young people and film

From: david tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Mar 04 2006 - 12:03:57 PST

J. and all,

I would encourage all young people who are interested in motion
picture art to get some experience working in real film while they
can. Stock and processing may be ungodly expensive, but cameras are
really cheap in the private sceond-hand market (e.g. ebay) and even
if you get a busted one on the first go round, with careful shopping
you'll get a good one within a reasonable total budget. That is, if
you buy 3 $50 Filmo. It's a good bet at least one will work.

You learn things working in 16mm and even Super8 that are hard to
come by with a video rig of any sort. And film still has unique
visual qualities, and not just when it's projected. Film transfered
to digital does not look like digital origination.

The larger argument, for me anyway, has nothing to do with
'acquisition', and everything to do with distribution, diffsuion, and
preservation. I would never tell anyone to shoot video instead of
film for experimental work. I think people who shoot film should
project prints wherever then can if they want to. My point is that to
insist that this is the only way such work should be seen rests on
emotions rather than sound arguments and, more importantly,
culturally irresponsible. The position that 'more people should be
enabled to see stuff' is hardly negative.

If Steven wants to hole up with his Mom and the four other people who
understand the subtleties in art history that seem key to
interpreting his paintings, well that's his choice and I could care
less. I would care a lot though, if he showed one of his works
publicly, if I happened to think it was brilliant, if i happen to
think it was important for other people to see, and he then proceeded
to make that difficult or impossible. Of course, that happens to
paintings all the time, which go into private collections after
public gallery showings. But (with the exception of work designed to
be projected only from camera original) films aren't unique objects
and are seen in a widely (wildly) varying set of conditions, both of
the condition of the copy itself, and the condition of the screening
space and equipment.

What I am talking about primarily are works that have been out in the
public, fairly widely seen, maybe written about -- works that are
part of our public culture now, not just some private world. What is
happening is that people are taking just one element of that widely
varying set of conditions of reproduction and using it as a filter
making it more difficult or even impossible for people to see the
work. This is both bad argument, and bad policy.

Anyway, back to film-MAKING. If you have technical questions, you CAN
get some guidance here, as well as on CML, but you have to ask. As
for aesthetic guidance, that's just not available in email forums....

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.