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Michael Most

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  1. Well, by the time that show ended (and for most of the time that Lex and Stevie were shooting it), you had just about everyone from associate producers to assistant editors directing. So, yes, I think in that case the term "undisciplined director" certainly applies. I would also mention, however, that the footage counts for dailies on that show at that time were made a lot more palatable in part because Steven was one of the owners of the post facility. Not a cause and effect thing, but probably something of a stealth contributor. I don't really understand your apparent need to either attach labels or assess "blame." I was just making a casual, but none the less accurate, observation that today, a script that likely would have produced about 8000 feet of film a day now seems to produce about 4 times that amount in digital material. And yes, I do attribute some of that to the apparent lesser sense of responsibility that happens when you don't have a meter running every time you hit the start button.
  2. I think you're missing the point. This has nothing to do with fear of anything. It has to do with simple facts, such as the fact that when television dramas were shot almost exclusively on film, the average show shot about 8000 feet per day and printed about 5000. Today, shooting electronically, nearly every show I see now exposes the equivalent of about 25000-35000 feet every day (two cameras on almost every show, each exposing about 2-3 hours of material) and prints the vast majority of it. You can call this changing directing styles, you can call it having less experienced directors, or you can call it what it really is - they shoot it because they can. Because when you're not running film through a camera that needs to be purchased, developed, and transferred, you can shoot and shoot and shoot. So they do. I would most definitely call that a lack of discipline, although you might call it something else.
  3. Except shoot with sync sound. Or shoot faster than 150fps. Every device ever made has limitations. As an image recording medium, I agree with you. However, there's more to shooting a motion picture than simple image recording. Fact is, that with today's directing and shooting styles, a film camera is often a bit too bulky for some work, and if it isn't, the running time per mag is too short. It also has limitations when used for visual effects elements (i.e., movement, dirt, grain, etc.). And this is not even to mention budgetary restrictions on some projects. I think rather than fit the medium to the project, these days there are enough high quality choices that one should look at that from the opposite perspective, allowing the conditions of the production - both physically and in terms of the story being told - to dictate the medium(s) used to capture it.
  4. I would say that even in the film world, those kinds of things require a specialty camera. You can't run a Panaflex Millennium at 150fps, either. And you can't run an Arricam in single frame mode. The fact is that there are digital cameras that will do all of these things, just like there are (specialty) film cameras that will as well. And in some cases, there are other advantages - for instance, you can immediately see what you just shot on a Phantom at 150fps, for instance, but you can't see film until it's been processed. And you can leave the Phantom running while you wait for the moment that works, eliminating the anticipatory needs of high speed film shooting. In fact, if you actually wanted to shoot in single frame mode, you're probably a lot better off doing it with a digital still camera than a motion picture film camera. It's a lot smaller, a hell of a lot cheaper, and delivers great images at a very high resolution and color depth.
  5. The 80% of major theatrical releases is probably about right. In television, there is considerably less this season than there was last season. Last year. I was able to count about 24 shows that were shot on film, the vast majority on 35mm. This season, it's down to about 15. That's probably a lot less than 40%.
  6. You just answered your own question. The equipment choices are irrelevant unless you happen to be building a DI facility. If you're just finishing a movie, you should be looking at the people - the colorist, the in house producers, and other people that you'll be dealing with. Everything else is unimportant if it's professional level gear, which from what you described, it is. All modern color grading systems, scanners, recorders, and conforming systems do basically the same thing. They just don't all have the same people running them.
  7. And you wouldn't have any concerns about the reliability of such a system? It seems that in the age of "good enough," the notion of rock solid reliability and the need for everything to work when you have 50 people on the set has begun to take a back seat to "cool" factors rather than simply getting the job done. The day that I can use WiFi effortlessly and with 100% reliability, and the day I can use Bluetooth equally as reliably are the days I would consider setups such as the one you're proposing. Until then, I'm more likely to stick to handwritten slates and script supervisors' notes that are written on paper - because they work, all the time.
