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    How to Avoid the Desperate Future of “Interstellar”

    In 2011 America’s astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was on Real Time with Bill Maher discussing the proposed termination of NASA’s James Webb Telescope, which the House Appropriations Committee had decried as “billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.” Tyson went on to deliver what is now one of his most famous quotes:   […]

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    The Minds & Algorithms That Make Hollywood Spectacle

    We may not have realized it at the time, but during the 1990s, Hollywood movies were infiltrated by a new presence that outshined even the biggest screen stars: Images created on computers became the main draws for movies like Jurassic Park, Toy Story, The Matrix, and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Since then, […]

  • technology

    How Technology & Tradition Combine to Make Modern Movies

    In Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael used an unusual combination of digital and analog technologies to achieve a distinctive look.FilmNation Entertainment / Paramount Vantage This is part three of a three-part series about the movie industry’s switch to digital cameras and what is lost, and gained, in the process. Part one, on the traditional approach to filming movies […]

  • what we loose

    What We Lose When Film Cameras Change to Digital Ones

      This is part two of a three-part series about the movie industry’s switch to digital cameras and what is lost, and gained, in the process. Part one, on the traditional approach to filming movies and the birth of digital, ran yesterday; part three runs tomorrow. Most people have an intuitive understanding that, for most of […]

  • blog_p

    Are Digital Cameras Changing the Nature of Movies?

    A landmark use of deep focus in film: The young Charles Foster Kane—in the background, but still in focus—is sent away by his poor parents in Colorado to live with a wealthy banker in New York.Mercury Productions / RKO Radio Pictures This is part one of a three-part series about the movie industry’s switch to […]

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    Your House Is Waiting to Be Turned Into a Projection Screen

    The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, illuminated by Obscura Digital’s projectionsObscura Digital The silver screen. Movie screenings. The big and small screens. Ever since 1879, when Eadweard Muybridge used the world’s first movie projector to display a loop of 13 images of a galloping horse, the preferred place to show motion pictures has […]

  • reading

    Why People Love to Get Lost in Books

    In the huge range of different human cultural inclinations, one of the most widespread is a fondness for stories. We just love to get lost in a good book or movie. When we do, we tend to ignore where we are and become completely absorbed in the story. Psychologists call this “transportation,” and have conducted […]

  • Parallel universe

    Splitting Image: The Alternate Realities of the Multiverse

    We tend to focus on major decisions as having momentous effects, but what if something as simple as a missed train could change the course of your life? And what if you follow two different paths to see which turned out better? That’s the premise of the 1998 film Sliding Doors, in which Gwyneth Paltrow stars […]