Cinematography in the Digital Age

Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council

A scene from Inception, 2010. How to Train Your Dragon, 2010. A scene from Pan's Labyrinth, 2006.

Revolutionary developments in digital technology continue to impact every aspect of filmmaking. Cinematography in the Digital Age explored how current skills and techniques of cinematographers have evolved from traditional methodologies used when working with celluloid film.

Hosted by Academy governor Bill Kroyer, “Cinematography in the Digital Age” included film clips and discussion with cinematographers on the challenges and opportunities brought by changing technologies. A variety of motion picture formats and techniques were discussed, including animation, motion capture and visual effects.

Guests at the event included Cinematography Branch governor John Bailey (“Country Strong,” 2010); Oscar-winning cinematographers Guillermo Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” 2006) and Dean Semler (“Dances With Wolves,” 1990); Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, directors of the CG-animated film “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010), who discussed how cinematographer Roger Deakins helped create the look of the film; Science and Technology Council member Rob Hummel, who explained the film and digital image capture processes; and Digital Intermediate Colorist Adrian Seery. The program also included recorded remarks from this year’s Oscar winner for cinematography, Wally Pfister (“Inception,” 2010) (See video at right).

The host, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch governor Bill Kroyer, received an Academy Award nomination for his 1988 short film “Technological Threat,” which pioneered the technique of combining hand-drawn and computer animation. He directed the animated feature film “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” (1992), was senior animation director at Rhythm & Hues Studios in Los Angeles, and is Director of Digital Arts at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.

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Academy Award winner Wally Pfister discusses the future of cinematography and his work on "Inception."
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"The Cinematographer," a 1951 Academy short about traditional 35mm cinematography screened at the event. Watch video

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