Think back for a moment, if you are old enough, to a time when it simply wasn't possible to watch a movie from the comfort of your living room. Going out to watch a film in the theater was a favorite activity. It was the only way to watch a movie. If you missed the movie while it was playing in theaters, that was it.
Beginning in the late 1970s, movies were re-released on television, but the movies were edited for TV with frequent commercial breaks. You had to check the TV Guide for the movie time and if you were not home during that time, you were out of luck.
Capturing your own family memories or indie film ideas was an idea for the future, but certainly not a reality at this time.
Technological Advances in Filmmaking
When Eastman Kodak developed and released the Super 8mm film in 1965, it was viewed as an important technological advancement. Unfortunately, as with most new technology, the high price tag made it cost prohibitive for the average household. People that could afford it were now able to record their own home movies. It was a big step for filmmaking.
Then, in 1975, Sony released Betamax. The new technology afforded a way for people to watch movies from the comfort of their living rooms, with no commercials. New industries, like movie rental and sale, were built to accommodate the demand. From this point forward, movie technology rapidly evolved and improved. It did not take long for home movie making and watching to become accessible for the average home.
Very soon after the release of Betamax came JVC's release of VHS. A few years later, Laser Disc was introduced, then CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Every movie playing advancement was accompanied by a movie making advancement. Camcorders and other home movie makers grew more sophisticated, smaller, and more affordable.
The Digital Age of Filmmaking
Do you remember when Netflix mailed you a DVD and you mailed it back after you watched it? Netflix capitalized on less sophisticated attempts to stream video spanning from the 80s through to the early 2000s.
In 2005, YouTube was founded by three former PayPal employees. In 2007, Netflix launched their movie streaming service. Today, movie and television streaming is commonplace in most households across North America and 1,300,000,000 people use YouTube with 300 hours of new video uploaded every minute.
What Does This Mean for Filmmakers?
Simply put, it is a great time for filmmakers. A smart phone and an iOgrapher case is all it takes today to create a professionally filmed movie. Practicing innovative cinematography and sharing your filmmaking vision with the world is easier than it has ever been. Oh, how far we have come!