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Archive for April 2nd, 2018

Exciting Times?

We keep being told that there are no mid budget films being made at the moment, we only get big blockbusters (usually franchises) and very low budget films.  While this is true, I am expecting something exciting to happen soon. 

When I was a student, around two decades ago, I made some short films.  The best format available to me was SVHS, one step up from home video cameras.  I could only dream of being able to make something of cinema quality.  Around this time, I read Rebel Without a Crew, Robert Rodriguez’s account of how he made El Mariachi for $7,000 (about $11,500 in today’s money).   Rodriguez’s managed to get his hands on an old Arriflex 16S 16mm camera, I seem to remember him mentioning that he purchased film a roll at a time as he didn’t want to waste money on it if the camera stopped working. rebel without a crew

But things have changed with two high profile films: Tangerine (2015) and Unsane (2018) made by Sean Baker and Steven Soderbergh respectively, both using just iPhones.  Baker used an Apple iPhone 5S, Moondog Labs anamorphic adapter allowing him to present the movie in 2.35:1 widescreen.  Soderbergh went for the later model iPhone 7 Plus but without the additional lens. unsane

Whether you love, hate, or haven’t even seen these movies is irrelevant, the important thing is that they exist, or more to the point that they can exist.  At no time in the history of filmmaking, have the tools of the trade been so readily available to so many people and at such a respectively low price.  The next Spielberg or Scorsese may not come from film school, or learning their trade at the side of an existing filmmaker, they could be shooting in their neighborhood and editing in their bedroom. sean_baker_tangerine_with_steadicam_smoothee_iphone_5s

Taking it to the next level, Gareth Edwards made Monsters (2010), a full special effects Sci-Fi movie for around half a million dollars rendering all the visual effects at home on his own computer.  Six years later his third feature set in a galaxy far, far away had a budget four-hundred times that of monsters. Gareth Edwards

The most exciting thing, the film I describe could already be in production.  

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