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DV Doctrine has reports that a new credo has been created By Chris LaMont. It aims to be a manifesto to encourage quality digital video production. I have mixed feelings about the list, and will comment on them in to sections.

The bad:
1.Digital filmmaking is the art form of the 21st century and must be treated with the same respect as analog film.
2.Film is a Verb. A film refers to the act of filming, and not the medium used to tell the story.
5.Handheld camerawork must be restricted to one shot for every five minutes of finished material. All other movement must be facilitated from a tripod, dolly, jib arm, crane or other mechanical means. Pans, tilts, and zooms are allowed.
10.Refer to a film's budget as either "greater or less than $1 million dollars." Budget is not indicative of a good film. (see "The Island")

Points 1 and 2 equate to: "Please start respecting digital filmmaking, please, please!" Real respect will come when quality films are made and the medium cannot be detected. Period. Asking for respect is pointless. I understand what 5 is seeking to do, but it's too restrictive. It removes a valuable (albeit abused) tool out of the toolbox. Good handheld work is too valuable to restrict in this fashion. Step 10 is certainly noble in spirit (and I moved it back and forth before settling on bad.) However it forces filmmakers to talk about their film in such a way to reduce people's interest in it. It's marketing, and as such doesn't really help the medium gain any real respect, just restrict filmmakers opportunities.

The good:
3.Storyboards and/or shot lists must be used at all times. No longer will the ease of the digital medium allow directors to "make things up" on the spot.
4.The Director must also be an Editor of the project, working hands-on with digital editing tools to create their cut.
6.On-camera microphones are forbidden. Good audio is vital to the success of the film and bad audio is embarrassing. You can only use external microphones, boom, handheld, lavalier, etc.
7.Natural lighting, interior or exterior, without enhancement, is strictly forbidden. Proper Filters, Lenses, Lighting, Bounce Cards and other Artificial means of enhancing the image must be used at all times.
8.Students will no longer film on 35mm, 16mm, Super 16mm, Super 8mm or 8 mm formats. Analog film is meant for film professionals who have the dollars and experience to spend and waste.
9.Directing a feature film without directing five short films is strictly forbidden. Ease of digital accessibility creates unwatchable features that bore friends, family and unfortunate film festival judges that must suffer through amateur filmmaking.

Points 3, 4, 6, and 7 are things one can do to actually improve the quality of their work. No real commentary here. Steps 8 and 9 are things that people who are learning the medium can do to be better prepared. This helps achieve principle 1 more than principle 1 does.

In the end, I think this list does more good than harm. But I think with a little refinement, this could be a manifesto with clout like the Dogme vow that Filmmaker compares it to. As for right now, I think it needs a little more work. --Terrence Ryan

Posted by on January 16, 2006 7:51 PM
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