Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Even YOU can make a movie! Or, maybe not...

Every day I read more posts from people on this here interwebs that talks about how the art of filmmaking is changing. I do agree that it is a brave new world for cinema. Cameras are getting better and better and the tech to create things like VFX (Visual Effects) is getting cheaper and cheaper. All you have to do is look to me for an example of this phenomena. In 1990 when I was just a wee high school student there was no way that I could ever have made a film for just the cost of a camera and an editing suite such as Adobe CC (Photoshop, After Effects and Premier Pro). I would have had to buy the camera, film, a projector and possibly even machines to help with the editing. Sure, I could have used the crappy video cameras of the day but they were so bad that no self respecting cine file would watch something made with one unless it was something like a XXX movie, because no one cares what that looks like. But you see, I care, I care deeply about the look and feel for my work. I slave over every detail in everything I do. Because of this it was only recently that the technology was available to make great film (and sometimes not so great) for just the cost of a computer, software and a camera. I mean good Quality film. Some of these $800-1,500 cameras have been used to film Feature films and they show up on television more and more as the quality keeps rising. Films like "Red Tails" from Mr Lucas Himself was shot on a dslr by Philip Bloom.

Yes, among all that crazy gear is a little DSLR you can go buy at the local camera stores or even Best Buy. Now, I am not saying he is using a Cannon T2i. That is (according to Bloom) the Cannon 5DmkII that was at the time a little pricey but now you can get one from $1800.00. I know what you are thinking "$1,800 For A Camera?!". Well, my friends, that's a steal! The Red Epic suited up with the correct gear to get the job done right is about $85,000! You heard me right, and that is just for the camera! You still have to buy lenses and tripods and mixers and... You get the point. 

Back to my main topic. You must pardon me, I am building a website, editing graphics, talking to my mother and holding a text message while I am writing this blog. When I hear people telling folks that all they need is a camera to make a movie, a cell phone camera even, I cringe. Technically They are right, I guess you could make a great movie with just a cell phone but that would have to be one hell of a story with the best actors on the planet. To make a film you have got to have methodical planning and logistics. Even with a small film, you Must know what you are doing. Talent carries me some of the time but it's more than that. Even when I am "running and Gunning" I am plotting and thinking about the next camera angle, the color of the light against the next angle, shadows, sound, what's behind the camera and most importantly, the performance of the actors. One of my best stories so far was shot as a run and gun but I knew ahead of time what I needed to do with color, sound and lighting before I ever started shooting "Remorse"

To make a bold statement that "Anyone Can Make A Film" just shows a lack of understanding of the process. In fact I have seen many local folks who are actually involved in the legitimate entertainment industry try and do just that. I do not want to bash people for trying but it was horrid. They filmed the whole thing with their cell phone vertical instead of horizontal. In other words it looks like a cell phone made movie from 2005. Yet, it was a movie, i suppose. Well, maybe just a short film. 

This concept that making art is easy is a prolific scab on our modern society. Photographers are degraded by the moms out there that say "it's just a picture" and now it is filtering over into filmmaking. All I can say is, Thank God For Karaoke. For everyone has their chance on stage and most everyone figures out that, no, it isn't that easy after all.

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