House of Cards - Kevin Spacey - Text MessageFor the past 15 years, filmmakers have been attempting to tackle a serious problem: how to visually portray the screens that permeate every aspect of modern life. From computers to smart phones, screens -- and more importantly, the information on those screens -- have become instrumental components of the contemporary human experience. As such, filmmakers have an inherent need to find ways to incorporate this experience and information into their visual stories. The only problem? Pointing a camera at a cell phone or computer often doesn't look great, and it can be difficult to absorb the required information. Some filmmakers, however, have found ways to make it interesting.

The following video comes from Tony Zhou, who has done some fantastic film analysis:

Obviously, there are as many ways to represent digital information as there are human brains to think those methods up. And that's the beauty of what has happened in the past 15 or so years. What started out as a problem -- the need to show digital information in a way that is visually interesting and informative -- has become a new frontier in film language. It's no longer necessary to get ugly inserts of a phone or a computer (and make the text way larger than it would be in real life for the sake of clarity). In a way, the digital world has become a strange, metaphysical extension of the real world, and the ways that filmmakers can represent this are literally infinite.

What are some of your favorite methods for portraying digital information on screen, and what films or shows do you think have done it best?

Link: Tony Zhou -- Vimeo

[via Filmmaker]