Article ©2008, Stanley N. Lozowski Photos ©2007, American Film Institute. All rights reserved
At the dawn of the twentieth century
people were used to writing letters, reading books and visiting libraries and museums to learn. A new form of communication and entertainment emerged; a medium based on new technology that enabled everyone to watch moving images on screens in darkened rooms.
Projecting short motion pictures to large audiences sitting in front of a massive white screen in hotel dining areas and ballrooms became extremely lucrative. The earliest moving images amazed spectators by displaying people and scenery in strange settings and far off places, but when a locomotive came rushing down the tracks aimed straight at the audience, people actually leaped out of their chairs to run for safety. The reality and the power of motion picture images were indisputable.
Over the next few years, this new innovation was dubbed "movies" and the stories they portrayed grew more life-like and convincing. They amused and captivated a growing audience that sought to escape the boredom of its daily life in enormous darkened theaters that resembled palaces. A new industry had been born and those who controlled it became extremely wealthy.
Movie moguls could literally do whatever they wanted and during the middle of the last century, Cecil B. DeMille, the famed Hollywood producer and director, purchased two locomotives and two entire railroad trains and he arranged to crash them head on for one scene in his Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus motion picture epic, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.
In an interview, Mr. DeMille stated that he had experimented with crashing model trains, but the results were poor and the effect did not look real. He constructed larger model trains, but the results were still not what he wanted; they didn’t look convincing when they crashed, even though they were filmed at higher speeds and the film was subsequently slowed down.
Mr. DeMille stressed the fact that above all else, he wanted realism in bringing his vision to the big screen and he was prepared to pay for it, no matter what the cost. He claimed that his audience deserved the best but many people viewed this as an extravagant Hollywood publicity stunt and an enormous waste of money. I was about ten years old when the day came but I remember that on the following day, the New York Daily News carried a photo of the two locomotives crashing head on.
During the late 1970
’s, realizing that
you could only do so much with models and props, George Lucas was light years
ahead of everyone else when he foresaw and pioneered the development of digital
special effects for his film, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Thanks to his successful
STAR WARS, he was also one of the very few people alive who could afford to
push the envelope.
His demands led to the creation of Sony’s Cine Alta camera; a 24p video camera that recorded digital images electronically. Instead of shooting on film, George’s dream was to obtain images made up of individual pixels that could easily and immediately be manipulated for enhancement and effects.
While his Industrial Light and Magic Company developed the computer program Renderman that gave birth to Pixar, it also led to competing technologies including 3D Studio Max, Maya, Lightwave, Houdini, Poser, Cinema 4D and the many other “virtual” 3D world programs that have since evolved. Like wildfire, this new digital technology was quickly integrated into video game devices and later, the Internet.
It has been said that while flat 2D photographs and animations define the twentieth century, three dimensional electronic images will herald the twenty-first and we are well on our way.
One cannot dispute the
fact that George was responsible for the development and digital implementation
of all “new” media. Digital video cameras provided the electronic signals that
were easily stored on analog tapes and the technology eventually allowed
filmmakers to make movies and games with virtual digital images that could
easily be stored and manipulated on computers and later, hand-held devices.
All the lower priced high-definition digital still and movie cameras and camcorders that have flooded the market in recent years (as well as all the gaming devices) can be traced back to George’s insistence on using digital technology to provide more realistic special effects.
3D programs made digital video cameras a necessity since it was time consuming and expensive to create special effects in a computer and then try to merge them in Hollywood film labs with live-action strips of 35mm filmed images. The entire process demanded a simpler and faster solution and that solution was to get rid of the noisy motion picture cameras, film, developing chemicals, cine printers, the darkroom, television and even Hollywood itself. When he realized he didn’t need any of them anymore, George moved far away and established Skywalker Ranch as a "filmmaker's retreat" and as the “new” Hollywood. George lives nearby and not on the ranch which was never intended to be the headquarters for his business operations.
