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The wondrous future of filmmaking and digital video.
  • Hi, I'm not sure if this belongs here but I figured I would just give it a shot and see if anyone found it interesting to chat about.

    I often think about the effect DSLR's have had on aspiring and seasoned filmmakers and videographers, and I am continually awed at the technology available to the masses. I've also found it very excellent just to be alive right now, 24 years old in 2011, having witnessed the evolution of the internet, personal communication, and artistic expression.

    I can't help but feel incredibly happy that I've seen the same technologies that a few years ago we're reserved mainly for film productions with rental insurance, be put into the hands of the hardworking and creative people that deserve to use the same technology.

    Every day I go on Vimeo and see countless new videos, most of them shot on DSLR's to my knowledge, and many of them are amazing. I almost feel afraid that I'll start taking this massive influx of creative video expression for granted, but I think maybe it's just a part of getting older and I imagine the children that will grow up with Vimeo and DSLR's everywhere will have no problem keeping pace.

    I suppose a lot of people feel the same way, and it's pretty common sense, but also maybe isn't talked about enough when people get caught up in battles about which camera is better... perhaps the same people that only shoot videos of decayed trees and grass (I remain hopeful they will move on to small animals, perhaps even people).

    I also remain hopeful about the future of filmmaking. You can't really blame the camera anymore, and that's a wonderful thing because I think it will just increase the quality of peoples work indiscriminately.

    So, I think one of my possible points in writing this, is to let us not forget how lucky we are to live in this time, and to not forget that behind every video there's a spirit and a story; and even if it's not easily apparent, it can still be appreciated and encouraged to grow.

    Any opinions and thoughts are most welcomed.
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  • On the fundamentals I agree with what you are saying. The gh1 and gh2, once hacked are basically a poor person's Red Epic, and if used carefully they might just be able to keep up. But if you look at this great documentary set on Zacuto's website they really did a bang up scientific job showing the subtle quality differences between Kodak film, most of the top professional camcorders and most of the Canon and Nikon dslrs and ultimately film is still king. The top camcorders are a distinct level below film and the dslrs another step below that. But the top 100k camcorders are so close that is almost doesn't matter. Half the time you can't tell. STATE OF PLAY with Crowe and Affleck was actually filmed 50% film, 50% digital camcorder (panavision I believe) and I couldn't quite tell because the difference was so subtle. They actually used the subtle differences as part of the storytelling. Film was more rich, dark and gritty so it was used to show the grind that Crowe's character was enduring as a hard working reporter. The clean austere almost sanity bland look of the digital camcorder was used to show Affleck's character as a politician in this austere underlying corrupt world.

    And the dslr's, especially the hacked gh1 and gh2 are so close to those camcorders that you almost can't tell. But if you compare the dslrs to film, its pretty clear there is a difference.

    But putting all these nit picky points aside the difference between these 3 layers, film, top end camcorders and top end digital cameras is getting thinner and thinner with each passing year. That is the exciting part.

    The demoralizing part is that making a good movie or tv episode has never been easy and never will be because at the end of the day its the quality script that determines whether anything is good or not.

    And the sad reality is most people with either big budgets or small budgets very rarely have a good script to play with. And the reason for that is because its not easy to write a good script and it never will be and those lucky few of us who can write a good one eventually burn out and either can't write them anymore or refuse to kill themselves to do it anymore. Even Shakespeare started going down later in life. Compare Othello to one of his last works, TEMPEST.

    New technology typically creates a deluge of crappy movies at first. Mckee talks about this in his book STORY. He mentioned how when sound was introduced to film, there was a sudden deluge of empty bland movies, but they had sound. Then years later color was introduced and again there was a sudden deluge of empty movies but they had color. I even noticed Kurosawa abused the option with his first color movie. It had the same shots over and over again with different hues on it. Nice abuse of the color option but there was absolutely no dramatic content from it. Then special effects got a big boost with STAR WARS and suddenly there were all these empty sci-fi movies trying to ride off the STAR WARS wave. Then there was the CGI revolution and we're still suffering that one where we have lots of empty movies but great cgi effects, a thousand ways to blow up every city on the planet and the planet itself. Who would have guessed Earth could be destroyed in so many different ways?!! Aliens invading, tital waves invading, cold weather invading, meteroids, aliens on meterioids, etc. Who would have thought the destruction of earth could become a cliche?!!

    I don't want to sound negative because I have to admit, on the first watch those empty movies are kind of fun to watch on the big screen just to see the effects and the experience is very much like a roller coaster ride, but you won't watch those movies again 5 years or 10 years down the road.

    Anyway long boring story short, we now have a new revolution on our hands, the digital camera revolution, which was so amazing that I couldn't believe it myself. I couldn't believe the canons made better shots than a 6k Sony ex1r until I personally went into bestbuy and took footage with my camcorder and took footage with their Canon 60d no less and literally compared it with my own eyes. Then I found out about Vitaly with his hacks for the gh1 and then for the gh2. So I am again amazed by the technological jumps I've been witnessing over the last 2 years.

    But I have to keep reminding myself, none of this means anything without a good script behind it. With all these revolutions in the technology its very easy to get excited about that and forget all about the story.

  • Great points pedro. It's like the calm before the storm... just imagine how amazing its going to be in a few years if the trends continue. To me, the pursuit of making anything, especially in film and video; the hardest part is just going out and doing it, and you might say that in a way, that's really all you need to do to make something. Like any art form or skill. People will always get better if they want to, and that's exciting to me.

    I don't know about forum edicate, if there is such a thing, but here's a music video I just shot with a friend of mine, hopefully some of you will enjoy it. Nothing fancy, but we worked our asses off for sure.