by shakera lewis / photography by laura baker
Like everything else technology touches, the film industry as we know it is changing. In 2013, industry manufacturers stopped producing the previous method of release, 35 millimeter film prints, in favor of a digital option. As a result, movie theaters were forced to transition from film projection to digital cinema projection, and small and independent theaters struggled to keep up.
When hit by this crisis Athens’ local theater Ciné took action. The art house located on Hancock Avenue sought to stay open and remain the place for Athenians to see both classic and independent films. To do this, though, Ciné needed approximately $160,000 to pay for equipment to run these films.
Ciné used a Kickstarter profile to solicit the help of the community to raise $60,000 of the total, and got the rest from other generous donors. The Kickstarter ran from June 11, 2013 until August 18, 2013, generating $64,290. And while some small theaters choose to buy old digital projectors from larger theaters, the Kickstarter campaign and other fundraising techniques helped Ciné to buy all-new digital equipment for its theaters.
Co-president of Athens Film Arts Institute and film studies professor at the University of Georgia, Richard Neupert works closely with Ciné and recalls the decision to buy new equipment. “We actually had someone working for us for a while who thought going used would be a great cheap alternative for a small theater like us, and I rejected that immediately,” Neupert says. “You wouldn’t want to buy a five-year-old computer. Why would you want to buy a five-year-old digital projector?”
Alas, with all-new digital projectors Ciné would continue in its mission to “enrich the quality of life in Athens by presenting film and arts that inspire, educate, and build [the] community” with the means to show new films as well as classics.
Ciné’s new digital projectors present benefits both to film distributors to Ciné itself. Distributors reap a more financial benefit than small theaters. The expenses to make and ship 35mm prints is cut for distributors since they now must only ship hard drives to theaters compared to three or four 35mm reels per film. “It’s easier for them to make a whole bunch of hard drives and send out than to make very expensive 35mm prints that are good quality,” Neupert says. Conversely, small theaters benefit a consistency from digital projectors. With 35mm reels, wear and tear are common; however, with the digital system’s hard drives, this is no longer an obstacle. “Often we’ve had prints come in, where maybe the second reel out of six has a scratch in it and we have to quick[ly] send out for a new reel number two, and then we ship it back, and they ship us a new reel,” Neupert says. “That’s not a problem with digital. It’s all on one hard drive. When it’s there, it’s there. It’s all the same quality.”
Even with this new equipment, Ciné has no plans to abandon its 35mm projection system. Although the projectors take up more space than digital projectors, Neupert says they are still valuable. Keeping one 35mm projector “allows [Ciné] to show special screenings of things that aren’t on [digital cinema projection], and [35mm projection] is far superior than showing something on a DVD or Blu-Ray. And it allows special things, especially for retrospect.”
Under the direction of Pamela Kohn since January 2014, Ciné hopes to increase its showtimes with more late showings on weekends and more matinee showings throughout the summer and during vacation periods. “There is also interest in expanding with some specialized home-grown film festivals so that Ciné really is the hub of film activity in the Athens area,” Neupert says.
As for the film industry, Neupert says there is still a place for films shot on 35mm cameras. “Apparently there’s a huge resurgence, where people shooting on 35mm aren’t happy with the digital cameras,” Neupert says. So, some films like superhero summer blockbusters are shot solely with digital cameras, while some are shot using 35mm cameras but released on digital. Neupert says some cinematographers like using 35mm cameras “because you get the flexibility of post-production on digital, the ease and cheapness of having digital production, but you get a much more photographic image form 35mm cameras.” Still, some films are shot using a hybrid method, making use of both 35mm cameras and digital cameras, which is much more common, Neupert says. “There’s certain that are easiest to shoot digital [while] other scenes might be better in 35mm, so it’s become pretty normal.”
by Ryan Kor / photography by Mercedes Bleth
160 Tracy St
One of the best ways for local artists to be inspired is to view the work of others. At the Athica art gallery, viewers can enjoy a unique sensory experience with each new exhibit.
Located in the Chase Park warehouse district, Athica is a non-profit gallery that promotes innovative and contemporary art. The gallery’s urban setting adds to its charm. The building used to be a cotton storage facility before its renovation.
All artists are welcome to submit an exhibit to be featured in Athica’s gallery; however, Athica focuses on multi-dimensional displays that use several different mediums of art. Their current exhibit, “Advice from the Oceans,” includes interactive sound features from Elephant 6 recording studios, paintings, and sculptures. The exhibit will continue until November 16th.
“Athica did a very good job of giving the viewer a well-rounded and informative picture of the topic being presented and made me pleased that I went,” says Emma Price, a graduate student in the social work master’s program from Canton.