The new technologies and programs that were created to accomplish digital special effects have simultaneously fueled the growth of electronic video games to the point where the electronic gaming industry is now larger than Hollywood. While LucasArts is heavily involved in gaming, the gaming industry has become a force in its own right. In addition, the Internet was spawned from this process and it, in turn, is revolutionizing the video industry with the way television programs are being instantly delivered.
The world will change more and more as we implement the promise and full potential of digital video on electronic gaming units, i-pods, cell phone cameras, PDAs and the many new and innovative hand-held devices that are still on the drawing boards.
Last week, my dentist took digital x-rays of my teeth. I drove with my friend in his car listening to a computer voice give us GPS directions while viewing a digital map of our location as we listened to music downloaded from i-Tunes on his i-Pod. He took my digital photo with his i-Phone and instantly e-mailed it to me. We viewed the latest stock prices on the device and he cursed the fact that his Apple stock had lost a few points and was down.
Thank you, Mr. Lucas. Your first STAR WARS film represents the end of an era and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the birth of another. With the computer revolution you fostered and the development of the Internet and digital technologies, our lives and the world of the future are forever changed. (continued below)
© 2009 Los Angeles Times
By the 1920's, Willis H. O'Brien had pioneered the art of stop-motion model building in his film, THE LOST WORLD. A decade later, he used his single frame animation skills to captivate audiences with an impressive gorilla model. Utilizing recorded sound and intercutting live actors with his scaled down creations, KING KONG shocked and frightened viewers of the day with a new realism.
O'Brien's protege (and successor), Ray Harryhausen, perfected and brought the art of stop-motion to its height in the 1958 film, THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD, which featured a magnificent sword fight against seven skeleton warriors.
In contrast to creating miniatures that looked real and worked successfully, it appeared easy for Hollywood to fabricate convincing life-size costumes and monsters with make up. The fact that everyone did this gave rise to the magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and a bevy of prolific knock-offs.
Every special effects team had to weave enough magic so you really thought their small creations were life size. Gordon Jennings rightfully took an Academy Award for his wonderful models and special effects in George Pal’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, a 1953 theatrical film that capitalized on the UFO craze. His 42-inch models suspended by 15 wires and the eight foot exploding model of Los Angeles City Hall are still convincing today.
By the middle of the century, new technology was bringing moving pictures into our homes and my friends and I were watching the FLASH GORDON serials from the 1930’s with Buster Crabbe on TV. After viewing an episode, I explained to my classmates that the size of the flames coming out of the rocket ship’s exhaust indicated that it was a very small model less than a foot in length. Looking carefully, I also noted that in certain scenes the model space ships dangled from a single wire. These were certainly clumsy special effects, but when you’re young, no one cares. The films were fun to watch.
Also fun to watch a decade later was Gene Roddenberry’s STAR TREK TV series. Since his passing, Gene has been called a "visionary" because he accurately predicted and showed many scientific things about the future, but few people gave notice to the most common ordinary things that never appeared in the series; nowhere did anyone ever use paper or a pencil. This Desilu show added color and a new and different realism to the science fiction world of the future. O.K. to watch on our new color television, the special effects would not have succeeded as well on a big screen. Many still see this as a reason why Paramount delayed in making a feature film from the series but the argument over paying TV stars higher Hollywood salaries was absolutely a major stumbling point.
Eventually, Paramount had no choice. Mesmerized by the enormous success of STAR WARS, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was rushed into production. The studio with the greatest science fiction franchise had been upstaged by a more resourceful independent and arrogant young director named George Lucas. Inspired by serials (and the original Flash Gordon), George gave the fans what they wanted: a big screen sci-fi fantasy vision of the future they could believe in with all its wonders and intricacies. His fans gave him resounding support by purchasing every STAR WARS toy and licensed item imaginable creating the first large modern "branding" and merchandising franchise. Having access to far greater profits than anyone could imagine, George used the money to give his fans even more of what they wanted
Taking a lesson from Ray Harryhausen, George favored precision models and his newly formed company, Industrial Light and Magic, constructed and made use of stop motion animation in STAR WARS. With the art of model making and special effects pushed to the limit, George realized he needed more in his encore, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. With the enormous earnings from his first STAR WARS film, George’s investment and quest for realism became possible-but only because it coincided with the other necessary ingredient, the computer revolution.
