“– Part II”

This month I’m bringing ICG readers the second part of a wide-ranging conversation I’ve been having with cinematographer Joy Lightfield, GCA (Global Cinematography Alliance), who has been revealing what the film and television industry will be like twenty years from now! Bear with me one more time while I make contact with her across the space-time continuum, and conclude this once-in- a-millennium interview

Steven Poster: Joy? It’s Steven Poster. I’d like to continue our conversation now. Joy Lightfield, GCA: Hello, Steven! I’ve been eagerly awaiting our contact again. SP: Me as well! I believe we left off talking about all the different ways the camera now moves in the future. JL: Voice-command is the most popular method, if it’s not molded to your body. And they’ve figured out all the safety issues, of course. SP: Great. JL: But the audience still has zero tolerance for camera movement that is not integral to the story. SP: We are headed down a slippery slope with gratuitous camera movement, so it’s good to hear that audiences are still very discerning. What happened with tools, such as VR [virtual reality], that were supposed to replace the work we do? JL: No technology will ever replace the work of GCA members. I’m stunned you would even ask that question. SP: [Long pause.] JL: And besides, they still haven’t figured out how to achieve VR that doesn’t make more than 30 percent of the population nauseous. Of course, you don’t need those silly glasses anymore – you just walk into a room. SP: I saw that happen years ago with Cinerama when I was a kid. JL: Excuse me? SP: Cinerama – three screens, spread across … oh, never mind. It’s ancient history. JL: [Laughs.] Sounds ridiculous. SP: Are there still movie theaters? JL: Of course! We love the cinema. SP: And watching movies on small mobile displays like smartphones – that’s huge in 2015. JL: Well, smartphones have gotten even smarter as each one is an individual projector. Now all you need to watch a movie is a clean white wall. SP: Great for dinner parties. JL: Yes, and our homes all have video walls, so physical displays that you used to hang, like paintings, are quite passé. SP: Wow. JL: The technology also works great outside, like on the side of a building where crowds can spontaneously gather. The sound is delivered via satellite and heard by audio implants everyone has in their ears. It’s nice to have 15.1 full immersive 360-degree discrete surround sound anytime, any place. SP: Are projects still finished in a DI in post-production? JL: Well, you guys started the whole concept of color management on set with ACES 1.0 [sigh]. So simple and elegant that old girl was! Of course now we have a color space that provides 20 stops of dynamic range, and every color ever conceived – five trillion, give or take – is accurately represented. SP: That’s incredible. JL: Yes, but things still change during compilation… SP: What’s that? JL: I think you called it “editing.” The look the DP conceived – colors, contrast, light values, et cetera – all need to be adjusted as the narrative changes, just as it did in your day. SP: Hmmm … so the tools have dramatically evolved, from a technical standpoint, but the way you tell stories has remained very much the same? JL: I think that’s a fair statement. But the idea your generation promoted, that all we’d have to do one day is think about a movie and it would manifest, was quite misguided. SP: How so? JL: Because we still need a dedicated team of union craftspeople who are both artists and technicians, duh! SP: [Laughs.] Speaking of which, what does the acronym after your name mean – Global Cinematography Alliance? JL: That’s what the ICG became after other countries began linking up; we are still under the IATSE umbrella. SP: So the International is as international as it can get? JL: It really is. Just last week, New Tibet joined the alliance! SP: It’s been so exciting to connect with you, Joy. JL: As it has for me. You’re the guys we studied about in 4th Rotation Education. SP: Is that what we used to call “Film School?” JL: [Laughs] Yes. Did you really get to shoot with film? What was it like? SP: Oh, I could talk for hours. But it should probably keep until when next the space-time continuum lines up. JL: Until the next conjunction then – bye!

 

Steven Poster, ASC

National President
International Cinematographers Guild /  IATSE Local 600