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ATPM 5.10
October 1999






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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

It’s a Good Life

It’s strange how things work. Long time readers will know that I spend a lot of time reading and posting to the newsgroup misc.writing.screenplays, (mws for short). Almost to the day after a flamewar about DV vs. film dies down, I receive the latest issue of Wired magazine. It’s what has come to be the annual Hollywood issue, and one of the articles proclaims, “William Gibson has seen the Filmless Future,” and the big headline is, “Life After Hollywood.”

Now, I’ve been to their site , and they promise that the entire content will be online October 12th, so I can’t give you a direct URL to the article. However, the short form is that William Gibson held a film festival, where none of the entrants were on film. This brings us to what I was gonna talk about last month, The Good Life. I waited for them to update their site. And waited. And waited some more. My deadline slipped by. My editors started sending threatening e-mail.

They still haven’t really updated their site since I first learned of them over six months ago., They’ve been promising clips from the film, however, today the page is down for repair I guess. And the travesty is that you need IE to view the clips—some sorta restriction due to Front Page 98, or so the webmaster says.

Anyway, the good parts—okay, the relevant parts—come on the technology page. They shot on a Canon XL-1, the camera that I recommend, and wrote briefly about recently. They edited on a G3, using Adobe Premiere. They did the video capture through an installed Promax card, so, I’m guessing they’re using a first generation G3, although the site doesn’t say so. Additional software they’re using includes After Effects, and DigiEffects’ Cinelook. Cinelook is interesting, as it’ll give you a film look on your digital video. So, go to the site and explore. Lemme know what you think. Or, I can let you know what I think. Three words: film is dead. I’m the guy that in the aformentioned flamewar, took the side that DV looks better than film. Now, I’ll confess, I haven’t seen the digital version of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, however, I hear it looks really good. At the Good Life site, they have what amounts to a side-by-side comparison of before and after with Cinelook. Personally, I like the before.


Now these guys have got it going. Frequent updates with new material. Went today and found out the above project is a finalist in a make your own Blair Witch Project contest that they entered. They’ve shot on a Sony Hi-8, and digitized down to a G3 running Avid Cinema. The clips look flawless. You can download the trailer for The Blairwich Project in either QuickTime or RealVideo format. I was laughing hysterically. The whole site is very well laid out, and the pages load quickly. They have another film entitled Always Walk that’s available for download, and it’s hearing about this that got me interested in these people. They even have a message board and an upcoming live chat section on their site. Check ’em out.

Other Stuff

Some of you may have heard of a small film that came out this summer. The film crew, with a mere 31K and three handheld cameras, used a Media 100 system running on a 9600/300 to edit, as well as two G3s and an iMac. The publicity was performed on of all things, a Performa 6115. This is, of course, the film I alluded to previously. You can find out the full Mac story, and how it relates to The Blair Witch Project at Apple’s Web site.

Found an interesting message board at this site. Not too much there, but what is there is good stuff. It includes an article on what is broadcast quality.

Received the following in my e-mail recently. I don’t know whether it qualifies as spam or not:

Dear movie buff, allows filmmakers to sell their feature films directly to the public. Come see what the buzz is all about.


Might be a good idea, might not. I haven’t really decided as this, to me, qualifies as unsolicited e-mail—the net-based definition of spam. Personally, I like mine with lettuce, tomato, Heinz 57 and french fried potato...


Not too much goin’ on the home front. I drooled at the release of the G4. And Final Cut Pro 1.2. However, money doesn’t come easily to the independent filmmaker, and now we’re looking at a March shoot. The good news is that with the release of the G4 and the LCD display, I’ve cut approximately another 5K from the budget. That’s right, my low-cost studio just got even cheaper. More to spend on what goes in front of the camera, as opposed to behind it. I’m sure some of you saw the recent article in MacAddict about how to put together your own studio. It’s woefully outta date with the G4 release. Okay, not woefully, but you get the idea.

So, now it’s your turn. There are 3,720 million stories out there on the net; one of them may be yours. If you’re using a Mac to create video content, I wanna know about it. You can e-mail at , and I’ll get it. Well, let me rephrase. I’ll receive it. Sometimes, especially when it comes to the Web, I don’t get it.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

E you next time.

appleDisclaimer: Mike is about to shoot a movie, so, if you wanna jump on the bandwagon and show your financial support <g>, he can be reached at

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