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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old February 5th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #1
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HDV on the big screen

I am now truly nuked about the opportunities we as independent filmmakers now have. I had previously shot a small short in September to be seen at Seattle's 1st Sci-fi festival. The project was too aggressive to meet the deadline and I missed the due date. I shot the short on the Sony HDR-FX1 and converted the footage to 24p using DV film. Well yesterday I went to the festival to see my competition and their works accessing my plan of attack for other festivals to come. Most of them were shot on 35 or 16mm film and telecined to HDcam for projection to a cinema screen. Seeing other productions such as myself on the big screen where I saw the first release of Star Wars in 1977 was awesome. Now this is this is the true kicker. A short called "Wireless" directed by Andy Splitzer was presented near the end of the festival and was extremely impressive in production value. To my surprise this sucker was shot on my newest HDV camcorder the JVC GY-HD100u with the stock lens. No Ca , no compression artifacts and no odd motion cadence, our time has come people. My last words are "the field has been leveled". Run!
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Old February 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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here, here.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 01:49 PM   #3
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I agree, but the time has been here for a while now. With all of the technology out there there are no more excuses.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 02:54 PM   #4
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Not to beat a dead horse but the camera has never been the main hold out... it is unions, talent, script, etc. The field will never ever be level. It will allow more people to create films for less money but that will not effect demand and the distribution model as much as people think. You have no better chance of theatrical distribution with HDV than you do with DV.

Look at audio for a prime example. In the past decade it has gone from needing a Hollywood/Nashville/Etc studio in a million dollar room to a $50k or even less pro-tools rig. Some people are even using Vegas or Logic, etc. Has that leveled the playing field much? Not really. Most the stuff that sells or that you have seen in the stores is still driven my marketing. Does Best Buy care what it was recorded on? If it sounds the same? If it has the same tech? NO, they care ONLY about... will it sell!

Even if Arri decided to GIVE anyone who wanted one a 35mm camera... the field would be anything but level. Where do you get the budget to get the stars that you can promote that will attract people? Hollywood and the theater chains have NO interest in low cost, high percentage profit movies. They would rather have a 100 million dollar movie make 100 million at the box office (and more on DVD and foreign) than have a $250,000 movie make 3 or 4 million dollars.

Are there exceptions? Yes, but they are very few and very far between.

ash =o)
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Old February 10th, 2006, 03:36 PM   #5
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Yes, this issue has been debated a lot of times before and it's clear that production values, script, marketing, etc. are the most important aspect of getting a film out there, however the professional look does count a lot.

I've seen films in festivals shot with the DVX or even pro DV cameras (such as Sony's DSR 250) and you can instantly tell the difference. Even people with no knowledge of what miniDV vs 35mm is can tell it instantly.

Although color correction and 24p can help loads you still don't get those beautiful, non-harsh tones typical of film, plus much sharper (not edge enhanced) images. And I'm talking about short films shot in 35mm with a low budget, yet they looked much better than DVX or its counterparts.

I'm really looking forward to watch 24p HDV in upcoming festivals to see how different it is from film. Resolution, exposure latitude, skin tones, etc. will hopefuly be less video-like.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:19 PM   #6
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Have you read or followed any of the long tail meme/discussion? If not, it's very interesting:


The most recent posts deal with 'blockbusters' - in both film and music - and their declining revenues as a percentage of the total market. This is a trend which is significantly more apparent in music than film, but film looks to be heading in the same direction based on the most recent data. There's also a dramatic divergence between the cost of the top grossing films each year and their percentage of the overall revenues for the industry.

Now, despite the decline in profits for the big films and albums, the overall markets are still growing. What this seems to indicate is that audience growth is happening everywhere except in the big studio produced media. I take this as an indication that the playing field really is beginning to level, or at least tilt a bit more in favor of the smaller scale, independent media producers.

To me the thing that everyone missed with the "DV revolution" was exactly what you are getting at - that access to affordable, high quality production equipment was only one small component of the picture. That alone was not enough to level the playing field because there was still the huge distribution/marketing hurdle to leap - one which favored those with deep pockets. However, the dramatic rise of the internet has begun to lower that hurdle, and I really do think it's only just beginning. What the long tail concept tells me is that audiences are increasingly finding out about the media they watch/listen to through non-traditional means - things like amazon's or netflix's "people who bought/viewed this also bought...". These are things which are not necessarily dependent upon marketing budgets as much as they are upon content - if you can make a decent video or album you can get it out there.

The technical part of that is important - and the amazing equipment we have available to us now certainly helps with that - but just having a video that looks good won't be enough. You've got to make something that people identify with - something that makes them a fan, and therefore an evangelist, for your content. A single fan can now recommend your video to hundreds or even thousands of people with a few clicks online - a couple of degrees down the line and you can get your media to a massive audience that was absolutely unreachable a decade ago unless you had an equally massive marketing budget.

Now this may not significantly change access to theatrical distribution, but that's becoming a smaller and smaller part of the overall distribution picture. Even there, things are changing - the ease with which one can create a 'microcinema' alternative to traditional theaters is amazing and is continually driven by the same technical improvements that are driving the costs of production/post equipment down. Even at the cineplex level things will be opening up as theaters transition to digital equipment - it'll be much more feasible to run screenings of smaller films which target a niche or local audience once they don't have to deal with film prints anymore.

So, all of this is to say that while it's true that cheaper, better cameras won't do much to level the playing field, to say the field will never be level is to ignore the rest of the changes which are happing in the industry. While it may never be truly "level" all indications are that it's getting more so every year.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 08:38 PM   #7
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Well I am VERY aware of the music industry, I used to work for an indie label. My point is not to discourage or say there is no outlet, it is to say that the outlets are different and surely not dependent on the format you shoot on. HDV does not open the door to Hollywood...

ash =o)
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