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A FILM, also called a movie, motion picture, theatrical film 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. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. 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.
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The word "cinema", short for cinematography, 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.
Films were originally recorded onto plastic film through a photochemical process and then shown through a movie projector onto a large screen. 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 potentially negative 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.
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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.
First motion pictures
By the end of the 1880s, the introduction of lengths of celluloid photographic film and the invention of motion picture cameras, which could photograph an indefinitely long rapid sequence of images using only one lens, allowed several minutes of action to be captured and stored on a single compact reel of film. Some early films were made to be viewed by one person at a time through a "peep show" device such as the Kinetoscope. Others were intended for a projector, mechanically similar to the camera and sometimes actually the same machine, which was used to shine an intense light through the processed and printed film and into a projection lens so that these "moving pictures" could be shown tremendously enlarged on a screen for viewing by an entire audience.
The first public screenings of films at which admission was charged were made in 1895 by the American Woodville Latham and his sons, using films produced by their company, and by the - arguably better known - French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière with ten of their own productions. Private screenings had preceded these by several months, with Latham's slightly predating the Lumière brothers'. Another opinion is that the first public exhibition of projected motion pictures in America was at Brooklyn Institute in New York City 9 May 1893.
The earliest films were simply one static shot that showed an event or action with no editing or other cinematic techniques. Around the turn of the 20th century, films started stringing several scenes together to tell a story. The scenes were later broken up into multiple shots photographed from different distances and angles. Other techniques such as camera movement were developed as effective ways to tell a story with film. Until sound film became commercially practical in the late 1920s, motion pictures were a purely visual art, but these innovative silent films had gained a hold on the public imagination. Rather than leave audiences with only the noise of the projector as an accompaniment, theater owners hired a pianist or organist or, in large urban theaters, a full orchestra to play music that fit the mood of the film at any given moment. By the early 1920s, most films came with a prepared list of sheet music to be used for this purpose, and complete film scores were composed for major productions.
The rise of European cinema was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, while the film industry in the United States flourished with the rise of Hollywood, typified most prominently by the innovative work of D. W. Griffith in The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). However, in the 1920s, European filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, in many ways inspired by the meteoric wartime progress of film through Griffith, along with the contributions of Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton and others, quickly caught up with American film-making and continued to further advance the medium.
In the 1920s, the development of electronic sound recording technologies made it practical to incorporate a soundtrack of speech, music and sound effects synchronized with the action on the screen. The resulting sound films were initially distinguished from the usual silent "moving pictures" or "movies" by calling them "talking pictures" or "talkies." The revolution they wrought was swift. By 1930, silent film was practically extinct in the US and already being referred to as "the old medium."
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Another major technological development was the introduction of "natural color," which meant color that was photographically recorded from nature rather than added to black-and-white prints by hand-coloring, stencil-coloring or other arbitrary procedures, although the earliest processes typically yielded colors which were far from "natural" in appearance. While the advent of sound films quickly made silent films and theater musicians obsolete, color replaced black-and-white much more gradually. The pivotal innovation was the introduction of the three-strip version of the Technicolor process, first used for animated cartoons in 1932, then also for live-action short films and isolated sequences in a few feature films, then for an entire feature film, Becky Sharp, in 1935.
The expense of the process was daunting, but favorable public response in the form of increased box office receipts usually justified the added cost. The number of films made in color slowly increased year after year.
"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 psychoanalytic 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.
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Film is considered to have its own language. James Monaco wrote a classic text on film theory, titled "How to Read a Film," that addresses this. Director Ingmar Bergman famously said, "Andrei Tarkovsky for me is the greatest director, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream." An example of the language is a sequence of back and forth images of one speaking actor's left profile, followed by another speaking actor's right profile, then a repetition of this, which is a language understood by the audience to indicate a conversation.
This describes another theory of film, the 180-degree rule, as a visual story-telling device with an ability to place a viewer in a context of being psychologically present through the use of visual composition and editing. The "Hollywood style" includes this narrative theory, due to the overwhelming practice of the rule by movie studios based in Hollywood, California, during film's classical era. Another example of cinematic language is having a shot that zooms in on the forehead of an actor with an expression of silent reflection that cuts to a shot of a younger actor who vaguely resembles the first actor, indicating that the first person is remembering a past self, an edit of compositions that causes a time transition.
Montage is the technique by which separate pieces of film are selected, edited, and then pieced together to make a new section of film. A scene could show a man going into battle, with flashbacks to his youth and to his home-life and with added special effects, placed into the film after filming is complete. As these were all filmed separately, and perhaps with different actors, the final version is called a montage. Directors developed a theory of montage, beginning with Eisenstein and the complex juxtaposition of images in his film Battleship Potemkin. Incorporation of musical and visual counterpoint, and scene development through mise en scene, editing, and effects has led to more complex techniques comparable to those used in opera and ballet.
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, 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, an 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, 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. Revenue in the industry is sometimes volatile due to the reliance on blockbuster films released in movie theaters. The rise of alternative home entertainment has raised questions about the future of the cinema industry, and Hollywood employment has become less reliable, particularly for medium and low-budget films.
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Derivative academic fields of study may both interact with and develop independently of filmmaking, as in film theory and analysis. Fields of academic study have been created that are derivative or dependent on the existence of film, such as film criticism, film history, divisions of film propaganda in authoritarian governments, or psychological on subliminal effects (e.g., of a flashing soda can during a screening). These fields may further create derivative fields, such as a movie review section in a newspaper or a television guide. Sub-industries can spin off from film, such as popcorn makers, and film-related toys (e.g., Star Wars figures). Sub-industries of pre-existing industries may deal specifically with film, such as product placement and other advertising within films
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 movie 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. The term "movies" more often refers to entertainment or commercial aspects, as where to go for fun evening on a date. For example, a book titled "How to Understand a Film" would probably be about the aesthetics or theory of film, while a book entitled "Let's Go to the Movies" would probably be about the history of entertaining movies and blockbusters.
Further terminology is used to distinguish various forms and media used in the 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. "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 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." A post-credits scene is a scene shown after the end of the credits. Ferris Bueller's Day Off has a post-credit scene in which Ferris tells the audience that the film is over and they should go home.
A film's "cast" refers to a collection of the actors and actresses who appear, or "star," in a film. A star is an actor or actress, often a popular one, and in many cases, a celebrity who plays a central character in a film. Occasionally the word can also be used to refer to the fame of other members of the crew, such as a director or other personality, such as Martin Scorsese. A "crew" is usually interpreted as the people involved in a film's physical construction outside of cast participation, and it could include directors, film editors, photographers, grips, gaffers, set decorators, prop masters, and costume designers. A person can both be part of a film's cast and crew, such as Woody Allen, who directed and starred in Take the Money and Run. A "film goer," "movie goer," or "film buff" is a person who likes or often attends films and movies, and any of these, though more often the latter, could also see oneself as a student to films and movies or the filmic process. Intense interest in films, film theory, and film criticism, is known as cinephilia, or cinéaste in French. wiki
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