The international organization for amateur film makers is UNICA (Union International du Cinema Non Professionel); in the United States the American Motion Picture Society (AMPS), in Canada the Society of Canadian Cine Amateurs (SCCA), in the UK it is the Film & Video Institute. These organizations arrange annual festivals and conventions. There are several Amateur Film festivals held annually in the United States, Canada, and in Europe.
Amateur films were usually shot on 16 mm film or on 8 mm film (Either Double-8 or Super-8) until the advent of cheap video cameras or digital equipment. The advent of digital video and computer based editing programs greatly expanded the technical quality achievable by the amateur and low-budget filmmaker. Amateur video has now become the choice for the low-budget filmmaker and has boomed into a very watched and even produced industry with the usage of VHS and DVD Digital Video camcorders.
In 1987 a United States Patent was put forth on improving the process for transferring film to video or film previously transferred to video for the treatment thereof and the transfer thereof to a master at a real time play rate, the process comprising the steps of: (a) transferring film to video or transferring video carrying the film previously transferred to it to video in a 1:1 frame of film to frame of video ratio where one frame of film, or one frame of film previously transferred to video as the case may be, corresponds to one frame (two sequential fields) of video--(thus each frame of film now occupies only two sequential fields of video). The process has been developed to allow transfer from 8mm and 16mm to VHS and DVD also made creating amateur film footage much more professional while adding more of a smooth watchability element. The process allows for unwanted footage to be effectively removed and unique brightness to show as well as color correction during the film transfer conversion process.
In March 1989 the ability to transfer motion picture images of 3-D to videotape was patented. More particularly for film to video transfer methods adapted for 3-D television viewing.
This industry was first established in 1972 as a drama society, but by 1990 it had evolved into a Junior film industry. This first started in Christ College and thereafter it was started in many schools and colleges across the state. The industry has seen a lot of highs and lows. In 2002 it was almost in the verge of collapsing but Arjun Shankar an amateur superstar emerged and his films started doing very well. They went on to create sensation among the youth and this made him and the industry very popular.He is considered as the father of amateur film industry. It was during his days, where AFI films were screened at film festivals and won a lot of prizes. However in 2006 he left the industry as he graduated and went ahead to try his luck in the Tamil-Telugu film industry.
Today amateur/ AFI films are quite prominent and are considered the easiest way to reach the students and youth. Over the last few years the industry has been doing extremely well with several blockbusters - the first one being Karthik-Tasneem Sheikh starer RIP (2008), the film was a super hit and broke records in over 45 colleges across the state . The next one being -Abhishek Venkteshwar- Rithika starer Twist of Fate (2009), the film with its popular theme became a blockbuster establishing the lead pair as superstars in the industry. Paa (2010) starring Abhishek Venkteshwar, Richa and Aravinth was again a major success throughout the state as well.
The AFI lacked good technicians however Deepak has earned a good name for himself in both cinematography and editing. The industry was taken to another league by the film AAL ISS WELL (2010) starring Abhishek Venkteshwar and Tasneem Sheikh. This film created history releasing in over 100 institutions across the state, earning 100 times the production costs. This gave a big boast to the AFI, this changed people's notions towards amateur/AFI cinema. The Bang (2011) starring Shashank and Richa also collected huge collections in spite of the film being a remake of the Bollywood film Dabang. In 2011 Entangle starring Abhishek Venkteshwar and Rajshree became the highest grosser of the year. Pooja Umashankar a well known Sinhala-Tamil Star debuted in AFI opposite Abhishek Venkteshwar in Mirage. The AFI is growing day by day and is slowly earning a name for itself in the highly competitive Indian Film Industry. Abhishek Venkteshwar, Shashank Sharma and Tasneem Sheikh have played a huge role in the development of AFI.
Now the industry has a lot of superstars like Abhishek Venkteshwar, Shashank Sharma, Tasneem Sheikh, Karun, Rithika, Richa, Rajshree, and Rachel Van Tuyl. The Highest paid Hero in AFI is Abhishek Venkteshwar who charges Rs 1.25 lakhs per film, he hiked up his salary after the success of Twist of fate, Paa, Aal iss well and Entangle. However amongst the leading ladies, Tasneem Sheikh remains the highest paid heroine charging Rs 40,000 per film. AFI is currently gaining a lot of momentum and only few people have a fan base here like Shashank, Abhishek, Karan, Rajshree and Tasneem.