Systematic Literature Review: The Impact of Digital Technology on Cinema

The advent of digital technology has brought profound changes to the cinematic landscape, revolutionizing film production, distribution, visual effects, and the overall viewer experience. This blog post explores how digital tools have democratized filmmaking, making high-quality production accessible to non-professionals and expanding artistic possibilities. It also examines the impact of streaming platforms on film distribution, the advancements in CGI and other visual effects, and the enhanced immersion brought by virtual reality. By synthesizing current research, this post provides a comprehensive understanding of digital technology’s transformative effect on the cinema industry.
A vibrant collage showcasing the transformation of cinema through digital technology, including scenes of film production with digital cameras and editing software, digital distribution networks, advanced visual effects, and immersive viewer experiences with virtual reality headsets.


Digital technology has brought about profound changes in the cinematic landscape, affecting various aspects such as film production, distribution, visual effects, and the viewer experience. This systematic literature review aims to synthesize existing research on how digital technology has transformed these elements of cinema, thereby providing a comprehensive understanding of its impact on the industry. This review seeks to answer the question:

How has digital technology transformed various aspects of cinema, including film production, distribution, visual effects, and the overall viewer experience?

Film Production

Digital technology has revolutionized film production by enhancing the quality of films and making production tools more accessible. Dinç (2023) notes that integrating digital technologies has democratized filmmaking, allowing non-professionals to enter the industry and produce high-quality films[1]. This shift has broadened the range of artistic possibilities available to directors and artists, facilitating the creation of innovative and visually compelling works (Vorontsova & Koltsov, 2022)[2]. Using digital cameras, editing software, and other digital tools has streamlined production workflows and reduced costs and time while increasing efficiency and creative flexibility.


Digital technology has also transformed the distribution of films. Traditional distribution methods, which relied heavily on physical media and theatrical releases, have been supplemented and, in some cases, replaced by digital platforms. Streaming services and digital downloads have made films more accessible to a global audience, breaking geographical barriers and enabling instant access to a vast content library. This shift has expanded the reach of films and altered the economics of distribution, providing new revenue streams and business models for filmmakers and distributors (Prince, 2019)[3].

Visual Effects

One of the most visible impacts of digital technology in cinema is the advancement of visual effects. Digital tools have allowed for the creation of complex and realistic visual effects that were previously impossible or prohibitively expensive to achieve. Chen (2022)[4] highlights how digital film technology has enriched traditional film aesthetics, introducing new forms and characteristics such as virtual images, innovative narrative modes, and enhanced sound-picture relationships. These advancements have enabled filmmakers to push the boundaries of visual storytelling, creating more immersive and visually stunning experiences for audiences.

Viewer Experience

Advancements in digital technology have significantly enhanced the overall viewer experience. Hui and Yang (2023)[5] discuss how virtual reality (VR) technology has improved the immersive and interactive nature of film and television special effects. VR and other immersive technologies allow viewers to engage with content in new and exciting ways, creating a sense of presence and participation that traditional film viewing cannot offer. This evolution in viewer experience not only enhances enjoyment but also opens up new possibilities for storytelling and audience engagement.


Digital technology has had a transformative impact on cinema, affecting every aspect from production and distribution to visual effects and viewer experience. By democratizing production tools, enhancing visual storytelling, and redefining the viewer experience, digital technology has modernized the film industry and expanded its artistic and aesthetic dimensions. As technology continues to evolve, its influence on cinema is likely to grow, shaping the future of the industry in innovative and unpredictable ways.


Chen, C. (2022). New Aesthetic Characteristics Emerging in the Digital Cinema Era. International Journal of Education and Humanities, 2(1), Article 1.

Dinç, İ. D. (2023). Animation & Visual Effects Technologies Influence on Global Production Trends & Digitalization of Cinema from 1990 to 2020. JOURNAL OF ARTS, 6(1), Article 1.

Hui, S., & Yang, T. (2023). Digital Film and Television Special Effects Production Based on Virtual Reality Technology. Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 98–110.

Prince, S. (2019). Digital Cinema: Movies & Popular Culture. Rutgers University Press.

Vorontsova, Y. V., & Koltsov, D. N. (2022). Investigation of the Digital Technologies Influence on the Process Transformation in Cinema. Vestnik Universiteta, 0(2), Article 2.

[1] Digital technology has revolutionized cinema by enhancing film production efficiency, enabling advanced visual effects, connecting media platforms, and engaging viewers interactively, shaping a new era of cinematic experience.

[2] Digital technologies have enhanced film production quality, expanded accessibility to equipment, and allowed non-professionals to enter the cinematic space, primarily improving picture quality and enabling artists to realize their ideas.

[3] Digital technology has revolutionized cinema by transforming film production, distribution, visual effects, and viewer experience, challenging traditional filmmaking assumptions while extending longstanding traditions into the digital era.

[4] Digital technology has revolutionized cinema by enhancing visual effects, narrative techniques, sound relationships, and viewer interaction, leading to new aesthetic characteristics and immersive experiences in the digital cinema era.

[5] Digital technology, particularly virtual reality, enhances film and television special effects production by creating immersive and interactive experiences, improving visual effects quality, and increasing audience engagement in cinema.