March 3, 2011

A funny thing happened to me on the way home...

...I signed up for a 16mm filmmaking class. Well, that's not entirely accurate (the title, not the signing up). It was on Monday night I got a call from my friend Rajeev, letting me know that three spaces had become available in the Victoria University run Shoot on Film - a 9 week Continuing Education course. This was the day before the course was due to start. There was a minimal amount of hmming and ahhing on my part. No time to think about it really – either I was going to do it, or I wasn’t.

And then I signed up (obviously). 
An Arriflex sans lens kit

I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty excited. Nervous, but excited. I've never worked with film before - actual physical film. The closest I've ever come was when I started to learn projection at the Embassy Cinema. Coming from a purely video and digital background the thought of having no preview ability, the fact that the shot is either right or wrong and you have no real idea... that frightens me a little. But, y'know, in a good way. I’ve also never really dealt with lenses and exposure and film-speed; I’ve generally involved myself more in the writing and editing of the film projects I’ve worked on rather than the more technical aspects of production. But I’m excited to be learning this stuff man. We'll be working with some gear from the old Film Unit; gear like an Arriflex 16SRII and (hopefully maybe) a shoulder-mounted 16mm camera as well as various sound and light equipment.

Even more exciting is who will be teaching us over the next couple o’ months. The course (the teaching side of it anyway) is being taken by a man who has been involved in film for the last 30-40 years, often working as DoP for Miniature Units: Alex Funke. He came to NZ in 1999 to work on Lord of the Rings and decided to stay. But before that he worked on Total Recall and Starship Troopers with Paul Verhoeven! And the pilot for the original series of Battlestar Galactica! Awesome? Fuckin’ indeed.

NPR with lens - this can be shoulder-mounted
I’m going to be learning again. I’m forcing myself to tippy-toe outside my comfort zone and I think this is going to be an absolute joy. I think I need this right now. And I have said 2011 is going to be year of "Yeah, I'll give that a go". And on top of that, to learn and discover more about the process of using actual, physical film in this age of digital filmmaking and digital projection (something that I’ll admit to not being the biggest fan of) could be something that slowly becomes lost. And when that knowledge is being passed down from someone as gregarious and camera-geeky as Alex Funke… well, let’s just say I’m going to be soaking up as much as I can. And I will, as much as possible, be writing about it.

1 comment:

  1. That's pretty awesome dude! I've worked with film before but not for years, and although I couldn't (afford to) be a filmmaker without the digital revolution, I still loves the celluloid. Let me know how it all goes :-)