The Platypus Masters (PF, Dirck, Platypus)
Platypus Workshop Class, Rockport, Maine, Summer 2010.
We are done. Nobody died.
Today feels very different, mainly due to the relief of not facing another 12-15 hour day of Video Brain Boot Camp.
PF Bentley is a true evangelist for video filmmaking/journalism and a tireless drill sergeant. Short of death, he would not allow us to fail at this endeavor. He was with us every step of the way. Dirck Halstead played his role as Good Cop/Zen Master perfectly. Due to the patient wisdom of these two men, we are all different now. We might even be able to make a go of this video craze now....
My student film can be seen here:
This film is rife with problems, (believe me, they we were inventoried by PF and Dirck) but I assure you that it is a quantum leap forward in sophistication from my pre-Platypus abilities. I won the Most Improved award, to give you an idea how primitive I was/am.
I am haunted by thoughts of getting enough B roll, framing the headshot, audio, audio, audio, shooting for the edit, 10 seconds, pacing, audio mix, audio mix, audio mix, steady camera, get even closer, the right codec, and audio.
The Platypus Workshop was 95% relevant to me and where I am at today with my Motion skills and knowledge. I endorse it whole-heartedly and with wild abandon.
Dirck watches just one bad student film too many and completely loses it. Starts screaming "This all your fault, Deaver!" Gouges out his own eyeballs with a spork and must be restrained before he can do unspeakable things to the Platypus mascot. Is said to be resting comfortably. Under heavy sedation. And under heavy guard. Now guaranteed to be one of the subjects of the next Platypus class's films.
Blunt critiques by PF lead to 4 crying jags, the invention of 23 new curse words, 3 fistfights, and an international incident between Tonga and the Ukraine. The circus midgets build a human pyramid and challenge PF to take his opinions about sound mix outside "So we can settle this like Little People!" PF's derisive laughter does not defuse the tensions, but his water cannon does disperse the mini mob, blasting one sucker right through the wall!
The final day of class fertilizes our relief such that it grows and blossoms into an all-out drinking binge. This leads to further violence, a small fire, more cursing, juvenile and surreal hand-shadow puppets on the screen ad nauseam, a BeachTek-flinging contest, the naked intimidation of all other Maine Media Workshop attendees (and by naked, I mean nekkid), and several unplanned pregnancies.
Graduation ceremonies come to a screeching halt when the Most-Likely-To-End-Up-Shooting-Web-Porn winner expresses her appreciation for the award in a previously anatomically-impossible manner. Much retching ensues.
We are escorted from campus under cover of night by the Maine Lobster National Lobster Guard.
I have seen the future of Motion capture and it is shooting with a massive CMOS chip and high-end SLR glass. The image is just too rich, the focus and exposure options are just too tempting to be ignored, the entry costs and portability make it viable for a bazillion possibilities.
However, for sound capture, current DSLR's are a pig's breakfast:
1) Everything hinges on a lousy mini phone plug, no XLR's.
2) There's no way to accurately monitor audio recording in-progress.
3) Re-play to check picture and sound adequately requires removing the card and downloading to a laptop.
4) The hybrid solutions currently available would make Rube Goldberg jealous.
5) Far too many connections/devices involved - Murphy's Law loves this.
6) Independent recording devices seem to work well, but that defeats the whole utility of a fast-handling rig.
Focus during shooting is still problematic. With all the reliable auto-focus options available to the still photographer, it's maddening to have to prefocus every shot - MOTION shots, no less - and rely on a little LCD display (even with a viewer-assist/hood) for getting it sharp. This runs counter to the wonderful look of shallow focus - not very pretty unless you nail it. We have the technology, dammit, so let's incorporate this! And what genius decided to turn off the camera display when plugged into an external display?
Note to Canon: You are off to a great start. Address these short-comings in your next generation and you will own the world.
Note to Nikon: HELLO!?!?!?!? Is anyone home?
Final Cut Pro is Photoshop on exponential steroids. There are a million capabilities, doodads, and shortcuts hidden from the casual/rookie user. We only scratched the surface and gained basic Survival FCP training, and that took many, many hours. I have no idea if Premier is better for this or that and, frankly, I don't want to know. My brain is full and oozing out my ears. But if I can learn what I have learned, then anyone can grind through this to the Promised Land of FCP-based, income-producing filmmaking.
Tiger The New Filmmaker, Esq.
Need B Roll?: