A View From Behind The Meter
The industry has seen dramatic changes in the last decade and the information surrounding those changes is vast and for most part very confusing. The film industry for almost a hundred years used film cameras with simple pull down claws and registration pins as the base technology. Film emulsions changed but the process of capturing an image remained the same through out most of that time. The process was understandable and predictable as well as easily taught to the emerging young filmmakers. With the advent of digital technology anyone can capture an image rather cheaply, and YouTube is filled with people doing just that. The success of each creation is measured in how many hits the video received not, as in the past, how well crafted the image was conceived. Somehow along the line, it seems as though there has been a loss in the art of conception.
The fascination of watching a girl leap off a garage, miss the pool, landing instead on the hard concrete damaging her hips and legs permanently is almost criminal. Millions of people played this tragic series of images as it went, as they say, ‘viral’ on the internet. When I filmed the Vietnam war in the mid sixties there were numerous images of war that I captured on film that have never been shown to the public and as I remember these graphic horrors I’m certainly glad they have remained behind closed doors.
Perhaps my sensibility is old school, but I do still see this industry as a way of showing beauty and majesty to our civilization that will give our population hope and understanding in their daily lives. It’s easy with the tools of today to capture an image that could become popular but it is the artist that makes that image reach our hearts and our imagination. The digital age has given young filmmakers amazing tools that allow them to see their work inexpensively with an immediacy that was unheard of thirty years ago. The tools are there for the taking. I think it is time for story tellers to take these tools and create images as well as stories that reach the intellect and hearts of the viewers. All I’m seeing today is large scale computer graphics of super humans fighting each other in impossible scenarios that truly leave me cold. It is just eye candy without substance pandering to people’s prurient interests but offering no life values.
Lighting Consultant & Educational Outreach
BIRNS AND SAWYER