In its youth, which seems only now to be ending, film-making and film-editing required an immense amount of expensive and specialized hardware and a hefty range of fine technical skills. Today, suggested Dave Hopkins and Jim Grassi at the October 27 Lunch ‘n Learn, even teenagers with affordable hand-held devices can shoot, edit, and even distribute films for the mass market.
Be sure to run through their slides which contain a range of clips that tell the story through film. There you can watch Francis Ford Coppola predicting in the 1970s that children would someday be able to make movies of quality. There too you can watch Gus van Sant, a master film editor splicing tapes. Imagine the cumbersome task, when every scene and every noise involves a separate reel of 35 mm film stock. There are still editors who persist with such handiwork, manipulating bins of reels, but the immense power of new software, notably Final Cut Pro, has compelled most filmmakers to make the transition to digital. Films are now shot, edited, and delivered digitally. The films never touch tape.
And watch the simple film made by a father of his young son after a trip to the Dentist. Meant to be shared with grandparents and close friends, 70 million through YouTube have now viewed the amusing clip. An 8th grader named Brook Peters made a documentary about 9/11 that was so good that it is up for consideration at Tribecca. The point is, of course, that anyone with a camera, an idea, and some talent can now reach a very large audience. The barriers to entry have been drastically reduced.
Such technologies always trickle downward, suggests Hopkins. Quality no longer costs $15K. He showed a remarkable piece of footage taken with an iPhone. Without having to rely on tape, there’s also an immediacy with the film. There’s no longer a need to wait for post-production. Efforts, good and bad, can be sent instantly to YouTube.
New light panels are not only less expensive, he adds, but they also do not overheat and no filters are required for indoor shots.
Expect to see more use of the smaller technologies. The final episode of House this season was filmed on a very small camera, making possible footage in very closed spaces.
Hopkins and Grassi suggest that, as a result of the new technologies, a new breed of producer has evolved, a videographer “preditor,” a one-person film shoot, from idea, to the writing, the shooting, the editing, and even the distribution.
Software certainly plays an important role in making the technology so accessible. With Apple iLife, users can easily locate related clips and produce compelling movie trailers.
In the future, they suggest that we can look forward to better compression to compensate for larger hard drives, more video on walls, sidewalks, streets, and 4-D TVs that will fill all the senses.