For the making of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, George created a separate innovative division of ILM called the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project. That division used early RenderMan software to create rigid geometric shaped virtual models. When the cost of pioneering and developing this virtual photo realistic 3D program exceeded 40 million dollars and threatened to eat into funds reserved for producing the next Star Wars films, George sold the division to Steve Jobs in 1986. Steve, as CEO of Apple and Macintosh computers, had to invest even more to complete the program and it took many additional years for Pixar to animate and deliver TOY STORY.
When viewers in a dark theater become convinced that what they see on the screen is real and when they can empathize suspending their beliefs, it becomes much easier for a director to win their hearts and minds and play with their emotions. This is the premise of all great acting. If the actors on the screen look incompetent or if the effects look faked, no one will ever take the film seriously, although you can still enjoy it for what it is.
George probably never realized the full potential of what he was doing when he financed the creation of digital film special effects and shooting techniques. All he knew was that he was building models in a virtual world and when he crashed them, there were no casualties and no mess to clean up. Pyrotechnics in filmmaking could soon be a thing of the past if virtual explosions and virtual fire can be added to a film in post.
While he never meant to destroy the Hollywood era, the days of big Hollywood films and lavish productions are soon to be a thing of the past. George Lucas sadly admitted his own culpability in this several years ago.
Anyone, anywhere can make digital movies today without the mammoth laboratory expenses of film, developing, work printing, duplicate negatives, release prints, delivery, splicing and storage. And, as the cost of making exact models increased dramatically, this would normally be the end of our story.
But in 1997, James Cameron made a model of an "unsinkable" ocean liner in order to best recreate the terrifying final hours and make filmgoers believe they were actually there at the time of the tragedy. The model was called an "exact" replica, but it wasn't really a replica since replicas are copies that are relatively indistinguishable from the original when placed side by side.
Twentieth Century Fox purchased 40 acres of oceanfront property in Baha, Mexico to build a huge water tank 90 foot deep and over 800 foot wide in which a 90% scale replica of the Titanic could slowly sink into 17 million gallons of water fed direct from the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps, this was the ultimate model and swansong to herald the end of a magnificent and fascinating era.
It took a century, but sound, color and 3D stereopsis (depth perception) became commonplace as filmmakers achieved greater and greater realism. Today, thanks to George, everyone is producing high definition new media digital movies and with the new software they can easily and inexpensively include scenes with crashing locomotives, giant gorillas, flying robots and exploding Death Stars for almost nothing. With the new virtual programs if you can imagine it, you can create it.
Books, paintings, songs, maps, magazines, photos and films can suddenly all exist side by side because they are all digital. In addition, everyone can hold access to the entire library of humankind's knowledge in the palm of their hand.
Everyone who can pick up a digital camcorder is already making short films (18 million of them are already on youTube); the features are not far behind. Hollywood will never die and some of their films will always make hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions of dollars each), but with a glut of new media films on the market, the handwriting is on the wall.
In a world where anyone can soon build models of anything in their computers (including people), I'm reminded of how Steven Spielberg toyed with the idea of using Marilyn Monroe in one of his films by using a 1990's program called "Virtual Marilyn". Back then, the quality simply wasn't good enough, but it's a whole new ball game today as technology and computers continue to improve. The only remaining problem is that for most indie filmmakers, NM = NM (New Media equals No Money) but where there is a will, there is also a way. Add to that the concept that indie filmmakers artists and creatives would only have a loud voice and strength IF they unite and exist in large numbers. The Internet will level the playing field.
