In the 1970s, film experienced a revolution. Hollywood was dying a slow, painful death, with theaters losing business and audiences no longer showing up. And then, “Jaws” and “Star Wars” burst onto the scene, creating the modern day blockbuster film and altering the business forever. This year, as Hollywood struggles to make sense of the lowest box office returns in years, it’s becoming more evident that a storm cloud is brewing. The public is hungry for more – eight blockbuster sequels and remakes a year have grown tiresome. The time has come for the next great revolution in filmmaking, and that revolution is going to involve both the production and distribution of entertainment. It’s going to be digital movies distributed over the Internet, directly to your home entertainment center.
High Definition Television and either HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc technology are going to create home viewing experiences unlike anything the viewer has ever seen before. Crisp, high quality images beamed over the net and into your house with wondrous sounds blasting through your speakers will take you inside the movie. And who said that it has to be movies? Movies and television will merge, creating a brand new form of entertainment.
The baby steps have already been seen every day on campus as your roommate downloads last night’s episode of “My Super Sweet 16” and watches it at his or her leisure.
But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that the process for making digital entertainment is improving in addition to the process for watching it. With digital cameras now cheaper than ever and digital video tapes now ridiculously cheaper than film stock, anyone can make a professional looking movie these days. Just film it, edit and fix it up on your computer, then burn it onto a DVD. Give it to your friends or put it out over the net, and you have entertainment for the masses. And this is just consumer grade quality stuff – the professionals can afford even higher quality video cameras. The new “Star Wars” movie and “Sin City” were both shot on digital video and they look as good, if not better, than any traditional “film” today.
With these developments on the horizon, I look forward to the day forty years from now when we can all sit inside and have our minds and souls be totally captivated by an HDTV showing us a high quality digital movie of say, a pregnant woman in a veil over a carriage, and be totally enthralled, instead of just mildly amused.
Goldberger can be reached at email@example.com.