A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still images on a strip of plastic which, when run through a projector and shown on a screen, creates the illusion of moving images. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion picture camera; by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques; by means of CGI and computer animation; or by a combination of some or all of these techniques and other visual effects. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry.
Films usually include an optical soundtrack, which is a graphic recording of the spoken words, music and other sounds that are to accompany the images. It runs along a portion of the film exclusively reserved for it and is not projected.
Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures. They reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful medium for educating—or indoctrinating—citizens. The visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. Some films have become popular worldwide attractions by using dubbing or subtitles to translate the dialog into the language of the viewer.
The individual images that make up a film are called frames. During projection, a rotating shutter causes intervals of darkness as each frame in turn is moved into position to be projected, but the viewer does not notice the interruptions because of an effect known as persistence of vision, whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. The perception of motion is due to a psychological effect called beta movement.
The name "film" originates from the fact that photographic film (also called film stock) has historically been the medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion picture, including picture, picture show, moving picture, photoplay and flick. The most common term in the United States is movie, while in Europe film is preferred. Terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the movies and cinema; the latter is commonly used in scholarly texts and critical essays, especially by European writers. In early years, the word sheet was sometimes used instead of screen.
Famous quotes containing the word film:
“The motion picture is like a picture of a lady in a half- piece bathing suit. If she wore a few more clothes, you might be intrigued. If she wore no clothes at all, you might be shocked. But the way it is, you are occupied with noticing that her knees are too bony and that her toenails are too large. The modern film tries too hard to be real. Its techniques of illusion are so perfect that it requires no contribution from the audience but a mouthful of popcorn.”
—Raymond Chandler (18881959)
“All the old supports going, gone, this man reaches out a hand to steady himself on a ledge of rough brick that is warm in the sun: his hand feeds him messages of solidity, but his mind messages of destruction, for this breathing substance, made of earth, will be a dance of atoms, he knows it, his intelligence tells him so: there will soon be war, he is in the middle of war, where he stands will be a waste, mounds of rubble, and this solid earthy substance will be a film of dust on ruins.”
—Doris Lessing (b. 1919)
“The obvious parallels between Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz have frequently been noted: in both there is the orphan hero who is raised on a farm by an aunt and uncle and yearns to escape to adventure. Obi-wan Kenobi resembles the Wizard; the loyal, plucky little robot R2D2 is Toto; C3PO is the Tin Man; and Chewbacca is the Cowardly Lion. Darth Vader replaces the Wicked Witch: this is a patriarchy rather than a matriarchy.”
—Andrew Gordon, U.S. educator, critic. The Inescapable Family in American Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, Journal of Popular Film and Television (Summer 1992)