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How Technology is Influencing Storytelling and Film: an Excellent Panel from Sundance

02.11.12 @ 1:40PM Tags : , , ,

Here’s an excellent panel from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, sponsored by Adobe and featuring Vincent Laforet, Rob Legato, Jacob Rosenberg, and Sharlto Copley. The 77-minute panel follows, in full, with some pulled quotes and highlights:

Here are some points and quotes I found especially worthwhile:

Vincent Laforet: “The cameras are out there, they’re being used… let’s move onto the next thing, and the interesting thing about technology is how filmmakers reach out to their audience, and social media, and different ways of distribution and connection.”

Sharlto Copley: “Neil Blomkamp was a good example of… if you can do visual effects yourself, if you can composite, if you can do sound, if you can do everything, then you can force yourself into a position where people will notice you. You can’t really worry about whether Hollywood is going to give you a crack or not.”

Finally, you might have noticed that, with this website and Man-child, I’ve been pursuing exactly what Vincent Laforet talks about here:

You share what you do. You don’t hide it, you don’t horde it, we share as much of the process [as we can], because people get really interested, they learn a lot, it becomes a community, and it becomes [part of] the democratization of film… the hope is that someday, you can go back to that audience and… that it can lead to the connection at some point to help make the film better, either by donations or by people buying the film at a small price, as opposed to going begging to Hollywood, and having to adhere to their limitations, and rules, and marketing, etc. Every independent filmmaker wants to break the model — we all want to find a way around the system.

Amen, brother.

[via FilmmakerIQ]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 39 COMMENTS

  • McBlakewich on 02.11.12 @ 3:12PM


  • Thanks for posting this Koo

  • One thing is for sure, modern technology didn’t influence the sound recording of the panel. I find it quite annoying to have this flawed sound throughout the whole record. So I didn’t watch it beyond minute 5… What a pity

    • Or maybe it is exactly modern technology what introduced autogain and messed up the sound

      • I started working in Hollywood in the mid 1970s. One of my first jobs was at a rental house that specialized in sound equipment and also sound transfer. And guess what, AGC and pumping was a problem back in the Dark Ages (Before Digital).

    • Really, the sound was so bad that you didn’t want to hear what they were actually saying and, you know, learn from it?

      • If you had a REAL Mac like my 17″MBP you would suffer a complete lack of volume. It is one of the many many problems with REAL Macs that make them unusable to anyone wanting to do professional work on them.

        I have even suggested an inventive technical software fix for this problem, and was ignored by Woz himself.

        Maybe you should stop praising Apple so much and experience their overpriced-underpowered equipment to get a real feel of what they are capable of?

        • Well, I’m not surprised. Woz doesn’t work for Apple anymore. I agree that MBP’s have less than desirable speakers, but this is easily mitigated with a quality pair of headphones. Something “real” Apple users and “fake” Apple users can both take advantage of :)

      • Gordon Casey on 02.17.12 @ 3:00PM

        SERIOUSLY. From a realist stand point they did this with a low budget because they hired these 3 people to be on a panel (these 3 people are not cheap) and probably didn’t see the value of a audio engineer for a seminar. Yes even Adobe likes to save money. Also might I add almost any and if not all seminars i’ve been to have terrible production because it’s an irrelevant quality from what’s really valuable. The information. All you haters simply need to just close your eyes and pretend it’s one of those youtube tutorials you watch and learn from all day instead of actually being out there in the field doing something real.

  • Marvelous panel! This is such a great example of how the internet helps us grow. How else would I get to listen to such brilliant filmmakers discussing their craft? Thanks for posting.

  • Haha what’s up with the scarves?

  • Thanks for posting this Koo. I’ve been sitting on my butt for the better part of a month waiting for work…
    And well, while it’s not really feasible as Rob Legato put it to “just go and shoot smthing”, I can plan and then go shoot smthing.
    Secondly, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’m very inspired by what you’ve done with NFS and I’m taking baby steps to do smthing similar.
    Many thanks. :)

  • Thank you for sharing everything, Koo. I learn so much from your website.

