Magazine article American Cinematographer

Opening Notes

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Opening Notes

Article excerpt

When the ASC Technology Committee was established in January 2003, its driving aim was to examine and understand the emerging digital-imaging technologies so we could influence their development in ways that would enhance the cinematographer's ability to implement a photographic vision. The challenges were and still are - great and the task formidable, but the Committee remains committed to achieving these vital objectives.

Over the past four years, our Committee has demonstrated what can be achieved when a concerned and dedicated group of experts from all phases of the motion-imaging process diligently and tenaciously pursue important objectives that have been carefully considered. Our focus on how these new digital technologies impact production and postproduction workflow has recalibrated our awareness of the importance of collaboration between key creative contributors. Powerful new tools for manipulating the image in ways previously unimaginable are becoming increasingly available. How these new tools are being integrated into the production and postproduction workflow, and who has access to them, and at which stages of the workflow is as critical to the process as gaining mastery over their functionality.

A film director's two key collaborators regarding the creation of a film's look are the cinematographer and production designer. This "triangle of collaboration" has been the bedrock of a tradition that has defined a century of great achievements in cinema. The new digital-imaging technologies that are currently redefining motion picture production and postproduction workflow are also providing exciting new opportunities to both reinvigorate and enhance the traditional values of this collaboration.

It is in recognition of the need to preserve the great tradition of this collaboration while exploring prospects for extending its scope within the new workflow that the Art Directors Guild, through its Technology Committee, and the ASC, through our Technology Committee, have formed an important working alliance.

Through numerous conversations, discussions and meetings, we have been evolving a joint platform of collaboration that includes the ADG Technology Committee's active participation in the ASC Technology Committee's project for assessing five of the latest digital motion picture cameras in partnership with AMPAS Science and Technology Council. The inclusion of a new breed of "lookmanagement" tools with the ability to establish color and tonal contrast parameters using our ASC Color Decision List (ASC-CDL) offer unprecedented new scope for the cinematographer's closer involvement and meaningful collaboration with the director, production designer and visual effects supervisor throughout the preproduction, production and postproduction process.

It recently became apparent after discussions between members of our respective groups that we should record and document the exchanges so they could be shared with our filmmaking colleagues. ADG Technology Committee Chair Alex McDowell and ADG President Tom Walsh enthusiastically agreed that we should explore the best publication options. American Cinematographer publisher Martha Winterhalter then proposed a three-part supplement to our AC magazine, of which this is the first entry.

I very much hope this groundbreaking series will provide valuable insight into the thinking and innovative workflow practices that are being incorporated into motion picture production to facilitate better creative collaboration between cinematographers, production designers and the directors with whom they work. …

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