Why Text Becomes Literature

A comment I made at a recent speaking gig (about video being the highest-bandwidth pathway to the brain) got me thinking about why literature is what it is.

Words can be so rewarding – text becoming literature – I think precisely because they form such a narrow-bandwidth pathway to the brain. The slow trickle of words forces a constraint on the brain that leads to rich associations and images. And when – in the case of Shakespeare and other great artists – the gentle architecture of their words begins to collect into a bigger whole, the reward is unspeakable, so beyond what seems possible from such a singular narrow trickle of text. This fragile lattice of words takes such genius to construct that I wonder that it’s possible at all.

Images are so much easier. Film is an embarrassment of images. The systems and symbols are so overly rich the mind has to filter out rather than strain to construct (as with text). Literature stretches the mind to build from the abstract; still images stretch the mind to explore, abstract and imagine more; while motion pictures stretch the mind to filter out the unnecessary and focus on what’s worth more of my attention.


One Beer and (4k) Pixels

Last night Digital Film Central hosted the first “Beer & Pixels” night. Jim van Dijk and I presented the RED One camera as part of the launch of our new rental business. We showed some footage shot last week by Jim and local DP Greg Middleton, comparing the RED to various film stocks. I also provided some RED footage from Rwanda. The shots were graded at Central and projected in their 2K Baselight DI suite.

I was blown away by the images. “This is awesome,” and “Central rocks” are soon to be pull-quotes on Central’s website…. Especially seeing what we shot in Rwanda up there looking so great next to film…

The two have a different aesthetic. Film has a nice crunchiness with slight shifts in colour as it goes towards black, and more room to play down in the shadows. RED has less range and highlights don’t clip as cleanly, but the overall image is crisp & clean, with lots of room to push the image towards different parts of the spectrum. Seeing them next to each other is like lifting the veil – we’re so used to film grain in our images… but the RED is super clean.

Initially we were thinking 20-30 people would show… turned into 50-60… and then I lost count. The interest was high, and there were all kinds: Producers, Directors, Production Managers, DPs, Post Supervisors, Camera Operators… any part of the production that touches the imaging workflow was represented, from both high and low budget filmmaking.

Overall the night was a great success. I’m still playing those images back in my head…


Photo Neg – Branches

Trees neg scan

I’m finally getting around to scanning the pile of negs & slides sitting beside my desk. (I’ve been wanting to do this since… well, for-freakin-ever.) Some of this stuff goes waaaaay back, before I even considered myself a photographer. It’s fun to look through… see where I’ve come from, where my visual side got its start.