Will Computers Put Actors Out of a Job?

April 2nd, 2012

These days, computers play a major role in film production. Computers are used to edit films, shoot them, and act in them. Computer generated (CGI) characters are present in almost every film. Sometimes actors are even replaced with a CGI character temporarily during a particularly difficult scene. Usually there are two reasons why a film production company will use a computer generated character instead of an actor. Either the character has a very distinct look that would be difficult to recreate on a live actor, or they want the character to do something that a live actor simply would not be physically capable of doing. As computer generated characters become more prevalent and look more real than ever, people may begin to wonder if these CGI actors will completely replace live actors. Audiences can put their minds at ease, though, in knowing that this will likely never happen.

First and foremost, audiences feel a special connection with their favorite actors and actresses. They like to see them on the screen portraying different characters, wearing different costumes, and just doing what they do best. This is why awards shows and red carpets are so popular among the masses. People just love celebrities, and a computer can never fill that role. Many people go to see certain movies simply because they want to see a specific actor, regardless of the plot of the movie. Hollywood would not turn down that profit opportunity.

Speaking of money, computer generated characters are not cheaper than live actors. While big name actors come with a high price tag, they can also draw an audience into the theater. CGI characters cost just as much and don't come with that allure. It takes hours of work to create a character on a computer. Movie producers need to pay film crews and actors to do motion capture sequences to get the movements just right. They also need to pay for the artists who create and animate the character. In addition to this, the character will still need a voice. So, they will have to turn to a live actor in the end anyway.

Audiences also tend to not like computer generated human characters. When a person watches a movie, he or she wants to be able to connect with and relate to the characters and the storyline. It's kind of like an escape from real life. It's next to impossible for audiences to feel for and relate to CGI characters. They lack a certain emotional quality in their movements and even in the look in their eyes that real people just don't seem to like. This is a major downfall, since a large part of enjoying a movie involves feeling connected to the characters and the events. This just can't happen as effectively with computer generated characters as it can with live actors. Even if a CGI character is made to look as real as possible, the effect on the audience is not the same. These characters come off as creepy and strange rather than endearing and human.

Overall, computer generated characters will likely be involved in every movie at some point since they can easily do certain things that live actors cannot do. However, they will never completely replace live actors without suffering a major backlash from audiences everywhere. The movie-going experience is, more than anything else, an emotional experience. To get the best emotional experience from a movie, the audience needs to feel connected to the actors and the characters, and live actors do this better than computers.

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