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The most innovative films in the history of cinema

Technology and innovation change the world and they change cinema as well. Here is a list of the most innovative films in history.

Technology and innovation change the world. Inventions of both yesterday and today change what we know and show how innovation should be the engine driving the development of society. Big data, blockchain and smart cities are terms that are commonly used day, but this has not always been the case.

Looking back and seeing how technology has developed in some areas can give us a perspective on what awaits us in the future. Cinema is a great example. Technology has been a constant feature of the seventh art and has achieved that the films produced today are totally different from those we saw just 10 years ago.

However, as in so many other sectors, it is not always the one who invents the technology who ultimately popularises it and we would like to do justice to this with the following list. Here are some of the most innovative films in the history of cinema:

1. The Thief of Baghdad (1924) / Vanity Fair (1935)

The Thief of Baghdad is known to be one of the first attempts to bring colour to cinema. An extraordinary feat based on colourising some of the scenes in the film after recording them in black and white, but technology achieved so much more ten years later.

There were eventually a total of five versions of Vanity Fair between 1911 and 1935. It was not until the premiere of the last one that one of the greatest milestones in the history of cinema was reached: the first full-spectrum Technicolor film.

All critics agree that it was a film that really focussed on the visual setting, with the leading actors surrounded by luxury. The script was not really that important, but we can understand that this was not the focal point of the film. It was the first colour film and it was important to highlight this differentiating feature.

2. Don Juan (1926) / The Jazz Singer (1927)

The film version of Don Juan (1926) reproduced sound effects for the first time in the history of cinema. However, it was not until 1927 that The Jazz Singer finally introduced the voice as a characteristic feature.

It may now seem an integral part, but before this film, directors had to make sure that the message was not lost despite being told through gestures and a few written headings. In 1926 The jazz singer earned a place in the list of the most innovative films in the history of cinema.

3. Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) / Avatar (2009)

It would be just as fair to give credit for the arrival of 3D technology to Ghosts of the Abyss, as it would be unfair not to give it to Avatar. Both films were directed by James Cameron and, although the famous 2009 film was not the first in 3D, it was the one that made it popular. We should not forget that media such as The New York Times estimated its budget at more than 500 million dollars compared to the 13 million for Ghosts of the Abyss.

The creation of three dimensions required the most advanced methods for capturing motion, more than three thousand special effects and the latest technology in film cameras. The stereoscopic experience was precisely what earned the film very positive reviews.

4. Tron (1982) / Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)

The fifth episode of Star Wars, second in accordance with the chronology of the saga, was the first film in the history of cinema to be shot entirely digitally. This required high-definition digital cameras filming at 24 frames per second. A huge step forward for cinema in 2002, and which made the addition of special effects so much easier.

But when we speak about digitalisation and post-production we must not forget about Tron. This 1982 Disney film was the first to include digital effects. This well-known company was able to combine real actors with up to 30 minutes of computer-generated sequences.

Sagas such as Star Wars can commit to innovation without risking their profits. It required a total budget of 115 million dollars to bring the technology used in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones to the big screen. But this figure was greatly exceeded as soon as it reached the box office, with worldwide earnings of 650 million dollars.

5. Zotz! (1962) / The Matrix (1999)

Do you remember the scene from the film that popularised the well-known "bullet time"? S slow-motion scene in which Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), saved his life by leaning back at the same time as the camera rotated through 360 degrees and showed us the movement of the bullets from different points of view.

Making it a reality required 200 shots with up to 412 frames embellished with special effects, as well as the latest digital production and post-production techniques. If The Matrix was the film that made "bullet time" a popular technique, it actually originated in Zotz!: a 1962 film that already used this effect, albeit in a much less spectacular format.

The Shining premiered in 1980 with one of the most-used camera movements and Toy Story was the first cartoon film shot entirely using digital effects. Technology and innovation: Two of the pillars on which society progresses. Cinema is a clear example of how a reality that can expand to any field. These are what we suggest as the most innovative films in the history of cinema, but the list could be much longer. Which ones can you think of?

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