Editing Software Then And Now

It’s incredible to see the changes that have come and gone in terms of editing videos and motions pictures.  What has gone from a literal cut and splice with tape has gone to non-linear editing on computers with a vast array of special effects.

The increasing power of computers for ever-more affordable prices has allowed independent filmmakers to play with the big dogs in terms of special effects and scope.  Movies look better than ever now, and you don’t need a hollywood level budget in order to make convincing sci-fi panoramas or WWII battles.

One great example that I like to point out is 2001’s Donnie Darko.  Not overdone, the special effects made this independent film stand out.

The media embrace of new artists is often a reaction to stagnation in the dominant world, which, in this case, is Hollywood. And certainly, the emerging independent filmmaker who has managed to create disturbing, bold and iconoclastic work, or simply work that is unusual and engaging, has provided a face for independent cinema over the past decade. Whether it is sex, lies, and videotape, To Sleep With Anger, Reservoir Dogs, El Mariachi, Swoon, Doom Generation, Picture Bride, Hoop Dreams, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Big Night, Ulee’s Gold, or In the Company of Men, the list of significant films is extensive and deservedly well-recognized and applauded. But the greater question remains as to whether we have yet seen the truly groundbreaking or revolutionary films that will be remembered in decades to come. A golden age is marked first and foremost by its masterworks and major artistic accomplishments. By this standard, has independent cinema reached its zenith? The independent community should remind itself that its power and influence came from the quality of its creativity. If it tries to sell itself simply as a product, independent cinema will lose those elements that made it effective and appealing. Artistic integrity, even when out of step with popular embrace, remains its true signature. Certainly there are memorable, even superlative independent films produced over the past decade. But if independent artists stay the course that has been their defining inspiration, one that explores all aspects of life and reality but reaches for the sublime, then the possibilities for a new era of filmic creativity are on the horizon.

Gilmore, Geoff. “The state of independent film.” National Forum 77.4 (1997): 10+.

What are our editing consoles of choice?

We are fans of Windows running Adobe Premiere and After Effects.  WINDOWS?  Well, after the shock subsides you will find that you can customize a PC for less than a Mac, and the software runs exactly the same.  Virus and slowdowns?  You can clear these with things such as Spyhunter 4 and RegCure Pro.

There are really quite a few things that you can do with After Effects that will put you over the top, but the challenge is of course learning the program.

When It Comes To Independent Filmmaking

Independent films are where its at now, in my opinion, due to the horrible dreck that tends to come out of Hollywood these days.  There is just not that much out there in the big budget scheme of things.

Independent film gives filmmakers a more free reign on the themes that they explore.  However this can lead down the path to self-indulgence.  It’s always good to see filmmakers come up with stuff that is not only original, has its own voice, but also remains true to the filmic form and doesn’t go off the deep end into maudlin themes and overdone emotions.

Nonetheless, it is important not to get bogged down in terminology, especially given the growing chasm between the studio multimillion dollar “event” films and almost any level of independent production. The issues are not just semantic but substantive. For if there is a raison d’etre for the robust presence of independent cinema, it involves the changed nature of the Hollywood film industry over the last two decades. While the 1970s stand out as one of the greatest creative periods in Hollywood history, during those years the economics of the film industry underwent an extreme paradigmatic shift. The blockbuster mentality has always been part of Hollywood, but the hundred-million-dollar-plus gross of Star Wars created a different set of exigencies. As the 1970s gave way to the 1980s, the independent world of filmmaking (which had been, until then, primarily a refuge for a New York-centered avant garde, other regionally and ethnically based cinemas, and the exploitation and genre work of Arkoff and Corman) gradually repositioned itself as a legitimate alternative to Hollywood. At the same time, the critical successes of European art films allowed for a new American independent cinema to emerge. Among the early independent films, Victor Nunez’s Flash of Green, Wayne Wong’s Chan is Missing, Peter Masterson’s The Trip to Bountiful, the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple, Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise, and Bill Sherwood’s Parting Glances gained particular recognition. Breaking theatrical distribution barriers and garnering accolades and awards, these works helped to establish the foundation for an independent film industry.

But revolution, cultural or otherwise, is neither a linear nor a direct process. True, more independent films are being produced now than ever before. In fact, only a decade ago the total independent output amounted to slightly more than a twentieth of what it does today, some fifty films versus close to a thousand productions in 1996. But only some twenty-five independent films had any significant release (grossed a million dollars or more) last year, and along with those, only another fifteen or twenty features gained notable theatrical visibility. Hearing such grand media proclamations about the ascendance of independent cinema, one would have thought a massive reorganization and redirection of the film industry had occurred. The reality is something else.

Gilmore, Geoff. “The state of independent film.” National Forum 77.4 (1997): 10+.