Features and Columns · Movies

How Pollution is Changing the Way Films are Shot in India

*laughs nervously in West Coast wildfire*
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
By  · Published on July 26th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay on how pollution is changing the film industry in India.

Ostensibly, movies are an escape. This is and has always been one of cinema’s greatest promises.

Only, in one of the many lessons imparted by Mrs. COVID-19, this isn’t really true. Movies have an uncanny way of mirroring real life, intentionally or otherwise. As Latham Hunter notes in their dissertation The Celluloid Cubicle, “We allow, even crave, film to speak to us and for us.”

Like dreams, movies always contain a kernel of truth, no matter how weird, whacky, or surreal they may be.

The climate crisis is very real. Catastrophes like rainfall flooding are increasing in scale and scope, unambiguously underlining the devastating realities of what it’s going to be like living on an increasingly polluted planet. But some of the more pernicious environmental effects of climate change are decidedly less bombastic. As such, they have had far sneakier effects on daily life, and, in turn, movies.

If you’ve had the, uh, pleasure of living in the vicinity of a wildfire, you’ll know that the sky becomes really strange. The same is true for smog and pollution. The resulting visibility-reducing particulate matter greatly affects the ability of cameras to capture things like true-blue values and highlights.

The video essay below offers a fascinating and technically oriented breakdown of how air pollution is affecting cinematography in India. The essay does a great job of breaking down the technical realities of capturing outdoor shots in highly polluted environments. Which, unfortunately, may become more and more of a reality.

Watch “How Pollution Is Changing Cinema In India”:

Who made this?

This video essay on how pollution is changing the film industry in India is by Jyotishwar Singh. They are a video producer based in India whose work focuses primarily on Bollywood content. For more of Singh’s work, you can subscribe to them on YouTube here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).