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Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as part of the entertainment industry. Because photographic film historically has been the primary medium for displaying moving images, academics often refer to this field as the study of film.

Motion pictures are an art form, a popular form of entertainment, and a business. Film is produced by recording "real" people and objects (including played-out fantasy and fakes) with cameras, and/or by animation.

The word film also often refers to photographic film used to make still photographs, or to the flexible strip of plastic covered in a light-sensitive silver halide solution, also called filmstock, on which motion pictures have historically been made.

The images that make up a motion picture are all individual photographs. But when they appear rapidly in succession, the human eye does not detect that they are separate images. This results from persistence of vision, a phenomenon whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Although we do not experience the images as individual photographs, we do notice the differences between them. The brain then perceives these differences as motion.

Today, many motion pictures are still recorded using specially designed cameras that capture the images on rolls of film. After being processed and printed, the film is run through a projector, which shines light through the film so that the images are displayed on a screen. Most movies have accompanying sound. The soundtrack can be recorded separately from shooting the film, but for live-action pictures many parts of the soundtrack are usually recorded simultaneously.

Some films in recent decades have been recorded using analog video technology similar to that used in television production. More recently, many films are being recorded with a digital video camera and later projected using digital projectors and/or transferred to film. One of the major benefits of shooting digitally is that decisions can be made without waiting for the film stock to be processed.