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DGA Digital Day Conference

Updated August 6, 2009 - Events, News by SA Walsh mm

Directors, actor-directors, director-producers and even director-actor-producers-editors-sound designers. We met a lot of great Directors Guild members and visited with some of our current friends and users. The digital day theme rang true to what it wanted to do: Show off the current digital filmmaking technology and present a sneak peak at what’s coming next to all members, hyphenated or not.

There were a lot of cool toys and technology. Just like HD was about 15 years ago at NAB, 3D movies were the talk of this conference.  Avid was showing its 3D editing system (they provided 3D glasses, but to edit? they were cool looking glasses, no doubt, however…edit in 3D?). Then 3Di was showing a 3D post processing system (makes any 2d movie 3D even after it’s been shot and edited) and it was shown on an autostereoscopic display (3D HD monitor). To me, it makes more sense to “fix it in post” (especially live action)…but if you want to view a 3D  movie at home without wearing glasses, you’ll soon have to buy a new flat screen (and position yourself in the sweet spot to see the effect).  So as with HD revolution, it make take some time for 3d movies to hit critical mass, as in home viewing.  As a filmmaker, the question then is: do you wear “the glasses” while editing and then also while viewing…or do you post-process and buy another new HD big screen (or go back to the theatre)!

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And speaking of cool stuff, RED was there.  And so cool were they, that they didn’t even have a sign! Simply a little card on the table behind the camera that said RED. Oops, sorry I called it a camera, some are referring to as “an acquisition tool”.  As in: acquiring images! And here’s a comment about the acquisition tool  from an “innovator of contemporary digital production,” Scott Billups (as quoted from the Red.com website). “It’s not that the RED is really that far ahead of the technological curve, it’s just that everything else is so far behind.”  The man is an innovator: he can insult everyone with one sentence.  I like what RED is doing, but I also like Panasonic and the Phantom HD.  Money makes a lot of your production decisions.

Another interesting technology soon to be released was SLAM fx: a Destruction Visual Effects technology.  This is the type of previsualization that goes well with Maya.

Ahh, the cutting edge of the technological curve, a/k/a the leading edge, a/k/a the bleeding edge, it’s a risky place to live as a developer but as an early adopter, it can be frustrating.  Bugs (and the tech guys) become your friends. But new  innovative technology sure is fun to use and talk about, especially when you get to use it for free in exchange for a quote!  The real innovators IMHO are those who are actually completing real projects on the technology they have access to, you know, the “everything else that is so far behind”. Probably the equipment they own or bought only four months ago.

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