The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Russian Ark

Hence there was but a single shooting day with four hours of existing light. Thousands of people in front of and behind the camera simply had to work together perfectly. The Hermitage was closed and restored to its original condition allowing cinematographer Tilman Buttner to travel through the Museum through an equivalent of 33 studios, each of which had to be lit in one go to allow for 360-degree camera movements. All of this was accomplished within a vulnerable environment that holds some of the greatest art treasures of all time, from Da Vinci to Rembrandt. After months of rehearsals, 867 actors, hundreds of extras, three live orchestras and 22 assistant directors had to know their precise positions and lines.

Via, Russian Ark: Production Notes

A movie filmed in one 90-minute take.


While this wasn't the first film planned as a “real time” film (Hitchcock did one, but if you watch the film, you'll notice that about every 10 to 12 minutes the camera will track to a wierd location (like the back of someone's black coat) and then continue on—it was during these “tracking shots” that the action was stopped, camera reloaded, then filming resumed so that, if need be, any ten minute segment of that film could conceivably be reshot without destroying the “continuity” as it were) it's the first to be shot continuously in real time; no film reloading here.

Continuous tracking shots are hard to do. Robert Altman's The Player has as its opening shot the longest (at the time) and most technically complicated tracking shot in a film pushing the limits of a single film canister (and if you look closely at the shot, you'll see Robert Altman himself, pitching a sequel to The Graduate). Russian Ark, however, is orders of magnitude beyond that.

Eight hundred and sixty-seven actors!

My mind is boggling at the thought.

Information wants to be availale …

The reasons are clear enough: in an attention economy, the key is to capture customers and keep them focused. The dojinshi market does exactly that. Fans obsess; obsessions work to the benefit of the original artist. Thus, were the law to ban dojinshi, lawyers may sleep better, but the market for comics generally would be hurt. Manga publishers in Japan recognize this. They understand how “theft” can benefit the “victim,” even if lawyers are trained to make the thought inconceivable.

Via dive into mark, What lawyers can learn from comic books

I've linked to a few other articles where making intellectual property (books, music, comics) easily available helps sales in the long run, even if it may facilitate an apparent “pirate market” in the short run. And this article by Lawrence Lessig expresses that point all the more so (and while he is correct in his reference to the potential legal action by Sony against someone who hacked the Aibo, I can see Sony's side of the picture—they were trying to limit their liability if someone saw the information, hacked their Aibo and broke it, then tried to return it to Sony possibly despite langauge in their warantee that modifications to the Aibo will void it; Sonly has since changed their mind).

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