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Photo taken from deck of Warren's home.

The Coming Revolution

There’s a revolution coming. Not the rise-up-against-government kind but a revolution in movie making.

I was watching TV the other day and saw what appeared to be a movie trailer. It turned out to be an advertisement for a new video game release. This was not the first time I’d been fooled. The images were so good, however, that it looked like an actual movie clip. Movies themselves these days contain more and more Computer Generated (CG) content all the time and it is often hard to tell which is real and which is CG.

Computer game companies that create entire worlds of CG landscape for their games leverage that cost by getting into the movie business and re-using those CG worlds with live actors. Characters that are CG can be controlled by motion capture of human performers and the humans never need to appear. Most people can tell a CG character from a live actor but very soon, that may not be so. The technology is improving.

I remember when Desktop Publishing totally changed the publishing business. Later, MIDI and other technology allowed an individual to have a symphony orchestra on a laptop computer, letting a composer become conductor and full orchestra as well. One person can write and perform a symphony. The same will happen with movies.

Very soon, if not already, a desktop computer will allow a single person to be producer, director, casting director, select or design wardrobe, select props, scout “locations” and the whole panaolpy of movie making tasks in front of a computer screen. A one-person movie studio, as it were.

Companies that are currently doing CG for old style movie makers will be marketing virtual locations, characters and costumes that can be licensed to desktop movie makers in much the same way that computer coders license libraries of code to software developers. Need a location? Select anything from a bombed out city, slum or bustling city downtown to a gated community or prison interior from the libraries of locations that will be on the market.

A smart desktop movie maker system publisher will publish standards for generating compatible libraries, encouraging a wide variety of available libraries for their system.

The same for characters, costumes and props. The characters will look photo-realistic and an optional desktop motion-capture system will let the most bland-looking actor become the square-jawed protagonist or the alluring leading lady.

Of course, just as the early days of selectable fonts resulted in people publishing papers with too many fonts and terrible layouts, much of the movie output from such systems will be dreck. But that will sort itself out with time. The motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences will need new categories for such productions.

I predict that actors and actresses as we know them are about to become obsolete, going the way of printed newspapers, books and and magazines.

Hollywood, buh-bye.

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