By the end of the 20th century, women had the same legal rights as men in many parts of the world, and racism had come to be seen as abhorrent. Communications and information technology, transportation technology, and medical advances had radically altered daily lives. Europe appeared to be at a sustainable peace for the first time in recorded history. The people of the Indian subcontinent , a sixth of the world population at the end of the 20th century, had attained an indigenous independence for the first time in centuries. China, an ancient nation comprising a fifth of the world population, was finally open to the world , creating a new state after the near-complete destruction of the old cultural order.
With the end of colonialism and the Cold War, nearly a billion people in Africa were left in new nation states after centuries of foreign domination. The world was undergoing its second major period of globalization ; the first, which started in the 18th century, having been terminated by World War I. Since the US was in a dominant position, a major part of the process was Americanization. The influence of China and India was also rising, as the world's largest populations were rapidly integrating with the world economy. Terrorism , dictatorship , and the spread of nuclear weapons were pressing global issues.
The world was still blighted by small-scale wars and other violent conflicts, fueled by competition over resources and by ethnic conflicts. Despots such as Kim Jong-il of North Korea continued to lead their nations toward the development of nuclear weapons. Disease threatened to destabilize many regions of the world. Malaria and other diseases affected large populations. The virus was becoming an epidemic in southern Africa. Based on research done by climate scientists, the majority of the scientific community consider that in the long term environmental problems may threaten the planet's habitability.
World population increased from about 1. The number of people killed during the century by government actions was in the hundreds of millions. This includes deaths caused by wars, genocide, politicide and mass murders. The deaths from acts of war during the two world wars alone have been estimated at between 50 and 80 million [ citation needed ]. Political scientist Rudolph Rummel estimated ,, deaths caused by democide , which excludes those killed in war battles, civilians unintentionally killed in war and killings of rioting mobs. Most likely a comparable number of civilians died of war-induced disease and other indirect effects.
The invention of music recording technologies such as the phonograph record , and dissemination technologies such as radio broadcasting , massively expanded the audience for music. Prior to the 20th century, music was generally only experienced in live performances. Many new genres of music were established during the 20th century. Film as an artistic medium was created in the 20th century. The first modern movie theatre was established in Pittsburgh in While the first films were in black and white , technicolor was developed in the s to allow for color films.
Sound films were developed, with the first full-length feature film, The Jazz Singer , released in The Academy Awards were established in Video games—due to the great technological steps forward in computing since the second post-war period—are the new form of entertainment emerged in the 20th century alongside films. Multiple new fields of mathematics were developed in the 20th century. In the first part of the 20th century, measure theory , functional analysis , and topology were established, and significant developments were made in fields such as abstract algebra and probability.
Later in the 20th century, the development of computers led to the establishment of a theory of computation. One of the prominent traits of the 20th century was the dramatic growth of technology. Organized research and practice of science led to advancement in the fields of communication, electronics, engineering, travel, medicine, and war. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see 20th century disambiguation.
For a timeline of 20th-century events, see Timeline of the 20th century. Main article: 20th-century events. See also: Timeline of the 20th century. World powers and empires in , just before the First World War. Main article: 20th century in literature. Main article: 20th-century music. See also: History of film.
Main article: History of video games. Main article: 20th-century art.
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Main article: 20th century in science. See also: Big Science. See also: List of 20th-century religious leaders. The New York Times. United States Naval Observatory. Retrieved Archived from the original on PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 11 February The Better Angels of Our Nature. Cambridge University Press. Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. New York: Basic Books. Theodore G. Extreme and Irreversible Effects. Sec The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO 2 since United States Census Bureau.
December 19, Culture, Communication, and Conflict. Hosking Harvard University Press. Journal of Peace Research. Sage Publications. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 23, Retrieved February 7, Sony Computer Entertainment.
Archived from the original PDF on 3 January Retrieved 8 June Carl Benjamin A history of mathematics. Merzbach, Uta C. Spotswood Collection. New York: Wiley. Reading, Mass. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. Macmillan's Magazine. Nobel Media AB. Retrieved November 5, Science History Institute. June Retrieved 20 March Computer History Museum. Retrieved 21 July CRC Press. Electrical Engineering — Volume II. See why lm capture continues to be the standard for making a statement.
No compromise. Certainly, within the industry, Bayer has plenty of partisans. As Bayer sums up the issue, the fact is, when you shoot HD you hope it looks like lm. No one ever shoots lm hoping to emulate HD. Yet it seems at each juncture in this evolutionary parade that it is the critics and theoreticians of the medium who are most resistant to change, not the practitioners, as when Rouben Mamoulians Becky Sharp premiered in 3-step Technicolor in to one critics comment that the total impression is one of a brass band in color rather than a well-modulated symphony.
I dont believe that one black-and-white picture will be produced four years hence, and Samuel Goldwyn announced that all his new pictures would be made in Technicolor, predicting that black and whites soon would be as rare as silent lms quoted in Jonas and Nissenson VCRs, along with a host of other factors, eventually killed drive- ins, making it possible to view a lm at home with ease and conve- nience; DVDs wiped the VHS format out of existence a few years after their introduction.
In the same fashion, the burgeoning DVD market also killed off second-run theaters as the window between VHS and the theatrical release of a lm and its appearance on DVD dwindled into nonexistence. And yet, as the public audience for 20th- century cinema lm becomes increasingly specialized and narrowly segmented, to the point that Blockbuster stores no longer even bother with a token classics sectioneven such reliable standbys as Michael Curtizs Casablanca are ignored in most of the chains storesfor those who embrace the past, a wider range of lms have become avail- able.
