Technology continues to bring us wondrous advances in filmmaking to improve how we view movies.
While it's exciting to consider the possibilities stemming from this era of innovation -- which directors and futurists for decades have envisioned -- that allows us to watch a movie "anywhere, anytime," the more preoccupied we become with the technologies of how movies can reach us, the less we seem to ask the most important question: How do we really want to experience a film?
In my view, the only way to see a film remains the way the filmmaker intended: inside a large movie theater with great sound and pristine picture. Music and dialogue that doesn't fully reproduce the soundtrack of the original loses an essential element for its appreciation. Simply put, the film loses its power.
Short of that, the technically sophisticated Blu-ray disc, of which I've been a supporter since its inception, is the closest we've come to replicating the best theatrical viewing experience I've ever seen. It allows us to present in a person's living room films in their original form with proper colors, aspect ratio, sound quality, and, perhaps most importantly, startling clarity.
Which is why it has never made sense to me that those preoccupied with how movies are delivered have for years written off "physical media" (i.e., movies on discs) as "dead" even though the evidence shows it isn't happening and won't for years to come. Technology will need to make many more huge leaps before one can ever view films with the level of picture and sound quality many film lovers demand without having to slide a disc into a player, especially with the technical requirements of today's 3D movies.
Granted, the older DVD technology is phasing out. But it is yielding to the Blu-ray just as videocassettes once gave way to the technically superior DVD. This is evolution. Far from being dead, physical media has years of life left and must be preserved because there is no better alternative. Pundits aside, Blu-ray for the foreseeable future remains the finest technology to preserve the impact and enjoyment of watching movies at home.
We've come a long way from those flickering, silent screens which were accompanied only by a person playing a piano. What has remained constant is that people then and now have always sought out the magic one feels after watching a truly memorable film. For movie lovers it doesn't matter whether that magic comes at a theater or through a disc, an electronic stream, a satellite or a wireless device as long as it is delivered through the best possible experience.
Ridley Scott is a three-time Oscar nominated filmmaker, producer and director. His next film project, Prometheus, is scheduled to be released next year by 20th Century Fox.
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