AFI/Apple Alliance Bears Fruit

By Harrell, Alfred D | American Cinematographer, April 1992 | Go to article overview

AFI/Apple Alliance Bears Fruit


Harrell, Alfred D, American Cinematographer


Over the past five years, another factor has been added to the filmmaking equation of writer, director, cast and crew. This new collaborator's input has grown increasingly more important, especially in films like Terminator 2, where live action and effects are joined in an almost seamless union. The revolution involves not cameras or Moviolas, but high-tech computers and banks of glowing monitors that represent the cutting edge of film and video technology, and is taking place in institutions like the American Film Institute's AFI-Apple Computer Center.

Set up in 1967 by President Johnson as a national trust and training center for filmmakers and, later, videomakers, the AFl has received donations totaling over $1 million from Apple Computers and various other computer hardware and software manufacturers. These donations of equipment and software allowed the Institute to set up the Computer Center.

The Center represents the state of the art in computer hardware and software for film and video, and is, according to facility director Nick DeMartino, "the only computer lab in the country that is devoted, exclusively, to the art of motion picture, video, and the new interactive multi-media technology."

In addition to the donations of equipment, the Center has gathered a pool of professionals in the film and video community who are "pushing the edge of the envelope" in the use of computer technology. The staff includes Frank Dutro, who serves as the Center's technical consultant; Harry Marks, an early innovator in broadcast television computer graphics; as well as effects specialists who have worked on movies that relied heavily on the breakthroughs in computer technology in order to create their effects - movies like Terminator 2 and The Abyss. These professionals teach classes and seminars in the new computer and electronic technologies of film production and art, not only to AFI fellows, but to other industry professionals as well. The classes and seminars are open to all film and video students and working professionals at nominal cost.

But the Center isn't just set up as a way station for whiz-bang effects movies and videos. The facility also explores how the GUI (Graphical User Interface)-based computers can increase the effects options of director and cameraman.

Using an example from Terminator 2, DeMartino points out that without specially-designed computer programs, a shot like Schwarzenegger's motorcycle jump across the concrete drainage conduit, which was accomplished using a wire rig of visible heavy cables that the cycle rode on, would have had to be re-rigged to hide the heavy cables. Producing the same spectacular effect another way would have eliminated the stability and safety the heavy cable afforded, and forced the effects team to cover the cable with matte work or painting in postproduction. Either option would have been costly and time-consuming. Now, DeMartino says, "using Mac-based software like 'Adobe Photoshop/ the heavy cable in the shot can be taken out electronically and the integrity of the shot maintained. All this is done at a fraction of the cost of the old methods and in much less time."

This software application allows the cinematographer to compose and light the shot without having to work around rigging. This in turn enables the director and cinematographer to "manipulate and clean up die photographed image," DeMartino says.

As Center consultant Frank Dutro is quick to point out, however, "No computer will make a badly lit and composed shot into a well lit and beautifully composed shot. The cinematographer's art is still necessary. The computer can only enhance and manipulate what is already there."

Film and video manipulation by computer, though simple to execute, is extremely complex. The sheer amount of information space needed to process a highspeed image system like film is tremendous. A single frame of film takes up to 40 megabytes (a megabyte is over one million bits of information storage spaces) per frame, multiplied by almost 300 megabytes per second. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AFI/Apple Alliance Bears Fruit
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.