictures."

The last thing to be integrated in film was colour. The viewing audiences were generally indifferent to this innovation but eventually more and more movies started using colour instead of the traditional black-and-white film. Black-and-white film is rarely used nowadays except for mainly artistic reasons.

Technology just keeps on getting better and better. And with that, so does film. There are also different other elements involved in making films, such as directing, lighting, photography, story, and the talent of the actors.

Even the kind of film the movie is being shot on can improve the viewing pleasure of the audiences drastically. But nowadays more and more technology is being integrated into film. Many box-office-hits such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Spiderman could not have been recreated in the old days.

This is just to prove to you that despite critics saying the film industry is running out of stories to portray, with the advancing of technology, it at least gives us a chance to portray these stories innovatively.

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James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about film.

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