NM = NM? New Media means that "Anything is Possible" if you know what to do and how to do it. New Media simply requires a computer and anyone with a computer and the right program can write a book today, print and publish it; anyone can also be a graphic artist, an animator, a filmmaker, a musician and if you have a synthesizer you can even be an entire orchestra, a blogger, a composer, a magazine, a webmaster, a photographer, a printer or a publisher.
When you can even shoot a film with NO film and when you require NO chemicals, NO laboratory, NO developing, NO negatives, NO work prints, NO color corrected prints, NO duplicate negatives, NO Special Effects since you can do them with your computer and NO release prints, is it any wonder that there is NO expense involved? When everyone can do everything, how can you charge money for anything? How does one succeed?
I've worked in licensing and deceased celebrities are represented by their estates who sell and license their images. Investors, independent filmmakers and Hollywood producers might soon be lining up to buy up the rights to use likenesses of deceased movie stars in their new films. Done properly, computer animators can change history. Imagine placing Walt Disney's face on Adolph Hitler and vice versa. Plastered all over the Internet, a new generation could blame Disney for WWII and applaud Hitler for Mickey Mouse.
A brand new film starring Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Bruce Lee or another titled The Three Stooges Meet the Beatles? Don't bet against it.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century people were used to sending e-mails, visiting websites and "googling" whatever they wanted to know. A new form of entertainment and communication emerged; a medium based on new technology which enabled everyone to create and instantly share moving images on large or small screens with everyone else anywhere in the world. And this is just the start of a brave new world where user and special interest groups have no need for countries, borders or boundaries...
Addendum: It is now almost three years since I wrote the above article and I am enthralled by the fact that James Cameron, the man who made the last great old media Hollywood epic with hard copy models has created the first great multi-billion dollar grossing new media Hollywood epic depicting a most believable digital virtual world in AVATAR. We cannot comprehend the brave new world that awaits us.
And today, many 1080p camcorders are available for a few hundred dollars and even less. No, they will not do what the models costing a few thousand dollars will do, but they will enable almost anyone to make films at very little to no cost. - Stanley N. Lozowski, October 2010
"The more I listen to the grapevine, the more I hear the gaming industry is getting harder and harder to get into and make a living off of." These words were recently written to me by an artist/animator working to attend FullSail University.
I believe that her statement is 100% true. And it will get harder and harder because of the economic downturn and the fact that a hundred thousand new animators are learning to animate every year in all corners of the globe.
Everyone with a computer and a program is or can be a graphic artist today. Everyone with a computer and a connection today is a post office, a photographer, an encyclopedia, a news reporter, a publisher, an artist, a library, a filmmaker, a critic, an animator (If you just know how to type, you can make your own 3D movies with sound and dialogue on sites like: http://www.xtranormal.com/), a musician (on sites like www.PlayerPianoPlus.com), a translator, an entrepreneur, a band and everything else you can possibly imagine.
Everyone connected today has the ability to easily watch, listen, learn, attend "school" and become vocal. Everyone can suddenly give medical and legal advice and this becomes a large problem in our new society where what is true can easily be distorted and falsified. Identities can be stolen and the future makes it easier and easier to use the newer programs and computers to do whatever we want. And computers now go wherever we go held in our hands and stored in our pockets.
George had the $25 millions to purchase the first fifty 1080p cameras from Sony (Sony designed and produced the Cine Alta for him so he could shoot STAR WARS without having to wait to develop the film and then digitize the images in order to manipulate the pixels). A little over a decade later, there is no film, no videotape and 1080p camcorders can be had for less that a hundred dollars each. With a computer editing program, everyone today is a producer, a director and a DP and their films can be projected in any digital theaters in the world by pressing a button and uploading them.
People thought he did nothing a decade ago, but when asked what he did for a living a brilliant Internet-savy friend of mine replied, "I sit at my computer and move electrons from one place to another." This is what's happening in the 21st century and those who still need a table to sit at and are well paid to perform this type of work are fewer and fewer as hundreds of millions rush to join the e-Renaissance every year.
