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Old September 14th, 2005, 05:41 PM   #1
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Emotional Impact: Waiting For HD100 for 18 years

This community is amazing for the technical information.

I just wanted to start a thread, however, to speak to the rarely
discussed emotional component to working with this level of camera.

What do I mean?

I started with the video and filmmaking 18 years ago,
and from the very beginning,
I dreamt of a camera that would emulate the look of film
with the ease and cost of video...

As a child of the video revolution (I am 34 now)
I started with VHS, and make a high-grain film texture to it
by pushing the GAIN UP button, while working with
my fellow high school filmmaker, M. Night Shymalan.

Then, at NYU Film, I bought an Arriflex 35mm film camera,
but the obstacles to finishing a film with it (film and processing costs,
post costs) made completing a feature impossible.

Then came DV- a huge step, and one that allowed me and others to make
a feature film on DV video that is internationally distributed-
but a technology, in the end, not film-like enough.

So as HD came into focus, it seemed like the the realization of the dream-
and it is- HD is the dream of video that looks like film. The CineAlta arrives, and the VariCam... they, of course, look enough like film, but with one
problem- still expensive, at least for a filmmaker using the company name
of MicroCinema to describe a "small, inexpensive" and "chip-based" filmmaking.

So as I write this, finally...
a camcorder is finally being delivered to filmmakers and videomakers
all over America... one that allows for individuals and small crews
to make films and videos of the HIGHEST quality.

The levelling of the Hollywood playing field.

The democratization of digital technology.

Instead of movies, wedding and corporate videos, commercials
and TV shows being a reflection of talent and budget,
the HD100 symbolizes a paradigm shift
whereby the video or film you make is, more than ever,
a relfection of pure persistence and talent, with aesthetic visual beauty
no longer a commondity reserved for the wealthy.

Does this camera impact anyone else's career or artistic vision
in a manner as dramatic? How does the HD100 empower YOU?

T. Patrick Murray
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Old September 14th, 2005, 06:12 PM   #2
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Cudos. I wholeheartedly agree. This new generation of cameras is a dream come true for independent filmmakers.

I just turned 32. I made my first film, "Son of the Ninja," in grade 7 with a Hitachi VHS camera (the one with the VTR section hanging in a leather case near your waist.) It actually had 4-heads with "video insert" that wouldn't affect the soundtrack and "audio dub" for overdubbing music tracks later.

Everytime I watch one of M. Night's high school films on one of his DVDs, I'm reminded of how liberating it was to make films with video cameras when I was a kid, and edit them with two VCRs. I even convinced my parents to help me buy a "genlock" box for my Amiga that I would use to do key titles and little animations I made with DeluxePaint4. I never even imagined at the time that a computer would ever be capable of "digitizing" broadcast quality video.

Then of course I went to film school, started working in the industry, was introduced to Avid, and my attitude changed. Sad when I think about it.
I think that now with these internet DV filmmaking contests popping up, homemade 35mm lens adapters, and the advent of delivery codecs like H.264, more and more people will be inspired to just get out and make a film that actually looks like a film - not a home movie. No more excuses!
(except for inexperienced actors and bad lighting.) ;)

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Old September 14th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #3
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The camera really is amazing from the posted videos' I've been fortunate enough to work with. All camera competition aside, these new cameras this year are so much better than the last 5 years its astonishing.

Now an aspiring film maker can go to Best Buy, get an HC1 and Pinnacle Studio 10 package for Christmas for a mere $1800 and put together something that could be cast up on the big screen and retain the film makers intention. Amazing.

BTW. Is the web site microcinema.com your's? Steller site for years.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #4
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Amiga 500

Oh my God?! I completely forgot about Delux Paint, It must have been THE BEST Paint package ever! *old memory's come flooding back* yea those where the good old days.

Then there was the Amiga 600, 1200, gosh..
I remember if you had 1 megabyte RAM you where *THE MAN*, yea I remember upgrading the Amiga 500 to 1MB ram for the first time and getting really excited when loading in a Game and it said "1 Megabyte RAM detected"

Anyway I'm not as old (sorry should say wise) as you guys, but even in my lifetime technology has changed quadratically.

I don't think videos going to be the same again.

I gotta say DV was a disapoinment for me personally (maybe I was expecting too much?)

But for me right NOW, a 35mm adaptor + any HDV cam (or HVX200) is more than enough.

