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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A dispatch from the Directors Guild's "Digital Day"

Wired News correspondent Xeni Jardin was at "Digital Day," an annual event put on by the Directors Guild of America to showcase new technologies. Her piece is headlined Auteurs Glimpse Digital Future. Make sure you check out the accompanying photo gallery - especially Panavision's robotic crane.

Jardin writes:

    In addition to hands-on demos of new gear, attending auteurs also participated in workshops on such topics as directing on virtual sets, digital cinema projection and delivery systems, and how to make the creative transition from shooting movies on film to shooting them digitally.

    "Shooting on 35-mm film costs about a dollar a foot," Bob Harvey, Panavision senior vice president of sales, told Wired News. "A thousand feet for a thousand dollars adds up to about 11 minutes of footage. But about an hour of footage on a Genesis 24P HD, for instance, costs under a hundred dollars."

    But going digital means more than new budget options, according to director Chuck Workman, who is currently working on a feature about painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son, director Jean Renoir. Workman sees common threads involving technological change within both crafts.

    "When oil paint in tubes became available, the Impressionists could all of a sudden go outside to paint in the field, and that changed everything," Workman told Wired News.

    "In the 1960s, lightweight cameras came along and changed documentary filmmaking, and now digital is changing everything again. Anyone can go out and make a movie, anywhere. Their movie might be horrid, but who cares? Some will be great. Anything that moves us away from formulaic moviemaking -- I'm all for it."

At some point soon, will every day be digital day for directors?


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