A film, also called a movie, motion picture or photoplay, is a series of still images which, when shown on a screen, creates the illusion of moving images due to the phi phenomenon. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed rapidly in succession. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion picture camera; by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques; by means of CGI and computer animation; or by a combination of some or all of these techniques and other visual effects. The word “cinema” is often used to refer to the industry of films and filmmaking or to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere by the means of recorded or programmed moving images along with other sensory stimulations.
The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. Films were originally recorded onto plastic film which was shown through a movie projector onto a large screen (in other words, a photochemistry process). The adoption of CGI-based special effects led to the use of digital intermediates. Most contemporary films are now fully digital through the entire process of production, distribution, and exhibition from start to finish. Films recorded in a photochemical form traditionally included an analogous optical soundtrack, which is a graphic recording of the spoken words, music and other sounds that accompany the images. It runs along a portion of the film exclusively reserved for it and is not projected.
Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures. They reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful medium for educating—or indoctrinating—citizens. The visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. Some films have become popular worldwide attractions by using dubbing or subtitles to translate the dialog into the language of the viewer. Some have criticized the film industry’s glorification of violence and its sexist treatment of women.
The individual images that make up a film are called frames. During projection of traditional films, a rotating shutter causes intervals of darkness as each frame in turn is moved into position to be projected, but the viewer does not notice the interruptions because of an effect known as persistence of vision, whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. The perception of motion is due to a psychological effect called phi phenomenon.
The name “film” originates from the fact that photographic film (also called film stock) has historically been the medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion picture, including picture, picture show, moving picture, photoplay and flick. The most common term in the United States is movie, while in Europe film is preferred. Terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the movies and cinema; the latter is commonly used in scholarly texts and critical essays, especially by European writers. In early years, the word sheet was sometimes used instead of screen.
History of film
Preceding film in origin by thousands of years, early plays and dances had elements common to film: scripts, sets, costumes, production, direction, actors, audiences, storyboards, and scores. Much terminology later used in film theory and criticism apply, such as mise en scene (roughly, the entire visual picture at any one time). Owing to the lack of any technology for doing so, the moving images and sounds could not be recorded for replaying as with film.
The magic lantern, probably created by Christiaan Huygens in 1650s could be used to project animation, what was achieved by various types of mechanical slides. Typically, two glass slides, one with the stationary part of the picture and the other with the part that was to move, would be placed one on top of the other and projected together, then the moving slide would be hand-operated, either directly or by means of a lever or other mechanism. Chromotrope slides, which produced eye-dazzling displays of continuously cycling abstract geometrical patterns and colors, were operated by means of a small crank and pulley wheel that rotated a glass disc.
In the mid-19th century, inventions such as the phenakistoscope and zoetrope demonstrated that a carefully designed sequence of drawings, showing phases of the changing appearance of objects in motion, would appear to show the objects actually moving if they were displayed one after the other at a sufficiently rapid rate. These devices relied on the phenomenon of persistence of vision to make the display appear continuous even though the observer’s view was actually blocked as each drawing rotated into the location where its predecessor had just been glimpsed. Each sequence was limited to a small number of drawings, usually twelve, so it could only show endlessly repeating cyclical motions. By the late 1880s, the last major device of this type, the praxinoscope, had been elaborated into a form that employed a long coiled band containing hundreds of images painted on glass and used the elements of a magic lantern to project them onto a screen.
The use of sequences of photographs in such devices was initially limited to a few experiments with subjects photographed in a series of poses, because the available emulsions were not sensitive enough to allow the short exposures needed to photograph subjects that were actually moving. The sensitivity was gradually improved and in the late 1870s Eadweard Muybridge created the first animated image sequences photographed in real-time. A row of cameras was used, each in turn capturing one image on a glass photographic plate, so the total number of images in each sequence was limited by the number of cameras, about two dozen at most. Muybridge used his system to analyze the movements of a wide variety of animal and human subjects. Hand-painted images based on the photographs were projected as moving images by means of his zoopraxiscope.