Stanley N. Lozowski, September 22, 2011
© 2011, Stanley N. Lozowski. All Rights Reserved.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR NEW PROJECTS, PARTNERS and CO-PRODUCERS!
LYLOFILM produces high quality live-action and animation in many styles working within your budget.
We provide unique 2D and 3D animation, CGI, Movie Titles, script development, screenplays, posters, press kits, viral marketing, sound design, editing and more.
Our goal is and has always been to provide the best quality work within each budget.
George Lucas frozen forever in carbonite
Photo By Bonnie Burton -- www.Starwars.com
In the mid 1960’s, Gene Roddenberry created “Star Trek” and I became a fan. Years later, someone asked me, “What’s the one common item in our world that doesn’t exist in Star Trek?” I had viewed every episode, but I never realized that paper was missing.
I blamed everything that would happen in the 21st century on George, but many have written to tell me that Steve was a greater influence. I like to point out that George however, enabled Steve by selling him Lucasfilm Computer Graphics.
Stanley N. Lozowski, January 2, 2012
Aside from that, anyone can take a great film project and a great screenplay and make a terrible film (many considered THE PALL BEARER as one of the best original screenplays of 1996 until Miramax got through chopping it up and taking out all the jokes). In a similar way, you can take a poor concept or a poor screenplay (like HELL'S KITCHEN which became the film PARADISE ALLEY but with proper development, the same concept can become a great film like ROCKY). http://handicapthis.com/2012/
The last Black and White silent film to be nominated for Best Picture was "The Patriot" in 1928/1929. Who would have believed that in 2011 the Academy Award Oscar for Best Film, Best Directing, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Costume Design and Best Music (Original Score) would go to a Black and White Silent movie? My director knew it last year but she never told me. Instead, she coerced me to see the film that no one was going to see and that I knew nothing about by simply NEVER telling me that I was going to see a Black and White Silent movie. I had no idea it was Black and White and Silent until the film started; that's when she told me. When I left the theater, I also knew it would win the Oscar but it was the determination of the people behind this "B&W Silent" concept that made it happen.
Never lose sight of your goal and never give up. "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'press on' has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race." - Calvin Coolidge
Join, or Die by Benjamin Franklin was recycled to encourage the former colonies to unite against British rule. In
the world of New Media, there is only strength in numbers and the
numbers will soon overwhelm.
Stanley N. Lozowski, March 5, 2012
Welcome to the wonderful world
digital NEW MEDIA!
Nine out of ten of the creatives who take all the jobs through Guru and other sites (except the ones that hold contests) do not live in the Western world or in countries (like Japan) with expensive standards of living. They can therefore work for less money. People who do not know what they need might purchase sub-standard work, but most get what they want and they happily pay for it. Who doesn't want to pay less?
New Media simply requires a computer and anyone with a computer program and Internet connection can be a writer and write a book today and publish it by pushing a button. It can be done today, electronically without paper and with a voice-to-text program it can be done without knowing how to type. With a spell-check program, it can be done without knowing how to spell. You can even go to Google “translate” and rough translate your book into many languages.
Anyone can also be a graphic artist, an animator, a photographer or filmmaker (without film), a recorder and editor of sound and video, a composer or musician (without instruments), a blogger, a webmaster, a publisher, a post office, a translator, a computer TV channel, an advertiser, a viral marketing expert, a publicist and a distributor. You can even be an orchestra with a keyboard and a synthesizer program. And everyone can teleCommute and videoConference. When everyone in the world can do everything, how do you succeed?
Luckily, no one through the Internet can mow your lawn, paint your house, hand you your McDonald's order, fix your plumbing, pull your teeth, change the tires on your car or wash your clothes. Once that happens, we will be in serious trouble. New media has changed the way everything works. New Media means that "Anything is Possible" but only if you know what to do and how to do it.