The interior of Athica is restructured for each new exhibit; walls are torn down and rebuilt, and artwork is sometimes suspended from the ceiling. The flexibility of the gallery is a testament to its love for innovative art.
A visit to Athica is a powerful artistic experience that will inspire local artists to think outside of the box.
237 Prince Avenue
Athens is full of musicians waiting to be heard, and Hendershots’ open-mic night is a breeding ground for up-and-coming talent.
Every Monday starting at 7:30 p.m., Hendershots hosts one of the most well-known open-mic nights in Athens. Local musicians flock to the coffee shop to get their ten minutes of stage time, during which they can play only two songs. One or both of these songs must be an original composition, but covers are also welcome. The popular café-and-bar features close to 20 acts every Monday night.
“Open-mic night provides a platform for both beginners and professional musicians to showcase new and old material,” says owner Seth Hendershot.
The warm and eclectic feel of Hendershots is the ideal creative environment for performers of all stripes. Soulful and folksy melodies fill the space and create an invigorating energy in the audience. How could a performer feel nervous with the amount of praise and support doled out by the listeners?
“I love Hendershots,” says regular customer Bob Brussack. “There is music here almost every night.”
Open-mic nights like these give Athens a voice. To perform, sign up the Sunday before between 6 and 9 p.m. at email@example.com.
Nestled in suburban Five Points neighborhood, the Poetry Post is an unassuming monument for passing poets.
The Poetry Post is a painted wooden sign that showcases a single poem in its glass display case. The handcrafted sign sits in the front yard of a beautifully manicured home. Lily, the owner of the iconic sign, was inspired by a similar sign in Portland, Ore. Her husband built the sign for her two years ago, and since then, Lily has posted a new poem every week for neighbors and artists to enjoy.
Lily’s goal is to brighten the mood of the few people who see the Poetry Post each day. The poems are usually themed around nature; a detail that is suiting for the organic setting of the sign. Local artists are encouraged to submit their work for Lily to feature. Just stick a poem in the mailbox.
“The Poetry Post is an intimate insight into the heart of Athens’ desire to create and share,” says Zachary Sins, a senior history major from Woodstock.
A visit to the Poetry Post is the perfect way for local artists to connect with nature and contribute to this artistic anomaly. Take a walk to Highlands Avenue and be inspired.
Artini's Art Lounge
296 West Broad St
Drink, snack, and paint all at the same time. Situated in the heart of downtown, ARTini’s Art Lounge is an oasis for all levels of painting enthusiasts.
ARTini’s painting soirées allow anyone to be an artist by creating an original masterpiece in a 2-3 hour painting session. Experienced instructors guide each guest, stroke by stroke, until they have created a piece of art worthy of hanging above the mantle. Guests can sign up for sessions based on which piece of art they want to create, and there are themes ranging from the UGA arch to a desert sunset.
All ages are welcome; however, to participate in the “drink” portion of the experience, guests must be at least 21. ARTini’s serves wine and beer -- a great compliment to the creative process. Guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and food to munch on during the session. “Expect to have a good time,” says owner and instructor Kate Cook.
ARTini’s also offers open studio hours during the week where painters desiring more freedom can utilize the studio and paint whatever they wish. Artists who are interested in displaying their work around the gallery can contact the owner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Painters of all skill levels have found a home in ARTini’s, so pick up a paintbrush and turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece of color.
Story and Photos by Lauren Leising
As I walk around campus, I can’t help but notice that the majority of people I see have their heads down, noses in
their phones and fingers tapping away. I’m guilty of it too. It’s so easy to whip out your phone just about anywhere,
anytime and have the world at your fingertips. We are wrapped around the finger of the digital age. While this ability to access information, stay in constant contact with people and keep up with what’s happening is incredibly valuable and helpful, our tendency to be glued to our phones is taking its toll on our community. With our eyes stuck on a screen, we overlook what is going on around us in the moment and often miss opportunities to make a new friend, help someone out or just take in the beauty of the day.
No one can deny that smartphones have begun popping up just about everywhere, especially on college campuses.
More and more teachers and students rely on their phones for tasks such as planning out their daily schedules. Freshman Alexandra Case says, “I use it every single day to plan out my classes, when I am meeting people and when I do my homework.” By combining a notebook, calendar, alarm clock and just about any other form of reminder system out there, smartphones are easily one of the handiest gadgets we have. Their capabilities to access
e-mail and the Internet are also very beneficial, especially in a classroom setting. Dr. Duncan, a professor at UGA, notes that in the great power outage of spring 2014, he had his students use their smart phones to access class material rather than cancelling class. In situations like this, having more than one way to view documents and emails allows students and teachers to remain connected and on-schedule. It is these benefits that draw us to our screens and often lead to crossing the blurred line between using our resources effectively and becoming addicted to the little gizmos in our hands.
