Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Than Home Movies

Yesterday's story in The LA Times about how amateur filmmakers are angling for development deals through Sony's high-end YouTube rival Crackle missed the point in its case study of the wonderfully subversive mr. deity. Amazingly, "Sony offers a big break for Internet video stars" somehow neglects to mention the fact that this net sitcom is so blasphemous in its hilarious depiction of God as a narcissistic Hollywood producer that it could never possibly get airtime on even the narrowest slice of the cable spectrum, given the powerful interest groups involved, and that its sophisticated theological patter about original sin, theodicy, and the incarnation could only appeal to a niche Internet audience, because it is far too literate for younger viewers accustomed to Saturday Night Live-style shock parody.

Of course, the other unmentioned part of the story has to do with the price point of video technology, which has rapidly become within the range of affordability -- at least by rental -- for many novices. A much improved product can now be made outside the industry and its guilds than was possible only a decade ago thanks to new digital cameras like the Red camera, which is capable of high-resolution filmic results for a fraction of the price, and the DV Rack displays of software like On Location from Adobe that emulate the professional equipment covered with dials and sliders that once filled entire trucks or vans. However, as I've been learning this summer by actually doing digital video production at the local Academy of Entertainment and Technology, there can still be many hidden costs for the specialized items designed for on-set problem solving, from diffusion papers to customized sticky tape to sixty dollar pieces of plastic for calibrating color.

(Thankfully, my mentor, who is shown here in a brown baseball cap coordinating one of our class shoots, is not the same Michael Eggert who makes anti-piracy software designed to feed parental paranoia.)

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