Often these DVDs go out of print in a matter of months, so one must purchase them immediately upon their release, as fetish objects that also have a temporal existence of their own, and a thriving boot- leg industry exists as well, making copies of all but the most fugitive lms available to the private collector. The digital reinvention of the cinema is every bit as revolutionary as the dawn of cinema itself, and it comes with an entirely new set of rules and expectations.
In addition, a South Ko- rean company has developed a miniature laser video projector that can t into mobile phones and digital cameras. In April , the Iljin Display Company publicly demonstrated various prototypes of a number of mini video projectors built directly into mobile phones. By the end of , they were on the market.
Since then, numerous other models of a similar nature have appeared, each one smaller than the last. Using this technology, users can project photos and video images on the wall from the built-in projector, mak- ing movies truly portable, downloaded through ones phone and pro- jected at a moments notice. Who needs to go to the movies anymore when you can carry them with you?
This is yet another example of cross-platforming, which demonstrates that the theatrical lm expe- rience is being faced with numerous alternative delivery systems see Jin-seo. Scott and David Denby noted in two separate articles that appeared almost simultaneously in, respectively, the New York Times and the New Yorker, young viewers today are, in Scotts words, plat- form agnostic, perfectly happy to consume moving pictures wherever they pop upin the living room, on the laptop, in the car, on the cell phonewithout assigning priority among the various forms B1.
While Scott is, in his own words, an unapologetic adherent B1 to standard theatrical presentation as the preferred medium of choice for movie going, his children have opened up for him an entirely new way of seeing lms, whether mainstream contemporary lms or canonical classics. With a house full of DVDs, Scotts son and daughter mix the past and the present with impunity, cross-platforming between Turner Classic Movies, iPod downloads, DVDs, and trips to revival houses to see older lms on the big screen.
My son, noting each shift, wanted to know why it was happening: a question about aesthetics that I could only answer with a whispered lecture about chemistry. Most of the old movies he had seen were delivered by means of new technology; this one was old in the physical as well as the cultural sense. What he made of it I dont know. He was amused that Lee Mar- vin, as the titular villain, calls Jimmy Stewarts character dude. But he watched with an unusual intentness, the same quality of attention he brought to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Oliver! Im convinced that these lms beguiling strangeness was magnied by the experience of seeing them away from home and its distractions, with the whir of the projector faintly audible in the background and motes of dust suspended in the path from projector to screen.
B22 And yet Scotts son would never have had this experience if his fa- ther hadnt bothered to take him to the cinema; even as an older teen, he probably would be more likely to seek out the latest Indiana Jones sequel over a black-and-white lm by John Ford. Some younger artists seemingly side with Scott in his preference for conventional lmic projection, a museum format if ever there was one. As Melissa Gronlund comments on some of these new image makers, Hollywood pictures, newsreels and documentaries, lm stock, cameras and projectors and the auditorium space itself have become the focal point for several artists worksparticularly since celluloid has come under threat from digital technology.
The collaborative A1 and A1 are using their residency at FACT in Liverpool to transform a defunct train station into a blue screen studio. At Cerith Wyn Evans show at Lon- dons ICA in a bulky [mm] lm projector screened a blank lm, tracking the deterioration of the celluloid to create a changing abstrac- tion of scratches and tears. Barry Meyer, the chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, sums up the current situa- tion in two sentences: digital distribution is easy, ubiquitous, and in- expensive.
We have to adapt, or well become dinosaurs Denby John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners NATO , is even more direct, noting that were competing with the high-tech entertainment crowd, and were using technology in theaters thats a hundred years old. We need to modernize existing theaters, and tear down old ones at the same rate. In ten years, I doubt there will be any more lm Denby And no one blinked. All the hufng and pufng about the purity of 35mm now feels very Its true that all these lms were transferred from digital high-denition video to 35mm for conventional theatrical release, but thats just a holdover from the past.
Soon high-denition movies will be projected in the- aters worldwide in their original production format, and conventional lm production will become, for better or worse, a thing of the past, a museum format. There is another new development in the area of theatrical moving image exhibition related to our discussion here, which shoots off in new and interesting directions. In Madrid, Spain, theater owners are discovering that conventional lms, no matter what their format digi- tal or lm or genre, are failing to attract all-important younger view- ers.
Forget the pathetic speakers of a PC or television! Come feel the sound that puts you at the center of the action! As described by one observer, the resulting environment is a hybrid movie theater with all the digital re and fury of a video game: fog, black light, ashing green lasers, high denition digital projectors, vi- brating seats, game pads, and dozens of inch screens attached to individual chairs Carvajal C4 to monitor each persons game play, while the combined contest plays out on a huge screen in the front of the auditorium.
Were trying this concept because there are so many the- aters in Spain, and admissions are down. We have to offer new prod- ucts, notes Enrique Martinez, proprietor of Cinegames. We see the future with multiplexes with ve screens, one for the traditional Holly- wood spectaculars and the others for screens for video halls and 3-D.
Thats the next step C4. Similar facilities throughout Europe and North America are scheduled to open throughout , and the model seems to be working quite well, although it skews the audience almost entirely to young men in their late teens and 20s, while a few. Whether or not this will become a major new audience model re- mains to be seen. Big-screen video gaming may go the way of 3-D mov- ies and Cinerama, or it may become a solid niche market appealing to a younger audience.
But while the platform of lm may vanish, we argue that, for most audiences, the lms themselves will remain, and audi- ences, now adjusted to viewing moving images in a variety of different ways, will still want to see their dreams and desires projected onto a large screen for the visceral thrill of the spectacle as well as the com- munal aspect inherent in any public performance. Film is indeed disap- pearing, but movies are not. If anything, they are more robust than ever and are shot in a multiplicity of formats that boggle the mind; analog video, digital video, conventional lm, high-denition video; on cell 18 21ST-CENTURY HOLLYWOOD phones and pocket-sized, hard-drive, xed-focus, auto-exposure cam- eras and a host of other platforms now just emerging from the work- shop of image making.
