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So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

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So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

Old 10-30-10, 12:26 PM
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So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

And also cinematographers, for that matter. What I'm saying is, if you're already in Hollywood, and were around before CGI (or any new thing), how do you learn to use this new technology integrate it in a concrete way? By that I mean, yes, pre-production for that particular movie would help you out with what to expect, but what about learning general techniques? These days the new thing is 3D, and to use it skillfully I assume you need to learn a bit more about the technical stuff.

Similarly these days, if they didn't go to film school and learned a lot of it on their own, there are still more nuances to learn. I'm assuming the studios would help them to figure stuff out?

For example, someone like Frank Miller, who had "co-directed" Sin City, was given free reign to do The Spirit, an entirely green screen flick.
Old 10-30-10, 02:58 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

My guess is they experiment.

I would be shocked if there are any cinematographers entering the business now that haven't been to film school. They are often the reason a movie looks good, even if the director is so-so. A good example is a movie like "Grumpier Old Men." The director is hardly known for visually pleasing films, but "Grumpier Old Men" is a simple, yet very well shot movie. Why? Tak Fujimoto (Silence of the Lambs, Good Will Hunting, Signs) was the cinematographer.
Old 10-30-10, 03:20 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

Sometimes the best way to learn is watching other films. I remember hearing a commentary or an interview with Scorsese and he had his cinematographer watch different films to get a feel of what he wanted to accomplish.

It's not like these guys don't talk to each other either. Directors talk with other directors about how to get certain shots.
Old 10-31-10, 11:10 AM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

They watch what Uwe Boll does, and then do the exact opposite.
Old 10-31-10, 03:39 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

I would think that talking to other industry insiders is a big part of it.
Old 10-31-10, 04:42 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

There are frequent film industry expos that showcase new technologies in lighting and camera rigs, and also host workshops on various workflows and presentations by peers. These are great places to be introduced to techniques and gear you may not even know was available.

When a vastly different tech like 3D comes about, pre-production time is used to do test shoots, and specialized techs will come on board to bring the cinematographer up to speed and assist throughout the shoot.

Even if a filmmaker has attended film school, they never stop learning. I ran into Bill Pope at an expo over the summer, and he didn't recognize an SI-2K camera, which has been around for years and was used to shoot Slumdog Millionaire. I presume this is just because he was so accustomed to shooting 35mm, but if the tech interested him, I'm certain he's gone through the trouble of researching the digital realm further and knows quite a bit about it by now.

Last edited by filmerp; 10-31-10 at 04:47 PM.
Old 10-31-10, 06:38 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

Originally Posted by filmerp View Post
When a vastly different tech like 3D comes about, pre-production time is used to do test shoots, and specialized techs will come on board to bring the cinematographer up to speed and assist throughout the shoot.
While that is the case, most live action 3D films haven't really taken advantage of the technology. Most of these films have been rushed into production really not taking full advantage.

Saw 3D is the first film released to use the new SI-3D system (My Bloody Valentine used an earlier version of this set-up on already existing equipment); the crew really didn't have a lot of time to really take full advantage of what the technology has to offer due to its rushed production schedule. Yes, the sets are bigger, but that's unfortunately it.

Avatar used Cameron's own Fusion system which looked amazing in 3D (I wonder why), but other films that have used it have been mixed. The first film released to use the Fusion system, The Final Destination, didn't really look that spectacular in 3D. However, Step Up 3D and the portions of Jackass 3D that use the Fusion equipment do look phenomenal.

Most "talented" directors and cinematographers will always experiment to see what works and doesn't work. Nolan and Pfister never shot in IMAX before until The Dark Knight simply because Nolan always wanted to shoot in IMAX. Because of their success with that experiment, more footage for The Dark Knight Returns will be shot in IMAX.
Old 03-02-11, 08:23 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

And on a similar note, how do live action directors just "Jump In" to feature animation directing? Verbinski with Rango, Snyder with Guardians?

Sure, they have a history with visual effects, but an animated feature is much different than that. People were surprised when Brad Bird was chosen to direct MI:4, but these guys helming a CG movie is not necessarily surprising. But again, this is a new medium, not a genre (in the words of Brad Bird).

Someone like Tim Burton with Corpse Bride I can understand, with his character animation background.
Old 03-02-11, 08:36 PM
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Re: So what do established directors do to learn new techniques?

I'm willing to bet that live action directors going into animation have basic ideas of what they want and require for the film, and then communicate those ideas to the people who can actually do it. Unless, as you say, you're someone like Tim Burton who went to school for animation.

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