What is Film?

Simply put Film refers to the field of Film as an art form.


Since the early days of movies, the viewing audience has been gripped. The film industry has gone from producing raw, new but basic films to cinematographic wonders. In recent years, the film industry has faced some of its most challenging times but it is far from dead and buried. With CGI, computer generated imagery, filmmaking, as we know it has changed considerably. However, these changes have not been detrimental to the audience's entertainment.

Film reelClipboardFilm FestivalHollywood

Early filmmaking.

Films began been produced and shown initially as somewhat of a novelty. To early viewers, in the late 19th Century, they must have been the stuff of science fiction. The films may have been very basic but audiences were fascinated and soon became hooked.

It may be hard to comprehend but actually early forms of film were shown from as early as the 1600s. These however were not recorded films. They were performances using light and moving images.

Early Cinema film.

By the early 20th Century, the public was keen to watch movies or films. However, these films were nowhere near the perfected viewing experience of today. For one thing, filmmakers had not yet perfected adding synchronised sound to the moving images. Cinema audiences instead would see exaggerated the actors use facial expressions, which attempted to express feelings and meaning.

Subtitles were shown after a scene and not as an accompaniment, as they would be these days. The cinema would employ a pianist, who would try to play music, which was appropriate for the film. For example, for a sad scene the pianist would play Hearts and Flowers. A dramatic scene might have the William Tell Overture accompanying it.

Rudolph ValentinoEarly hearthrobRudolph with leading lady

These early films also saw the rise of Film Stars. Rudolph Valentino was the ladies heartthrob. Valentino's tragic death at the age of 31, in 1926, led to mass hysteria amongst his female fans. This early death gave Valentino iconic status. He was the first true Film Star.

Of course, such charismatic male film stars needed suitable leading ladies. Vilma Banky, who played opposite Valentino in The Sheikh, and Mary Pickford rose to stardom. Pickford starred alongside famous actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks.

The Talkies.

By the Roaring Twenties film was set to change. The Talkies arrived and movies now had sound. Early efforts still had problematic synchronisation but this was soon fixed.

Films were still in black and white but at least the voices of stars could be heard.

Some of stars of the Silent movies found the transition hard. These were those who could not act, in a traditional sense, or had poor speaking voices. New stars were soon discovered though.

Initial attempts at talking movies were fairly short efforts. However, in 1927

the first feature film, originally presented as a talkie was released. This was The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson.

Modern film

By the 1930s, Hollywood and filmmaking had become established. Colour was to follow and many other refinements. The early films had run at faster than life pace but modern filmmakers were able to control the speed, sound and synchronisation of films.

Film allowed people of The Great Depression of the 1930s to escape for a while into a fantastic, virtual world. Films were often upbeat.

Film began to be used more and more for reporting and films such as Pathe News was able to bring world events to people around the world. The Second World War also saw film used to bolster national pride and help the war effort.

In the UK, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1950s was filmed and watched by millions around the world. With television and film making advancements many events are now watched in almost real time. In fact, the dreadful events of 9/11 were actually recorded in real time. The second plane hitting the tower, and the fall of the towers, was dramatically shown as these events happened.

Over the years the public's thirst for ever improved film productions has led to many changes. Adult films have become much more gruesome, for example. Special effects are so amazing these days that viewers feel they are watching real events. Animation has moved from cute cartoons to computer-generated images, which are often not simply children's films.

Censorship is in force in most countries in order to prevent young audiences viewing adult films. However, censorship generally receives a mixed reception.

With Videos then DVDs and now Blue Ray Discs, enabling film watching at home, cinemas struggled. Over the years, many closed but smaller modern cinemas are being now being built. It would seem that our love affair with films and cinema is far from over.

AvatarScene from Avatar

The Future of Film.

It would seem that humanity has a voracious appetite for invention. With this in mind, film probably still has a long way to go. Three D films have improved and special effects wonder Avatar has recently been wowing audiences around the world. Avatar did not live up to its Oscar nominations though despite audiences loving this film.

Avatar though, has shown that man's development of film still has many possibilities and I, for one, cannot wait to see what will come next.