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American Cinema into the 21st Century - Essay Example

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The United States has dominated the film industry since 1916 (Toth 2009), and it seems they will continue to do so, as stated best by Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, “to infinity and beyond!…
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American Cinema into the 21st Century
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Download file to see previous pages The Social and Economic Context of the Period In the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the term “popular culture” became a mainstay, due to the dominance of culture in American cinema and the media. This indicated a shift from “empirical studies to studies of cultural forms and meanings”. During this time, focus was placed on audience and different forms of mass communication, which included music videos, computer and video games, soap operas, and the Internet. Research moved, particularly in the United States, to finding links between such mass communication and behaviour of society; emphasis was placed on popular culture and media studies. Cinema emulated these shifts in a number of areas from sociology and feminism to economics and history . Technological Developments As cinema entered the 21st century, a number of technological developments were made. Of the more prominent developments was the use of computers, replacing hand-drawn cartoons and physically created special effects. In 2010, Walt Disney Pictures’ animated studio, Pixar, stretched the limits of possibility in the creation of “Toy Story 3,” the third successful installment of the wildly popular computer generated imagery (CGI) film in the Toy Story trilogy. Pixar has proven, time after time, that it has the expertise to create what would be impossible to animate by hand. One particular challenge in creating the film was crafting a very complicated scene in which the film’s primary characters must make their way on a conveyor belt within a garbage processing plant. What seemed like millions of tiny pieces of diced garbage is moving toward a gigantic furnace, while the characters interact within the scene. In watching the scene, Pixar succeeds in making the audience feel as though they are watching live-action. The garbage reflects the lighting within the facility as it travels down the conveyor. The detail of the tiny pieces of garbage is truly amazing, somewhat gross, but the sequence is amazing nonetheless. Terdiman (2010) explains that Pixar did not have the finances or time available to them to manually animate the sequence, so the technical director and his team were forced to be creative with what resources they did have—computers. The thousands upon thousands of tiny pieces of garbage were procedurally animated and brought to life. Similarly, for the garbage bags in the sequence, procedural animation was put to use. Since the bags served such a critical purpose to the plot, it was important they look as real as possible so as not to distract the audience from the overall viewing experience (Terdiman 2010). According to Anderson, a Pixar representative, the talented animators do not intend to break ground with each film they create. Obstacles arise, and it is their job to creatively handle the situation. If that means improving processes or inventing new ones that change the way future films are created, great, but that is not the intention. The animators at Pixar are highly-skilled professionals who want to create something better than what they previously put out—innovations that just come naturally (Terdiman 2010). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001) utilized CGI technology, but also incorporated live-action and a process ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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