Arguably the most magical thing about movies is that every single thing that you see on your screen, had to be filmed, created, drawn, or built. Take a moment to consider that for a second. I think that because movies have been around for so long, we watch them and just accept the magic and imaginative nature of it as part of the genre. But what goes into making all of that stuff… well I’ll tell you. Technology.
Let’s explore just a few pieces of that technology, from simple to complex.
- WiFi Hotspots: This one might come as a surprise, but when you are shooting a western and you are spending a full month in the middle of the desert, you have to come up with the internet somehow. Companies like skyroam are integral in keeping a set moving and communication open when the shoot takes the actors and director to remote locations.
- Project Management Software: Making a movie seems like magic, but really it’s just like releasing a major software update for an app, or building a skyscraper. There are many groups of people responsible for many different tasks and managing those people and tasks can be very difficult. There are tons of software options out there that allow producers to communicate with all of their actors and crew at once and assign tasks and send scripts through one central software.
- Filming Accessories: I could write a gigabyte of blog posts about just the camera and sound equipment, but it’s what surrounds those concepts that is exciting. Technology has pushed a lot of innovation into new and wireless accessories that allow equipment to communicate throughout the entire set seamlessly without any wires. That means someone in a completely different city could not only watch what’s happening on set, but potentially even operate the cameras.
- Drones: This seemed like an obvious one to follow the previous. The advent of commercial drones has revolutionized film-making. Shots that were at one point only available with helicopter rental or gargantuan swinging cranes can now be filmed with drones purchased on Amazon for under $100. So to set that to scale, imagine if you can shoot something magical for a $100 drone, imagine what you can do with a $15,000 drone.
- Motion Capture: The reason we are only now seeing so many live-action versions of Disney films is because we just now got the technology, and it has just now become accessible enough to filmmakers that it is feasible to use. Putting people in otherworldly locations or mapping human movement onto inanimate objects has never been easier. By placing some sensors on some people or animals, we can document their movement patterns and then use AI to merge those patterns with completely made-up movement.
I could keep this list going for days, but each one of these deserves a blog post by itself. The purpose here was just to show you the limitless possibilities and get you to notice the hard work that goes into filmmaking and creating a truly magical world on screen.