History of Digital Cinema
George Lucas, an American film producer and the creator of Star Wars series, is accredited as the pioneer of digital cinemas. His dissatisfaction with the celluloid and the special effects created by traditional techniques led to the development of hardware for creating desired special effects. However this hardware could not match the required quality on the big screen and thus Lucas involved himself in developing a video-based digital cinema system in collaboration with other technical firms. Consequently, in 2002, the epic American film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was made which was both shot and projected digitally.
Mechanism of Digital Cinema
Digital cinema has completely ruled out the use of chemicals on film as in case of celluloid and employs bits and bytes, which are the strings of 1s and 0s, for recording transmitting and replaying images. The main advantage of digital cinema lies in its capacity of storing, transmitting and retrieving enormous amount of information in exactly the form in which it was recorded originally. Unlike audio tapes which use the analogue technology, there is no loss of information while transmission due to frequent viewing.
Advantages of Digital Cinema
Digital cinema has played a vital role in boosting the economy of the Indian film industry as it is much cheaper as compared to film reel. Digitalization rules out the need of any processing before the editing stage. In case of low budget, the tape can be reused multiple times by the filmmakers. Another pleasant aspect of digital cinema comes with its distribution cost as it lowers the budget of dissemination of films by at least 50 percent. Editing is also much faster and easier. In traditional methods, the film footage is converted to digital format for post production tasks and then again to its previous format for theatrical release. However, with the advent of this new technology, this conversion step has been completely omitted and the editing starts right after shooting the scene. The production wise consistency of digital cinema has also added to its preferability. No matter how many times a movie has been screened, it still maintains its original quality. The content of these movies are stored in servers which also provides 'cut and paste' benefits to the theatre owners. Thus if a particular film doesn't gather much viewers, it can be easily changed without any tedious procedure.
Digital Cinema in Indian Films
Although many of the Bollywood film makers such as Dibankar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap have adopted the concept of digital cinema, the complete digitalization of Indian film industry has not reached yet. The prime reason behind it is the cost of the conversion of conventional theatre into a digital one which is quite high. The next hindrance in the digitalization of cinema is the task of restructuring. Even though digital cinema on distribution front is very economical, it also demands huge changes in the industry. The workforce as well as the equipments in the film industry needs a complete restructuring with the adoption of digitalization, which again raises the overall costing greatly. The digital projector is also much expensive than traditional film projectors. In addition to this, owing to rapid technology advancement, the pricey digital projectors may also turn out to be outdated after five years. Digital cinemas also don't favour the distributors and viewers much as it renders the tickets much more expensive. Digital cinema also enhances the piracy rates making the task easier than conventional techniques.