Traditionally, films were recorded onto celluloid film through a photochemical process and then shown through a movie projector onto a large screen. Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures. The visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. The individual images that make up a film are called frames. 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. While the advent of sound films quickly made silent films and theater musicians obsolete, color replaced black-and-white much more gradually. The number of films made in color slowly increased year after year.
More recent analysis spurred by Jacques Lacan's psychoanalysis and Ferdinand de Saussure's semiotics among other things has given rise to psychoanalytic film theory, structuralist film theory, feminist film theory, and others. Montage is the technique by which separate pieces of film are selected, edited, and then pieced together to make a new section of film. Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films. Mass marketed action, horror, and comedy films tend not to be greatly affected by a critic's overall judgment of a film. For prestige films such as most dramas and art films, the influence of reviews is important. Other observers note that positive film reviews have been shown to spark interest in little-known films. Conversely, there have been several films in which film companies have so little confidence that they refuse to give reviewers an advanced viewing to avoid widespread panning of the film. Journalist film critics are sometimes called film reviewers. Critics who take a more academic approach to films, through publishing in film journals and writing books about films using film theory or film studies approaches, study how film and filming techniques work, and what effect they have on people. Though the expense involved in making films has led cinema production to concentrate under the auspices of movie studios, recent advances in affordable film making equipment have allowed independent film productions to flourish. Fields of academic study have been created that are derivative or dependent on the existence of film, such as film criticism, film history, divisions of film propaganda in authoritarian governments, or psychological on subliminal effects (e.g., of a flashing soda can during a screening). Sub-industries of pre-existing industries may deal specifically with film, such as product placement and other advertising within films.
Silent films" need not be utterly silent, but are films and movies without an audible dialogue, including those that have a musical accompaniment. A "feature-length film", or "feature film", is of a conventional full length, usually 60 minutes or more, and can commercially stand by itself without other films in a ticketed screening. A "short" is a film that is not as long as a feature-length film, often screened with other shorts, or preceding a feature-length film. An "independent" is a film made outside the conventional film industry. Due to the advent of digital film production and distribution, physical film might be absent entirely. A "viewing" is a watching of a film. Any film may also have a "sequel", which portrays events following those in the film. From then onward, a film's credits usually appear at the end of most films. A film's "cast" refers to a collection of the actors and actresses who appear, or "star," in a film. A "film goer," "movie goer," or "film buff" is a person who likes or often attends films and movies, and any of these, though more often the latter, could also see oneself as a student to films and movies or the filmic process. Intense interest in films, film theory, and film criticism, is known as cinephilia. A film enthusiast is known as a cinephile or cineaste.
Trailers are now shown before the film (or the "A film" in a double feature program) begins. Teasers may be produced even before the film production is completed.
When the purpose is primarily educational, a film is called an "educational film". Film may be propaganda, in whole or in part, such as the films made by Leni Riefenstahl in Nazi Germany, US war film trailers during World War II, or artistic films made under Stalin by Eisenstein. The same film may be considered educational by some, and propaganda by others as the categorization of a film can be subjective.
A film crew is a group of people hired by a film company, employed during the "production" or "photography" phase, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. Most films on cellulose nitrate base have been copied onto modern safety films. An independent film (or indie film) is a film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major film studio. Most independent filmmakers rely on film festivals to get their films noticed and sold for distribution. A fan film is a film or video inspired by a film, television program, comic book or a similar source, created by fans rather than by the source's copyright holders or creators.
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