Digital Cinema & CGI - Virtual Cinematography surrounding the theme of Spatiality using Visual and Participant observation (An Ethnographic Exploration of the Matrix)

Essay by AquaGenUniversity, Bachelor'sA, February 2004

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The ever increasing appearance of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) in contemporary digital cinema has had a significant impact on how it reconstructs spatial relations for the audience by generating realistic-like experiences through simulating a fantastical alternative reality. 'A Visible sign of this shift is the new role which computer generated special effects have come to play in the Hollywood industry in the last few years. Many recent blockbusters have been driven by special effects; feeding on their popularity' (What is Digital Cinema?, 1999)

In particular I have used digital cinema in my participant observations and visual analyses, namely, The Matrix films and The Lord of the Rings. In this digital CGI age of cinema, it seems we are recognising some forms of transition with a much greater immediacy. I intend to link the relationship of the spatial reconfiguration that CGI has on audiences today and how a long lasting relationship with cinema has finally changed, for research I have concluded extensive participant observation and visual analysis.

Advanced computer software such as Maya and Renderman generate and altering space-like experiences for the audience by simulating and altering representative spatial relations. 'Loss of landscape affects all the senses. Realizing Newton's mechanics in the realm of transportation, the railroad creates conditions that will also 'mechanize' the traveller's perceptions. According to Newton, "size, shape, quantity, and motion" are the only qualities that can be perceived in the physical world" (63:1979, Schivelbush)

In the Wachowski brothers' second Matrix sequel, The Matrix Reloaded (2003), one of the featured scenes 'Burly Brawl' presents a battle between Keanu Reeves' Neo and what appear to be dozens if not hundreds of Agent Smith a character played by Hugo Weaving, replicas. The scene was crafted as pre-release promotion arrogantly bragged, by digitally embedding Weaving's face onto various stunt doubles, a...