Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Technology and its representation in new media.use of a green screen.idat 108

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Cinema, television and generally media confuse the human with scenes and different occasions that seem impossible but still fool the human eye because they seem so real. For example, things like weather broadcasts, film scenes that want to create something unconceivable with the use of the current technology like spaceships and mecha robotic soldiers, scenes in outer space, or very dangerous scenes where the life of an actor or even a stunt double is in danger and finally for the making of really clever or digitally artistic forms of media. For all of these uses and more a technology called “blue or green screen” has been developed.

The need for special effects in the filming industry urged Larry Buttler to start developing this technology. The functionality of this technology was based on shooting the background first and then the actor or any kind of objects would be shot in front of a different background which would be either a “blue or green screen”. Then the actor or object would be separated from the background coloured screen and placed onto a “hole” on to the background, then through a series of filters the shot with the actor or object would be placed onto the final background. The use of filters is essential for the removal of the “blue or green screen” and the remaining outline due to the subtraction of the background behind the object or actor. Other people that contributed to this technology are Petro Vlahos and Zbig Rybczynski. These days the use of this technology is a lot easier to use through the use of computers and the advantages that digital effects give.

This technology uses a blue or green screen because these colours are the furthest away in colour range to the human skin tone, then a preselected colour is selected and subtracted from the background ,this is called “keying out” or “keying ” or “colour key”. Clothing in this process has to be very different to the background colour in order to make the background subtraction process a lot easier. The only time that colours of the same colour range are used is when special effects need to be applied on the actor or object of the scene. An issue often experienced with this technology is the shadow onto the background which makes the keying process a lot harder so the use of correct lighting is essential for to minimize the difference in colour range on the background due to the shadows of the backgrounds. Although there are many similarities between a blue and a green screen there are also some basic differences. Blue is used mostly for weather forecasts and uses with the conventional analogue type of cameras while green is used mostly with the use of digital cameras and digital special effects and the use of a green screen eliminates the issue caused by the colour range of the sky mixing with a blue screen in outdoor shooting. These screens are made of fabrics or different paints applied on even surfaces to prevent abnormalities of the screen and minimise the shadows created.

Advantages, disadvantages:
This technology is a breakthrough for the media industry considering the cost of doing all the effects with the conventional ways and even then there are limitations to what can be seen in a film. This technology has made SCIFI films a lot more realistic to the human eye; it has made it possible for every kind of background to be applied in a form of media. This technology is also used in photography. Special green makeup is also used in order to morph a face of an actor, for example a form of severe facial damage that is impossible to achieve just with makeup or to combine a face with another element like mechanics, flame, mutated people etc. The possibilities are endless. A big increase is noticed with films referring to super heroes, outer space, mythical creatures etc. Everything conceived by the human imagination can be achieved with this technology and the help of video editors, CGI and 3D animation. Films like ET, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix, Lord of The Rings wouldn’t be able to do what is in those films that makes viewers wonder and feel amazed by what they are seeing. Other films have been mainly filmed in studios where all the surfaces of the shot are either blue or green, for example films like 300 and Sin City. This technology also has disadvantages though. Things like incorrect lighting, wrong use of the software and the technology around it, different lighting of the object or actor to the background applied can reduce the quality of the final media form or make it obvious that elements are fake or placed with the use of technology, and this takes away the realism or even the artistic feel of the final output.

This technology has been developed primarily for the media entertainment industry but uses have been found in forms of media with different contents like news and documentaries. The common public have hardly got any knowledge about the way this technology works and the development of it. Films that were made 10 years ago and before that wouldn’t emphasize a lot on the use of this technology probably just to keep the realism of the film and not show the tricks the creators use in order to fool the viewers eye. Media tries to hide the use of this technology because common people like to feel that everything that is shown is real and by showing them how everything has been done takes away the magic of the media form. Children and viewers that are unfamiliar with the use of this technology feel amazed by what they are seeing; so most of the times creators of all this digitally altered media industry benefit from not showing the whole truth and how everything was done in order to keep the public amazed and on the long run earn more money. Nowadays because of the huge use of DVDs and Blue Ray Disk the addition of special features onto the films is a common thing; viewers are able to see how some of the things were made, the technologies used in them , and how this technology is made, but still the things that are shown are the parts where viewers can understand that a use of digital effect has been used for example the burnt face of 2FACE in the film the Dark Knight. General media don’t focus on showing the way things are made if a use of a green screen is involved because basically the realism of the media form is lost. Media forms like adverts never show the use of a green screen because adverts are primarily made to attract the consumers attention in order to buy a product or a service, advertise a show or just to show a message of concern about the environment or animals etc.; so by showing how everything was done the consumer or viewer loses interest because they know that elements of the advert or even the entire advert are fake then they will lose trust in what they are seeing and that is of no benefit to the company’s products or even for a fundraising organisation that focuses on the wellbeing of a particular group. However, other forms of media like artistic media shouldn’t show the use of a green screen or a similar technology because it is primarily used to create someone’s individual art and is not focused onto fooling the viewer’s eye in order to decide for a topic or make a choice about a particular product or even advertise a show. Although this technology was primarily developed for use in cinema, another widely known use of this technology is for the addition of digital art in different media forms for example TV bumpers; Green screen technology can be also used to create cartoon like versions of a human like the IPOD advert, however this way of creating cartoon looking objects is limited because the need of an actor or an object is essential while in cartoons everything creators can think of can be created. The intensive growing usage of this technology has made it possible to combine cinematic scenes, animations, art and all the new forms of digital art into a combination of media; however this technology has been also used for the development of robotic artificial intelligence and virtual reality because the use of a green or blue screen makes it easier for a robotic form of artificial intelligence to separate the object it has to focus on from the background that is of no interest. Although this technology was used clearly by media industries users can use it clearly for entertaining purposes for example recording a scene with a camera and adding the footage into a well known blockbuster; the possibilities are endless the only thing needed is the technology and an individual’s creativity .Although this technology is used in most of today’s means of media a large amount of creators and just viewers have gone back in time, showing their love and appreciation for the pure essence of media forms without the use of digital special effects, just focusing on the pure art of the scenes and the art of involved with the pictures and the people and everything that is a part of the media form .

Technologies like this always get developed for a certain use however with the passing of time they either get developed even further or disappear, development of side technologies is essential for the further development of technologies like this; for example the first telephone From Graham Bell has been combined with the use of radio waves, digital technology, programming and other new media forms and have formed the advanced cell phones or the first radio has been developed to an extent of portable usage together with digital media into a technology like the IPOD and Mp3 Players. Green or Blue screen were developed just for use in cinema however these days all types of media have used this technology together with the use of digital cameras, CGI, digital special effects and photography. All these technologies exist in order to be used individually but new media and digital media need the combination of all these technologies especially the use of a green or blue screen and a camera ,however all the media industries will try to hide the extenuating usage of a green or blue screen particularly for their own benefits because a widely used technology by the media industry like this ,even though its not expensive or difficult to use, is forced to “hide itself” and sometimes just show the final output of a form of media rather than showing what happens in reality therefore letting the viewers know that elements of the media form are fake or simply just giving away information about how this technology works.

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