The latest development is holographic lmmak- ing, which has hitherto seemed impractical. As Michelle Bryner notes, If you think FaceTime on the new iPhone is cool, you probably cant wait for the age of holo-chat. A new holographic technology being de- veloped at the University of Arizona could eventually let us interact with lifelike images of friends living across the globe.
Arizona research- ers have made their rst demonstration of a holographic display that projects 3-D images from another location in near-real time. The images are static, but they are refreshed every two seconds, creating a strobe- like effect of movement. The researchers hope to improve the new tech- nology over the next few years to bring higher resolution and faster image streaming.
Potential applications for this technology straight out of Star Wars include 3-D video conferencing, medical and mili- tary imaging, and updatable 3-D maps. The real goal, however, is to replace all 2-D screens used in everyday life with the system, said lead study author Pierre-Alexandre Blanche, an assistant research professor in optical sciences.
Its like having a frame instead of a TV in your living room, Blanche [said]. We are using a new type of polymer called photorefractive that can record, erase and be rewritten many times. To deliver images to the photorefractive polymer, 16 cameras take simulta- neous pictures of a real scene every second. These images are combined into a package of data and sent via the Internet to the holographic sys- tem.
Each package of data is encoded into special lasers, which pattern hogels holographic pixels onto the polymer, creating the 3-D image in the other location. These hogels are updated continuously. I t wont come to our living room [by this] Christmas, Blanche said. But we can have systems ready for hospitals or command-and-control operation rooms in the near futurelets say a couple of years. In short, holographic movies are, in , where motion pictures were in the s: in their infancy. For those of us who see the cinema as a vast tapestry of lms and lmmakers covering more than years of cinema from all over the world, the use of digital technology is a plus because it allows us to access the images of the past with ease and efciency.
For those who know only the cinema of the present, pure Hollywood product for the most part, it nevertheless puts the tools of production into the hands of the rawest enthusiast, anyone capable of shooting a video and downloading it onto YouTube or Current TV. The literally hundreds of thousands of clips now on the web at Google, Yahoo! This thicket of conicting images, both homegrown and borrowed, reminds us of the British lmmaker Anthony Scotts con- ceptual feature lm The Longest Most Meaningless Movie in the Whole Wide World , which represented a similar cacophony of images to its viewers more than 40 years ago, entirely preguring our current image overload.
As described by David Curtis, the lm consist[ed]. Often a shot or a whole sequence will repeat ad nauseam, sometimes whole lengths of lm appear upside down and running backwards. By rearranging familiar material into new and often absurd relation- ships, the viewers traditional dependence on continuity is rudely inter- rupted, and in that disturbed state, some kind of re-evaluation of the material shown either to its advantage or to its detriment is inevi- table. Film is disappearing, but in its place a new platform has emerged, which can comfortably support all previ- ously existing formats.
Is a digital copy of a lm still a lm? It is, and it isnt. Is the digital image preferable to the lmic image, or the other way around? The answer is clearly a matter of personal opinion. The archival concerns raised by the digital shift are many and var- ied, but as Val Lewton observed in the s of his own work in lm, making movies is like writing on water. Some images will survive; others will not. One can easily argue that the digitization of our visual culture will lead to the further preservation of its lmic source mate- rials rather than the other way around.
With a whole new market opening up for these lms of the past, the master negatives are being taken out of the vault and digitally transferred for popular conserva- tion, with one especially desirable side effect: newer audiences now know of the lms existence.
Entombed in 16mm and 35mm frames for projection equipment that is becoming less and less prevalent espe- cially in the case of 16mm , these lms might otherwise never reach a 21st-century audience. Where, then, is the theatrical feature lm headed? For that matter, where is the moving image migratinginto theaters, onto television, or onto the web? Conventional cinema distribution has undergone nu- merous changes in the past century, going from short lms of less than a reels duration to epic spectacles in color, stereophonic sound, and, in a return to the s, 3-D as the new theatrical weapon against the encroachments of home entertainment.
We already have a 2-tier system for what can be termed standard theatrical feature lms; the big-budget lms go into theaters, and the foreign lms and lower- budget efforts wind up going straight to DVD. But theres even more to consider; if one looks at the situation carefully, one can see that the entire model of conventional theatrical distribution is rapidly becoming obsolete.
The Writers Guild of America strike is a clear demonstration of this. What the writers in that strike were ghting for was a share of the digital revenue from both their feature lms and television shows: movies or TV programs that would ultimately wind up on someones cell phone or as a streaming video on the web. Indeed, along with many other studios, Warner Brothers has set up a new branch of its production facilities specically to create program- ming content for the web, producing 24 short mini-shows exclu- sively for consumption online as an alternative to their standard tele- vision offerings and theatrical feature lms, including The Jeannie Tate Show, a digital series about a mobile soccer mom and talk-show host see Barnes, Warner Shifts.
Procter and Gamble, the company that pioneered the television soap opera in the early s, carrying over a format from radio that dates back to the s, has also joined a new wave of web programming with its series entitled Crescent Heights, aimed directly at PC and cell phone users. Bob Tedeschi observes that the series. Written, directed and produced by Hollywood veterans, the three-minute episodes are as polished as any television sitcom C1.
Ten episodes of Crescent Heights, for example, replace the minute format of conventional soaps and sitcoms; no one, it seems, has that much time to spare anymore. Traditional television programming is impacted in other ways as well. When producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, cre- ators of the network television series thirtysomething and My So Called Life, were given short shrift by ABC in the fall of for their new project, Quarterlife, about the lives of a group of twentysomething protagonists, they took their series, and all the rights to it, directly to the web, where it has attracted more than 2 million viewers since its debut on November 11, , with a series of short episodes that are both addictive and visually stylish.