“Film theory” seeks to develop concise and systematic concepts that apply to the study of film as art. The concept of film as an art-form began with Ricciotto Canudo’s The Birth of the Sixth Art. Formalist film theory, led by Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, and Siegfried Kracauer, emphasized how film differed from reality, and thus could be considered a valid fine art. André Bazin reacted against this theory by arguing that film’s artistic essence lay in its ability to mechanically reproduce reality not in its differences from reality, and this gave rise to realist theory. More recent analysis spurred by Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalysis and Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotics among other things has given rise to psychoanalytical film theory, structuralist film theory, feminist film theory and others. On the other hand, critics from the analytical philosophy tradition, influenced by Wittgenstein, try to clarify misconceptions used in theoretical studies and produce analysis of a film’s vocabulary and its link to a form of life.
Industry of movies
The making and showing of motion pictures became a source of profit almost as soon as the process was invented. Upon seeing how successful their new invention, and its product, was in their native France, the Lumières quickly set about touring the Continent to exhibit the first films privately to royalty and publicly to the masses. In each country, they would normally add new, local scenes to their catalogue and, quickly enough, found local entrepreneurs in the various countries of Europe to buy their equipment and photograph, export, import and screen additional product commercially. The Oberammergau Passion Play of 1898 was the first commercial motion picture ever produced. Other pictures soon followed, and motion pictures became a separate industry that overshadowed the vaudeville world. Dedicated theaters and companies formed specifically to produce and distribute films, while motion picture actors became major celebrities and commanded huge fees for their performances. By 1917 Charlie Chaplin had a contract that called for an annual salary of one million dollars.
From 1931 to 1956, film was also the only image storage and playback system for television programming until the introduction of videotape recorders.
In the United States today, much of the film industry is centered around Hollywood, California. Other regional centers exist in many parts of the world, such as Mumbai-centered Bollywood, the Indian film industry’s Hindi cinema which produces the largest number of films in the world.Though the expense involved in making films has led cinema production to concentrate under the auspices of movie studios, recent advances in affordable film making equipment have allowed independent film productions to flourish.
Profit is a key force in the industry, due to the costly and risky nature of filmmaking; many films have large cost overruns, a notorious example being Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. Yet many filmmakers strive to create works of lasting social significance. The Academy Awards (also known as “the Oscars”) are the most prominent film awards in the United States, providing recognition each year to films, ostensibly based on their artistic merits.
There is also a large industry for educational and instructional films made in lieu of or in addition to lectures and texts.
Terminology used in movie or film
The terminology used for describing motion pictures varies considerably between British and American English. In British usage, the name of the medium is “film”. The word “movie” is understood, but seldom used. Additionally, “the pictures” (plural) is used semi-frequently to refer to the place where movies are exhibited, while in American English this may be called “the movies”, but it is becoming outdated. In other countries, the place where movies are exhibited may be called a cinema or theatre.
By contrast, in the United States, “movie” is the predominant form. Although the words “film” and “movie” are sometimes used interchangeably, “film” is more often used when considering artistic, theoretical, or technical aspects, as studies in a university class and “movies” more often refers to entertainment or commercial aspects, as where to go for fun on a date. For example, a book titled “How to Read a Film” would be about the aesthetics or theory of film, while “Let’s Go to the Movies” would be about the history of entertaining movies.
Further terminology is used to distinguish various forms and media of film industry. “Motion pictures” and “moving pictures” are frequently-used terms for film and movie productions specifically intended for theatrical exhibition, such as for instance Batman: The Motion Picture. “DVD” and “videotape” are video formats that can reproduce a photochemical film. A reproduction based on such is called a “transfer.” After the advent of theatrical film as an industry, the television industry began using videotape as a recording medium. For many decades, tape was solely an analog medium onto which moving images could be either recorded or transferred. “Film” and “filming” refer to the photochemical medium that chemically records a visual image and the act of recording respectively. However, the act of shooting images with other visual media, such as with a digital camera, is still called “filming” and the resulting works often called “films” as interchangeable to “movies,” despite not being shot on film. “Silent films” need not be utterly silent, but are films and movies without an audible dialogue, including those that have a musical accompaniment. The word, “Talkies,” refers to the earliest sound films created to have audible dialogue recorded for playback along with the film, regardless of a musical accompaniment. “Cinema” either broadly encompasses both films and movies, or it is roughly synonymous with film and theatrical exhibition, and both are capitalized when referring to a category of art. The “silver screen” refers to the projection screen used to exhibit films and, by extension, is also used as a metonym for the entire film industry.