In a recent paper called “Hooked on Smart Phones: An Exploratory Study on Smart Phone Overuse Among College Students,” the researchers studied how the rise in technology has impacted college students, especially in regards to their dependence on their phones. The study showed how regular use of smartphones often led to lack of self-control and addiction to the phones and the virtual world they created, disconnecting the students from the real world. When given the ability to connect with people at any time and anywhere simply with the tap of a screen, it is easy to become absorbed by virtual friendships and interactions with people who are far away. Though incredibly convenient, this can be perilous, as Dr. Duncan explains that he fears that “many college students are using social media to create digital friendships at the expense of meeting new people in person.” While networking and keeping in contact with old friends is
incredibly important and valuable, we can’t forget that there is a world of people right in front of us just waiting to
be explored. This time in our lives is crucial to meeting new people and having new experiences. Colin Fite, a junior at UGA, explains that “for the most part, the people I’m with at college are most important and relevant in my life.” There should be less of a need to seek companionship from those who are not here, especially when those friendships become mainly virtual. There are exceptions, of course, in regards to family or those who are and have been key in your life, but it is important to evaluate which relationships require constant contact and which ones do not. You don’t want to look back on college and realize that you missed out on some great opportunities and people because you had your nose pressed to a screen.
So, as this holiday season rolls around and you start preparing to go home to celebrate or stick around and enjoy the season with friends, I challenge you to stop looking at the screen and focus on who is around you. Put down the phone, bundle up, grab a friend or two and go out and enjoy the real world. Come on, I dare you.
The world was an oyster during the 1980s. At the time, music videos were a new thing that people were experiencing and anything was possible. The Cars 1984 video for “Hello Again” took that to new heights. Opening up with a campy talk show featuring teens discussing sex and violence in music videos, the clip goes on to feature tongue wrestling couples. The video was major for being one of the first to utilize computer graphics. Lead singer Ric Ocasek acts as an operator in front of a moving background of a TV control center. He also stands lip-synching in front of kissing couples. This now seems fairly simplistic, but at the time, it was revolutionary.
The advent of music videos is a revolution in itself. Some would argue that music videos began at the turn of the 20th century, when Thomas Edison recorded a violinist playing in front of a phonograph horn as two men dance in a film called, “Dickenson Experimental Song Film.” However, there were various performances recorded on film throughout the 1900s. Vaudeville shows and early forms of movie theaters called nickelodeons were mediums through which people viewed performances. “We have this film, we have this medium, so how do we take it to an audience?” says Jennifer Smith, a University of Georgia telecommunications professor in the Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “A lot of it was, how can we make use of a medium of film to get the audience’s attention?” Edison’s own kinescopes allowed people to look through a peep-hole of the device to watch a motion picture while listening to a phonograph, or sound recording, that came along with it through rubber ear tubes, according to Mary Bellis of about.com. This was something that had not been done before, and the fact that people could view the clips as individuals was something to behold.
Initially, music videos were mini-movies. The earliest form of what we consider a music video technically came to be in the late 1920s. Bessie Smith’s “St. Louis Blues” was released in 1929. The actual performance portion of the clip is simple. The camera pans across a crowd in a bar as they echo her vocals in a choral arrangement. Smoke billows from the ever-present cigarettes resting on the tables. The camera cuts to Bessie, singing at the bar clutching a frothy brew. It’s not the most sophisticated piece, with ample jumps from shot to shot, but it does show the origins of the modern-day music video.
During the 1960s, more progress was made. Music videos were performance based. They served as promotional tools or pieces the band could put together in place of going on TV shows like “The Ed Sullivan Show.” One of the Beatles first music videos is “Strawberry Fields Forever.” With clip, the band, “took feature film medium and the musical and put them together in a way that was targeted to the fans,” says Smith. “It was about the music and the band.” Though performance grounds the video, various visual techniques takes it to a higher level. In an era where widespread drug use prevailed, the visuals are fitting for the time. Color pinholes and warped imagery of the band racing towards the camera in hues of purple and green ground the clip as 1960s artifact. Still, it’s clear that videos have come a long way from “St. Louis Blues”, transitions are more fluent and creative, featuring cross fades between band members.
As time moved further from the 1960s into the1970s, videos continued to be visually alluring. Ryan Larkin’s 1972 video for “Street Musique” is an example of a psychedelic piece. A piece of living animation traces onto the screen, creating a hand and then slowly morphing into a teal, pink and blue pigmented feathery form. This differs from The Beatles clip since there is no live band and no lyrics to sing along to. Just in that short span of time, technology has developed to where video creators we’re able to show animation done without the hand of the creator present.
