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is reality a good thing?

Mike Most writes:-

>In previous discussions, many of us here have discussed
>the "departure from reality" that film presents so elegantly.

In the century that film/cinema has been around, film makers have learnt
to live with, and more, to exploit, the limitations of the medium that
are imposed by the laws of optics, photochemistry, mechanics, economics,
and , yes, perception.  Depth of field, motion blur and motion sampling
artefacts, granularity, toe & shoulder sensitometry all emphasise the
difference between a filmed image and "reality" and have all been used
as a part of creative storytelling or mood-setting.

But at the same time, audiences have come to accept these artefacts as
proof of the authenticity of the cinema. The digital effects people have
learnt that without those artefacts in an effects shot, the audience
will "smell a rat". Even though a well-managed CGI shot can dispense
with some of the limitations of real-world cinematography, shots are
somehow more convincing if they look "photographic". Even in TV shows,
we see cinematographic effects (flicker to simulate silent film speeds,
letterboxing to hint at a cinematic look, the "Kodachrome" look for home
movies) used as visual clues to the image.

All of which gives a new meaning to the phrase "photo-realism": (does it
have to look _less_ than real to look "real") : and leaves me wondering
three things:-

1.    If photography liberated the painter from the need to represent
"reality" and allowed her/him to move on to cubism, surrealism etc, what
will be /has been the corresponding effect of video and digital imaging
on photography and cinematography?

2.   How did the inventers/discoverers of photography/cinematography get
so much so right?

3.   Have we gone off TIG topic yet?

  Dominic Case
  Atlab Australia

Thanks to Bob Festa and Rick Dean for support in 1998.
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