I formed my artist, filmmaker, creative and animator's co-op to create films, music, books (e-books and interactive books), games and even new media stage plays right after I saw the light. We are now doing well and going strong. Our first award-winning projects have been completed (and premiered in theaters, on Spike TV, IFC, MTV, History and other cable channels, in theaters and on the Internet); others are in full production and many more are still in various stages of development. We always look for new projects to add to our slate and new creatives to collaborate with.
Stanley N. Lozowski, March 7, 2012
THERE WILL BE NO FILM
REAL Digital Revolution began the day Pixar completed TOY STORY, the world’s
first commercially successful motion picture made with no camera and no film.
The second big event occurred on the day George Lucas started filming the new
STAR WARS trilogy with his wonderful Sony Cine-Alta cameras and NO FILM.
With 1080P camcorders now costing less than $100 at the beginning of 2012, all the handwriting is on the wall for those who want to believe. Be aware of low-light situations because the inexpensive model camcorders will not do everything the $3000 models will do, but they will take excellent clear, sharp pictures if you have enough light. Professionals, of course, will stick with the most expensive cameras but virtually all film production will soon be digital as the large companies cease to manufacture cameras. After all, who needs to carry around a camera or a camcorder if you have both in your cell phone?
Blu-ray /DVD strived to become the game changer, but streaming media and Video On Demand has taken a big bite out of DVD rentals. The future is clearly owned by digital movie distribution both inside and outside of Hollywood and soon all first-run theatrical presentations will be digital as virtually all the cinemas convert to this technology or die.
The new IRON SKY trailer was uploaded and has a quarter million hits a day. This was the original 3D concept:
months later, this was my third 2008 blog about IRON SKY with the first sample
final trailer has gone viral and it's still pulling about a quarter million
hits a day:
With its low budget, IRON SKY will be a BIG winner! Congratulations to Timo, Jarmo and all our New Media friends and creators in Finland and eastern Europe!
When IRON SKY premiers worldwide in theaters this April, the world will better understand and appreciate the new world order in film producing. Produced with traditional investment, social media funding and many volunteers, this feature will forever change the way films are made just as Jason Russell’s KONY 2012 (available on YouTube and Vimeo) has demonstrated the power of digital release, word of mouth and how films will be distributed. It would appear that social media marketing is as powerful as Hollywood advertising and certainly a lot less expensive. KONY 2012 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc http://vimeo.com/37119711
Digital cinema has brought about a revolution and a change from what was morally, socially and ethically wrong. It gives power to the people and with this power, we now have the freedom to help people find a way to be heard and collectively change our world. The geographical boundaries between nations begin to crumble as computers and hand held devices become the choice for information, entertainment, work and communication while social media unites groups with special interests.
Stanley N. Lozowski, March 10, 2012
© 2012, Stanley N. Lozowski. All Rights Reserved.
- Published on Friday, 30 January 2015 08:39
Covering 51 countries, the Connected TV Forecasts report estimates that the proportion of TV sets connected to the Internet will rocket to 30.4% by 2020, up from only 4.2% at end-2010 and the 12.1% expected by end-2014. South Korea (52.7%) will have the highest proportion by 2020, followed...
When I lived in Connecticut, my neighbor in the town of Westport, decided to donate millions of dollars to charity after his son, Scott passed away. It never dawned on me that I could or should do something like this until I recently found myself in a similar position. It was easy to decide to make this my goal in life. I will spend the rest of my time producing my films and games and working with others to hopefully raise enough money so we might donate at least a hundred million dollars from the profits to children's charities.
I'm now honored to also do this in memory of my son, Michael.
And if you can spare seven-ten minutes, read About: THE DAY I TURNED MY NEIGHBOR INTO THE F.B.I.
IT'S FREE...JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER'S ALLIANCE, Sam Heer, Founder/President
First published in 2008 on www.indiemoviesonline.com - A GREAT SITE FOR FREE MOVIES!
CONTACT US: email@example.com
©2008, Stanley N. Lozowski and Lylofilm Productions. All Rights Reserved.