More recent forays into the eld include Dinosaur, which posted just a few episodes about a time-traveling dinosaur; Elevator, which has roughly episodes, running roughly a minute in length and uses the premise of a group of people thrown together in an elevator for come- dic intent; net work, a self-referential comedy concerning some rather 22 21ST-CENTURY HOLLYWOOD desperate Internet producers; and Street Fighter: The Later Years, which takes a satiric look at the fates of characters in the popular video game some 15 years down the road.
The cinema industry is picking up on these concepts, as imsy as they might seem at rst glance; YouTube hosts an annual awards cer- emony for the most popular and thus the most reviewed clips on its site, as does Yahoo! But in an age in which lms such as Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzers Epic Movie , a lame series of gags cobbled together that supposedly spoof the current spate of fantasy and spectacle lms such as Andrew Adam- sons The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , can succeed quite protably at the box ofce, the attention span of audiences seems to be denitely shrinking.
Indeed, what we think of as a lm has become radically trans- formed by the culture and language of video games and interactive websites, and now lm itself is poised to disappear as an obsolete format in an all-digital world. Feature lms, which used to come in 35mm or 70mm format on enormous reels that had to be laboriously spliced together for platter projection, are rapidly being replaced by hard drives, roughly the size of an old VHS cassette, which are inserted into a server and have an entire lm stored in their memory Fischbach E1.
Viral videos on numerous websites now spread around the world in a matter of minutes, gathering millions of viewers, transforming ex- isting distribution models, as well as viewer expectations. Even con- temporary television is embracing this new viral culture, most notably Al Gores Current Television network, which debuted on August 1, , and consists for the most part of viewer-created content, often with a denite Leftist political stance, in the form of pods, or short videos of anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes in length, on average, making it perhaps the rst television cable network in which viewers are actu- ally genuine participants.
But the web is another matter, and access to it is much easier to ob- tain. While conventional television even cable and on-demand broad- cast delivery systems has a nite amount of space for programming, 23 THE DIGITAL CENTURY the viewer space on the web is literally limitless, and those eager to share their handmade visions have found their own space on YouTube, which has, in many ways, transformed our collective visual culture. Created in by three former PayPal employees.
Chad Hurley, Steven Chen, and Jahed Karim, the sites domain name was registered on February 15 of that year and, after roughly 4 months of develop- ment, previewed for the public in May in a beta version. The site went live to the general public in November and almost imme- diately, like MySpace before it, exploded into an international image- sharing clearinghouse see Hopkins. By July 16, , the sites reach was ubiquitous, with more than million video clips being viewed daily by nearly that number of visitors and an astonishing 65, new clips uploaded every 24 hours YouTube Serves Up.
In addition, YouTubes target audi- ence is an advertisers demographic dream: 44 percent female, 56 per- cent male, [with] the year old age group dominant YouTube. For a site that is less than 6 years old, YouTube commands enor- mous clout in the imagistic marketplace, spawning its own award cer- emony, and legally running clips from NBCs television shows under an agreement to boost conventional television viewership as well as music videos from Warner Music Group and EMI YouTube. While much of the material posted in minute maximum segments on You- Tube is pirated from existing lms, television shows, commercials, and other copyrighted sources, a great deal of the content is original material created by tech-savvy users, showcasing either their own as- sorted talents or creating mini movies with a strong genre backbone science ction, horror, and political thrillers being some of the most popular formats.
Increasingly, however, the wild west aspect of the site is being tamed, and much of the material originally posted is being removed for potential copyright infringement, either at the behest of the copyright owners of the material in question or at YouTubes own instigation. It uses Adobe Flash technology YouTube to deliver its clips to users, a medium that had been developed years earlier. But the founders of YouTube instinctively grasped the concept that had made the Lumire brothers early lms a success, along with those of Alice Guy Blach, Augustin Le Prince, Thomas Edison, and later Dziga Vertov: people want to see themselves on the screen.
The sites signature tagline, broadcast yourself, sums it all up very neatly. On YouTube, the viewer is the star. Several instant celebrities have already sprung from YouTubes cy- clonic morass of imagesclips created by people with enough novelty, imagination, or difference to stand out from the crowd. The British singer Paul Potts, an erstwhile cell phone salesman with a bashful Gomer Pylesque stage non-presence, astonished viewers on the television show Britains Got Talent by bursting forth into a reasonably procient rendition of Puccinis Nessun dorma, much to the astonishment of the shows judges, including the notoriously viperish Simon Cowell.
While Pottss success on the television show was a signicant step in his nascent career, it was only when a high-denition clip from the show was posted on YouTube that his career really took off, and he became a web celebrity. Now, with his rst CD, appropriately titled One Chance, released to stores, as well as straightened teeth and a ward- robe makeover, Potts is well on his way to becoming a popular per- former who already has a hectic touring schedule of recitals at popular music venues.
All of this happened in a matter of weekspublicity that a pop personality in the s would never have dreamed of. Indeed, an April 20, , Supreme Court decision, which will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects, struck down, by an 8 to 1 mar- gin, a law that criminalized videos depicting cruelty to animals. The law was originally aimed at the crush videos, barring the creation, sale or possession of any depiction of animal cruelty with in- tent to distribute or sell it see Richey ; but a majority of the Court felt that the prohibition was too broad, with only Justice Samuel Alito dissenting.
As Richey notes, the law was written to ban photographs and videos depicting animal cruelty in which a living animal is inten- tionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed. But chief Justice John Roberts argued that the ban on such videos was startling and dangerous, and created a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth. A depiction of entirely law- ful conduct runs afoul of the ban if that depiction later nds its way into another state where the same conduct is unlawful.
