Cinema and computer games – A Mirror Image of Life

‘Hollywood’ is considered the Mecca of cinema; it is a thriving industry in America, supporting a large number of actors, directors, writers and film technicians. Entertainment industry all over the world is one of the largest users of technology.
Cinema is a mirror image of life, and portrays the changing face of society in a graphic manner that entertains people of all ages. Hollywood has come a long way in terms of technological advancements, from early ‘moving pictures,’ ‘talkies,’ ‘black and white’ films, and ‘Eastman colour’ to the more recent – advanced outdoor cameras, digital photography, and ‘Dolby Surround’ sound and furthermore to the ultra modern technology in cinema; Animation, Green Screen ‘Chromakey,’ 3D human action simulators, Harmonic Motion Sensors, and Software programs that enhance the photography, the storage, the transmission and viewing of movies.

The Changing Face of Hollywood:

There has also been a remarkable change in the ‘visual display’ of cinema, from 35mm and 70mm screens to videos and televisions, and more recently added viewership on desktop computers, laptops, I Pads, tablets, and even on mobile phones. The viewing screens also shifted from CRTs to LCDs and LEDs in flat-screen monitors and Amoled screens in hand-held devices. With the advent of digital cameras the quality of imaging is now measured in megapixels and high definition viewing is possible.

There is break-through technology in cinema viewing introduced each year by cinema companies offering a ‘3D’ and more recently ‘4D’ experience where; rain drops, smoke or smell is also used to enhance viewing experience in natural surroundings.

Hollywood and computer games – the connection was always on the cards, while the Videogames became the game changers. Hollywood movies were a non-interactive form of entertainment, but video-games allowed the user to respond and react, increasing his involvement in the entertainment.
Stanley Kubrick was the pioneer of science-fiction movies, with his movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which released in 1968, it defied the ‘genre’ convention, introducing special effects that were a mix of imagination and science that enthralled the viewers and won him an Oscar for special effects. Steven Spielberg went on to create the same magic with ET, Artificial Intelligence and Transformers. James Cameron is another director who’s ‘out of this world’ movies like Aliens, Transformers and Avatar, created a ‘video-tech’ genre in itself.

Gaming Technology and Hollywood:

Silicon Valley software companies took notice of Hollywood and Computer games – the connection that they knew would flourish with time and realized that they could pick up lot of gaming content from Hollywood movies. Kun Chang was the visionary who directed ‘Avatar the Game,’ in which the voices of the characters are lent by the actual cast, making it a unique experience. Similar games that are based on movies are; Lara Croft, Aliens, Transformers, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and X-men.
Companies like Disney Interactive, Fox Interactive, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Valve and Warner Brothers Interactive, are taking movie gaming to the next level.

Converting favorite movies to game formats is a new found software development business and a win-win situation for both the Gaming and the Hollywood industry, which complement each other. Movies and games are looking for an inter-phase which can enable the viewer to enjoy an interactive experience, where characters are animated versions of original characters with voice lent by the actors themselves. Hollywood has made an impact, connecting seamlessly with the computer games industry, and this has morphed into a ‘dazzling relationship between imagination and science,’ that Stanley Kubrick had once dreamt of.

The Best Hollywood Documentaries And American Cinema: A Reflection Of Life

‘Hollywood’ is a place where dreams are made and sold. The entertainment industry is perhaps the oldest of industries known to the modern man, it’s been there since the Greeks wrote plays, the Indians wrote poetry and the Egyptians documented the life of their Pharaoh’s on papyrus. Real life can often be taxing and cumbersome, so man invented a ‘pseudo reality’; a temporary phase, to enact his dreams, overcome his fears and achieve the impossible, and cinema was born. Initial films were made in black and white and later in colour, but they were popular as ever.
The American cinema is a reflection of its society, like any other film industry across the globe. It may be generally classified as; commercial cinema, art films and documentaries, which are somewhat independent of each other, but like all genre’s of art have an underlying overlap. Some of the best Hollywood documentaries are as or even more popular than movies.

The Hollywood documentary films can be further classified into; documentaries about actors, documentaries about particular subjects, documentaries about cinematography and documentaries about women in cinema, etc.

Favourite Subjects for Hollywood Documentaries:

There are many favorite subjects of Hollywood documentary makers, ‘Woody Allen,’ being one of them; a great writer, director, comedian and musician, and notoriously private person. Filmmaker Robert Weide, who documented it on camera, took over a year and a half to create this amazing film biography. It covers Allen’s career; from a teen writer to a stand-up comedian, to an award winning writer-director. Allen directed on an average, one film per year for over 40 years. This documentary explores his writing, casting, directing and acting prowess, and also his relationship with colleagues, family and friends, providing great insight into the life of this inscrutable filmmaker.

Another favourite subject for American documentary makers has been the Punk Rock music of the 1980s, one such documentary directed by Paul Rachman was inspired by Steven Blush’s book ‘American Hardcore: A Tribal History.’ This documentary discusses underground hardcore punk years between 1979 and 1986, and it also includes live interviews with artists of groups such as the Bad Brains, Black Flag, SS Decontrol, Dead Kennedys and the Minor Threat.

The American military, the CIA and the FBI, and their cover-ups are the other subjects loved by the American documentary makers. Richard Rowley’s documentary ‘Dirty Wars’ attempts to discuss and perhaps uncover some controversial operations overseas, through the work of an investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, as he travels across Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and other ‘turbulent’ destinations. The documentary covers his interviews with people who testify to the shady activities of various American organizations on foreign soil.

Some of the best Hollywood documentaries are related to the ‘Wall Street’ because finance and commerce never go out of fashion. ‘The Billion Dollar Day,’ TV movie by David Dugan, about a day in the life of three foreign exchange traders who are severally based at London, Hong Kong, and New York. The filmmaker is trying to portray the high life and relatively young age of the three protagonists, but does not defend the fact that they are largely viewed as gamblers. The underlying message is the social usefulness of the investment and the price the world pays for a free market economy.

Documentaries – A True Media for Communication:

Ideas give birth to words, and words beget actions, and actions are documented to be shared with others and for the subsequent generations to learn from. Our thoughts today will determine the actions of others tomorrow. Documentaries are a true media of communication of ideas between individuals and communities and we are fortunate to be a part of this ‘revolution.’