Congratulations to [Re_Map]606 and all 2013 graduates of Manchester School of Architecture!
Lisa Kinch: Explorations in Architecture and Urbanism
Readings, thoughts and ideas related to studies at the Manchester School of Architecture
Congratulations to [Re_Map]606 and all 2013 graduates of Manchester School of Architecture!
[Re_Map]’s fifth year students produced some beautiful concrete models by employing digital fabrication methods as part of the Manufacturing Materials Master Class run earlier this year.
[Re_Map]606 is an Atelier of the Manchester School of Architecture run by Nick Dunn, Richard Brook and Vikram Kaushal.
Process is the necessary bridge between input and output. Within architecture it encapsulates the true manifestation of the built form. Its requirement is paramount, except its acknowledgment is becoming irrelevant in a profession where the “Final Image” stands as the principle output. As every new project is conceived within both schools of architecture and the profession more and more work is generated, but eventually lost, as the route to the final output is navigated.
In order to highlight the importance of process and to try and put forward a true catalogue of our individual trajectories, we, [Re_Map]606, have chosen to exhibit a collection of our [WORKINGS] from the past 9 months within the atelier.
Curated alongside our end of year show (which is to be displayed at the same time), [WORKINGS] seeks to document and display the work created from our initial responses to this year’s site in Bradford, UK, up until the final output. The crisp polished contemporary gallery experience has been discarded as we push for the audience to interact and explore our [WORKINGS] and processes to discover the routes we have taken, and to find a true representation of our work.
[Re_Map]606 at Manchester School of Architecture 2013 Degree Show
Entrance detail 1:200
Model of entrance area made from laser cut paper in various colours spraymounted onto perspex. LED lights held in place by square metal nuts, switch operable through hole in plywood sheet. Plywood sheet held in place by removable nuts and bolts to allow access to battery pack. Cables and batteries are left visible through the clear perspex. alluding to the technical programme (film studios, data archive, preview theatres etc) in the basement.
Site model scale 1:1000
Made from laser cut perspex mounted onto rusted metal sheet with plywood backing.
Portfolio submission - contents of box
WIP: Cutaway model showing different filming opportunities and general use of the buildings
The Future of Film
The debate about the future of the film industry is currently focused on digital filming techniques versus the traditional film. Unsurprisingly, there are people such as Christopher Nolan in the industry holding on to film and herald all its advantages, but increasingly “studios are moving to replace film with digital technology” (Howard Stringer as quoted by Frontline, 2001).
There are advantages and disadvantages with both filming techniques. Film is said to be “better looking, it’s the technology that’s been known and understood for 100 years, and it’s extremely reliable” (Christopher Nolan as quoted by Lhooq, 2012). It has a certain texture to it, which both film makers and audiences have got used to and cherish. It is, however, considered more expensive and film can only be used once compared to SD cards and other forms of digital storage.
The question of quality is subjective; there are people in both camps utilising the quality argument to make their point. Some directors have tried digital and 3D filming techniques and wowed never to touch it again. Others have delighted in the possibilities offered by this new medium. Although digital is on the rise, film “will always be a part of the industry” (Eisenberg, 2012).
Similarly to architecture, there is a wave on uncertainty in the film industry. Just as SketchUp, Grand Designs and other mainstream design tools and programs have made architecture more accessible to the public, anyone can now be a film maker. All they need is a cheap digital camera, or even a camera phone or tablet, and some computer software if they want the ability to edit the raw material. The Canon 7D and other DSLR cameras capable of video recording have made it possible to “shoot cinema-quality imagery for less than the price of a computer” (Eisenberg, 2012).
Hence, the digital technology makes film making readily available to the masses. It is no longer restricted to an exclusive club of white men hidden away in Hollywood. But the digital process can also make film watching more accessible, as it is possible to distribute a digital picture directly to a projector via satellite. Cinema will be possible even in remote places which have previously suffered from badly scratched and damaged film transported a long way in undesirable conditions. This has the opportunity to “develop the enthusiasm for movies in faraway places” (Howard Stringer as quoted by Frontline, 2001).
