At the beginning of this year, the whole world changed with the news of a devastatingly contagious virus spreading with exponential speed and increasing ferocity: COVID-19.
Starting in China, social media users began posting videos and pictures of what life was like in quarantine. While a frightening prospect, without a doubt, many people in the west did not take the imposing threat seriously, and considered a quarantine a good time to catch up on all of the movies, TV shows and games that they had previously put on hold. I can say that with confidence, because I am, unfortunately, one of those people- though I do now abide by and promote social distancing and isolation.
As several states went on “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place” orders, the revelation that the coronavirus had arrived on US soil began to set in for many. My state was one of the earlier adapters of these policies and I have been in a quarantine for almost three weeks now. From a personal perspective, I can say that I binge watched two shows (Malcolm in the Middle, and F*ck That’s Delicious) and I have seen the tone and content of commercials change from pre-covid to the modern day, where large companies actually reference staying at home, and in some instances masks can be seen on the actors and actresses.
Commercials are not all that has changed. As more and more guidelines came out, as information regarding COVID-19 became apparent to epidemiologists, even more sectors shut down. Movie theaters were among some of the first to go, in an effort to curb the spread, by reducing large gatherings of people. Many film companies, including Disney, quickly overcame this challenge and began to offer new release streaming over various platforms. Streaming companies, like Netflix, also found a way to make this crisis seem a little less lonely and more sociable, by introducing ways for you and friends or family to stream your favorite movies and shows together, but from the comfort of your own homes- and at a safe distance.
The silver screen really took a beating with this virus, as it makes filming any movie quite a challenge. Us viewers need to take into account not only the cast on screen, but also the cameramen and sound crew, the lighting supervisors, executives, directors and producers. This could be a call to the use of all natural lighting, like in The Revenant, but as an optimistic fan of quality movies and television shows, I sincerely doubt that will come to fruition.
The development of cinematography will be a tough hill to climb, especially with California, the home of Hollywood and many studios, producers and actors, has become an epicenter for this disease; remember- celebrities are not immune to infection. In order to overcome this problem, I foresee movies incorporating a lot more forced perspective, in order to keep actors and other production staff safe. If not that, we may come to the point of actors filming their scenes completely solo, in front of personal, at home green screens and sending in cuts for production. Just for reference, here are some production clips of the green screen scenes used during the filming of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”
Cue the Digital Age. In this modern world, we luckily have the technology to have more-than basic communications with one another and still enjoy our media- even if we are just watching the same movie, or TV show in real time through two different sets, like with Netflix Party. This allows us to safely isolate, while still remaining sociable with our friends and family- which has never been more important than now.
The drawback of the digital age that we live in is this: with more people staying home and streaming, working, or gaming online the bandwidth of the internet as a whole has slowed down. Many sites- including Netflix and YouTube- have reduced the quality of their video streaming in order to help with this issue. I love my internet media, but try to keep in mind others do as well, and limit my daily consumption. I request you keep your fellow viewers in mind and do the same.