He noted that since hunting is illegal in Washington, D. Roberts rejected pledges by the gov- ernment that federal prosecutors would only enforce the statute against acts of what it viewed as extreme cruelty. The First Amendment pro- tects against the government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige. We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it reasonably.
Richey This may be, but one shudders to think of the potential oodgates this opens in the annals of newly legalized videos of cruelty and brutal- ity. YouTube has also hosted, and continues to present, a variety of vid- eos made by insurgents in the war in Iraq, videos made by American sol- diers on the ground describing more accurately than any evening news report the horrors of war, as well as guring in the presidential debate for the race in co-sponsorship with CNN and serving as career ender in a number of instances, most notably in the case of comedian Michael Richards, whose onstage rant at a comedy club, recorded on a cell phone, dealt him a blow from which he has yet to recover.
Its also provided us with a window into the lives of a new breed of profes- sional celebrities, such as Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and Britney Spears, famous not so much for their actual accomplishments but rather for their continual presence on such sites as TMZ. Not surprisingly, with YouTubes pervasiveness, certain countries have banned the site altogether, including most recently China, as well as Brazil, Iran, and Morocco, with a number of pointedly politi- cal videos blocked in the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and Turkey YouTube.
Thus, in this world of instantaneous image creation and consumption, reputations and careers are made and destroyed literally in a matter of seconds. In addition, an understandable narcissism fac- tor led Time magazine to somewhat ironically publish an issue with a silver foil mirror on its cover, celebrating you as seen as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and other self-promotional sites as the person of the year for YouTube.
But also in this mix of images are clips from movies beloved by fans, if not canonized by critics, that in many cases come to stand for the entire lm, which contemporary viewers dont seem to have the time to view. Indeed, the sheer quantity of visuals available online today is literally beyond com- prehension; there are literally millions of videos and thousands of sites that offer them, presented with a sense of egalitarian freshness that works powerfully to erase the boundaries between canonized work and more popular material, as if all of visually recorded history is now available, for better or worse, to anyone with a Mac or a PC.
In , a new website, Hulu, joined the competition, creating a portal that, as one observer puts it succinctly, offers commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and mov- ies from NBC, Fox and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States. Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many lms and shows that are available in p. In addition, some TV shows and movies are now offered in high-denition. Hulu The programming on Hulu is almost all old television programming, dating back as far as the s but with materials from the s and s predominating much like the recently launched Retro Television Network, which recycles s and s American se- ries programming to conventional television audiences via cable and satellite.
The sites rst television advertising occurred during the conven- tional television broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII with an ad starring Alec Baldwin purporting to reveal the secret behind Hulu, with the memorable tagline Huluan evil plot to destroy the world, and cre- ated an almost instantaneous buzz.
Baldwin rhetorically asks the viewer, demonstrating how Hulus programming melts the minds of viewers with utterly commercial, lowest-common-denominator pro- grammingin short, television reruns. As a nal touch, during the ads last moments, several digitally created tentacles reach out from the in- terior of Baldwins immaculate suit, tucking in his handkerchief and dusting off his lapels. The truth of the site is, supposedly, even more sinister because, as Baldwin puts it, were aliens, and thats how we roll Hulu.
Hulu is a neat way for the networks, both broadcast and cable, to create an end-run around YouTube for a number of reasons: all of the programming is legitimately licensed, so there is no question of legal problems; even with Flash technology, the image quality is far supe- rior and can easily be expanded to full-screen viewing; and despite a few ads that run with each offering, the programming is entirely free. In addition, Hulus vast library of television programming is accessed entirely on demand, giving viewers the power to schedule their own programming entirely at their convenience rather than watching it in real time or even DVRing it for playback at a later date.
On Hulu, the programs are waiting to be accessed by an ever-increasing army of eager viewers. The curious mix of nostalgia and futurism is also a draw; a signicant number of Hulus viewers, surprisingly, are members of the boomer gen- eration, who normally arent drawn to the latest in web-based techni- cal innovation. But by marrying Hulus delivery system to programming that is both familiar and comforting, the audience size for the site has moved forward by leaps and bounds, making it a popular destination for even the most technically phobic users.
Thus, Hulu is gaining an increasing foothold in the United States and, in time, with the legal problems ironed out, will probably be available worldwide, perhaps with a fee or more commercials added to the mix. For many traditional television viewers, disenchanted with the ever-rising cost of cable television, Hulu and the other sites mentioned in this chapter make contemporary cable or satellite delivery method- ologies obsolete; just hook up your computer to a at-screen monitor or a television, if you still have one, and you can easily stream any of Hulus programming.
As a bonus, some of the programming is also available as video downloads on iTunes, especially the popular web series Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog, starring sitcom and theatrical actor Neil Patrick Harris, which was initially produced exclusively for Internet Distribution. It tells the story of Dr. Horrible, the aspiring supervillain alter ego of Billy; Cap- tain Hammer, his nemesis; and Penny, their mutual love interest.
Horrible Dr. Horrible is one of many web series that are up and running on a regular basis, but most dont get much attention from viewers because theyre buried under an avalanche of available online entertainment. Unlike conventional television, there isnt yet a 1-stop programming guide for Webisodes, although the prospect of tunneling through all the various programs is truly daunting. Some come and go like mayies and die a quick death; others build up a long-term audience and return year after year to a cadre of loyal viewers. If youre an acionado, or just have a lot of time on your hands, you may actually be watching better serials, like Felicia Days role-playing-game satire, The Guild, which recently completed its fourth season, or Lisa Kudrows latest deconstruction of 21st-century self- absorption, Web Therapy, which just resumed its third.