Digital film making has the power to level the playing field between amateur and professional film makers and make the industry more accessible. It also enables audiences in remote locations to enjoy high quality screenings through relatively cheap technology. Peter Bart, editor-in-chief of Variety, sums this change up in a couple of sentences;
“When you consider the fact that the basic process of shooting a movie was exactly the same between 1920 and 1998, you know, nothing changed. Now all of a sudden everything has changed” (Frontline, 2001).
Not only people will be affected by these changes, places and infrastructure will have to adapt as well. A number of industry professionals, including chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation Howard Stringer, question the need for “the infrastructure, the superstructure of yesterday’s Hollywood to sustain a digital vision. It’s not clear that you do” (Frontline, 2001). Digital media does away with the need for large film archives, cutting rooms and dark rooms. All these are replaced by computer suited and server rooms allowing for digital manipulation, editing and storage.
Digital film making allows for increased application of special effects and animation. The use of greenscreens is extensive, simply because of the vast cost associated with building complete sets and the employment of crew and equipment. Using greenscreens and digitally recreating the surroundings gives the director complete control of light, noise and content.
There is, in addition to the film versus digital debate, also an ongoing bluescreen versus greenscreen argument. Although not as simple, the general consensus is that bluescreens are better for film and greenscreens more suitable for digital. The reason is the design of sensors in digital cameras. The green channel is the clearest channel, has the highest luminance and can therefore deliver the clearest picture with the least noise. The Bayer pattern, the pattern of sensors in the camera, mimics the colour sensitivity of the human eye. It has a “filter arrangement on its pixel array that actually records twice as many green pixels as red or blue. So the actual recording resolution of the green channel is double that of the other channels” (Weigert, 2010).
To emphasise the shift from film to digital, parts of the building facade will provide a greenscreen rather than bluescreen backdrop.
The Internet – Distribution, Crowdfunding and Social Networking
Returning to the advantages of digital media, another reason for its success and accessibility is the widespread use of the World Wide Web. Industry people have different opinions on how or why the Internet is useful, ranging from easy distribution to a mass audience on sites like YouTube to file sharing, communication and direct audience feedback. Some of these views are reflected in the quotes below;
“I think broadband would probably allow the public a way to see some movies, for instance, the best of the festival movies that never come to their town and never come to their theatre” (Lucy Fisher as quoted by Frontline, 2001).
“I don’t think broadband is necessarily a direct threat to the business unless they lose the ability to protect their content. […] If anything some of the video stores are more at risk than the studios from broadband because it does allow them to bypass both the video store and also allows them in some cases to bypass the cable operator.” (Larry Gerbrandt as quoted by Frontline, 2001).
“But one thing that I think has the greatest advantage to both change the financial underpinnings of the business and create a wider circle or a wider orbit of audience, and differentiated audience, and a wider orbit of talent that can feed that audience, is World Wide Web broadband” (Peter Guber as quoted by Frontline, 2001).
Howard Stringer made an accurate prediction of film on demand and Internet based film streaming services. He said “I think there will be huge audiences for movies that people want to see when they want to see them” (Frontline, 2001). Today, services such as Lovefilm and Netflix hold a large share of the film rental market. Netflix have even divided their subscription methods in two; the more traditional DVD rental and purely digital, instant access to streamed videos online. The diagram above (Figure 2) shows the success of this new approach.
Despite the addition of new modes of visual consumption, traditional TV consumption is growing. “People are watching more video content not only on TV but across all platforms” (Marshall and Venturini, 2011:7) as indicated by the above diagram (Figure 5). This offers further opportunities to amateur and professional film makers alike, opportunities to make use of “multiple platforms to tell their stories, engage with millions and build new types of businesses” (Rosenthal, 2009).
