Shooting movies for the Internet

{Star Runners art work]

One of the hold-backs to showing movies on the Internet is the speed of the connection. Telephone lines don't allow much bandwidth and as filmmakers we have to live with that. However, some of us have been waiting for some miracle so we can put our 35mm and 16mm shot movies on the net. Well, why wait? It might take another five years before we have a faster delivery system. Why not look into technologies that allow us to put shorter works on the website with as much quality as is possible with what we have?

I think we have to be innovative with the technology that's at our fingertips. We can shoot 8 frames per second if we're going to compress to that anyway. Meanwhile we can get more quality out of the frame. Of course, we'd be limiting our productions to the Internet, but then why not shoot some projects strictly for the Internet? The major studios can't afford to do that, but as independents we can. We don't have the overhead and our projects can be as experimental as we want them to be. We can save a lot of money. We can shoot with a Bolex.

There are also some new digital formats coming out that are designed to put a movie segment directly on the website. We should look into this method of shooting also, but remember to use the technology to your advantage. All the manufacturers and inventors of these new, emerging technologies, care about is to make a profit. We're artists, not consumers. Let's invent ways to shoot entire movie projects in segments and present them as movie clips at a slow connection speed. People nowadays don't have the attention span to sit and watch a two hour movie on a small monitor anyway. Most likely they'll download it even when offered for free, at a major expense to the filmmaker who has to have the entire movie encrypted. Why give them something to download, when they're going to leave your website and forget where they got the movie from? We can post short clips and have them click through them and view the movie more interactively and right from the same website or web page we want them to be on.

Please share with me your ideas. If we co-operate with each other, we'll create a community of artists on the Internet, making movies for today's sophisticated audiences.

More and more films are now being encoded for Internet exhibition. Youtube.com, Myspace.com and Google.com are making it possible to exhibit video without charge. These websites are an ideal environment for trailers and short films. Independent filmmakers should take advantage of them.

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