Sunday, 8 February 2009

Making it possible.

This photo shows a Panasonic HVX200 coupled with a RedRock M2 Micro adaptor. In plain English that means affordable TRUE High definition filmmaking.
When I made EXPERIMENT back in 2004 HD-CAM was the only credible HD format. It was big, pricey, and not even close to 35mm, and was probably only making Super 16mm slightly nervous.
Things have come on in leaps and bounds, and a new HD camera is seemingly being released onto the market on a monthly basis. The domestic market labels everything HD to try and shift units, regardless of the truth behind the HD badge, and the professional market tries to distance itself a bit, by coming up with fancy terms like VIPER and GENESIS.
It's all bewildering, and the problem, as I see it, is that people get too hung up on the format and not the art of filmmaking itself.
When I made Experiment I was blessed by having a wonderful DP in Gareth Pritchard, who lit with such brilliance that many people, including industry professionals, had no idea it was HD, and assumed it was 35mm. The film went on to be used by VMI in London as a training tool for how to use HD!!
Gareth can light any format you give him. He's not concerned by the price of your camera body or the format you're recording to. He wants to know if the image he's giving you fits your vision. Like many good DP's he's an artist.

And that is the point. You can use any format and make it work if you have the right creative team and the right creative eye. the technology is largely irrelevant.
Why spend thousands hiring loads of kit? When frankly, you don't have to.
Obviously, when you have a Hollywood budget you have that luxury, but otherwise, in a time when HD formats are blurring there really is no need.

I'm very excited by all this. Ludicrously so.
High quality images are now in our grasp. Gone are the days when you had to spend thousands on kit hire or make do with dodgy kit and off-cuts of film reels to make shorts.
Now, armed with a great creative team and a decent idea, you can go out there and make something that looks terrific for a fraction of the price.
you can now take a digital format into dark situations or intensely bright ones. that's a big step forward and the creative freedom and artistic possibilities are mouth-watering.

It's all reinvigorated me as a filmmaker. I'm once again excited about lenses and lights and moods and colours and textures.

I have a kit just like the one pictured at the top of this blog post. (The latest version - HPX171)
Anyone who has seen BIG MISTAKE will know what it is capable of, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to come. I am looking forward to using the kit this year on some really exciting projects.
I'd like to point you to a short film I recently came across by the filmmaker David Tree called AUTONOMY (please select the HD version). It is beautifully made and using the same kit, as listed above. I hope to be teaming with David soon, to see where we can go with this kit.

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