Opinion: Page (1) of 1 - 03/01/04 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

HDTV Will Cost the Same as Film Production

? Who Are They Kidding? By Ron Johnson
There have been several articles lately about how the cost of HDTV will be a large determining factor in Hollywood production costs surely you jest. Admittedly, for the beret- and goatee-wearing Hollywood crowd that has more money than film stock, there could be some truth to this argument as they look to squander their huge budgets. But I strongly suggest that the cost of HDTV will plummet as it sees growing use in network and local-market broadcast operations.

Most of us have frequently carried tripods, cameras, batteries and a fey sunscreens to relatively remote locations (say 100 feet from the production van). The pictures I see published of the daily Hollywood HDTV production crews looks like a small army with Chapman dollies, cranes, track, multiple HD monitors, computer screens, and of course, the portable editing workstation so that editing can be verified on the set.


As a photojournalist and documentary-maker I can assure you that our crews are often in the neighborhood of two to four (on a good day), schlepping gear to and from the most convenient site that wont get us to cold, wet, rained on or shot at! Even our mascara-wearing (and energetic) host carries gear to help lighten everyones load.

I can remember shoots that had us in and out of a remote locations in half an hour or less. Do you think that the bean counters at the broadcast stations are going to be allowing us to pack an army of personnel (including Craft Food Services), to get a three-minute interview with Donald Sutherland? I think well still be eating at Burger King, watching the clock to see if we are running into overtime, and then standing by for the nighttime bridge demolition that will have minimal impact on the morning rush-hour.

The scenario I see for the future is the newscast or newsmagazine that wants to hype that they are producing content in HDTV, and they will get out there and do so with vigor. HDTV cameras, tripods and batteries do not weigh significantly more that SDTV gear, and aside from a relatively small financial investment, they see little drawback to their early adoption.

Lets also imagine that much of what the ?Hollywood crowd is going to be producing content for is blue-laser (HDTV) DVD players that will be presented on a 60-inch screens with 5.1 speaker systems purchased from Cambridge Sound Works. Personally, I cant think of a more intimate setting than resting on a comfortable couch with my honey, eating fresh popcorn (with all the butter I want) and pausing the show when the phone rings. Also no nagging talkers to interrupt the storyline.

Clearly, there are huge changes coming for the film and teleproduction industry. The George Lucases will continue to make huge sums, as will the crews that surround them. But for the most part, HDTV costs will fall dramatically as we watch the morning make-up tips and the latest blackened catfish recipe preparations.

Ron Johnson is a videomaker with over 20 years' experience. Currently working as a video and digital media producer in Saudi Arabia, Ron has worked at WXYZ-TV (Detroit), KRON-TV (San Francisco) and Tektronix, Inc. (Beaverton, OR) He has earned eight Emmy awards from 17 nominations, an Iris and Peabody award nominations, and special recognition from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. He can be reached at ron@mediaforte.com

Page: 1


Related Keywords:HDTV, production costs, broadcast, Hollywood, Ron Johnson

HOT THREADS on DMN Forums

Our Privacy Policy --- @ Copyright, 2015 Digital Media Online, All Rights Reserved