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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:32 AM   #16
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What an excellent discussion this turned into. I take no offense Robert (and others) - Your points are valid.

I really took notice as this happened in the photography industry, and I feel the same is quickly happening to video.

I started in the art world several years ago - old school style. Black and white TriX, hand developed, and hours of labor under an enlarger - back when cutout paper taped to bailing wire was the only "burn and dodge" tool available. The smell of stale chemical developer - fond memories.

I remember sending out a negative to be "scanned" by a processing facility. I got a 1.44 floppy back with a whopping huge 1.2 MB file of my scanned image. My computer's hard drive was about 20 MB at the time.

"Digital" photography? When pigs fly. I'd seen pics from "digital" cams in photo magazines, touting they would be pushing the 1 megapixle level in "under five years". A laugh and a drink later, it was back to the darkroom to do "real" work.

We see where this is going. When real digital cameras came along (SLR's at 3+ MP costing under $2000) - actual, inspired art began to appear. These "kids" were spending more time studying a subject with true VISION while I was mixing chemicals in the darkroom - and it all happened overnight.

So where does that leave us? I have no doubt what so ever that a fully digital camera, recording to a cassette or hard drive based system, will shoot resolutions equal to that of 35mm motion picture film. It'll happen for well under $5000, and the software to edit anything in your minds eye will be available for under $2000. And it'll happen by the end of the decade.

There IS a whole new generation of artists growing up in this craft. Most have never heard of an "online session" - but the shots they are thinking up and producing in a morning's work would shock even Lucas himself. They are not limited by the technology - only what they can come up with in their mind's eye.

To top it all off, broadband internet just cracking the surface. It won't be long when putting up your own TV station is as simple as buying a domain name. Top that with truly inspired artists - and entertainment as we know it is changing.

We can cry about it all we want. I'm sure the gold miners of the old west cried in many a brew over increased competition, plummeting value of the day's take - ghosts towns were the economic centers of the world - in their day. The smart miners found other ways to pedal their trade, and their great grandchildren own most of the current day oil fields in Texas.

"Other hockey players go where the puck is, I go where the puck is going to be." -W. Gretzkey

;-) Long post - but I needed to stir the pot.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #17
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RE: Mass layoffs in video industry

Let's not lose sight that those numbers equate to a lot of people not working.

The advances in technology have very little to do with it, and besides, advances in technology have a way of always leveling out the job market (you lose a Technicolor Color Consultant, you gain a video assist person, etc.).

Commercial films are basically shot the same way now as they were in Edison's day (you still need a script, a director, a DP, an assistant, an editor, a post house -- just as you did then). It takes just about the same number of support personnel to run a Panny Genesis, as it did a Panny R200.

Technology can compress the time frame of accomplishing tasks in the film industry, but it can also add expense (CGI, etc.). The time required to bring a feature film to completion today is about half of what it was twenty years ago, but the below the line wages have more than doubled, so we make more money today for working less hours. Even with the inflation factor added in, crews still make more "take home" wages than they did in the past. The problem is getting a shot at those "take home" wages in the first place.

The heavy unemployment rate in the film craft industry is mostly due to productions no longer being shot "in town" (the so called runaway productions). If you look at last year's U.S. commercial feature film output, you will see that over half were not shot in the U.S.

While producers cite the need for locations or bigger production facilities as the main reason for shooting out of town, the truth is, it's the bottom line that dictates the filming location and crews.

DP's no longer have the option (except in rare cases) to take their regular crew on location with them. These days, it's very difficult to even take a key person or two with you (gaffer and operator, to name just two), so we have to form lasting alliances with their counterparts on out of town productions.

Meanwhile, our "regular" crews are unemployed (crews in Canada, Italy, France, and Spain, make about half of what an IA crew does in the U.S.) while the DP may take just a small cut, or even get a bump in fees.

To paraphrase a famous film quote; 'twas the bottom line that killed the U.S. movie industry.

My two lira,

Enzo Giobbé
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Old June 19th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #18
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Just saw this recently about Miramax
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