Lev Manovich and Digital Cinema

In his essay “What is Digital Cinema?” Lev Manovich notes that the majority of discussion around digital cinema has focused on the possibilities of narrative interaction. Manovich argues that this focus on narrative only addresses one aspect of cinema, which is neither unique nor essential to the medium.

For Manovich the challenge presented by digital media extends beyond the issue of narrative to the very identity of cinema. With enough time or money anything can be simulated in a computer, reducing the filming of physical reality to just one of many options available to filmmakers

On Page 7 of his essay, he talks about how once footage is digitized, it loses its reality. We can alter it just like any other still image and Light is Waiting was a prime example of that. Around the 4:40 mark it began as just a simple video, but through editing it soon became a kaleidoscope of colors. Manovich talked about around page 3 how cinema is a sub-genre of painting and taking a simple video and turning it, and twisting it to start showing a totally different abstract side to the video was an idea of that.

The indexicality of traditional film is being challenged thanks to modern day technology. Film and Cinema is so open in its medium that such strict old ideas of traditional media are being tossed out. Manovich said it himself on page 8, “something that looks as if it is intended to look exactly as if it could have happened, although it really could not” We have so much power in this modern day and age with media and editing. Through this idea we have the power to make Gandhi a bad guy and Hitler a saint. That is both terrifying and a challenge. How could we use this for good though? Hmmm

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