  8. Thanks for reminding me that all of us who work in Los Angeles are really talentless hacks compared with your clearly superior skills, knowledge, and resultant level of success. I had begun to think that some of us actually knew what we were doing. Clearly, compared to you, we're all just babes in the woods and everything we get is purely the result of luck. Next time I see Gale Tattersall or any of his crew, I'll congratulate them on being lucky enough to somehow get their show on the air.
  9. Most one hour drama pilots shoot for anywhere between 11 and 14 days. Series episodes are usually 8 days, although some try to do it in 7, and second unit is often employed for some material. The only time a pilot would be given 21 days would be if it were being produced as a "back door" pilot, that could then be repackaged as a TV movie, with a longer running time than a typical one hour drama (probably more like a 90 minute piece). On very rare occasions, a hit series might be given a few extra days for a particularly large episode, but this usually only happens on established series, such as "Lost," and even then, it's rare.
  10. There is a lot more to Red's commercial success than the use of wavelet compression. Silicon Imaging was using real time wavelet compression (licensed from Cineform) at least 2 years before Red ever appeared, and they haven't enjoyed nearly the success Red has. The Red success story is a combination of the compression technology, use of a large format sensor (and PL mount lenses), use of commodity recording media, their "rebel" style marketing approach (love it or hate it, it worked), their attention to their customer base, the personal involvement on every level of their owner/CEO, and, last but most certainly not least, their pricing structure. The combination of these and other factors was able to tap into the "live the dream" mindset of a lot of people who could never really afford a camera that was capable of the kind of images the Red can deliver. And it continues to do so, growing a direct sell through market that never really existed before, and forcing many to question the long term viability of the high end camera rental business. That takes a lot more than clever use of compression.
  11. Blaming unions for the basic structure of American society is pointless, useless, and shows a deep lack of understanding of much larger issues. If the standard of living was identical around the world, none of these things would be an issue. But it isn't, and the person who wrote this is clearly an American who happens to enjoy the higher standard of living that he has in his native country. His concept of "good business" is to rape the working class so that he can get what he wants - a not untypical sentiment these days. He chooses to rape the working class in places like Thailand and Eastern Europe because they don't happen to have the financial needs of Americans. They also don't have the standard of living that he would be loathe to give up. Every time I read articles like this, I notice that the writer never implies that he wants to live in any of these foreign locations - he just wants to go there, enjoy seeing them work for practically nothing, and come back home and pat himself on the back while he enjoys his million dollar home and drives his BMW. That is not a union problem, that's a societal problem. Not to mention that the highest costs on any picture are above the line - even on low budget projects - so if he would control that, he wouldn't be looking for someone to blame in the first place.
  12. There wasn't much live action production in "Avatar," but what little there was was shot primarily on Sony 950 variants and recorded, I believe, on SRW1 recorders.
  13. Incorrect. The F23 was used only for the scenes inside the hospital room. The rest of the picture was primarily shot on the Viper, combined with a small amount shot on 35mm film (primarily for overcranks). All of the digital footage was recorded on S.two DFR's as DPX files, there was no use of videotape in production.
  14. Yes. The only difference in our views is the level of significance that actually represents in light of other things that these devices bring to the table. And the answer to that depends on what it's being used for and how it's being used. Not from me.
  15. This isn't about "good enough". This is about new tools that allow for certain things that weren't practical before. For many - not necessarily me, but many - it's also about what the original promise of Red was in terms of putting tools capable of things like shallow focus and good low light capability in the hands of "the masses", namely, the ones for whom even Red is far too costly. And finally, it's about providing something else in the toolbox that really does create a new niche. Nowhere have I advocated using these things as an "A" camera on a major production (even though some people might actually think of doing that). In fact, I have gone out of my way to point out how inappropriate that would be at this stage of its development. But if you read my reply to David, you would see that these things are about possibilities, and the way they can be used productively, even in their current state, is to look for those possibilities if you have a need for them. If you're looking for intolerance, I'm not your guy and never have been. What's appropriate for high end television and studio motion pictures is not necessarily appropriate for tiny guerilla productions. But what's used in those productions can sometimes be used for limited applications in the higher end world. That's not a change in my position, it's always been my position.
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