Whether we're talking IMAX cameras, used to shoot portions of Lionsgate's recently released "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," or 3-D cameras employed for Warner Brothers' "Gravity," technology is shaping many moviegoers' experiences. And Hollywood is just getting started.
The film industry is pushing deeper into technology, as competition heats up for consumers' attention and dollars. From Netflix's original programming to cable's stable of dramas, some viewers need an extra push off couches into movie theaters.
"What's clearly happening is massive growth in Internet-distributed content. People are watching through their consoles and [Apple] iPads," said Edward Williams, a research analyst at BMO Capital Markets. "We're likely to see the industry focus on big-event production, to create the need to see content maybe not on an individual screen, but on a large silver screen—where you can't really duplicate that experience," he said.
Forget the ad slogan of "Must See TV." The film industry is gunning for must-see movies in a theater near you.
Hollywood's use of special effects to lure audiences is hardly a new strategy—1939's "Wizard of Oz" was considered a marvel at the time with pre-computer era rear-projection screens used to recreate the splendor of Emerald City. But the development of new techniques is now rapid fire. And today, especially for American moviegoers—for whom more is, well, more—Sandra Bullock tumbling in space in 3-D is just the the appetizer. Filmmakers already are experimenting with Google Glass and GoPro cameras to film and create wow-effect footage and in-theater experiences.
GoPro cameras—the creation of now billionaire entrepreneur Nick Woodman—have gained traction as a way to shoot extreme action shots, which previously were not possible or were very expensive to shoot. Established directors including George Lucas and newcomers participating in the Sundance Film Festival have used GoPro cameras, said Wil Tidman, the camera company's head of production.