  • Good job by the panel. Lousy job by the tech crew (was there a tech crew ???).

    Using a hand held mic is an art. Watch a singer work a mic, sometimes their lips are almost touching it and sometimes it’s a foot away. BTW a good boom man is as important as a sound mixer, because s/he will move the mic around just like a singer.

    • I don’t think a boom would be needed, three lav mics through a little reverb unit to give it some color and you’re good to go.

      • Please reply to what I said, not what you think I said. Obviously you’ve never worked on a Pro film set and watched the magic performed by a good boom man. Which is analogous to a singer working a mic.

        Instead of them giving the participants hard-to-use hand held mic, they should have used lavs like newsreaders have been using for over 40 years. Sorry I didn’t add the obvious — that they should have used lavs

  • This is just one of the best things you ever posted Koo. Thank you so much!

  • I hadn’t previously been paying attention to the development of Acts of Valor. I found Jacob Rosenberg’s talking the most interesting. Basically turning their back on Hollywood except for distribution in theaters. And saying the moment is now. The turning of the tide for digital is now. I am really interested in seeing their movie now. Has any theatrical release had such a dominant use of dslr footage? When he said Acts of Valor was something like 70% 5dmk2, I had a holy poop moment. A realization of the dynamic things that are going on in this industry. And that this is a big action movie that (at least to me based on the commercials) looks like it has first rate visuals. It was also really interesting that he said District 9 was a conscious model of how they were doing their movie.

    Anyways, thanks for bringing this to my radar. I appreciate it Koo.

  • Eamonn McManus on 02.12.12 @ 3:35PM

    Adobe cinema…new application for filmmakers!

  • Overall, a great talk. I have to say, however, that Vincent Laforet doesn’t match the panel well. When he mentioned circumventing the studio system and ending up on phones and laptops… made me think of David Lynch (strong language). It harkens back to a book, The Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact by Colin McGinn, that speaks about the psychological aspect of the theater experience: how the mind shifts gears in a low light situation, how the screen becomes a window when it covers so much of your field of view, and the communal/campfire feeling of seeing a film with a crowd. Not to say that I don’t like Laforet or don’t respect his work, but Mr. Legato and Mr. Rosenberg just come in with so much more experience in that realm.

    I agree more with Jacob Rosenberg about the fact you’ll see more VOD and subscription services because home theaters are cheaper and higher quality than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

    I also think you’ll see a reemergence of cult cinema. In Los Angeles, Cinefamily does a wonderful job of curating classic, cult, and underground screenings at the Silent Film Theatre. In a lot of ways seeing a movie with 50 or so really excited passionate people is more enjoyable then shuffling into a megaplex.

    • I agree. He’s kind of out of place although he says good things, I cant give him as much credibility… Reverie and Mobius….

  • Oh, my god, the guy who did reverie and mobius talking about storytelling… And the bandito brothers guy comparing the storytelling on their “motorbikes and marines and tanks and guns and cool stuff and whatever they have done” with De Sica…

    • kidding just goes to show you how just utterly completely
      dead the indie scene is now compared to the nineties. Sad sad.
      Hopefully some of us here can do better.

  • It truly is amazing what we can do now on our own. I just produce and distributed an action short and it only took two days! If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s the link:

  • Thanks for being Koo and creating this great sharing website where we all benefit so much.

  • Thanks for finding this and putting this up – really liked it

  • Great video! Thanks for this

  • Craig Shamwell on 02.20.12 @ 10:34AM

    This is a great Panel discussion!! For aspiring filmmakers and digital storytellers it’s great to hear some of the stories that we can relate to! That being said, I have to say that I found the sound to fine on my Mac Book Pro. But its almost insulting to everyone that with such an experienced panel there are only 3 mics for 4 people. And the camera work is almost as equally as bad as the lighting. I understand keeping these kind of things on the cheap, but this is a bit on the ridiculous!! But the content over-shines all the bad stuff….thank GOD!!

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