A new type of business increasingly common in the film making industry is the use of online crowdfunding. With large production houses preferring to invest their money in accredited professionals, crowdfunding is “a growing necessity for independent filmmakers” (Pozin, 2012). It does not only offer money and continued independence for the filmmakers, but an increased interest and word of mouth advertising, especially in an online community of social networking. Pozin goes as far as asking “Is crowdfunding the next step the industry needs for a higher success rate to underfunded films?” (Pozin, 2012)
Social networking does not only enable word of mouth advertising, but instant feedback and discussion about what is shown on the screen. It has brought along a “new audience which is no longer made up of passive viewers of media -they are active creators, collaborators, distributors and even financiers” (Rosenthal, 2009). Clever filmmakers make use of this platform to find out what films and topics are well received not by critics, but the general public.
The Internet has enabled instant distribution, access and discussion, contributing to make the film industry more readily available to the general public. The importance of community has been highlighted through crowdfunding, discussions and feedback. It is therefore important to ensure excellent community involvement in this project, both with the local people in Bradford and the global online community. A good community hub with computer and Internet access must be provided to allow people to interact not only with their local film studio, but also with the online film community.
Moreover, profit made from larger productions should be fed back into independent community projects supporting local productions economically as well as with knowledge and facilities.
With the change from film to digital, a number of new technologies have become available. They include pocket-sized digital cameras, enabling filming in difficult locations (showcased in films such as 127 Hours), multi platform access on tablets, mobile phones and computers, laser projectors, mini projectors, interactive web based films, improved sound systems and so-called “second screen experience apps”, apps which synchronise with the film shown on screen and provide trivia, extra video clips and more information about the plot and characters (Lhooq, 2012).
This explosion of facilities for broadcasting is exciting, but will not necessarily replace the TV or the cinema. Instead, Marshall and Venturini argue for a broadcasting culture that does away with the linear thinking and adapts to a “connected, interactive, consumer-centric world” (2011:2). The new forms of technologies are complements, not replacements. Care must be taken in how these different media are treated; audiences respond differently to each of them. Eisenberg, however, is positive about the expansion of media and claims that audiences “evolve just as fast as the technology presented to them” (2012). Care must be taken when venturing into this new, exiting territory where the audience and filmmakers are brought closer together than ever before.
“The task now is how we can reach and build audiences and use that unprecedented potential for exposure to create and extend the value of content. The key to a digital future resides in the relationship with audiences. In a congested marketplace where competition for audiences is fragmented over multiple new platforms, games, online activities, TV and real life, the film industry must find new avenues to make films available easily and to engage with future audiences in more meaningful ways” (Rosenthal, 2009).
Marshall, C. and Venturini, F. (2011) ‘The Future of Broadcasting: a new storm is brewing.’ Accenture. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture_The_Future_of_Broadcasting_A_New_Storm_is_Brewing.pdf. p.4 and 8
Pozin, I. (2012) ‘Crowdfunding: The Future Of The Film Industry?’ Forbes. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2012/12/20/crowdfunding-the-future-of-the-film-industry
Lhooq, M. (2012) ‘9 Mind-Blowing Technologies Changing The Film Industry’s Future.’ The Creators Project. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/blog/9-mind-blowing-technologies-changing-the-film-industry%E2%80%99s-future—2
Kemmerle, K. (2012) ‘Do This Year’s Oscar Nominations Signal the End of Celluloid?’ Tribeca. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.tribecafilm.com/tribecaonline/future-of-film/Oscar-Nominations-Side-By-Side-Debate.html#.UQZQLGdCnIU
Frontline. (2001) ‘Is This the Future of Movies?’ pbs.org. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/hollywood/digital/future.html
Marshall, C. and Venturini, F. (2011) ‘The Future of Broadcasting: a new storm is brewing.’ Accenture. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture_The_Future_of_Broadcasting_A_New_Storm_is_Brewing.pdf
Rosenthal, L. (2009) ‘The future for film has already been written.’ Screen Daily. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://www.screendaily.com/news/opinion/the-future-for-film-has-already-been-written/5004727.article
Eisenberg, M. (2012) ‘Movie Technology: The Continuing Battle of Film vs. Digital.’ Screen Rant. [online] [accessed 2013-01-28] http://screenrant.com/movie-technology-film-vs-digital-mikee-105167
VFX - virtual backlot
VFX - virtual backlot