Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Letters

Article excerpt

Cartoons are Digital Composites, Too

It's fascinating to see the growing integration of conventional cinematic techniques with digital technologies, and I read your October feature ("ILM Breaks New Digital Ground for Gump") with interest.

Your article notes that the three-minute Forrest Gump opening is the "longest digital film composite in history." To give proper credit to all forms of film, note that Walt Disney Pictures' last four animated feature films - Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King-are entirely digitally composited. Each of these projects is over 75 minutes in length; in many cases, single sequences involve hundreds of levels of digital compositing.

In 1992, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences acknowledged Disney's digital compositing and production process with an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement. This production process was developed by Disney Feature Animation, under the stewardship of Roy Disney and Peter Schneider, as part of an eight-year co-development effort with Pixar and Disney's in-house team.

To date, animated films remain among the largest and most complex digital compositing projects being undertaken in our industry.

- Bob Lambert

Walt Disney Pictures

and Television

Burbank, CA

Viva the Studio System

We have long been aware of the death of the studio system, the system responsible for some of this country's best motion picture work. I am not saying that the current disarray of the industry has not produced some quality work. It's just that the good work seems to come from the same auteurs over and over again. In essence, these moviemakers have created their own invisible studio systems by constantly re-using key personnel. They establish relationships with production houses and labs where they are assured of getting the quality work they desire.

The "hiring at the gate" that James Glennon, ASC wrote about in September's Filmmakers' Forum continues every day for the majority of film and television production. Actually, the conditions are far worse today than they have ever been.

With today's freelance system, typecasting and ever-rising personal costs - especially health care - our system rewards only those who do whatever it takes to get the job, skill or no skill.

Today, nearly every professional working below the line on a motion picture can be considered a freelancer. Most of the good ones have incorporated and are legally independent contractors. But the result is the same. If they do well, they may be asked to join another production. If they screw up, they dissolve the company and form a new one. …

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