Lightsabers, Filmmakers, and Homemade Movies

I watched a video earlier and after it ended I tagged it to go out with tomorrow’s link dump, but on hindsight I think the video deserves its own post.

A young man named Ryan Weiber shot, edited, and created the special effects for this five minute film using a Canon GL1 camera and Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects on his home computer. You can watch the shoddy version below, compliments of Google video, or go here and download the high-res version. I recommend the high-res version if you have the means, but the Google video will suffice. Go watch it and then come back here and read the rest of this post.

Wasn’t that cool? I’m gonna haveta start learning how to use After Effects more efficiently”¦or at all. I want to try and put lightsaber blades on a pair of kama.

After I watched that I remembered an article from “Time” I read earlier in the day. The article is about digital filmmaking versus traditional filmmaking and the filmmakers who oppose and support one or the other.

Richard Corliss, the author of the article, interviewed filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez, Michael Mann, and Geoerge Lucas; all of whom attempt to draw a connection between lagging ticket sales and antiquated filmmaking technology. Corliss balances this out with quotes from M. Night Shyamalan and Spielberg who claim that digital film will never capture emotion like a traditional camera.

After watching that film by Ryan Weiber it occurred to me that both sets of filmmakers are correct. Yes, filmmaking technology better improve drastically, because if a pre-pubescent boy possesses the technology to create effects equal to and greater than some blockbuster movies then audiences are gonna get tired of the s.o.s. pretty damn quick.

On the other hand, the mere fact that one in five moviegoers (I made that statistic up) understand how simple effects are to create illustrates the need for quality acting, writing, and directing. For only in the area of artistic expression will the professional filmmaker trump the amateur and ultimately prove themselves worthy of the fat paycheck and eccentric behavior.

Because of both these dynamics I believe that we’re likely to see less and less of movies like “Van Helsing.” You can see effects just as good for free in homemade movies on the web, and the acting will probably be better too. The amateur filmmaker will eventually force Hollywood to kick it up another notch in every area just to stay competitive.

And people may still stay at home and watch DVD’s simply because in the typical movie audience the loud-mouthed a-holes outnumber the civilized folks two to one.

This is a bit of an aside, but am I the only person out there still pissed off that Robert Rodriguez wasn’t at least nominated for the special effects in “Sin City?” I mean, “King Kong” won, and everything in that film had been done in LOTR for God’s sake. Come on!!! Cut the Texas-boy a break! Oh, and Ryan Weiber’s got a lot of really cool homemade stuff on his website. Check it out here if you have some time to kill.

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