On the Death of Film

This post is in response to Movie Studios Are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital Are Vast, and Troubling, published in LA Weekly on April 12, 2012.

The demise of film has been heralded for a long time. It might have begun in earnest, as many cinematographers have speculated, with the ARRI ALEXA’s introduction two years ago. Or, as RED-evangelizers would have you believe, with the RED ONE in 2007. Or, just maybe, film’s death was sealed as soon the current generation of young filmmakers got their hands on affordable DV cameras and editing software, in contrast to the 16mm roots of their predecessors. Whatever the cause, the days of celluloid are undoubtedly numbered– but some in Hollywood seem reluctant to let it go.

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Predictable Cinematic Language

I’ve been watching more cable television shows lately, to the point where I now watch them almost exclusively over network fare (call me an elitist, but really, watch anything on AMC and see how easy it is going back to FOX). My latest such acquisition is Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy, which had been reccommended to me as gritty and high-octane family drama.

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“Look Ma, No Keys!” or, The Future of Picture Editing

As we in the post-production community look forward to the release of Final Cut Pro next week, many have speculated how Apple will move past traditional editing paradigms and create an app that “skates where the puck will be”, to quote Mark Raudonis use Wayne Gretzky’s famous phrase at the pre-NAB Editor’s Lounge. It’s true that much of the current iterations of Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Adobe Premiere are based on old metaphors, and if technology today has the potential for much more, why not use it? I don’t know what Apple has come up with, and I don’t expect it to be anything as physically-based as this, but regardless– here’s some ideas I’ve had, originally written in early 2010:

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Documentary, Narrative and the Suspension of Disbelief

“Artists use lies to tell the truth”, as Alan Moore wrote in V for Vendetta. Documentary is a medium that freely offers what many narrative filmmakers tire endlessly to achieve, namely the ability to convince the audience of the film’s “reality”, aka the Suspension of Disbelief. The more Joe Moviegoer is convinced of the reality the filmmaker has crafted, the more likely he is to emotionally invest himself in it. Documentary doesn’t have to worry about this; it implies that from frame 1, what Joe is seeing is real, and exists in the same world he does.

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