A short conversation about the SLR revolution

A documentary film student friend of mine sent me some questions for her class assignment concerning the digital SLR revolution.
When did you start filming? How did the technology changed since you started filming? Was it easy to adjust to it?
I picked up my first camera somewhere around the year 2000., right after we survived the proposed digital apocalypse. Ironically enough, I bought an analog Panasonic VHS-C camcorder. Since those jittery and low quality tape-to-disk days, today it’s just idiotically simple. You drag and drop the clips from one window to another. In 2013. you can buy a 5D M2 for around 2000$ and shoot at near film like quality. That’s crazy and completely liberating. Combine that with all the online knowledge that’s up there for taking – there are no more excuses for anyone.
Digital revolution made it possible for anyone to own a semi or fully professional camera. Is that a good or a bad change?
I will always think that democratisation is a good thing. Giving power to more and many will always in the end filter out and produce more quality than it would if that power was conserved to the few. It’s just a more natural way of progressing.
Where do you think this new digital revolution is leading?
The new digital revolution is definitely leading to an overal public increase in communicating with images. A human thought resembles an image in many ways, so transfering it to a static or moving picture is just natural. It shouldn’t be crazy to think of having filmmaking classes in elementary school as a far fetched vision of the future.
The rise of affordable and at the same time proffesional equipment is already having it’s impact on film festivals worldwide. Sundance had more than 12,000 submissions this year. Croatia’s Pula Film Festival in 2012. had five of the thirteen screened films produced at least part independently. Being free of big money hovering over your head, you can experiment more. You can discover new meanings and set new values. At least you can try.
Music is some 5-7 years ahead of the digital film „revolution“, and look at the impact – general public’s musical tastes are way more eclectic than ever before. Ofcourse it’s because among other things, more music than ever is created, but that’s just the thing, right?
Nowadays, anyone can make a movie, a music video or record a song and send it all over the world in a second. Do you think of that as a good thing or did it make it harder to recognize real talent?
I think real talent is always gonna stand out. No matter how many crappy films are out there, something sincere and meaningful will always create a special connection with the viewer. Anyway, we also have to be aware that having more content results in having more active viewers. Ofcourse we can talk about pirating movies and not going to the cinema, but overall, people today watch more film/video than ever. I can’t imagine that as a bad thing. And yes, along with all that online time, people even read more.
How do you see the future? What is there to be done to recognize talent in this sea of videos? How to stand out?
The exact picture of the future is always out of reach. If it wasn’t, it would already be our present. In that context, although in 2013. we don’t commute to school or work in flying cars, we have really advanced algorithms of categorizing all that content. And still, when a video becomes succesful/viral, no algorithm did that. It was just a bunch of people sharing the experience that work of art created for them.
So, yeah, the way to succes is being honest and innovative or just being obnoxiously self promoting and buying youtube clicks, I hear that’s the new thing.
How did you get there where you are today?
I got here where I am today (wherever that is) by just trying to be really perceptive of myself and my surroundings. I’m an engineer at heart, so I like to set systems apart, analyse the components, and put them back together the way I see fit. This is something you can really apply to almost any complex system, and film is just one of them. But besides that; investing hours, trying to be in a constant state of change, being overly critical of your work – those are the things that usually always pay off.

Questions written by Ivana Vareško.