Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Monsters and the like.

So there seems to be some jittering from the Thespian fraternity; that they are all going to be replaced by noughts and ones!
But i think that they can relax and breathe a sigh of relief because i feel these advances in on-screen technology can enhance the cinemographic experience and inject some life into the industry. With narrative based productions seemingly going over the same old 'stability-occurrence-stability' format; the injection of some 'wow factor' can not only add strings to the script-writers bow; but enable them to re-invent the wheel- that is, take the simplest narrative form and present it as though it were the a new concept.
By this i mean that the target audience in western animation, is,mainly children. So in making the tale of sinbad the sailor for instance in a two dimensional traditional cell-type animation in the 1950's now makes it possible to bring real life actors into the production with a high degree of CGI; therefore the actors are benefiting from the work that the speculative value of the film generates. This was proved to be true in 'Sinbad and the eye of the tiger' Ray Harryhausen (1977) which exhibited a high degree of stop motion animation and made the film a success; even though its two predecessors had seemingly exhausted the subject in hand. (Releasing princesses from evil genies or magicians).
Now surely the gate is open for another Sinbad film to be made just on the basis of CGI?
This also brings in the question of shelf-life of these productions. Unless a film is either totally believable or not believable at all i feel has something to do with the shelf-life. As we discussed in our lecture there is a place that the consciousness does not want to be in believability; when a production is uncannily life-like but there is just something about it that un-nerves you. This is true in robotics as well as animation and is called the un-canny valley. Whether there is a correlation between the believability of a film and its shelf-life is open to much debate; but personally i think that there definitely is. To give you a contentious example of this i cite the second volley of star wars movies; especially Clone wars. This for me is like Industrial Light and Magic have just found a new toy water pistol and proceeded to get everyone soaked when they could have just had an occasional squirt here and there and the fascination would have lasted a lot longer. The scenes when the same space ship is flying past again and again in the background remind me of the background scenery on a Hanna-Barbara chase sequence!
Surly this will limit the longevity of this series of films. I know this is not strictly speaking the un-canny valley theory i was on about earlier; but parallels can be drawn.
All in all i believe that CGI will carry on to supply traditional actors with work through speculative developments in film; more outlandish plots and the continual need for a human element in all productions; be it voice or live acting.
These are times of fast change in visual technology; and i believe that as happened with electronic music production, a plateau will be reached where any development is so minute that the viewer will not register it and any speculative value will be lost and narrative based production will prevail; be it with Thespians or not.

What do you want to see and hear more about?