Intelligent Machines

Cinematic Video

Digital video has lately provided independent filmmakers with an inexpensive alternative to shooting film. The trade-off: it looks like video-that is, flat, and lacking film’s painterly quality and versatility (top). But San Francisco-based The Orphanage has developed software that gives video the richly textured look of film (bottom). The software gets rid of video’s distracting scan lines, softens its oversharpness, and adds lighting effects and color correction. The finished result can be converted to various formats, including streaming video and 35-millimeter film, with no loss of quality. This electronic manipulation is far less expensive than working with film. The technology will be showcased next month with the theatrical premiere of Chelsea Walls, a feature that was shot entirely on digital video. When will the camcorder brigade have a consumer version? “We’re working on it now,” says Scott Stewart, The Orphanage’s cofounder.

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