Alfonso Cuaron Discusses Technology in Cinema
April 15, 2012, NAB, Las Vegas—Alfonso Cuaron, award winning director, described the influence of technology on creativity in cinema at an Autodesk event. Movies have evolved from silent black-and-white, to movies with sound, to color and through many other changes. Now we have color, 3-D, surround-sound movies that can hide the underlying technologies.
Today, films are very high technology. Some recent films that he directed, like "Gravity", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", "Children of Men" , “Y Tu Mama Tambien", and many others hold many possibilities for technology. At the functional level, the time in rendering is increasing as more films are created digitally. Digital cameras are the equivalent to film, but the new tools are adding to the director's creativity and democratizing filmmaking.
Anyone can edit on a laptop computer at home. They can create special effects and manage post-processing tasks on the laptop. All of these changes can reduce infrastructure and costs. Even for the big movies, the equipment is changing.
Cranes no longer have to have an operator and a cameraman, the camera and crane can be operated remotely. Other tools are opening up perspectives, like hand-held cameras and natural light. Entire sets can be created in a computer, so even a location shot doesn't need large crews and special lighting. Even gravity can be managed with the new technologies.
The narrative is the key, and all of the technologies are just tools to achieve a dream.
Cameras offer many choices; resolution, black and white, color, 2-D or 3-D, etc. The technologies for filmmaking lower costs and reduce the size of the equipment, making more perspectives and points of view possible. These and many other technologies are changing film making. They are making a new language filming and change the ratio of fun versus hard work in the process of filming.
Curaron says he learned a number of techniques from his son, who has a fearless approach to new technologies. Now, some of the techniques that previously were only available for short form movies are now available for everything. These changes make serious film accessible and fun.
Editing is a fundamental stage in the creative process, and allows narrative and visual rewrites after-the-fact. Filming by definition can only capture a moment, but the editing process allows for the flow of moments and emotions. He uses various tools for effects to enhance the content, even though he cannot run the tools, but can tell the editors what to change.
The move to digital allows film makers to use technologies that were never possible before. Everyone has to acknowledge that we are now approaching the end of the film, while working to make the filming process excel. Modern techniques and technologies allow filmmakers to reach truthfulness and reality.