“Widescreen” refers to a larger width to height in the frame, compared to earlier historic aspect ratios. A “feature-length film”, or “feature film”, is of a conventional full length, usually 60 minutes or more, and can commercially stand by itself without other films in a ticketed screening. A “short” is a film that is not as long as a feature-length film, often screened with other shorts, or preceding a feature-length film. An “independent” is a film made outside of the conventional film industry.
In U.S. usage, one talks of a “screening” or “projection” of a movie or video on a screen at a public or private “theater.” In British English, a “film showing” happens at a cinema (never a “theatre”, which is a different medium and place altogether) A cinema usually refers to an arena designed specifically to exhibit films, where the screen is affixed to a wall, while a theater usually refers to a place where live, non-recorded action or combination thereof occurs from a podium or other type of stage, including the amphitheater. Theaters can still screen movies in them, though the theater would be retrofitted to do so. One might propose “going to the cinema” when referring to the activity, or sometimes “to the pictures” in British English, whereas the U.S. expression is usually “going to the movies.” A cinema usually shows a mass-marketed movie using a front-projection screen process with either a film projector or, more recently, with a digital projector. But, cinemas may also show theatrical movies from their home video transfers that include Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and videocassette when they possess sufficient projection quality or based upon need, such as movies that exist only in their transferred state, which may be due to the loss or deterioration of the film master and prints from which the movie originally existed. Due to the advent of digital film production and distribution, physical film might be absent entirely. A “double feature” is a screening of two independently-marketed, stand-alone feature films. A “viewing” is a watching of a film. “Sales” and “at the box office” refer to tickets sold at a theater, or more currently, rights sold for individual showings. A “release” is the distribution and often simultaneous screening of a film. A “preview” is a screening in advance of the main release.
Any film may also have a “sequel”, which portrays events following those in the film. Bride of Frankenstein is an early example. When there are more films than one with the same characters, story arcs, or subject themes, these movies become a “series,” such as the James Bond series. And, existing outside of a specific story timeline usually does not exclude a film from being part of a series. A “trilogy” is a set of three films, such as the three films of The Godfather series, a “quadrilogy” is a set of four, such as writer-director Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Identity film series, and so forth. A film that portrays events occurring earlier in a timeline with those in another film, but is released after that film, is sometimes called a “prequel,” an example being Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.
The “credits,” or “end credits,” is a list that gives credit to the people involved in the production of a film. Films from before the 1970s usually start a film with credits, often ending with only a title card, saying “The End” or some equivalent, often an equivalent that depends on the language of the production. From then onward, a film’s credits usually appear at the end of most films. However, films with credits that end a film often repeat some credits at or near the start of a film and therefore appear twice, such as that film’s acting leads, while less frequently some appearing near or at the beginning only appear there, not at the end, which often happens to the director’s credit. The credits appearing at or near the beginning of a film are usually called “titles” or “beginning titles.”
Trailer and teaser
Trailers or previews are advertisements for films that will be shown in 1 to 3 months at a cinema. Back in the early days of cinema, with theaters that had only 1 or 2 screens, only certain trailers were shown for the films that were going to be shown there. Later, when theaters added more screens or new theaters were built with a lot of screens, all different trailers were shown even if they weren’t going to play that film in that theater. Film studios realized, that the more trailers that were shown (even if it wasn’t going to be shown in that particular theater) the more patrons would go to a different theater to see the film when it came out. The term “trailer” comes from their having originally been shown at the end of a film program. That practice did not last long, because patrons tended to leave the theater after the films ended, but the name has stuck. Trailers are now shown before the film (or the A film in a double feature program) begins.
Film trailers are now also common on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, as well as on the Internet and mobile devices. Of some ten billion videos watched online annually, film trailers rank third, after news and user-created video.
Teasers are a much shorter preview that would last only 10 to 30 seconds. Teasers were used to get patrons excited about a film coming out about 6 to 12 months away.
Content taken from Wikipedia.com