Ghost scenes, blood sacrifices and gun-fight scenes have come a long way in the Nigerian film industry. The adoption of technology has been significant, but the room for growth keeps expanding quickly.
By Kanso Ogbolu
The Nigerian film industry aka Nollywood has come some way from when it was just camcorders and quick fixes to produce movies in one week or less. Today, a lot goes into making our movies cinema-worthy. From the latest cameras and lenses to cranes, drones and more, we can say we have come a long way. But, how far have we come? With our current use of tech today in filmmaking, I daresay we have not even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible especially with the rich stories we have in our culture.
Presently, we are only limited by the equipment and software we use and that in turn limits the kinds of movies we can make and stories we can tell. Most times, we end up making dramas and comedies, which are fine but we have so much more to tell as a country, from period pieces to the supernatural and even action. Look at what we are able to achieve right now as the third largest film producing nation in the world. Imagine if we had all we needed at our disposal.
However, technology in Nigeria is growing albeit not as rapidly as one would hope for. This has not stopped filmmakers from buying and renting equipment to make better films. Equipment is available in this country if you look hard enough. Software, however, is a different story entirely. They are usually very expensive to own and a budding filmmaker is not one that can afford such luxuries, especially with the problem of piracy.
Take animation and CGI for example; these are two aspects of technology that filmmaking in other parts of the world has caught up on. Sadly, both aren’t moving as fast as they should be and are not getting the much-needed attention they deserve in Nigeria. While there are quite a number of animators emerging today, most of them are self-taught and Nigeria has not fully accepted it as a means of earning a living. Try telling your dad you would like to be an animator and see if he doesn’t recommend medicine or law instead. Even if he finally accepts, where will you go to in the country to get a full degree in, say, 2D animation?
As for CGI, there is hope. A couple of people are doing amazing things but there are many challenges. If we solve the power problem in Nigeria, 50, nay, 70% of our problems across-board will fade to black. Other issues, however, include money, time and patience, the technology and skilled manpower.
Despite all these, I do believe there is hope, I believe there is enough potential. As stated earlier, we have come some way. Imagine what it could be like in 20 years if we had the right resources. From Amadioha movie franchises, merchandise and theme parks to our indigenous comic book adaptations. The possibilities are endless.
The Government has its role to play too. Nollywood was built on the backs of hungry Nigerians who wanted and still want to tell stories. Government funding is all well and good but if we have, for example, constant power, the rest is history. Education is another critical factor. Creating proper film schools where you can get a degree and learn how to use this ever-changing tech. Achieve these, and everything else will fall in place.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.