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August 2002, Week 5


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Ian Grey <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 30 Aug 2002 13:41:00 -0400
text/plain (113 lines)
My main interest here isn't so much focused on aesthetics as the
chance DV presents for information control and insertion of constantly
shifting ad mesages and the exclusion of indie voices from the media
delivery chain.

The gear for high end projection is exorbidant from an indie POV, but
is comparatively nominal from a corporate POV, while the benefits--
centralized accounting being a big one--are limitless.

Indie voices will, as a matter of economic inclination, be more and
more excluded from the media chain.

It's really high tech multiplexing--Why offer film consumers a choice of
films that may make only marginal profit or contain problematic
information, when you can project/sattelite-beam a small clutch of
synergistic features? As w/ multiplexing, you tap into the ingrained
movie-viewing social desire, fill your 'plex with 5 copies of one or two
films, and call it choice.

Also--DV, or, as they call it, 'E-cinema' will have the effect of vaporizing
the few art/reperatory houses left by effectively excluding them from the
media chain, with the transnationals having almost no economic
reason to advertise indie product in subsidiary 'press' outlets.

It isn't all doom and gloom--some new means of distribution along
with the cyclical nature of things will present some option.

Ther IS the possibility that consumers will note that movie-going is
becomming nothing more than really loud TV, stay away, and force
transnationals to re-think their approach.

> As for the effect on the film industry, I think it's quite likely we'll
> see a conversion to video projection despite the costs, maintenance
> sometimes inferior picture quality. Especially in spite of picture
> quality. Why? Because it happened before when the industry
> from nitrate film stock. Anyone who has seen original nitrate knows
> vibrant it was. Pictures came alive. It was simply marvelous. But the
> complaints of its flammable nature (mostly an overreaction
generated by
> poor handling) forced its obsolescence.
> As for production, I think it's far less likely you'll see a
> conversion. As many filmmakers have pointed out, there's a look to
> -- the chemical nature of its process -- that simply can't be
> duplicated electronically. But only those who can afford to stick with
> film will do so. Namely Hollywood. The cost difference is a mere
> fraction of what it costs to hire stars, support the fees of producers
> and so forth. True there will be some filmmakers such as Lucas
who will
> stand by the new technology, but there will always be filmmakers
> insist on a particular look that can only be generated on film. They'll
> even resort to 16mm and 8mm if the look demands it (i.e. Oliver
> use of the various formats in Natural Born Killers).
> In the music industry there was quite a surge of electronically
> produced music. Rock musicians had synthesizers that could
> almost any kind of sound. But nowadays you see a larger return to
> basics of guitars and drums. It's a sound -- a human feeling if you
> will -- that simply can't be duplicated by computer. But we certainly
> see a welcome embrace of electronic distribution through cds. In
> production will stick with the basics that work, but distribution will
> fully embrace new technology.
> Getting back to film, it'll be the independents who'll both benefit and
> suffer from digital.
> Nowadays you can get a camera for about $5000, tape is about $30
for 40
> minutes, and with a Mac and Final Cut Pro you can have edit
> The downside is a growing avalanche of amateur productions. Most
of it
> will be inferior and forgettable, and it'll become even more difficult
> for shiny new talent to stand out from the crowd. The challenge will
> the smaller studios that can help secure distribution, but they'll be
> spending most of their time screening thousands of hours of
> digitally-shot film, searching for those few gems. They already do
> when reading scripts. But at least now they have a finished project to
> help make their judgments. Perhaps they'll even expect a finished
> project instead of a script?
> With all that said, there is still a challenge. We are fast approaching
> a time when anyone can affordable make there own digital film. But
> making a "film" is not just about tools and technology. "Narrative
> film" still needs a narrative; stories people will enjoy, and want to
> see. Vibrant characters, suspense, comedy, drama, whatever -- no
> computer or digital process can generate that. Only a talented mind
> can. But hopefully, will more accessible tools, those talented
> will still be able to shine.
> dw
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite

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