Marios Leftheriotis: The Present and Future of Cinema

18 Aug , 2017 Behind The Scene VeeR VR

Marios Leftheriotis: The Present and Future of Cinema


On December 1895, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, made the first ever projection in Paris.


This date is believed to be the beginning of cinema as we know it today. The public consisting of 35 spectators was deeply impressed by the ten short films that were shown. All the first films were short, presenting static shots of everyday scenes, such as a baby crying or a train entering the station.


But it was then that began the long journey of exploration and formulation of a cinematic language that could describe expressively the plot (shooting techniques, camera movement, zooming, editing) and at the same time, convey to the viewer feelings, ideas, subjective condition of the heroes and objective events, natural phenomena, conflicts, wars etc. In other words it was then that the cinema found its way into becoming The Seventh Art. The first step was towards the creation of a connection between the events presented by a plot, i.e. our familiar scenario, as well as the decoupage which is the detailed record of how the film will be created (movement and camera angles, sets configuration, effects, tricks, expressive movements of the actors or groups of people in crowd scenes).


All that seem familiar and trivial to us now, back then were unknown and had to be discovered. Thus began the creation of movies which were necessarily experimental (or otherwise “avant-garde” as we would say today). Hundreds of these were shot, some of which opened new ways of cinematic expression which the next generations of filmmakers expanded. These films are now part of the history of cinema and are described now as “Classic”. Other films, that later, using those forms of expression, succeeded to convey to the viewer feelings simple or complex, ideas, complex psychological states etc are known as “Art Cinema films”. Thus a film combining these two, ie new means of expression and conveyance of complex psychological situations and ideas, we describe as “Classic Art Film”.


And the obvious question is: What about the commercial hits we see, the huge productions and quality films of Hollywood and elsewhere, with the famous stars and directors, some of which have become legends?


These are inspirational movies, or qualitative costly productions, by Film Directors who know
fluently the cinematic language, as already described and use it masterfully to create films that are characterized as the “Masterpieces of Seventh Art”!!


So what is the next step for Cinema? It gave us everything it could and there is almost nothing new to offer in its present form. Everything has been discovered about the ways of expression and performance and therefore nowadays new films that are characterized as Classic Art Cinema Movies are rare. In this crucial turning point technology comes to give the answer.


The photography and film, as we know it, are gradually going to disappear making room for the new technology of the 360X180 spherical image, known as virtual reality. The photographer will no longer need to struggle on the spot for the perfect picture. He just will take with him a spherical photo of all the landscape or the environment in which he is located and later on using his computer will select the perfect pictures from this site. Thousands of photos, not just because he can use any camera angle he prefers, all around (360 degrees horizontally and 180 vertically), but also zoom in and extract any desired close-ups. So the spherical photo simplifies the cameraman’s job. All that remains to be done is to develop the cameras to increase the quality of the overall image to 4K or 8K, which, I believe, will be achieved pretty soon.


But for cinema generally everything changes, or rather, all we know so far about filming techniques, editing and actors movements, will be abolished. The shooting camera will be hidden somewhere in the center of the stage, there will be no visible machines, technicians, assistants, even the director will be somewhere invisible and the rendering of the scene will be realized by capturing only ALL the space where the action is taking place. The spherical camera will be stationary or moving slowly, so the viewers will not feel dizzy while watching. The director will not be able to use any of the known means of expression (close-ups, fast motion shootings, sophisticated camera angles, etc.) to convey to the viewer what the script dictates, because the movie now is “created by the viewer who is watching” !! He chooses the spatial angles, the movement in the desired direction and speed (left, right, up, down) and the closeups on any person or object he wants, in a field of 360X 180 degrees, by just turning his head where his attention is drawn .. Just like in real life. You see, this is the virtual reality!


Besides, the viewing of the movie now is simplified to the fullest. No more Cinema Halls, like we knew so far, also our known television sets and all kinds of conventional screens (except perhaps for smart phones and computers). All there will be replaced by a pair of glasses with headphones and a swivel chair. The viewer, at his command will convert the lenses of the glasses to TV screens and directly will be conveyed directly in the space where action is unfolding in the film or the television show (experiments for spherical TV have already started). By turning the chair (or if standing, by moving around) you will “create the movie” or the show you watch on TV. Some rich viewers will be able to make their Home Cinema which will be located in a hemispherical room to display the entire curved surface and will have rotating seats in the center so that the entire family can watch the film. And of course huge Spherical Projection Theaters will be created for public viewing, with the screen completely surrounding the audience, sitting in swivel seats in the center.


Therefore we can assume that in the near future the familiar language of cinema, which the director used to guide the viewer’s attention where he wanted, to transmit the plot or the film’s message, will be obsolete.


We will be again back to 1895 knowing nothing about the new art of the Spherical Cinema and everything must be discovered all over again. Therefore all spherical films made now, are experimental and will survive only if they provide new ways of cinematic expression so that the Director will be able to guide the audience’ s attention and help “create” the movie that he wants…


And all this in the foreseeable future. For later on, we do not know what awaits us, if we continue to exist on this planet. Perhaps the overall projection in space, probably by lasers and the entanglement of our reality with the virtual one…!!


Marios Lefteriotis
December 2016 


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The present and the future of cinema:

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