Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yikes, I Know it Happens but Still..........

I bought two new bus-powered hard drives to transfer P2 files in the field for a new camera that I bought for documentary and corporate work. Today I did my first green screen and work flow test. One of the drives died almost immediately after transferring the data!   It couldn't be any clearer, always immediately back your data onto two hard drives and verify that it's good before reformatting those cards. The drives were On The Go (OTG) drives from Other World Computing.  I just spoke with customer service and they are emailing me a return shipping label and will replace the drive upon receiving the fried one. It was a one-minute conversation.

I will keep you posted as to whether their customer service follows through on honoring their warranty quickly. I am hopeful, I have had good luck with OWC and am a long-term customer.  OK, as I am typing this the shipping label has already arrived.  Good sign.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Motion Media in Magazines?

The idea of "living magazines" is one example of how media is changing, of how forward-thinking media makers will be able to find new opportunities as old ones evaporate. It also is an example of the "smaller" opportunities (as opposed to the dream of creating motion pictures, big budget T.V. or commercials) that will be available to media makers in the future. I suspect the future will be full of these smaller "disposable" media experiences throughout the day with the more engaging content being interactive.

I do have big concerns about e-waste for this type of media, especially magazines. What are the ramifications of creating largely single-use high tech media experiences?

The downside of this convergence between still photography and motion photography is that both traditional motion picture producers and still photographers are now competing for the same opportunities. In the end, the old rules will still apply: those with a good eye and who can shoot quickly and economically will thrive.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Helicopter Boyz and Your Future

The old ways of doing things are passing more quickly than many people realize. Or as Ted Hope succinctly puts it:

Cinema, in its current concept and execution, is both derived from and depending on a world that we’ve passed by.
• It is no longer is the most complete & representative art form for the world that we inhabit.
• It no longer mirrors how we currently live in the world.
• Cinema is now a rarefied pleasure requiring us to conform to a location-centric, abbreviated, passive experience that is nothing like the world we engage with day to day.

Mobile, light, nimble, ....those are the future media makers. It's actually really exciting, technology is moving so fast that it is already leapfrogging those who want to create old style media by using new technology (that would be the deluge of stuff out there that tries to pass itself off as innovative web-content or some indie film that really is just a low budget imitation of Hollywood film).  More people seem to like to do things now, or at least they want interactivity.  That's a good thing, right?  Does anyone really think that the old passive entertainment model was that great, aside from T.V. network executives?  Social media is just one example of people shaping media to their own world.

The new DSLR's are awesome, especially for people like me who like the discipline of distilling a story down to one frame; the addition of HD video/depth of field is like a gift. But there are lots of little miracles out there that will help change the way we tell stories, so I am equally excited about the S1000PJ's of the world as well (what was used in the Helicopter Boyz performance). What will write the future is how you, the creatives, put it all together. Don't mourn the passing of the old, keep your mind open to the answers that appearing daily and have fun playing with them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Honest Truths: does the world need a documentary code of ethics?

There is an interesting discussion here about the idea of a possible "code of ethics" pertaining to documentary filmmakers. Access to this topic requires D-Word membership.

It is based on the release of the report "Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in their Work" which is available here:

I have to admit that I am a little perplexed by the idea of a code covering all documentary filmmakers. The variety of work, and storytelling techniques used, in the genre is so diverse, I'm not sure that it is possible (or desirable) to come up with an all-encompassing code. Is this type of code, no matter how well-intentioned, doing documentary filmmakers a disservice by painting them as "journalists" alone? Does someone who uses a more impressionistic technique for expressing a truth really need to live by the BBC code of ethics (how well are traditional news organizations living up to their own code of ethics)?

Many documentary filmmakers do strive to fit into the category of journalist, but there are others (including some very important voices) who do not. Would this type of code actual end up hurting the genre by driving away diverse voices who now self-identify as documentary filmmakers? Thinking about it, Robert Flaherty and Werner Herzog would probably be in violation, if not in letter then at least in spirit of the code. Could such a code be used in lawsuits against filmmakers who do not use a journalistic model for their filmmaking? Is it fair to expect filmmakers, who are in the minority, to live by, and be judged by a code that was created by a "consensus" of the majority?

Is an "ecstatic truth" more real than an "accountant's truth? " Interesting stuff, there are some who would argue that much journalism, with its codes of ethics, actually present less truth under the cover of presenting many details. Honestly, it freaks me out a little when people claim to know/ present the "Truth" as opposed to truths.