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The Digital Future

It’s difficult to not be amazed at how technology impacts our lives. It wasn’t but ten years ago I was arguing with a so-called expert at a camera store that digital was the future. In fifty years maybe was his irritated reply.

girl on rock

Although it took longer than I expected, there was certainly a turning point in 2001-2002 that finally made digital cameras popular. The quality of images up to that point was the biggest deterrent for any photographer, and certainly digital had a long way to go to outdo film in 2002. In 2013, there are only a handful of film enthusiasts that would even open their mouths in the debate about quality of image capture and what is superior today.

If you keep up with where we are headed, it’s clear that professionals have reason to worry. Cameras and post processing have allowed amateurs to look as good as all but the most innovative and creative pros. Manufacturers are continually adding features and improving the dynamic range and light capturing ability so that even adverse conditions make digital capture amazing. No film camera can come close to digital in low light conditions, and what can’t be cured in the camera can almost always be cured in digital post processing.

Add video into the equation and all of a sudden you even have movie studios concerned that small independents can produce quality work on impossibly low budgets, and some of those enterprises even make it to the big screen and are amazingly profitable.

Digital isn’t only about images and video however. Music has been in the groove for longer than photography. In recent years, digital publishing has totally changed the prospects for musicians, videographers, authors, artists, graphic designers, etc., as well as how newspapers, magazines, and other publications will be delivered. The writing is on the wall, except for the most stubborn that feel it’s a crime to quit printing. What about the smell? To that I reply, you have to be kidding.

It is easy to foresee in the rather near future that everything we record, audio, stills, video, graphics, writing etc. will all be digital, and much may be computer generated. Pixar animation is amazing, but how soon will it be before you’ll see new scripts staring Humphrey Bogart and Emily Blunt, or any combination of real or imaginary actors and actresses in super HD, and you’ll hardly be aware they aren’t real. Already companies are foregoing putting up with whiny models and using computer-generated girls for ads.

Anything and everything can be doctored. No cover girl is going to print without being Photoshopped. The same goes for music. Can’t carry a tune, what does it matter? Want to be a big star but don’t have a voice. Get good at lip sinking. Yes indeed the world is changing, and digital is having an impact, and it makes sense because it’s far more affordable and doesn’t require paper or chemicals. And another great thing about digital, you don’t have to have an agent or publisher to make your mark in the world. If you like sharing your work, you can decide if it’s worth sharing.

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