Jun 18, 2007

Endless Upgrades

Okay, admittedly i don't remember betamax, but recalling the chain of film-related products that I've experimented with, I've been trying to hammer the idea into my head that there will never be a sufficient amount of add-ons or upgrades to satisfy my passion. Case-in-point: editing software.

I started out using the most basic of basic editing programs to pretty much just add titles and music. I went through a couple more programs after that, and even now, with the money and customizable features I've invested in Pinnacle, I've switched focus to HDV editing software (i can film in HDV, but can't edit HDV yet so i work in miniDV). Don't get me wrong, for the longest time I've believed that you don't need all the bells and whistles to make a great movie, and you don't. But with every year that passes, there are a million more people making movies with their home camcorders and a million more posts to sites like YouTube. It's arguably harder to get noticed now that anyone can do what I'm going to school for. The slogan on the Sony ad 'WATCH WHATEVER WHENEVER' is even more relevant today.

This has all worked in my benefit too though. Digital film and simple software have done wonders in giving me a head start in production, and more people doing it means more attention paid to filmmaking in general. The accessibility has left me eager and anxious about a future career. I was teaching myself the basics of composition and storytelling at 12 years old without even knowing it. I could put together a new movie in under an hour, and okay, the quality is better now, but the process is growing more complicated. It's damn hard to be prolific AND entertaining!

Maybe things are better off simple though. I mean, I certainly like the immediacy of some of my projects. Point, shoot, edit, burn to DVD and watch. In so many ways the equipment is amazing (my own movie studio in my dorm room), but it can be a crutch too. I can't help but want to learn new things, but I want to be good because of what I do with my equipment, not just because I have it.

It's all been a chain, 8mm to hi8 to D8 to miniDV to HDV. I'm just working my way along. Without the money to do anything about upgrades, I know there are still ways to push myself and the limits that exist. And maybe that's the best lesson I can get out of these thoughts, because like I said before, it shouldn't be about the equipment.

Sure, I'll upgrade again and again, but I'll do it because it'll help me pull off ideas that I can't right now. With no alternative I might as well make the most of my situation. And by doing so I know that when I finally get the HDV software I'll be that much more excited and prepared to push myself again.


Michael said...

Hi Luke,
Great blog. I am interested in anything to do with filmmaking now as I am newly hosting a filmmaking workshop on a Greek island.


Anonymous said...

I think you mean HDV, its a entry level HD, there is also XD Cam, HD Cam and then precious HD all of which substantially different in price, for example to start and HDV suit you could spend like 20 grand to have something descent, XD 50 grand, HD Cam 70 grand and the first stage of true HD upwards of 100 grand. This is without camera so I can only assume you mean HDV where you can consumer start now for under 10 grand with everything. Ironically Beta is still used as an HD format. And your completely right there is never enough as technology changes we can do more but is it necessary? The key to get noticed is to stand out, most people on youtube do some pretty unprofessional things, ie. those that got on the Lot, their projects were shit but slightly above the regular joe working on movie magic. If you can look better than those and do it all on your own you will get noticed but what the pay is I do not know as subscribers don't put a paycheck in the bank.

Editing Luke said...

ya, it would be great to make a living off of youtube but i don't know how that's possible, and you're right about HDV. I work with my HDR-FX1, but it's just a fancy miniDV cam because i can't edit in HDV yet . . . thanks for making the clarification though, i'd really need a lot more money for that upgrade.

Jason said...

Hey Luke, do you have the hardware that will handle HD? If you have a fast enough machine and enough disk space, you need to do some research on which software will do the job for you and until you can afford to buy it, there are places to download and test drive it. I am guessing that you're on a PC. My recommendation if you want to do editing professionally is to familiarize yourself with AVID and Vegas on the PC, or get yourself a cheap Mac Mini and a copy of Final Cut Pro. Oscar winning editor Walter Murch now swears by Final Cut Pro, and it's quickly becoming the industry standard. Plus, if you're doing stuff on a mac platform you'll be more compatible with most other postproduction folks.

Editing Luke said...

to clarify, being in film school means i've had a crack at avid and final cut above what my own preferences have dictated. and this is part of what i was getting at in my post, that there are a list of upgrades that carry a 'badge' or 'honor' despite being supurflous at my current stage. like i said, i'd love to get the upgrades at some point, but i already have the ability to edit to a level (both equipment wise and skill wise) above what an average joe would be able to, and have gained significant experience from this. It's just always something else though right? always some temptation that you tell yourself will make the work better. that was the point of the post :)

Jason said...

Ahhh, I understand. I'm kind of like that too. For a while, I was stuck on not being able to do anything until I got a mac with FCP. Now I'm held up on getting a good camera. I've got a buddy who was able to do a killer edit on a film that picked up a bunch of festival awards using Premiere 5. And didn't the guy who made Tarnation edit it on iMovie?