J.J. Abrams talks to SXSW about how know-how democratized filmmaking

J.J. Abrams talks to SXSW about how technology democratized filmmaking

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Photographs

After President Obama’s keynote, a SXSW session that includes J.J. Abrams alongside his pal Andrew Jarecki (author and director HBO miniseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst) was in all probability the most well liked panel of the convention. Round 2,000 attendees confirmed as much as get a tease of West World, the brand new HBO collection that Abrams is government producing, and listen to a dialog between Abrams and Jarecki about how know-how has modified filmmaking for the higher.

“The problem with what all of us, do utilizing no matter know-how is that we use, is to cover it in a approach,” Abrams stated. “The equipment — whether or not it is the know-how of what a narrative is, the map of a narrative, whether or not it is the know-how you are utilizing to code one thing, you are making an attempt to make that invisible in order that the viewers or the consumer is having as easy an expertise as potential they usually’re as engaged as potential.”

It was an apt comparability to make at a convention the place so many attendees are writing code slightly than film scripts, and it additionally speaks to the best way Abrams approached his work on Star Wars: The Drive Awakens. He is talked about it lots earlier than, however Abrams once more strengthened the best way he considered utilizing know-how within the movie and ensuring it stayed out of the best way of the story. “The thought was, within the case of Star Wars, to each create a way of analog authenticity visually, and most significantly to ensure the humanity of the characters wasn’t getting misplaced wherever attainable,” he stated. “That was our ambition, it is as much as each viewer to determine whether or not that labored — however that was the thought, to attempt and ensure the film felt as human and as emotional as potential.”

Abrams and Jarecki each additionally talked about how know-how has democratized the artistic course of, whether or not you are a serious filmmaker or simply somebody with an iPhone. One of many issues that caught Jarecki particularly is how miniaturization has change the sport. “As issues develop into miniaturized, you’ve got the chance to be in all places with a digital camera,” he stated — an essential trait for somebody with a documentary filmmaking background.

Abrams has discovered now that there is much more work that he can do in-home at Dangerous Robotic, noting that he shot virtually 10 minutes of The Pressure Awakens at Dangerous Robotic’s amenities. “We used to wish the enormous levels, the enormous lights, the enormous cameras… you used to wish all this gear and get permission to make use of it and it value an arm and a leg,” Abrams recalled. However now, it is quite a bit simpler to shoot issues which might be worthy of being in big-price range footage like Star Wars.

To that finish, Jarecki confirmed off an iPhone app he developed and launched earlier this yr referred to as KnowMe, which is supposed to take a seat in between the lifeless simplicity of one thing like Snapchat and extra complicated film-modifying instruments like iMovie. He did a reside demo, stringing collectively some video clips he shot of him speaking to the digital camera with photographs he shot round Austin to point out off the SXSW expertise. The message was to get individuals to make use of the instruments they’ve to start out telling extra tales, and to that finish he and Abrams are having a bit of KnowMe content material the place whoever makes one of the best SXSW video will win a “Dangerous Robotic” of their very own.

As with a lot of SXSW, the message from each Abrams and Jalecki was to get the group on the market and contributing to artistic endeavours fairly than simply sitting on the sidelines. “Everybody on this room has of their pockets a film studio and a distribution studio,” Abrams stated. “There isn’t any excuse to not inform the story we need to inform, and that is unbelievable.”