Immagini in movimento e nuove tecnologie. Lo sviluppo dell’industria cinematografica tra radio, televisione e scenari digitali

Candeloro, Jean-Pierre (2006) Immagini in movimento e nuove tecnologie. Lo sviluppo dell’industria cinematografica tra radio, televisione e scenari digitali. UNSPECIFIED. PhD thesis, Università della Svizzera italiana.

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The present study concentrates on what technological innovation means to the film industry, and in particular according to which logic the cinematographic industry has evolved with respect to emerging technologies, cyclically adapting and remodelling its own productive processes. Delving into the social and technological history of the main optical devices which preceded the cinematographic apparatus the aim was to understand how these have supplied various important preamble to its birth (thanks to the development of movement in photographic image and to projection), and how it consequently experienced a true industrial maturation (in particular thanks to the development of the effects of realism and illusionism, of the narrative discourse and of the mass audience). To such effect not only the origins and reasons at the foundation behind the first fundamental technological “leaps” made by the big screen have been analyzed, but also the ripening of the relationships and influences originated by other means of communication which have accompanied the development of the film industry throughout the entire 20th century: radio and television. Particular attention has been placed on the examination of the innate implications in the actual development of digital images: the question to be answered is whether the passage from an analogical productive dimension to a digital develops in a linear way or if instead it comports a redefinition of the same nature of the product and of the cinematographic practice, as opposed to the case with other technological innovations. In other words, the goal was to verify if the digitalization process represents a simple extension of cinema’s natural evolution, or rather if the abandoning of the celluloid implicates a true reinvention of the practices of making and consuming cinema. The relevance of the problem is tied to the fact that today with digital cinema we witness a progressive change in the different segments of the film industry: of its models of production, distribution and programming. A matter of great relevance is why, if this is really a redefinition of that with which the cinematographic industry is presently been confronted, this marks the end of a cycle – that of the cinema invented at the end of the 19th century which played a fundamental role in modern culture –, and the beginning of a new cycle in audiovisual culture, based on the development of something which is no longer (merely) cinema, but also different from traditional televised content. In a season of renewed difficulty for the film industry, the attempt has been made to understand whether the digitalization process can represent another instrument at the disposal of industry’s actors to achieve goals which would have otherwise been difficult to carry out, and if “digital cinema” is profiled for the cinematographic industry as the inevitable substitute for the centenary analogical practice. In this transitional phase it is important to define the emerging characteristics and traits, analyzing the variables which participate in the transformation of long established productive and distributive models. The analysis of the analogies and of the complexities of the digital challenge in relation to the former technological and medial history of the film industry it is retained that it constitutes a useful clue for understanding a phenomenon which is still in evolution. The attempt will be made to answer the following questions: which are the actors that come into play in the various moments of the technological and industrial evolution of cinema? What forces stand at the base of the technological impulse within the film industry? Which interests retard their industry’s adoption? In what terms has the maturation of new technologies and mass media influenced the development of new forms of cinematographic production, distribution and programming?

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