But youre probably not reading or hearing about them anywhere but online. And still the Web series get made, hundreds of titles numbering thou- sands of short episodes: dramas, comedies, Webisodes accompanying television series, cartoons, talk shows, reality shows, newsmagazines, documentariesa cheaper and quicker parallel universe to television and lm. Hale, who writes about the web for the New York Times, announced on November 12, , that the Times would now be offering an ongo- ing index for this avalanche of niche programming, if only to help him and other industry observers choose some of the more interesting series for further analysis.
Web Therapy, for example, has now amassed 46 epi- sodes, with Meryl Streep featured as a recent guest star in a 3-episode story arc. Syfy Television formerly Sci-, until the need to copyright the channels name forced a somewhat awkward respelling has been churning out minute segments of the web serial Riese, with an eye to combining the sections into a 2-hour TV pilot for the network; and Showtime has created an odd animated web companion for its hit live- action serial-killer television show Dexter. Titled Dark Echo, the web series offers brief 3- to 6-minute episodes of additional back story for Dexters numerous devotees see Hale.
Theres much, much more out there for those willing to take the time to troll the web for diversion or enlightenmentthough theres also apparently more of the former than the latter. But with the advent of Google TV, discussed later in this book, it seems likely that web and conventional television programming will soon mesh into an end- lessly interactive experience far removed from what one traditionally associates with the turn off your mind; relax and oat downstream 31 THE DIGITAL CENTURY ethos of zoning out in front of the tube as a way to unwind at the end of day.
A seemingly innite array of programming choices will confront the viewer, and the means and the temptation to switch from one pro- gramming source to another will be almost overwhelming. It will be interesting to see how this new image mesh works out for both view- ers and advertisers, to say nothing of those who actually produce both traditional and web programming. Thus, we have a large number of competing sites, each vying for the viewers attention, and each playing in a fast and loose manner with programming, some of it legal on certain sites, some of it either pi- rated or viewer created.
In many ways, this is an encouraging develop- ment, as it breaks down the boundaries of traditional distribution in a manner hitherto impossible. Despite ofcial sanctions against You- Tube and its brethren by repressive regimes around the world, the site keeps rerouting itself past its would-be censors, much as an oft-jammed conventional radio broadcast during the Cold War s would shift to another transmission frequency to disseminate its message. And, as with most nascent technologies, it is starting in short-burst rather than feature-length iterations, although, as sites such as Hulu and more elab- orate productions such as Dr.
Horribles Sing-Along Blog show us, this is rapidly changing. The Kinetoscope, conceived by Thomas Edison in and created by his technician W. Dickson between and , was an immediate sensation on its commercial debut in New York in April , bringing moving images to the general public in a peepshow machine that ran brief lm clips for individual viewersickering im- ages that transxed the imagination through the medium of realistic motion, something that had never before been achieved on such a large scale Kinetoscope.
Much the same thing is happening now in the digital universe. In its earliest stages, we were happy enough to see static images on the worldwide web, which were occasionally crudely animated through the use of Shockwave and other pioneering digital technologies. Now we demand motion graphics with quality sound as a matter of routine, and the current state of technical progress on the web is certainly not the last step in the mediums evolution.
Milton Shefter, a pioneering lm archivist and the lead author of the report, notes that, despite its pristine visual quality, the digital image is inher- ently unstable, constantly in a state of ux, and that storage of digital imagery is a never-ending process of maintenance and upgrading. Cieply, The Afterlife For Milton Shefter and his colleagues at the AMPAS, the problems inherent in digital image storage, if not addressed, could point the in- dustry back to the early days, when they showed a picture for a week or two, and it was thrown away quoted in Cieply, The Afterlife.
For the moment, there is a solution that bridges both the past and present. As Cieply comments, at present, a copy of virtually all studio movieseven those like Click or Miami Vice that are shot using digital processesis being stored in lm format, protecting the nished product for years or more. But over the next couple of decades, archivists reason, the conversion of theaters to digital projection will sharply reduce the overall demand for lm, eventually making it a sunset market for the main manufac- turers, Kodak, Fujilm and Agfa.
At that point, pure digital storage will become the norm, bringing with it a whole set of problems that never troubled lm. If not operated occasionally, a hard drive will freeze up in as little as two years. Similarly, DVDs tend to de- grade: according to the [academys] report, only half of a collection of disks can be expected to last 15 years, not a reassuring prospect to those who think about centuries.
Digital audiotape, it [has been] discovered, tends to hit a brick wall when it degrades. While conventional tape becomes scratchy, the digital variety becomes unreadable. Cieply, The Afterlife Indeed, many contemporary lms avoid the use of tape entirely. The entire production is recorded on a hard drive, as in the case of David Finchers Zodiac , and only transferred to lm for nal exhibition. Fincher would shoot as many as 28 takes for a single scene in Zodiac and then erase them, pushing on with still more takes until he got what he wanted see Goldman.
Thus, the whole project boiled down to how much memory do you have on your hard drive? In his lm The Social Network, a biopic documenting the rise of Facebook, Fincher became notorious among cast members for allegedly shooting as many as 99 takes for simple dialogue scenes, to no discernible effect. Devel- oped from a script by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, the nal result was nothing more or less than a handsomely mounted TV movie linear, easy to follow, bereft of nuance or subtlety, despite the Oscar buzz the lm generated.
Its one of those lms that spells everything out for the viewer, and as such, garners mass approval from both audi- ences and critics. This brings up another interesting question: the non-availability of phantom digital takes that are erased during the production process.
Who knows what values might have been lost forever? In the classi- cal era, director William Wyler was known as Forty Take Willie because he insisted on repeating a scene until his actors gave him what he wanted; as a result, he then had the luxury of 30 or so takes on lm from which to make his nal selection. But Fincher and other digital directors keep only a handful of the material they shoot, erasing the rest and thus losing much of the process of shooting.
