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Unsung Technologies that Transformed Television and Film

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As the technological landscape is constantly changing, some innovations have flown under the radar. So, let’s take a look at some of the unsung technologies that have transformed (and continue to transform) television and film. 


Nowadays, optical character recognition (OCR) is used in a variety of different applications, from businesses to entertainment. Today, OCR automatically reads texts or symbols and digitizes them, automating manual and time-consuming processes. In fact, OCR is a critical component of online casino games – when playing live roulette online, a real croupier spins a real roulette wheel. OCR technology then reads which position the ball lands on, allowing platforms to keep a record of winning numbers, and to place the result on the live stream for players to note their win in real time. 

However, in the 1960s, OCR wasn’t quite as automated as it is today. Due to this, a need arose for a font that could be easily read by both computers and humans alike. From this, the American Type Founders came up with the first ever OCR typeface that met US standards for people to read – OCR-A. Thanks to its versatility in both digital and human-facing mediums, the style and future derivations of OCR-A are instantly recognisable for their usage in subtitles for films and TV series – NowTV in the UK use a successor font for subtitles even now. As such, this one font managed to transform the accessibility of films and TV shows well into the future, as well as build the foundations for automated subtitle translation. 


With the emergence of digital filmmaking practices and cloud-hosted streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, it’s safe to say that technology has disrupted the film and TV industry. Despite switching to digital from analogue almost 25 years ago, however, the ways in which filmmakers operate have not quite caught up. Once it’s time to cut, footage would ordinarily need to be transferred from the camera’s memory to a bulky hard drive, which can be both time consuming and difficult to share with other collaborators. 

However, camera-to-cloud technology automatically stores captured content in the cloud. The content can then be played back immediately after the cameras are done rolling. Not only this, but all collaborators can view the footage and share their thoughts in real time, no matter where they are in the world, streamlining processes for more efficient and productive filmmaking. 



Lighting is one of the unsung heroes of film and TV – if you don’t get the lighting right, the atmosphere won’t translate the right emotions and tone on screen. However, analogue lights like classic ARRIs do have a tendency to get pretty warm, which can be both annoying and inefficient on set. However, LED panels are much more energy efficient, and convert most of the energy to light rather than heat, which has been transformative to sets around the world. 

LEDs can also easily be changed in color, strength, and saturation rather than having to use traditional gels. Due to this, LEDs are certainly one to watch in the industry, as new LED innovations are consistently being brought to the market. Just look at virtual production, for example, which uses large LED panels to create virtual sets, making shoot days more productive and efficient. 

And there you have it – just a few technological advancements that transformed the film and TV industry. Though they might not be sung about from the rooftops, such technologies continue to encourage future innovation.