Stars Come Out at QuickTime Live

LOS ANGELES -- Eccentric filmmaker David Lynch and digital animator David Dozoretz kicked off Day 2 of the QuickTime Live conference in Beverly Hills today with an informal keynote dedicated to digital moviemaking.

Moderated by Frank Casanova, Apple's director of QuickTime marketing, Dozoretz and Lynch -- joined by two colleagues -- showed clips, talked about their trades, and fielded questions from the audience (Casanova fulfilled the role of Phil Donahue, running around the room with his wireless microphone to direct audience questions to the stage).

David Dozoretz, a former intern at George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, talked about his work with animatics -- pre-visualization techniques including rough animations, live action, and storyboards often created before any filming takes places -- on feature films such as Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Titan A.E.

Dozoretz showed off early animatics, created in 1995 or 1996 (years before the 1999 release), of the pod racer scene from Star Wars, Episode 1 . The sequence was created before any film containing actors was shot. Out of the 2,000 visual effect shots in the film, Dozoretz and his team created four to six versions of each shot, all done in QuickTime.

With the power of Macs, he said, real movies can now be done and digital workflow can be improved. Using his PowerBook, he recalled, he received a scene via e-mail, edited it on an airplane, and rendered it in his rental car -- just in time for a meeting.

On the other hand, David Lynch talked about his newfound connection to the Web with his site DavidLynch.com. Lynch, director of movies such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet and creator of Twin Peaks , admitted that the Internet has "pretty funky quality, but I like bad quality." With that, he debuted a new animated Shockwave cartoon series called "Dumbland" about a foul-tempered, beer-swilling man and his family -- with all voices and Flash animation done by Lynch.

Lynch is also creating at least two new series exclusively for Web streaming, including "Rabbits," an odd DV-filmed show with humans in bunny costumes and misplaced laugh tracks. (When asked where the notion for the bizarre show came from, Lynch admitted "I have no idea.")

Unlike movies or TV, he said, the Web allows for much more experimentation -- obvious to anyone watching the clip -- because anyone can freely post material on a Web site. Also, he said, the immediacy of filming on digital video makes for a much different experience than with film.

As Lynch sees it, there are three issues surrounding making money (or at least making back the money spent) on Internet shows. Encryption, he said, is vital, as are pay-per-view and smart cards for payment.

Whether or not Lynch recovers any of his costs online, it is clear that digital technology -- with the help of QuickTime -- will continue to seep into the movie theater and on the Net.

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