Studies and research: digital film
What is Digital Film?
The author is concerned with the effect
of the so-called digital revolution on cinema as defined
by its »super genre« as fictional live action film. What
happens to the cinema’s indexical identity if it is now
possible to generate photo realistic scenes entirely in
computer using 3-D computer animation; to modify individual
frames or whole scenes with the help of a digital paint
program; to cut, bend, stretch and stitch digitised film
images into something which has perfect photographic credibility,
although it was never actually filmed?
This essay addresses the meaning of these changes in
the filmmaking process from the point of view of the larger
cultural history of the moving image. Seen in this context,
the manual construction of images in digital cinema represents
a return to the 19th century pre-cinematic practices, when
images were hand-painted and hand-animated. At the turn
of the century, cinema was to delegate these manual techniques
to animation and define itself as a recording medium. As
cinema enters the digital age, these techniques are again
becoming common in the filmmaking process.
cinema can no longer be clearly distinguished from animation.
It is no longer and indexical media technology, but rather
a sub-genre of painting. Moving image culture is being
redefined once again; the cinematic realism is being displaced
from being its dominant mode to become only one option