Corrections or additions?
This article by Doug Dixon was prepared for the September 13, 2000
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Digital Video Revolution: Brian McKernan
Filmmaking does not have to be on film, says Brian
McKernan, editorial director of Videography magazine. "The
development of digital technology has democratized access to content
creation. The tools are getting affordable and leveling access to
the playing field."
From independent filmmakers and freelance videographers, to small
video production houses and in-house business video departments, and
even to Hollywood studios, digital technology is creating a revolution
in both the equipment and the process for creating films.
A panel entitled "Digital Cinema: The Future Of Filmmaking?"
is scheduled for Thursday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sarnoff
Corporation, Routes 1 and 571. Sponsored by the Moving Image
Professionals of Central Jersey (a chapter of the Media Communications
Association International, formerly known as the International
Television Association), the meeting is free. Call Vince
Wright at 609-518-7646 (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
McKernan is the editorial director of the Video Division at United
Entertainment Media, which includes Videography and Television
Broadcast magazines and their websites (www.videography.com). Digital
Cinema, his new magazine that debuts next month, targets digital
filmmakers and people making movies using digital tools "from the
high-end to independents and everything in between."
"Technology is making digital cinema possible," says McKernan.
"Even low-end independent filmmakers can shoot with a digital
camera, edit digitally, distribute over the Internet, and even show
their productions in small theaters with a digital projector. All
you need to add is talent."
McKernan and his panel will discuss the impact of digital technology
in each step of the digital cinema production process. Joining
will be Scott Marshall, digital cinema engineer and contributing
editor for Widescreen Review magazine, Ken McGorry, editorial
director and associate publisher for Post magazine, and Peter
senior contributor for Video Systems magazine and contributing editor
for Millimeter magazine.
Marshall, who is a digital cinema engineer, writer, speaker,
historian, and filmmaker, will discuss the interplay between the art
technology in motion pictures, and how the features and limitations
of various advances in film and video technologies affect the
storyteller’s art. He is also a video game designer (U.S. 1, December
1, 1999) and
is creating a multimedia project for Nickelodeon.
McGorry will discuss approaches to digital editing for post-production
and the digital edit suite (www.postmagazine.com).
Putman will discuss digital projection systems and the distribution
of digital content. He has written articles on such subjects
as large-screen projection systems, electronic cinema, HDTV, and DVD
and also known for his annual review of the Projection
Shoot-Out at INFOCOMM (www.projectorexpert.com).
McKernan believes the opportunities for digital media have never been
greater. "The moving image is the most powerful form of human
communications," he says, "and the most effective form of
communication in the 20th century." Signs of the times:
and editing effects. "George Lucas is shooting Star Wars Episode
II digitally, shooting film without film," says McKernan.
a natural for someone using digital post-production. Why introduce
analog? Which is not to say that film is dead; it’s just the continued
integration of film and digital."
technology. "Young people coming out of school are not wedded
gives more freedom to motion picture producers. "Affordable tools
like the Apple G4 computer, Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editor, and
Adobe After Effects can provide a high-quality and effective
expression. "That’s the beauty of the Internet: let everyone be
heard. And broadband communication is providing a more TV-like
experience. Even the festivals like Sundance are open to showing
businesses, and entrepreneurial organizations. "The age of the
has arrived," he says. "The overhead is less, but
profitability is not as great as it used to be. Larger companies can
no longer charge
the same premium."
jobs. An independent producer might team with a graphics modeling
of client needs. "On Monday the client wants a videotape for a
corporate production or TV station. On Tuesday they want an
DVD production. And on Wednesday they want a little independent film,
not a trivial undertaking, and also to have it stream on the
"You need a story to tell, something to say, and to say it
and artistically. Without a story, regardless of budget, you have
And filmmaking requires passion, "People who love what they are
doing, who have a love for the moving image," says McKernan.
is more access to tools than ever before. Just don’t expect to make
Hollywood movies from the get go."
"Everyone can buy a pen," says McKernan, "but we can’t
all use one like Shakespeare. Now everyone can afford the `pen’ of
video production equipment. But you’ve also got to have talent."
Creative talent is still at a premium, and larger organizations can
retain the cinematographers, screenwriters, and the graphics effects
artists. But, he says, "it will be interesting to see if studios
still dominate 10 years from now."
— Doug Dixon
expo staged by Videomaker magazine, from Thursday to Saturday,
September 14 to 16, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the East Brunswick Hilton.
Cost: $75 per day. Call 530-891-8410 (or go to
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