These cameras do offer what i've wanted, images that are clean, sharp, and detailed, the Sony FX1 does that, the HD100 does just as good (maybe a little better), the XLH1 will probably do it better , and the HVX200 well huh who knows?
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Old September 15th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #5
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To be honest with you, I don't think this camera, or any other HDV camera, are going to make the slightest bit of difference as far as the "Levelling of the Hollywood playing field" goes. I think it's very easy to get caught up in thinking that a cheaper camera and newer technology is somehow going to allow you to make "that great film" you've always been thinking you'd make someday if you could afford it. The truth is, as Robert Rodriquez showed us 12 years ago, affordable avenues for making films have been with us for a long time, and we've not seen any huge influx of great quality low budget movies. The camera and film are just now a smaller part of the budget. You're still going to need to spend around $50k to make any kind of basic low budget feature film, (unless it's made in your living room with your Aunty as the main actor) of which you'd be beter off spending a little bit more and renting a Varicam or CineAlta if you want to get the best quality picture (if that's a priority for you), ...and that's just in case that almost unheard of miracle occurs and you actually DO make it into the cinemas with your film.
I think the very best thing any of us could do to to level the playing field is to get off the Internet and start writing, start actually making that film. Hey, but if somehow owning one of these cameras makes you feel it's going to be any easier, and makes you actually do it rather than talk about doing it, that's great, but honestly, ...inspiration is all you're really buying.

I think I'll take my own advice here..

All the best,
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Old September 15th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #6
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A Tool Is A Tool Is A Tool, No Matter How Cool

I agree with the last poster- this camera is JUST a tool...
it will not "make" a movie for anyone...


It symbolizes the removal of a huge barrier to entry into filmmaking-
and getting distribution, while a longshot, is not a miracle-
and will continue to be more practical as theatrical dies,
DVD and HD-DVD rises, and broadband becomes the new cable TV.

Case in point, my little movie made on DV in now in BlockBuster and
Amazon, and being remade in Hollywood by one of the top directors
in its' genre... never could have been shot, much less produced,
before DV... 16mm would have been prohibative.

You are right- it starts with the writing-
and because of this camera, I took my script,
found a little financing based on my DV film's success
and attracted Stephen Baldwin (alright, he's no Brad Pitt)
to Produce and act in it, all for well under a million bucks.

That scenario would be impossible with 35mm...

As for Rodriguez, one of my idols, EL MARIACHI succeeded,
but it looked only so-so visually... this camera, and the ones
that follow it, gives the Director a shot at aesthetic beauty...

It is a tool, just a tool... but the tool I have waited 18 years for.

Camera comes tomorrow... clock starts ticking... time to make an HD film!

T. Patrick Murray
MicroCinema (no, MicroCinema.com is not me, wish it were)
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Old September 15th, 2005, 04:08 PM   #7
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Thats not entirely true, why assume that you have to use a camera be it film or video at all?

when "making a film" it could be all CGI, and that doesn't require anything but skill + software+ computer+(time to render)

I mean look at how many computer generated "films" have come out :

Toy Story
Toy Story 2
Finding Nemo
Final Fantasty
Bugs Life
Sharks tale

and a whole load more, and with current home computers and softare we can do alot better than TRON :)

Any way I'm just kidding you are right the camera is a small part of the equation, but since we're in a forum that revoles around cameras its not a surprise that we would pay more attention on the cameras than anything else.

One thing for sure, cameras have changed alot, and they are gonna get better.

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Old September 15th, 2005, 04:31 PM   #8
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Anhar's Corrollary

Anhar is correct-
there is a parallel revolution occurring,
related but unrelated,
concerning computer technology...
the very thing that allows us to edit HD in our homes
instead of renting time with a 100k AVID like the old days...

The name of this game is empowerment-
if you are the next Brad Bird, you can make an animated film
with a Mac today, just like these cameras allow for a live action production
at mimimum cost...

Good point, Anhar.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #9
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If I could give awards for best thread of the day, this one would be the winner. Keep it up! I built this site in order to attract this exact type of conversation. Well done fellows,

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Old September 15th, 2005, 05:32 PM   #10
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Who's directing "The Last Game"? You didn't mention a name?

