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Tech Notes: Pulling it all together

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

November 5th is the day that many people interested in either computers or movies are waiting for because this is the date that the movie, "The Matrix: Revolution" is being released. The Matrix has completely changed the way that entertainment is being designed and planned. The Wachowskis are the two men behind these movies. The brothers are apparently huge fans of Japanese anime films (shown in North America as kids shows such as Pokemon and Sailor Moon), and after several trips to Japan, they designed a story which was intended to bring live action movies and computer technology closer together then ever in the past. This relationship would allow special effects to be seamlessly intertwined throughout a movie so that viewers would not be able to tell what was real and what was not. From these first plans on a flight across the Pacific Ocean, the Matrix movies were born. What you may not know is that the movies are only one part of what was envisioned as the Matrix experience. As well as the movies, the sound track and the video game were thought of as an integral part of the total experience and were actually released a week before the second movie. This is a very different strategy from the past, where, if a movie did well in the theatres, the soundtrack would be released several months later, and a major hit movie might have a video game appear six months after it was finished in the theatres. The Matrix was meant to be different. It was originally conceived of as one total experience tying together the live movies, the music, the game, and a series of animated films called Animatrix which loosely revolve around the world of the Matrix. They are based on Japanese anime films and are meant to be the final piece of the overall experience. The idea of movies, music, video games, and animated films tied together in one package is called convergence and has only been possible in the last several years as entertainment companies have grown to a massive size. In the past, animation companies did not produce live action films. Video games were produced behind closed doors, and music was made in its own world. However, massive corporations such as AOL now contain dozens of smaller companies within them and are capable of producing all of these things. Large companies also create room underneath them for smaller companies. Frantic Films in Winnipeg for example is a company which specializes in digital effects. They have worked on films such as Stephen King's The Perfect Storm and Swordfish starring John Travolta. The president of this company has consistently been a booster of the technology industry in Manitoba, saying that large production companies don't care where they are from as long as they have the knowledge to complete advanced jobs. And as the Wachowski brothers have learned; in the twenty-first century economy, that is often what it comes down to, vision and knowledge.