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Digital Cinema

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Definition: Digital cinema includes new computer technologies including the creation of synthetic images, to produce action movies.

While traditional way to make, distribute and consume cinema is becoming obsolete, the IT is promoting the emergence of technologies of digital cinema. Rendering engines can now produce synthetic images in a so realistic way that they can be integrated in a high quality live action movie. Results obtained with digital cinema technologies range from post production effects, such as removing an actor’s blemish or fixing a light, to digital animations, such as creating scene where real actors live together with synthetic characters (think Gollum in the Lord of the Rings). Since then, Hollywood has begun a technological revolution creating movies previously impossible to display convincingly, such as, for example, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Star Wars, Shrek, Toy Story and Monster Inc. To create this kind of movies a great computational power is needed based on modern hardware (GPUs) and software (Linux OS) equipments. GPUs work as coprocessors to CPUs, adopting a fast AGP bus. Intense competition has driven this field to produce a new GPU generation every six months. The most innovative companies such as Nvidia and ATI, make their GPUs programmable in assembly providing spectacular computer graphical facilities up to the limit threshold of a new art form.

The open source nature and the no license cost of Linux made it one of the best candidates for supporting graphic workstations. For example, super computer like the Cray X-MP ( used in the 1985’s “The Last Starfighter”), have been abandoned in favor of now cheaper dual-processor Pentium SGI 1100 Linux OS-based servers exploited for realizing the special effects of “the Lord of the Rings” movies. Generally speaking, producing a digital movie eliminates different disadvantages: the celluloid film quality deteriorate through the duplication process, further analogical projectors make the film prone to harmful intermittent mechanical movement. Moreover, the advent of the Internet era, digital distribution could be offered on demand. Studios equipped with digital cinema equipments and broadband Internet access can download the film on the flight thus scheduling faster the coming soon. Moreover, the digital cinema eliminates different disadvantages, and it facilitates the duplication from piracy. While the cost offers resistance to digital cinema yet, innovations in home entertainment push the development of this technology. As of today, the of-the-shelf home theater market offers large televisions, digital projectors, Dolby 5.1 sound systems at a reasonable prize. In practice, it is possible to re-create a small-scale cinema with a high quality at home. Some people claim that the underlying social issues keep attractive the old celluloid cinema for a long time. Obviously, this is a topic to be investigated in the social field. Still, one of the major technological challenges is how to improve the sensorial experiences of the consumers. Possible solutions are exploring 3D stereographic, IMAX, surround sound systems and haptic technologies.

Digital Communication - Binary Systems, Digital Video and Audio, Errors, Ratios [next] [back] Digital Camera Testing - Measuring Characteristics, Camera settings, OECF measurements, Resolution

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