At the end of an extremely hagiographic article about George Lucas, which casts him as the originator of just about every technological innovation in cinema in the last 30 years, and even compares his role to David Bowie’s Thomas Newton character in The Man Who Fell to Earth, there are some very sanguine comments from Lucas himself:
Digital imaging is a tool of cinema, just like the camera is a tool and the projector is a tool… They aren’t new tools, they’re simply improvements on the tools that already exist and have always existed… And a camera is a camera is a camera so it doesn’t really make any difference on a practical level. You frame the film the same and you light the film the same — the aesthetics are exactly the same.
Which I take as further support for my instinct that, if ‘D-cinema’ is going to have cultural and aesthetic impacts, these will be come about from the increased range of material that it will be possible to project to significant numbers of people, using networks and low-cost production facilities — not from new kinds of big budget films. And because some of these changes might require changes to the ‘darkened hall’ physical architecture of cinemas themselves, it will be decades rather than years before the impacts are fully felt.