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Heigh ho

April 19th, 2007 by jomo

An old friend complimenting me on Lover of the Lord (my new short film) said that it must have been a lot of work. I demurred, saying that any endeavor was work, and that anything fun was not work. Sometime later I was thinking about that and reminiscing about what used to be involved in producing a film.

The most onerous step in the process was getting it all to film: so much could go wrong with so little opportunity to correct mistakes! Framing, focus, and exposure were broad categories at the top of the list of things that could be wrong, with subordinate items like smudged lens, dirty gate, scratched or flashed stock. Line testing of animation was constant, and exposure tests were done on each strip of film to be processed. There was the expense of the film and processing, which included the time it took to deliver the film to the lab and to return later to pick it up after processing.

Additionally there were the stacks of paper drawings or transparent cels (from celluloid – which is no longer used) that had to be kept clean and in correct order. Shooting the art had to be completely error free, and the only way to correct an error was to re-do the whole shot. CSO – Cheerfully Start Over, as Bill Van Buren put it.

Today I sit at my desk and work digitally. Everything is done on the computer and dirt and scratches are things of the past. Line tests are continual, and changes or corrections are simple. Focus? Exposure? No problem. Now the time I spend is much more productive since the impediments of analog (film) production have been greatly reduced, if not eliminated. It still takes a lot of time to produce a finished piece, but it is time that is less hectic and fraught with anxiety.

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