Also, good job on getting the doc out there - I'll try and rent it or maybe buy it!
Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old September 16th, 2005, 01:04 AM   #11
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Don't forget "A Corpse Bride" being shot as stop motion on a CANON digital SLR camera. I have been thinking about doing a stop motion movie like this for almost a year now. I'm glad to finally see somebody do it.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 08:54 AM   #12
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I am only 18, but when I think in the time when I was 9, already dreaming about having a camera to make a movie, there were only Hi8mm camcorders (at least, which I knew off) and that already seemed heaven. There even wasn't talking about 'filmmotion' and 24p and so on (I didn't knew the difference, and I think back in 1995 there were almost no cameras who could do such thing that was available for the prosumers, I think the XL1 started this with Frame Mode - correct me if I'm wrong)

And then, when I read this post, I think: damn, I should be lucky to live in this age. Sometimes I think - and I'm only talking about the material available, not about the skills of the operator - the stuff consumers now have available is better then the things of semi professionals 15 years ago. Maybe I'm even understating!
It's especcially great if you read a book about filmmaking, that was published in the 80's, where they say the best to make movies is 8mm or 16mm, nothing else then that. No non-lineair editing systems on computers for semi-pro's or amateurs then.
Now everybody can edit with their PC.

So, I know this maybe is going to sound 'soappy', or sentimental, but sometimes I feel bad for people who are 35 now, or some even 50 or older. Maybe they had/have the same dreams as I do, but I now have more chance to get a camera, make something, and just edit it at home, and send it to a festival or something.
Makes me feel very lucky, maybe even a little bit guilty, in a strange way.

Just wanted to post this sentiment for a moment...
Best regards,
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Old September 17th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #13
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That's a bittersweet sentiment to hear, because there is certainly truth in it. As an almost-40 year old who absolutely had dreams of filmmaking as you and others have describe starting in high school (and who also ran around with borrowed VHS 2-piece systems trying to make films, edited in camera), I do sometimes think about how great it would have been to have had access to the incredible riches available now for far less than the cost of a year of film school. But the "sweet" part of the bittersweet is that for those who are your age, it's all their for the taking and I'm happy for you that you get these opportunities. Still though, doesn't stop me from doing it too (if I can fit it in between working to pay the mortgage etc!).

Tim, I know exactly the feeling you are describing. I first had it when I took a training class in Final Cut Pro 1 and suddenly realized the capabilities I now had on my home computer, which was many times that of the edit suites I used to work on as a salaried employee. I felt it again when I teamed up with a theatre company to do a 48-hour film festival (while it was still a new idea!) and made a great little short in two days, then watched 6 other ones that same night (which led me to create Instant Films, my present company). It's a visceral feeling of pure excitement and empowerment.

But it's best to think of that technological bonus as being the gift horse that simply prevents one from having to raise that much more money to make a film--the rest of the process remains the same, and the temptation to just go out and shoot because it doesn't cost anything should probably be balanced with the understanding that there are no shortcuts to a great story, great performances or even great cinematography (it takes the same amount of skill to make beautiful looking video as it does film--in some ways, even more so).
Charles Papert
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:00 PM   #14
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Please, don't feel bad, it's our own fault. I'm nearly 50 and just finished making my first feature film. When I was 20 in London, my flat-mate had a really huge video camera connected to a really huge video recorder deck that you could just about hump around if you were in great shape, my other flat mate messed around with 8mm films and had a little 8mm editing station. But at the time I wasn't really interested. The quality did look really bad, but if I'd been really driven I COULD have made films using this, the technology was already there. The only thing that has changed is that now the picture quality is many time superior, so it's easier to make something out of the box that visually LOOKS like it could go straight to TV. This has absolutely nothing to do with whether what you produce is watchable by anyone except your cat.
There is a great analogy in the Music production world which has already gone down this pathway. Are we now seeing thousands of really talented people making the best music you've ever heard because you can make a really high quality album in your bedroom? (and have been able to for almost 20 years), I personally don't think so. Though I have to say that the ACCESS to all the atempts at it on the internet, (which we didn't have when record companies controlled everything you heard) is a truly revolutional thing. You can now get to hear a lot more variation in musical styles than when they controlled the musical outlets. I dearly hope the same thing will happen with film, at the same time hoping that people will still be able to make a living at it.

All the best,
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Old September 17th, 2005, 01:06 PM   #15
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I forgot to add: at Instant Films we get a lot of shorts sent to us by prospective directors; they are often beautifully packaged DVD's with slick menus etc. just like real films, but the majority of them get ejected after the first minute...
Charles Papert
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