Sunday, 2 June 2013

Developing Technologies in TV and Film: Analogue to Digital

The TV and film industries are rapidly changing especially with regards to new and developing technologies. In the last of this series of posts, I looked at satellite and cable television and this post will briefly explore the move from analogue to digital technologies in both film and television.

Between 2008 and 2012, all television in the UK has moved from analogue to digital. The old analogue signal that used to carry all television broadcasts into homes through terrestrial means has now been switched off in place of more cost efficient digital television broadcasts that take up less space in the bandwidth and are better resolution for viewers. Dual transmissions of both analogue and digital were deemed to not be cost effective so over the four year period of the analogue to digital switchover, all home had to upgrade to either having a digital freeview box or an integrated digital television. This could be costly but now all homes have a wider range of channels to choose from.

Film production and exhibition has also moved from analogue or film based to digital in recent years. Films used to be shot on 35mm film stock which was very expensive and then it was edited and exhibited in the traditional ways with physically cutting the film and then projecting it with a light shone through the rolls of films. More recently many filmmakers have been turning to digital methods. This means extremely lightweight and some very cheap cameras can be used to shoot films. The footage can also be edited digitally with the aid of computers and incredible software that allows people a great deal of flexibility and creativity. Digital projectors in cinemas are now expected to completely over take the old 35mm projectors by the end of 2013. Many argue the emergence of digital technology in filmmaking has caused a democratisation of filmmaking, along with websites like YouTube meaning anyone can distribute their film cheaply to as many people as they want. Some consider digital formats to have lower picture quality but this is constantly improving.

Next up in this series, I'll be looking at interactive and internet television. 

More in this series:

Satellite and cable television
Interactive and internet television
HD, streaming, On Demand, Pay Per View, Digital Recorders

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