Technology and cinema are inseparable, it is a relationship that has both benefitted the medium and also caused it to veer off into strange and unpredictable directions.
The advent of digital technology has certainly been the biggest innovation in the past decade or two, but it has done more than just make filmmaking more accessible; there is now truly a possibility for new cinema, or what some call “expanded cinema”.
What is expanded cinema? Well that’s just it; pursuing the question is really what defines it. The momentum behind this movement, which is not as recent as most people believe, is to ask “what is cinema?” and in what way can the medium be pushed beyond its current boundaries.
What happens when new projector technology eliminates the need for cinema to exist in the traditional confines of a dark theater? What happens when everything goes online and exists on cloud systems or on portable hard drives, thereby eliminating the tactile handling of film stocks cd/dvds? What if we watched films on contact lenses in zero-gravity?
These are important questions to ask not only to remain aware and to evolve with the medium of cinema, but also because these investigations can lead to new concepts, new ways of making film. Imagination is the new film stock.
This “new” film needs not contain gimmicks or complex technological effects, but just imagine the possibilities of, say, recording an entire film that is interactive using small portable devices like GoPros or camera phones.
Imagine a film that exists as an environment that you can actually inhabit instead of simply watching from a distance? The point is of course not to ad in technology just as a novelty, but as a potential conduit to a superior sensory experience, to tell a better story.
There will always be traditionalists and naysayers when it comes to new technology in cinema, but even if you ascribe to the tried-and-true exclusively, do yourself a favor and investigate these frontiers before closing your mind to them. The possibilities are truly incredible.