When you erase 30 or so takes of an actors work, arent you, in a sense, erasing the actor him or herself? How can we ever nd out? In truth, what one sees on the set is very different from what one sees on the screen when the image is projected many times larger than life.
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Gary Cooper, for example, famously seemed to do nothing during the close-ups in his lms; experienced technicians and other veteran actors would watch him at work and wonder what would nally appear on the screen. But when the rushes were projected, values that werent visible on the set were magnied by the inherent intimacy of the cine- matic process, creating an image that seemed both natural and convinc- ing. Similarly, Brando and other method actors sought not to project but simply to think their roles and so brought a more authentic perfor- mance style to the cinema.
As Michael Caine has observed, you must be thinking every moment [in a lm performance] because the camera looks into your mind, and the audience sees what the camera sees The cost of lm is no longer part of the equation since only the nal cut is committed to celluloid, and even that wont last long, with the rise of all-digital exhibition, which looks poised to take over theatrical presentation as the dominant mode of technology as early as late Today, an increasing number of lms are shot directly on hard-drive video equipment.
Its light, portable, and is fast becoming the new standard. Hard-drive lmmaking was pioneered, of course, by the great Aleksandr Sokrov in his lm Russian Ark, a minute single-take lm recorded entirely on the hard drive of a handheld digital camera. At the time, the lm was seen as something of a revolution not only for its endlessly tracking Ophulsian style but also for the methods used to produce it ; now, the practice of hard- drive production is an industry commonplace.
Coupled with the new industry habit of letting the camera run while rehearsing a sceneno need for a clapper board to maintain synchronization or any push to conserve lm because none is used the new question becomes what to save and what to throw out since the meaning of the word outtakes has become almost immeasurably ex- panded.
You may want some extras on the DVDs of the lms you see, but how much is too much? This is a new kind of ephemerality for the moving image to deal with; it seems the future is much less stable in this regard than the past. Still, one can condently predict that this latest digital logjam is another obstacle that will eventually be overcome by new methods of image storage and retrieval that only a few of us have even given the slightest bit of consideration tomethods, no doubt, that will make newly minted billionaires of yet another group of young innovators.
If the 20th century combined machine technology and electronic inven- tion to create radio, television, talking pictures, and other mediums of image dissemination, the 21st century is surely the digital era in which all earlier image capture and retrieval systems will eventually be super- seded or, in some cases, supplanted.
As video imaging increases in ease, portability, and quality, the al- ready blurred line between cinema and video will vanish altogether. Now, with more lms, videos, television programs, and viral videos being produced than ever before, and with international image bound- aries crumbling, we will see in the coming years an explosion of voices from around the globe, in a more democratic process that allows even the most marginalized factions of society to have a voice.
In addition, many new art lms are now available immediately on cable or television as on-demand items, such as IFC on demand, which opens lms theatrically and on pay-per-view television on the same day. With the ease and low cost of the digital age of produc- tion, distribution is still the most important, if not the deciding, factor in who will see precisely what lms, and where, and how. As Carl Rosendahl of Pacic Digital Imaging comments, for independent lm- makers, that fact remains that if you want your lm in broad distribu- tion, you still have to partner with a studio.
You can make a great lm but you cant get it into 3, theaters without being able to back the lm with millions of dollars of advertising. Most lmmakers cant do that, so they need the studios Willis It is impossible to hold back the ood of images created by these technologies, as recent events in Iran in have demonstrated; and in the 21st century, these images will both in- form and enlighten our social discourse, along with tweets, texts, and other communicative iterations.
While the big-screen spectacle will continue to ourish, a plethora of image constructs now compete for our attention, often with a signicant measure of success. The monopoly of the television networks is a thing of the past; who is to say that theatrical distribution as we know it will not also be transformed into a different sort of experience altogether? IMAX lms and 3-D systems mimic reality; but in the future, as previously noted, holographic laser displays, in which seemingly 3-dimensional characters hold forth from a phantom staging area, may well become the preferred medium of presentation, signaling a return to the prosce- nium arch but, in this case, a staging space with innite possibilities for transformation.
The dead could come alive again; Michael Jackson would be an obvious candidate for holographic revivals. Powered by high-intensity lasers, this technology could also present performances by artists who no longer wish to physically tour to present their faces and voices to the public. Movie theaters could also become even more aggressively commer- cial than they are now, with the usual array of commercials, promos, and trailers before the main feature.
This new eld of audience games hopes to provide marketers with an entirely new way of engaging consumers in brand-oriented digital play [emphasis added] prior to the start of the main feature. Anything to sell more product, during both the main feature and the surrounding programming. Movie goers will see a short lm that plays before their feature movie. Using an SMS Text message from their cell phones, people will.
The short lm plays in segments between the previews and was directed by Fernando Meirelles, who directed [with Ktia Lund] the movie City of God . Bajwa The possibilities for commercialization are literally endless. Although Hollywood will seek to retain its dominance over the global presentation of ctive entertainment constructs, we argue that a vision of international access, a democracy of images, will nally inform the future structure of the moving image in the 21st century.
Many of the stories told will remain familiar; genres are most comfortable when they are repeated with minor variations. But as the production and exhibition of the moving image moves resolutely into the digital age, audiences have even greater access to a plethora of visual constructs from every corner of the earth. The center will not hold, as Yeats well knew; too many forces are tearing it apart from the margins. As scholars, or even casual viewers, we are still the custodians of the past of cinema, but we are also the heralds of the future of the mov- ing image, whether on lm, or video, or a chip, or a digital CD.
