Everyone Wants To Be In The Movies

Here’s a bunch of nonsense.  Technology is not the same as the movies.  Movies are about self expression.  Technology is just a tool.  Saying that buying an iPhone is somehow a fashion statement is like saying buying a German sedan is a fashion statement; at the end of the day all German sedans are meant to be uniforms -business suits- so Dad doesn’t look like a jerk showing up to the golf course to negotiate the big deal.  Owning an iPhone just means you like the idea of a smart phone, but you don’t actually like the idea of a wireless device, since if you actually use the iPhone as a phone and an mp3 player, you will have to keep it plugged in most of the day in order to have enough power to use it.

More importantly, design can be and is often done by committee, as opposed to the above article’s position.  Do you think the Lockheed Skunkworks came up with the F-117 or the SR-71 by having one guy sit in a room and dream it up?  No, it was teams of people working on the same idea from different approaches converging on one project.

I have friends who periodically say they are going to get a new camera or similar piece of equipment, not because they are about to shoot a film, but because it enables them to shoot a film.  Never mind that the film in question might not be conceived for months or shot for years, at which point there will be a newer camera that will cost less.  Technology is a tool, not a fashion statement.  If you don’t need a screwdriver, don’t buy one.

Films, even by auteurs, aren’t really works of a single genius mind, but rather the work of many professionals organized by a single serious mind.  Hitchcock neither wrote his films, nor was the cinematographer, nor was the lead or supporting actor, nor was the sound man, nor was the editor.  He was an auteur: an egocentric director happy to take credit for the work of others.  Auteurism is an illusion.  No film maker is really an auteur.  There are directors with a strong sense of style, who tend to choose certain types of scripts, but that does not make them demigods.

So why am I against this idea of Jobs as an auteur?  Well, he’s not a very good one by many measures.  Apple is a fabulous marketing company with a lot of products that fall short of usefulness.  Jobs got rid of his old partner, Steve Wozniak, who designed most of what makes Apple Inc Apple Inc, then Jobs lifted all the good bits of OSX from Linux, which is free to everyone and added all the crap, which was designed by Apple.  The iPod is a great product, but frankly at this stage, the other ones have caught up and with the Amazon mp3 store up and running, even iTunes isn’t always the best place to buy music.  Android has Swype, which is better for typing than the Apple on screen keyboard.  The must have accessory for an iPad is a keyboard, making it a not so good, expensive laptop that can’t run Office.  Or Flash.  Or CS5.

Final Cut Pro has always been inferior to the Avid, but now with Final Cut X, Apple has finally said “go fuck yourselves” to their loyal followers and hurt a longstanding relationship with recent college grads and amateur editors all over the world.  Never mind that FCP uses quicktime, with dithering I can see very clearly no matter whether the files claim to be 1:1 compression, FCP is designed to be just different enough from Avid and other similar programs, that after a while, you can’t go back because you’ve long since forgotten the old commands.  Final Cut Pro is designed to enfeeble the editors who use it so they have difficulty using other systems.  Now, with Final Cut X, it is designed both for this original purpose and to make the end user buy additional plug ins, or else lose the capabilities inherent to Final Cut Pro 7, X’s predecessor.  What a jerk Jobs is to do something so awful to his loyal cult, er, followers.  They just want to be nonconformists, like their friends!  What’s so wrong with that?  Well, Apple isn’t really interested in usefulness.  Let’s have another example.

The cloud.  The “Lords of The Clouds” were what Jaron Lanier warned us about recently, when he recanted his views on the good offered by the internet ten years ago.  Jobs is one of these “Lords.”

Recently, Apple offered the iCloud, the new and unbelievably expensive way to listen to music you already own. Yes, soon you can buy music on Apple’s iTunes store, but rather than own it and have it in your hand, you can simply stream it from the iCloud server to your iPhone. Ostensibly this is a good thing since iPhones have less storage than iPods, so now you don’t have to sacrifice Madonna for the sake of Black Sabbath. And this service comes just in time for AT&T and Verizon, the two US retailers of the iPhone, to cease selling unlimited data plans. So now you can pay through the nose to listen to music you already own.  WHAT?

This is just another example of an engineer (Jobs) with his head up his own ass.  Someone thought up this technology, like thinking up an electric toothbrush with a fountain pen built in; possible, but impractical.  Jobs doesn’t think about the value of money because it isn’t an object to him, or worse: he does, and colluded with the carriers to screw their customers.  Either way, this is a real kick in the teeth for anyone who signs up for iCloud.

Oh, and now you can get an unlocked iPhone 4!  It’s only $649!  And you can use it on AT&T or AT&T, since now that AT&T is buying T-Mobile, there will only be one GSM carrier in the US.  Fake choices, poor products and an attude that customers come last.  Thanks Steve Jobs, you’re a regular (Hitch)cock.

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New Video In The Can

As some of you may know, I’ve been shooting a new sizzle reel.  This is not to be confused with the two sizzle reels I cut for The Naked Truth and The Broadway Kids, both of which are en route to production, having partnered with larger prodcos. No, this one is all my own, my baby, the piece I’m most passionate about.  Still, this isn’t really a blog about art, that’s for my Tumblr account.  No, this is a geeky techie blog for the most part, so here I’ll go on a bit about the technical aspects of this shoot.

First of all, it’s very mixed media. One camera, a Z1U, shoots on HDV.  Another, a Canon 5D mark II, is a full frame DSLR.  Still another, a Canon 7D is a slighly newer yet crapper DSLR than the 5D.  Then we had a digital sound recordist.  It’s a mess. I’m not looking forward to syncing it all up.  Fortunately there is Plural-Eyes, software for syncing, so I’m told.  I plan on using the Avid Media Composer version.

The first step will be organizing and transcoding all the footage, much of which consists of computer files on a hard drive.  I’ve put the tapes in.  Now I have to get the files on the computer in a way that preserves quality, etc, sync it all up and get ready for the most exciting editing experience of my career!

The only thing standing in my way is my new found addiction to Myachi.