FDTimes 6th Anniversary

Film and Digital Times will be 6 years old when Cine Gear Expo resumes on June 3-4 at Paramount Studios. FDTimes got its start at Cine Gear 2005. We managed to sign up a few trusting colleagues. Since then, thanks to our sponsors and subscribers, we’ve grown to more than 45,000 readers and around a million visits annually online.

How it all began.

It’s fun to look back at Issue #1 – June 2005. It’s available to subscribers in our BACK ISSUES archive. Here’s the introduction, with updates in italics:

The idea for this adventure is hatched one cold week in November 2004. The industry’s leading luminaries are gathered in York to share information about the latest tools and technological advances in film, digital acquisition and post. The meeting quickly devolves into a debate on how best to keep current with all the latest knowledge. It becomes startlingly clear that there really isn’t a good, reliable or easy way to stay current. A prominent professor criticizes current channels of communication: magazines don’t have how-to advice, the web is often full of flagrant promotion or unvetted sources, and Jon Fauer’s books take too long to come out. I sputter some random excuses.

Cut to day two. Saul Molina at the ASC calls to ask when I plan to finish the ARRICAM BOOK 2nd Edition because orders are coming in, and the first edition is sold out. “But I’m only a year late, what with all the latest changes and new information,” I say.

Day three. Charlie Tammaro calls from CSC. The first three production Arriflex 235 cameras have landed. Email floods in that evening: Where’s the ARRI 235 BOOK? Good question. It isn’t even the hint of a concept, or the whisp of a wish. (Timeline footnote: 2005 was a historical year. In the beginning, there was Genesis; Dalsa was emerging from prototype to rental; D-20 would be introduced in November 2005. Jim Jannard later wrote, “I thought I saw the future in 2005 when the decision to build the RED One was conceived. The future was going to be single sensor 35mm format cameras that worked with the huge inventory of existing 35mm motion picture format lenses. Who knew? A few people, actually…)

Day four. Meeting with David Dellenbaugh. He publishes my favorite newsletter, Speed and Smarts, on advanced sailboat racing and tactics. Eureka. A newsletter. David graciously shares ideas on how it’s done.

Day five. We dive right in. Content and guidance comes from a group of advisors and contributors whose business is the business of film, video and digital production. They are cinematographers, assistants, friends, colleagues, manufacturers, designers and inventors who have all answered the call, and volunteered to help launch this new endeavor.

Gurus and Advisors

This is the midnight Technique and Technology Round Table—a group of gurus and wizards who answer our calls for help, respond to email and send in articles. Please welcome and thank: Volker Bahnemann, (then) president ARRI Inc. and CSC — constant advisor; Douglas Kirkland, Photographer; John Johnston; Michael Phillips, Avid; John Dowdell, Colorist; Joe Dunton; Bob Fisher; Martha Winterhalter, Publisher ASC Press; Saul Molina, ASC Press; Bill Bennett, ASC, Cinematographer; Denny Clairmont, Clairmont Camera; Franz Wieser, George Schmidt, ARRI Inc.; Otto Nemenz, Otto Nemenz International; Suzanne Lezotte, Panavision; Les Zellan, Barbara Lowry, Cooke Optics; Thomas Greiser; Bill Turner, Century Optics; Larry Barton, Cinematography Electronics; Howard Preston, Preston Cinema Systems; Steve Burum, ASC, Cinematographer; Jan Crittenden, Panasonic;  Peter Abel, Abel Cine Tech; Alec Shapiro, Rob Willox and Bob Ott of Sony; Vinny Hogan, Mark Polyocan, Cineworks; Bob Hoffman, Dana Ross, Technicolor; Joe Bogacz, Canon; Howard Phillips, Professor; Steve Manios, Ste-Man; Billy Baldwin; Matt Schneider, Postworks; Matt Blute, editor and cinematographer; Misael Sanchez, professor; and many others. (In the 6 years after, the list has grown much, more longer)

What’s with the name?

Trying to come up with an appropriate and catchy name was the hardest task of all. Something with “cinematography.” Digital is on the horizon.

The newsletter would be much more–discussing not only cameras, but lighting, dollies, cranes, remote heads, grip equipment, software, hardware, computers, storyboard programs, and all kinds of interesting things.

Coin a new term: “Tography,” “Fidgets,” “FiDigits,” “FilDigs” “DigFilm” or “Dimaging?” “Nuts and Bolts” was a contender for a while.

So, we’re bouncing around the middle of Biscayne Bay last December. James Kilby, many of whose still photos appear in this issue,  suddenly says, totally out of context, “Film and Digital Times.” About time…we had a name.

We’ve come a long way in 6 years. Thanks for joining us. The adventure continues.

photo at top: Oli Laperal, Jr; Jon Fauer; Ellen Galvin; John Johnston at Cine Gear Expo 2008.





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