The digital technologies we are seeing now will only accelerate their hold on the public consciousness in the decades to come, and, in the end, the practice and reception of cinema will become more democratic because of it. The past of the moving image belonged to the few; the future, it seems, will belong to almost everyone with a cell phone and access to the web.
More people than ever before will have a platform from which to present their vision of the world. The end of 20th-century cinema, when, as Andrew Sarris put it, lms were constructed like Gothic cathedrals, brings with it the dawn of the individual as image maker. For the most part, Hollywoods embrace of digital cinema is in the service of spectaclethe bigger and louder, the better. Director Mi- chael Bay is one of the foremost proponents of this barrage of sound and light, and his lms, especially Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , are nothing more or less than hyperkinetic, hyperviolent spectacles that audiences apparently devour with unbridled abandon.
As critic John Horn noted, Bay has never been a critics favorite, but the thrashing he received for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the worst of his eight-lm ca- reer. Reviews ridiculed the new sequel about battling robots as be- yond bad Rolling Stone , bewildering and sloppy the Village Voice and a great grinding garbage disposal of a movie the Detroit News. The early notices were so uniformly disapproving that after Bays tra- ditional opening-night dinner party at Beverly Hills Mr. Chow, the year-old director wondered aloud to executives at distributor Para- mount Pictures about the possible impact of the drubbing.
He neednt have worried. Although [audience member] year-old Diana Salazar didnt know that Bay had directed the movie, she praised its execution. It had a lot of action. It was really interesting to see the good ght scenes, she said. Either I like the plot or I dont.
It makes absolutely no difference who the director is. For Bay, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen succeeds because it appeals to the kid in all of usits a wish-fulllment movie. This one is just a big, epic adventure. Its got scope beyond belief and its got more heart, while also noting that his long apprenticeship as a director of television commercials helped him immeasurably in capturing the audiences attention. And this I know for a fact: I shoot actorseven young actorsas if they were movie stars.
And thats something a lot of other directors dont do see Horn. But where will this lead? And what sorts of lms are coming next? Surely there must be something beyond mega-blockbusters and genre retreads. It is an inescapable fact that we will soon experience a complete changeover to digital formatting, eschewing lm entirely. Many au- dience members have been deeply disturbed by the thought, as if, in losing the platform of lm, they are losing some essential essence of the medium.
But a moving image is just that, as Jean-Luc Godard dem- onstrated with his revolutionary mixages of lm and video in Histoires du Cinma an epic project begun in and completed in , and what was once conjecture on our part has now become an accom- plished fact. Film has vanished, but the image remains, albeit in a new, sleeker format. It isnt a question as to whether this is good or bad; its just a fact.
The movies have changed, and we are changing with them. Films that challenge the viewer or are hard to decode are often unsuccess- ful.
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The Hurt Locker, for example, won the Academy Award for best picture, and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, won for best director a rst for a woman ; but the lm did only a fraction of the business of James Camerons Avatar, which is now, amazingly, the most successful lm of all time from a nancial viewpoint. In Avatar, the viewer is in- vited to escape his or her body and become immersed in a role-playing world of complete fantasy, albeit with a slight eco-friendly subtext, which can easily be ignored by most viewers, who are intent only on following the narrative line to the exclusion of all else.
Most of all, the lm has a happy ending, the most important prerequisite for contem- porary Hollywood mainstream success. As Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes note, during this recessionary period, While much of the economy is teetering between bust and bailout, the movie industry has been startled by a box-ofce surge that has little precedent in the modern era. Suddenly it seems as if everyone is going to the movies, with ticket sales this year up And it is not just because ticket prices are higher. Attendance has also jumped, by nearly 16 percent. Americans, for the moment, just want to hide in a very dark place, said Martin Kaplan, the director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of entertainment and society at the University of Southern California.
99. "Ogres are like onions."
Its not rocket science, he said. People want to forget their troubles, and they want to be with other people. Cieply and Barnes 1 The contemporary lm audience is young, uncertain about the fu- ture, and suspicious of authority gures; and viewers are looking for an easy way to escape their increasingly mundane lives. Escapism, of course, comes in many avors, and feel-good lms account for only a middling percentage of the theatrical viewing audi- ence. Horror lms are reliable box-ofce performers, cheap to produce, and almost guaranteed to make money, especially if theyre part of a franchise thats been rolling on for more than 3 decades.
Because Levy, however, favors a blunt approach to his mate- rial, the lm soon degenerates into a series of routine car chases and spectacular crashes, all of which add nothing to the lms narrative but easily entertain a jaded audience that is accustomed to unceasing violence, whether comedic or serious Newcomb All of this money is pegged on how much these stars can command at the box ofce, who will come to see their lms, and how much brand loyalty viewers will give to both the stars and the lms they appear in.
As he notes, The most famous dictum about Hollywood belongs to the screenwriter William Goldman. Nobody knows anything, Goldman wrote in Ad- ventures in the Screen Trade a couple of decades ago. Not one person in the entire motion picture eld knows for a certainty whats going to work. Every time out its a guess. One of the highest-grossing movies in his- tory, Raiders of the Lost Ark, was offered to every studio in Hollywood, Goldman writes, and every one of them turned it down except Para- mount: Why did Paramount say yes? Because nobody knows anything. And why did all the other studios say no?
Because nobody knows any- thing. And why did Universal, the mightiest studio of all, pass on Star Wars? Because nobody, nobodynot now, not everknows the least goddamn thing about what is or isnt going to work at the box ofce. And yet, naturally, people keep trying. Sequels are usually a safe bet, although they can either surpass or fall far below the gross of the rst lm. Sequels become exhausted after a while and eventually give way to parody. Then, as with the new Batman lms directed by Christopher Nolan, it becomes necessary to reboot the franchise, as Nolan did with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, perhaps the nest comic-book movie ever made.