North Texas Daily

UNT department moves from film to digital cinema

UNT department moves from film to digital cinema

UNT department moves from film to digital cinema
November 27
23:25 2012

Shaylynn Lynch/Intern

Previously recognized yearly by Kodak as one of the highest shooting film schools in the country, UNT is about to make a shift away from the increasingly dated medium of film.

Beginning this spring, UNT’s film department will be working solely in digital cinema.

The department made this shift to more aptly prepare students for the type of technology they will encounter in the industry.

“[Students] will be able to go right from the [UNT] radio, television and film curriculum into media companies and be fully fluent with the technology, work flow and language,” radio, television and film professor Eugene Martin said.

Traditionally, films have been shot using celluloid film stock in various resolutions such as 16mm and 35mm.

The new technology for the department is also used more and more in Hollywood filmmaking.

The digital cinema’s resolution and compatibility closely favors the 35mm standard in Hollywood film stock.

Films such as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “Flight” with Denzel Washington, and Peter Jackson’s upcoming movie “The Hobbit” were all shot in digital cinema using the R.E.D. digital camera.

Despite the shift, the department will keep the majority of its equipment. It only has to replace the main body of the camera with the new R.E.D. cameras.

By cutting the need for expensive film stock used with previous cameras, the department is also cutting the student fees as well.

Since the department had a remaining supply of film stock, Martin allowed his Intermediate Film students to shoot their semester projects with the very last film stock available in the department.

Each of the four groups were given an hour of 16mm film to produce a 10 minute final project. Martin was pleasantly surprised at the class’ eagerness to usher the final traditional UNT films out with a bang.

The work the students have done is by far some of the best Martin said he has seen in his four years at UNT.

He said he is confident that the level of professionalism achieved by these groups can be translated over to digital cinema as well.

One of the groups is producing a film titled “On the Ropes,” about a homeless man who finds shelter at night in a locker room. What he finds in the gym is where the story begins, according to the Facebook site.

The group has been working on the film for weeks. They created Facebook and Indiegogo accounts for their film, scouted locations and purchased expensive props for authenticity.

Radio, television and film senior David Baldwin is the film’s director.

“We looked forward to this opportunity,” Baldwin said. “Most students nowadays work exclusively in digital cinema, submitting films digitally to festivals, and Hollywood is digital now, for the most part. So it’s unheard of to actually get to work with film and experience that, and really get to run with it.”

The students also experienced a great deal of challenges working with this medium.

“You are translating what you would normally see instantly through a digital viewfinder into what you hope to see on the film stock, which for young filmmakers is a challenging prospect to have,” Baldwin said. “There is an art to it.”

For the students in Martin’s Intermediate Film class who will be continuing on to his Advanced Film class in the spring, the opportunity to shoot film for the last time and then digital for the first time brings the experience full circle.

Radio, television and film senior Adam Van Fossen said the experience with film was about celebrating his film icons.

“This project is the last chance for us to use the method of all our heroes,” Van Fossen said. “Filmmakers we have looked up to and admired – the ones who made us want to become filmmakers – they all used film. So it’s our last chance to do what they did and get a feel for it.”

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