People in the entertainment industries have found a wide range of uses for computers. Musicians use computers to create an amazing range of instruments and sounds simply by playing a keyboard. The Musical Instrument Digital Interface ( MIDI ) is a system that synchronizes hardware and software that produce electronic tones. Sound is a pattern of waves, and computers can bend and alter those waves into musical shapes. A musician can touch one synthesizer key to produce the sound of a violin and another to clash a cymbal.
By carefully mixing hundreds of thousands of sounds, a musician in a studio can record a pop song or a symphony. Computers also add exciting effects to live performances. Using a voice modulator, for example, a singer can hum notes to produce the sounds of various musical instruments.
In a drama theater, technicians can use coordinated computer controlled lightning cues to brighten or dim the stage. The performing artists might even use computers to control the images and sounds of the performance itself.
Astounding computerized special effects have been achieved in the movie industry. Movies now contain many visual tricks that could never be accomplished without the help of computers. A number of ground breaking movies, including Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park and others have relied on firms such as Industrial Light and Magic, a company that has been at the forefront in pioneering special effects for movies. At ILM, technicians can create the illusion of a locomotive flying through the air or a robot transforming into a human being through the use of computer graphics.
From Tron to The Simpsons, computerized animation and coloration have revitalized contemporary animated film. Elaborate scenes can now be animated that might one have been too costly to bring to life, such as the flying carpet ride in Disney’s Aladdin. Using computer programs based on the precise mathematical laws of physics, animators can create in a few hours what used to take days with hand drawing techniques.