Even though music videos were being created, people didn’t really have any way to see them except before movies in the theater like in the early half of the century. MTV premiered in 1981 and it was then that music videos began to reach the masses. In the 80s, concert videos and narrative, artistic videos reigned. In 1982, Michael Jackson released “Thriller” and it set the stage for others. Videos weren’t just simply a performance piece. They became miniature movies. The use of make-up and special effect helps take the clip to Hollywood status—close-ups of Michael’s face sprouting hair and whiskers, his hands turning bulky and muscular, claws pushing from his fingertips. “Thriller” had significant attention to detail. “It seems to me that that the artistic quality of the video kind of reaches a peak about 1984” says Stephen Valdez, UGA associate professor in the Huge Hodgson School of Music, “where you’ve got some of the big name directors working with these pieces.” John Landis directed “Thriller” and had previously done work on the 1978 film, “Animal House.”
Aside from prominent Hollywood directors, technology helped these 80s videos be more massive than music videos had ever been before. A-ha’s “Take On Me” from 1984 used rotoscoping to create the now iconic imagery of lead singer Morton Harket adventures through animated and live-action scenarios to get the girl while escaping the enemies. This technique utilizes live actors on film and then traces over them in an animated fashion to capture realistic movements, according to about.com’s Nancy Basile. Peter Gabriel’s 1986 video for “Sledgehammer” used a variety of techniques in stop motion. Train tracks circle around his head as a toy locomotive rides around it. Clay bumper cars bump into the singer’s face and cotton candy crawls over his hair, giving him a clown-like appearance. The video’s technology shows it can me used in a whimsical, fun and even child-like matter, but still be engaging enough for adult viewers.
Music videos didn’t always use such animated techniques to capture audience attention. Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith teamed up for a new version of the latter band’s “Walk This Way,” which reflected the changing attitudes about music and attitudes towards rock and hip-hop music. As noted by both Valdez and Smith, the song helped the rap group by launching them into mainstream stardom. The rock/hip hop mash up literally broke down barriers—Steven Tyler bursts through a wall once he hears Rev Run and D.M.C. rapping to their track. There are no technological feats to this clip, but the cultural significance is apparent. Ever since then rap and rock and genres have crossed over, continuing to influence one another.
In the 1990s, music videos really helped artists establish themselves and launch their careers. By this time, MTV and VH1 had huge, concentrated audiences. Thanks to their emergence in the 1980s, rap videos became major business. When grunge music became popular, videos leaned towards the lo-fi/DIY look in response to the excess of 80s and early 90s clips, according to Steve Labate, contributor to Paste magazine. This is a time when things were changing and a variety of genres were emerging to become the most popular and the grimy, brooding looks of Kurt Cobain in Nirvana’s 1992 clip, “Come As You Are,” greatly demonstrated the attitude of grunge rock.
In contrast to lo-fi looks of the grunge era, videos in the 21st century have become increasingly sophisticated. Sponsorships have made product placements common in mainstream music video. It’s not uncommon to see an obvious shot of Beats by Dre Pill these days. In the two decades from the 2000s to today, videos have been decentralized. With MTV and VH1 no longer playing music videos, it reflects the change in culture and preferences towards reality TV. Now, videos are mainly accessed online on websites like YouTube, Vimeo and Vevo as well as niche music websites, according to Labte. A 2013 report by comScore Video Metric Service revealed that 183 million Americans viewed over 44 billion videos online during the month of June. Google Sites is the first in online primary content, due to YouTube, with 158.3 million unique views. Facebook followed, with 61.6 million, demonstrating the impact and appeal of social media for musicians and fans alike. The report also found that 85.2% of Internet users in the U.S. viewed music videos, so even though MTV is no longer “music television”, that doesn’t mean that viewership of music videos, is on the decline. On the contrary, it is alive and thriving.
Today, there’s still an air of an anything goes mentality that emerged in the 1980s. More access to resources by novice filmmakers means that everyone has access to creating clips for their respective bands. “In the 70s it would cost you a lot more money; equipment was owned by specific production houses where only certain people knew how to do [post production],” says local videographer Justin Rogers. “Whereas now you can get After Effects where it is more accessible.” Use of these kinds of tools means amateur musicians can feel free to use technology to make their unique visions come alive.
In the life of the music video, technology has been the one of the main elements of its development. Whether sophisticated rotoscoping or whimsical stop motion, videos have continued to transform. Home technology made accessible to newcomers combined with online outlets for release mean there’s plenty of room for music videos to continue their reign. Now, the universe can be an artist’s oyster.