(Image: Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker Ruth Fertig is used by the Times to illustrate an article on the oversupply of filmmakers. Photo credit: Chad Batka)
Weekly Review: for July 11, 2011
We search for the more interesting and provocative news and views of the past week…just so you don’t have to.
This week we hear about developments in movie analysis and appreciation, how Apple has radically changed Final Cut Pro to fit its idea of where video production is headed, and find out how much DP’s really make.
Too Many Cooks Trying to Get Into the Kitchen
The future of the film industry-or in any case the future of the many graduates of the proliferating film schools-turns up in a New York Times article.
Film school graduates, our readers won’t be astonished to hear, are increasing in number even as the number of actual jobs in the more traditional Hollywood venues seems to diminish.
In the article “For Film Graduates, an Altered Job Picture” Times reporter Michael Cieply notes that studios have been reducing spending as home-entertainment revenue declined, even as applications to university film, television and digital media programs surged in the last few years as students sought refuge from the weak economy, Cieply reports. Go figure. You can read the article here.
Movies Gain More Content, More Context
There are many fans of Matt Zoller Seitz writing from his work in the New York Times and Salon. If you’re one of those fans, like I am, you might like to know that he’s now begun a new video blog on IndieWIRE. He works with a staff of writers to provide that website with new video essays each week as well as some text-based fare. You can follow him here.
Okay, so it celebrates mostly pop, mainstream film offerings, but MTV Networks continues to ramp up its NextMovie cross-platform digital brand with senior editorial staff, reports FishbowlNY. The three veteran film and pop culture journalists hired are Kevin Polowy, executive editor; Brooke Tarnoff, senior editor; and Breanne Heldman, senior editor.
It’s interesting to note that at a time when established film and cultural critics bemoan the younger generation’s lack of interest or even a basic understanding of classic film history that there still exists such interest in hearing more about the movies they see. Actors and behind the scenes on a production—simple stuff but relevant–are among the aspects of present day movies most popular in the various video and text offerings on the site.
NextMovie has grown quickly since its launch last September, logging more than 500,000 unique visitors per month with hopes of reaching 1 million per month by the end of the year.
Another, far bigger website-YouTube-also saw some recent changes with the debut this past week of a new interface for its videos, playlists and user channels. The new site, dubbed Cosmic Panda, follows Google’s typical “under development” beta approach, as the site’s engineers actively solicit feedback from users and contributors. More on GigaOM’s site here.
If you’d like to read Google’s actual announcement about what it thinks it’s doing, click here.
In a separate bit of Google news: did you know that the search giant has made available for free several hundred fonts for use on web pages? The large collection of hand-written, display, serif and san-serif TrueType fonts can be downloaded from this site.
A Second Wave of Final Cut X Analysis
The initial uproar over the recent release of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X seems to be subsiding. That’s allowing a number of more reflective articles to turn up that try to put the radically redesigned software into a landscape that Apple sees as the future of motion media creation and editing.
In his article “Who are Apple’s Final Cut Pro X customers?” Philip Hodgett doesn’t ask why current Final Cut Pro editors were not served what they expected but starts with the clearer idea that software development always has a typical user in mind.
Apple, he points out, is making software for “the vast majority of their current Final Cut Pro users” who are not professional film and TV editors. That latter group is a relatively small number to be sure, some 25,500 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a number far far smaller then the current 2 million which Apple has claims as installing the new version of the software. Did you know that less than 15-percent of Avid’s income comes from sales of Media Composer, the NLE product it’s most known for?
Hodgett smartly, I think, acknowledges a large and growing group of image makers who will never fit the image of a traditional film or TV editor. That’s the group Apple has been targeting ever since the first introduction of the software app some 12 years ago.
Read the article here.
Following up on that theme long-time reporter Oliver Peters offers one of the clearest reviews yet written on just how Final Cut Pro X is different from everything Apple has done previously with the software and why that’s a good thing.
In his article for DV and Videography magazines, Peters’ points out how Apple reworked the software from the ground up, taking advantage of the latest improvements in its operating system and hardware even while re-imagining just what nonlinear editing should be about.
Peters’ has written a useful, even-toned review that’s helped me understand just how different the new app is, and why I might consider it a viable tool. You can read the article here.
Apple Delivers Product, Aims for AR
More Apple news: CNET’s Brooke Crothers is among those speculating that this week will see the release of the latest MacBook Air, as well as OS X Lion.
Apple Retail stores are said to be planning ‘overnights’ on Wednesday, July 13th, to prepare for the new store displays and requisite training.
One more slice of Apple news: the Cupertino-based company has received patents that could help deliver an augmented reality platform for its iOS devices like the iPad through the use of split-screen software techniques or transparent display screens, reports Sam Oliver in an AppleInsider article.
Apple thinks it has a simpler, less costly method of implementing AR that will make it applicable for academic and regular commercial use. You can read the article here.
Do You Know How Much a DP Makes?
Finally, Jared Abrams has written a very useful article on the Wide Open Camera site about how much to charge if you’re doing camera on a production.
Of course it makes a big difference if you’re doing a commercial (pays more than you might think) then if you’re doing a Hollywood feature (pays less than you might think).
So how do you go about offering up a number anyway? Read Abrams article by clicking here to figure out what you think DP’s should make.