Monday, April 9, 2007

Old School

My cell phone died on Saturday. Actually it only half died. I can talk into and can be heard, but I can't hear the person I am talking with. My last conversation went something like this, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Oh God Damn it!" Hardly "Mr. Watson come here," as famous phone conversations go.

So I went to the phone store where the combined age of the three employees was less than my age. I pulled out my broken 2002 Motorola phone and they looked at me as if I had just brought in a tin can and string. "I've never seen one of these before," "I have, it was my dad's first cell phone,"

After they finished their good laugh, the salesperson proceeded to show me phones starting of course with the most expensive model. I had to explain to him that I just wanted to make and receive phone calls. No text messages, no pictures, no video features. I have other machines that can do that. Just a phone please. As his commission flew out the window, he reluctantly showed me a simple $29 model.

All of this made me think of how rapidly technology has changed in the film business. I teach an intermediate class where students first learn how to edit digitally. In the late 9os when we started this course we took it very methodically. At first I had students work together to help themselves out. Today, 12 of the 16 students already know how to edit digitally- they have picked it up on their own. The other four took to it in a day or so. What had taken 1/3 of the semester is now covered in no more than two or three class sessions. The rapid changes are mind boggling. As a teacher it is really a case of keep up or be left behind.

Now, if I can only figure out how to retrieve my voice mail on this phone I will be all set.



csbaron said...

I remember having to touch a flat bed editor, I am glad those days are gone. Are those old Bolex cameras still around?

Anonymous said...

Don't feel so bad... I'm in my early twenties and my cell phone can't send texts, take photos or videos. But it can feature one of four really cool stock wallpaper backgrounds. I'm displaying the classic clown fish right now.

Don't feel like us youngsters have an advantage over you veterans in the digital era. As far as I can gather film industry technologies have always changed rapidly, even when you were using a flatbed editor. Everyone, young and old, new and experienced has to catch up best they can. We might be getting exposed to newer technologies quicker, but remember you were able to see why these technologies were created, what they were meant to improve. You also learned filmmaking in a more rigorous way. It is almost too easy these days (film technology, not craft or personal vision stuff – still very hard). While there is more room for creativity, without the proper amount of experimentation it’s useless anyway.

Elliot D.

PeterH said...

Thank you both for reading and commenting. The film business has had huge changes in its 100 year history. But my guess is that the planet as a whole has changed at a similar pace. In 1903 the Wright brothers flew a plane a few hundred feet. Less than 66 years later man flew to moon and back. To me, that is rapid advancement. Flat be to Avid, not as big a leap.


vice said...

I hear ya Peter.
I work in the Medical Imaging field. Going from film based x-rays and images is an ongoing PITA. Older operators are very reluctutant to try to learn something new. Eventhough it cuts their workload in half, and is more efficient.

Jolenesiah said...

wow... is kinda inexpensive for ur cell...:D

PeterH said...

The cell price was if I continued my service plan.