NOTE: This post was published on Nov 6, 2010 and is a snapshot of views and opinions at that time.
Today I realized again the priviledged position I am in, what I am witnessing and not only that, but playing an active part. If you are a regular reader of my articles, you will know that for some time I have been observing, predicting and documenting the changes we are all seeing around us. I have recieved mixed responses from industry insiders and outside observers that have varied from total agreement to blind anger and denial.
I have had the priviledge of entering into discussions with technical and creative kingpins, responsible for much of the change we are seeing around us, one such person is Russell Wintner, of which Wikipedia credits as “…an American Hollywood executive largely credited with leading the worldwide motion picture industry’s transition to digital cinema.”
You can read that article of mine and his response here – Sink Or Swim – The End Of The Traditional Production Value Chain
I’ve had interesting debates with top Hollywood ASC Cinematographers like Steven Fierberg in this hotly debated article that left a stream of 29 comments! Film Vs Digital – The Debate (And War) Is Over
This blog has given me a outlet, connected me with movers and shakers I never would have met. Here I can publish my thoughts and insights to the world. It’s been hugely rewarding for me especially but I hope for everyone who reads it.
What is an absolute certainty is that this industry will never ever be the same again. It has changed to its very core, its legacy of technological exclusivity, of hierarchy and selective access, of economic and political control is crumbling.
These changes are profound and concrete, they are permanent and they will make or break you. Are you foolish enough to think you can fight the tectonic technological revolution going on in the film and broadcast industry? or even to think you are not affected? or will you embrace the change and let it carry you into the next decade or two on the cutting edge, happy, employed and in demand.
If you embrace it, are you embracing every new offering to be tabled by each and every maker of these wonderous magical solutions, swayed back and forth by changing fads and buzzwords or are you more cautious, taking your time to see how the first generation or two fare (which doesn’t involve much of a wait), and making decisions more intelligently, bringing in a good dose of rational thinking and real world experience before jumping on every new bandwagon?
I’ve recently been retrenched from a large post facility with studios and a film lab. It came as no particular surprise considering the revolution I have been watching and engaging in, simply being able to add one and one together has been enough for me to see where this is all going.
Today I saw a glimpse of the destination, and even at that it’s a destination only for a while before we yet again move on.
I want to mention a few people here that I have worked with for a couple years now, and am about to be spending much more time with, and I don’t think they read this so they will probably never object.
My friend Graham Austin, of DI Film Company is a technological visionary.
Graham is an amazing man. I met him a couple years back and we immediately clicked. I think he’s the only person I ever met who saw the future the same way I did. Driven by the intellect and experience of another amazing man, Craig Blankenberg of Solutec, a very special van is taking shape and it will make a major impact here in Cape Town and South Africa.
I can’t say much about the build, or what’s busy happening inside this special panel van, but today I got to drill holes, lay cables and get my hands dirty.
I can say this. Until recently I worked for a large post house, I’d say they employ in excess of 120 people and have the building and all the infrastructure that goes with such a facility. With the exception of the VFX division, this one little van with three people is capable of shutting such a facility down in a single season.
In this van are more CPU cores, RAM and storage capacity than you will believe if I told you. I’m talking faster than real-time image data transcodes from Red, Phantom, Arri, Canon, whatever… real-time playback, grading, color correcting, conforming, inputting, outputting, uploading, downloading, all on colour calibrated displays and it goes to set and stays on set. This is a model in converging DIT, VT, data management and backups, grading, even on-set editorial onto a single integrated mobile platform. This is like having a no-compromise post facility data-lab and DI theatre set up on site next to the catering tent. Oh, and renders, transcodes and data wrangling continue while this van is in motion. All servers and gear are rack mounted in a specially designed suspended housing.
This is the future! It is here and I couldn’t be in a better position. I’m not worrying about weathering this storm, I’m ready to throw some lighting bolts!