With the advantages in technology, it is clear that the cinematic experience is changing. You don’t just have to go to a standard cinema anymore to watch a film and enjoy it. These days, you can go to different experiences that don’t just allow you to watch the film but also, experience being a part of the film. At the beginning of July, my friend and I, like a lot of Londoners this summer attended the Star Wars Secret Cinema experience. I won’t say a lot about it as the event is still happening in the city until the end of September but it is an event where you dress and relive parts of the film before watching it. Secret Cinema also did an Amy Winehouse special a few weeks ago where you could watch the new documentary with her band playing live along with the film.
I mean even the way we watch films is developing – there are cinemas across London where you can sit in a park, watch it with a band playing the soundtrack live, lay on loads of pillows or even sit in a Jacuzzi! I think it’s safe to say that the cinema experience really has changed! Thinking about it though – what IS the future of the cinema experience?
In the past few years we have seen visual technology trying to improve in cinema like the 3D experience with Avatar. Also the horror film has tried to keep up too with the final Saw film also being in 3D. Thinking about it though, will there ever be a time where we will be able to go to the cinema and watch a film without wearing silly glasses?
If you look at the way that the film is developing, online streaming services are playing a massive role in how we consume film. Companies like Netflix are not just streaming blockbuster films, they are also now producing them so that they skip the cinema and jump straight to the service straight away.
If you go to theme park, they tend to have rides where for 15 minutes or so you can experience 4D. This style of cinema is that you don’t just watch the film you are also surrounded by smells or water spraying at you to connote certain actions in the film. The film is in 3D and then you will get chair vibrations if something like a bee attacks you or smoke if there is an explosion etc.
In a Cineworld in Milton Keynes a 4DX cinema has opened to the public, premiering with the film Kingsman: Secret Service. 4DX is a bit like a simulator – you have all the experiences and feelings of 3D and 4D but it takes it to another level a bit like a mini simulator that you would pay to go on in the arcade. Now whether or not this picks up as the ‘normal’ way to see films in the future, I am not sure as it is more expensive to see the films and also I am not sure whether I want to be spending money on this sort of thing. However, some Hollywood Directors are seeing the potential in the technology. Alfonso Cuaron the Director of Gravity is one of them who is excited to see what the technology can bring.
Special editors are hired to code the film to work in time to the effects; Directors can also have the option to choose different smells for what they want for their film. The chairs also have an option to turn off the effects as well – which I suppose is good if you are watching a horror film and want to make it a bit less scary.
For me, I think that if you want the cinema to become more immersive then developers should really look at the Transformers ride at Universal Studios. I went on it not really knowing what to expect and I walked away not sure if I loved it or absolutely hate it which in some ways is a fantastic thing because it felt like something so different that I had never experienced before that the experience stuck with me. You don’t just sit in a seat and move about firing, it’s all 3D and 4D at the same time and has robotic technology that throws you around and really makes you feel part of the ride and really immersed.
The way that you are thrown about you forget that you are on some sort of roller coaster track because you have the 4D effects as well as the 3d on top of the movement that it feels really realistic. If you were watching an action film such as Captain America or The Avengers in the type of experience I think it would completely blow you away. If you were watching a horror film in that sort of experience it would probably make it so much more scarier the brutality that you may never want to see a film like that again. The only downside with how immersive I would love Cinema to get is that it would be highly expensive and not possible as all rides would follow a different track.
I think whatever the future is of the cinema experience I think its either going to go one of two ways. One way is that streaming sites such as Netflix are going to take over the normal way of film or its going to try and become more immersive. My bets are on the streaming services eventually taking over.