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Showing posts with label bubo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bubo. Show all posts
Thursday, May 5, 2011

New boots and panties

What now seems depressingly far in the past I trained at the BBC in the art or sullen craft of editing film. It was great, and after a career, I left to pursue outdoor activities. I became a race yacht navigator and delivery skipper, until my fortune was inevitably reduced to subsistence.

Decca and the newly available GPS were all the rage. In navigational terms they amount to credulity to three decimal places. It was all about believing the numbers. The higher the technology I was given to use, the more I worried about losing touch with the basics. So I kept the sextant going and read lots about aboriginal navigation and practised whatever I could.

I am sure that staying grounded in the fundamentals of navigation are what gave me 'position sense' and the good intuitions which kept us safe. It is the same, for me at least, with making films. Whilst it is true that new technologies and workflows are liberating, there are issues too. I find it increasingly rare to meet people who can 'build it in their heads' as well as the cameramen and editors with whom I worked back in the 70s and 80s. Some things are getting lost. And nobody is teaching the incomers.

All films of any consequence have, at their foundation, a well structured and engagingly told story. And stories start in your head. So long as we are beguiled by ever higher performance toys to the detriment of considering the underlying story we will produce the ephemeral and unsubstantial bling for which TV is earning its demise.

Of course technical quality is important. But the thing that makes me happy about the future is that while so many are dashing out and shooting ever prettier but meaningless pictures and exquisitely cutting them to whatever passes for music, I am with those who concentrate on the underlying story rather than a victory of style over substance.

Interestingly enough, technology has a timely solution. VeriCorder have produced an app for the iPhone which, along with a bit of improving hardware (Owle Bubo), make a raw but powerful storytelling system. There is very little production value, so if the story doesn't work then you don't get away with it. But you can shoot, edit and upload short but complete stories in a quarter of an hour. This is exciting, because in the end it is the emotionally and rationally compelling stories that audiences really crave. And here is a way of producing them with minimal resources.

My sackcloth and ashes world is not the complete answer, but for me it lowers the water level on the Emperor's sartorial realities.