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"What significance does the continuing development of digital technology have for media institutions and audiences?

Recently there has been a proliferation in the use of digital technology in the film industry. From production to exhibition, technology has taken over, benefitting both the institutions and the audiences. Martin Campbells 2011 American Superhero film (based on the DC comics) Green Lantern is the epitome of a film in the digital revolution using the resources that are available to it. Principal photography for the film began in January 2010 with a production budget of $200 million. The film was shot completely digitally and used CGI effects to create some of the characters, such as Tomar-re. CGI is not an alien concept in the film industry and has been around for many years with the first Toy Story film being shot completely with CGI effects. A few months after filming had commenced, the studio (DC entertainment) announced that the film would have a 3D release. This conforms to the thought that only certain genres (such as action and superhero films) benefit from being in 3D as it is usually only a viable option for large conglomerates with big production budgets and doesnt really effect independent film makers. Turning the film into 3D was a cleaver financial option for DC Entertainment as this gives the film a USP and like any business, allows them to charge more for the film. However the fact that it was shown in 3D may have also been beneficial to audiences as 3D films give a sense of immersion and allow audiences to feel like they are a part of the narrative. Furthermore, the fact that it was shot digitally makes the film cheaper and easier to store, again benefiting the convenience of the studio. Many films have been shot digitally rather than with celluloid film and have still been hugely successful, such as Skyfall which was the first Bond film to be shot digitally but was just as critically acclaimed as the preceding films. Even though the film was shot with many different pieces of technology, it was a live-action film which helped to keep the authenticity of the storyline in order to impress fans of the comics. The film was distributed by American conglomerate, Warner Bros. and was distributed digitally, using hard drives rather than passing celluloid films around the world. This meant that the film was released in the UK and North America on the same day (June 17 th 2011). This benefited both the audiences and the institutions as UK audiences were able to see the film the same time as American audiences, decreasing the amount of piracy of the movie which is an on-going issue in the film industry. In addition to this, Warner Bros used digital technologies such as the internet and the increasing popular social networking sites to promote the film and joined in technological convergence with Nintendo and PlayStation to create video games. Unfortunately the film did not do well at the box office and this was blamed on a luke-warm trailer that disappointed many fans. However after the films run in cinema it is still available on DVD and on internet streaming services such as Netflix which takes home entertainment to a whole new level by allowing consumers to buy and watch a film with just the click of a button.

In comparison to this, there are many films that are still extremely successful but do not conform to the popularity of technology in this digital era of the film industry. For example, Working Titles Oscar-winning Les Misrables is a musical based on the famous theatre production and was directed by Tom Hooper. During the filming which commenced in March 2012, Hooper announced that the film would not be shot in 3D, expressing his opinion that it would not enhance the emotional narrative of the film and would distract audiences from the storytelling. The authenticity of the narrative was also kept by keeping to the musicals essentially sung-through form, having minimal dialogue, however all singing was filmed live and none of it was dubbed using editing software as Hooper wished to keep the film as real and raw as possible. The film used very little editing with none of the settings being created out of green-screen but using several locations around England as well as Pinewood studios due to the small production budget of just $61 million. The film used hardly any new technology with the entire movie being shot with celluloid film, just like many recent critically acclaimed films such as Argo and The Dark Knight Rises. However, when the film was passed onto Universal for the distribution process, new technology was clearly embraced for the marketing of the film. Universal used the internet as their base with Facebook and Twitter accounts feeding the audiences with information that was easily accessible. The large range of posters were slowly released through the Facebook page as well as the teaser trailers, the most successful being a clip of Anne Hathaway singing the famous I dreamed a dream. The buzz around the film exploded, bringing in $18.1 million with its release on Christmas Eve 2012, placing first at the box office. This amount broke the record for the highest opening day gross for a musical film and was also the second highest opening day gross for a film released on Christmas Day. Les Misrables is the perfect example of a film in the digital era deterring away from using digital methods of filming and still becoming extremely successful both financially and critically. Although, the technology does still help the film to earn money through its several legs in the cinema as well as being digitally remastered IMAX cinema and releases on both DVD and internet streaming services, making it one of the most successful and pleasing films for both the institutions and the audiences who were encouraged to watch the film due to the extensive marketing campaign and the artistic flair and authenticity which made the film a real credit to the famous theatre production. In the distribution and exhibition stages, many studios have embraced the technological advancements, agreeing that it makes the film easier to market to its target audiences and creates awareness of the film way before the release, which sets up for good box office taking. However some high profile film directors such as Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino have publically criticized digital cinema and advocate the use of film and celluloid prints. Other directors have made oaths to shoot with film for as long as they can but have admitted that even they will one day have to change their ways and shoot on digital as even today wanting to shoot on film is questioned by some studios as digital cinema is more

convenient and efficient for not only those involved in the film making, but also for the audience when it comes to viewing the film.