Technical Improvements in Films

         Over the years things in the world improve for the better. Whether its ideas, laws, or just a new way to do something, the world is changing, everyday. New improvements usually include easier, faster, easier ways to do things. One aspect that has greatly improved over the years is technical improvements in films. Technical improvements have made individuals today be able to see, understand, and use films as a leisure activity. For example, several students at Murray State University attend movies that are showing in the Curris Center, or movies at the local theater in town, The Cheri. The leisure of being able to watch films has helped individuals learn, grow, and become more knowledgeable about topics through the use of films.

         As this semester started out, our English 313 class watched a film, Birth of a Nation, which was an older movie produced in 1915. The film was based on Thomas Dixon’s novels The Clansman and the Leopard’s Spots. During the time in which this movie was produced it was the highest grossing film in its day. With over $10 million, according to the box cover of the DVD currently offered, this film is a proven have been a very popular film in its time. After watching this film, I noticed I was not use to the change in the film compared to modern day films. For example, Birth of a Nation is a film in black and white and does not include dialog. Several of the students in the classroom are more partial to modern-day films because the topics are more modern, dialog is spoken, color is used, and modern-day language and comedy are different from the way they were in 1915. Birth of a Nation focused on the principals and customs used during that time period in order to reach the audience. For example, the film included information about the Ku Klux Klan and the way of life in which people lived during the 1915’s. The film reflected on slavery, changes and challenges in which individuals during that time faced in their everyday lives. Modern day movies are based on comedy, drama, and romance, which attract individuals today because each individual can relate. Although several individuals enjoy learning about history, the majority of individuals today would go to the local theater to see a more modern day approach to a movie, rather than a historical approach. Individuals today have also adapted to color, modern day language, and the camera skills in which producers have learned over the years.

         As films grow over time, there some characteristics film directors still use in their films. For example, the approach to using music in order to excite the audience is still used today. For example a low tempo is used to relax the audience, and a fast tempo is used to excite the audience. Some customs that producers have used over the years will probably never change and will be focused on by newer producers and directors. Another approach directors still use today is the use of light, and sound. Although camera’s qualities, use of light and new inventions has helped films to produce faster and more effectively, writers today can still reflect on past directors in order to learn the importance of producing films. Several customs used in the early 1900’s are still used today and will not change.

      Film editing has also improved from past years. Modern day directors connect shots from a sequence of events in order to produce a film. Today, technology has helped writers to produce movies in a much quicker way than in the early 1900’s. Working on layering of images and making the film the best it can be is a difficult task in which individuals have to be trained properly in order to produce a good film. In the early 1900’s the task of editing a film with the dialog, picture, music, and pace was a hard concept for which individuals had to be trained and had to work with for a long period of time in order to have a perfect production.

         Another film the class has watched is King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack in 1933. As I watched King Kong, I noticed the differences in the modern day version and the 1933 version. The modern-day version of King Kong was directed in 2005 by Peter Jackson. The storyline in both the King Kong films were basically the same, but the level of technology was much different. For example, the graphics and special effects used in the modern day version made it feel more real and recent with today’s society. The actual King Kong character is much like the older King Kong in his physical and emotional characteristics. The characters in the 2005 version of King Kong seem to add more to their characters. For example, I felt that I knew the characters better in the 2005 version than in the 1933 version. New and better changes have been made to the newer, technologically advanced (special effects) version of King Kong while still keeping a close storyline with the 1933 version. I really enjoyed both versions but enjoy the colorful more modern approach to the movie.

         Overall things are meant to improve over time, and they usually do. In the film King Kong 2005 version, the film makers improved and was still able to keep the basic same story. Newer versions of films are usually going to be better to the “newer” audience because that is the target audience, not the older individuals who prefer black and white films because that is what they grew up with. As technology advances, changes in movies become more believable, more realistic, and more sensible, even if it is a movie that is not. For example, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park is an unrealistic movie; but yet, when the viewers watch the film, they become part of the film. Although dinosaurs do not exist today, it is easy to become a cast member in the film. Due to the new improvements in technology and special effects, film makers are able to continue improving the quality and realism of their films. Overall, technology has come a long way and has made watching films a more realistic part of our lives, as well as a wonderful leisure activity.

Ashley Henderson