Los Angeles, CA Rich Martini
Pinnacle Real User: Director, Rich Martini.
Film director, producer, writer Richard Martini is the first to admit that his journey into the movie making world has been pretty unusual. It all started at a train station in Rome where Rich trusted the simple flip of a coin to help him decide whether to stay in Rome and be a writer, or to go to Los Angeles and seek his fortune in film-making.
Heads I'd stay in Rome, tails I'd go to L.A., recalled Rich. It came up heads and I said, 'OK, I'll give it 2 out of 3,' and because of that, I realize maybe it was time for me to split. That's how I wound up in L.A., studying film-making at USC.
At USC, Rich made a super 8 film about the wheelchair races titled Special Olympian which won the grand prize for the 1980 Mexico City International Film Festival.
That was pretty amazing to me and it really showed me that it's not about the delivery, as much as it is about your content, said Rich. If the content of your story is powerful, it doesn't matter what medium you've shot it in. You really can affect people.
In 1999 and seven feature films later including You Can't Hurry Love, Rich was approached by his friend, Bruce Haring, who at the time was a writer for USA Today working on a prosumer video equipment article. Bruce asked Rich what was the least amount of money someone could spend to make a feature film; and if just about anyone could make one with the right tools.
Bruce wrangled up some camera equipment for me and I ran off and made a film about a video camera that gets stolen from a store in Santa Monica, CA, and goes on an adventure around the world, said Rich. Every time you take the lenscap off, a new story begins. That feature film 'Camera' wound up costing me just $300, the cost of the videotape, and features appearances by Carol Alt, Angie Everheart and Rebecca Broussard.
Camera later earned the distinction of being designated as Dogme #15, the second American film to do so, by the founding fathers of Dogme 95. The do-it-yourself professional filmmaker movement was founded by Danish avante-garde filmmakers Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.
There's a great quote by the French fimmaker, Jean Cocteau, who said, 'When the cost of filmmaking is the same as a pencil and paper, then you'll find true art,' and nowadays, my film notwithstanding, that's the case, said Rich.
The film was eventually sold to NetFlix, and has been shown in film festivals around the world, said Rich. I was invited to the 'Digital Talkies' film festival in India, hosted by Shekhar Kapur. The hotel room itself in New Dehli cost more than the production of the film.
It's become increasingly important for filmmakers to get their work shown in festivals. But it's a costly proposition. Editing is usually a big expense in making a film.
Certainly, I have friends who own production houses; and at the time, people were either using Avid or one of the other two major PC-based editing processes, said Rich. At the time, Avid machines were costing around $60,000 each, but Pinnacle Systems was able to incorporate the key editing elements that professional systems were offering into an affordable solution that prosumers like myself could use. In my case, with cost reasons as well as the product's ease of use, I started using Pinnacle Studio™ exclusively in my digital film making.
Rich has since made two documentaries using Pinnacle Studio including Tibetan Refugee, which Rich filmed while in Dharamsala, India. By chance, Rich was there when a number of refugees crossed the border from Tibet, walking across the Himalas on a quest to see the Dali Lama.
Through a friend, I was able to interview these children and monks to ask them about their ordeal and what they expected to find, Rich recalled. Unbeknownst to them, they were about to meet the Dali Lama. So I was able to go up to the Dali Lama's house and spend a day filming him greeting these kids who had risked their lives to come learn Tibetan because it isn't being taught in Tibet anymore. That was a powerful, powerful experience, but I really didn't have the money to make the documentary. I just had my Sony VX1000 with me and Pinnacle Studio. I shot it and set it up so that all of the proceeds would go to the Tibetan Refugee Center. I eventually sold the film to NetFlix and because of recent events in Tibet, have made it available for free through youtube.
Rich also recently made Journey Into Tibet with Robert Thurman, recording a journey around Tibet's sacred Mt. Kailash and parts of Western Tibet for Tibet House in New York, a museum and cultural organization for Tibetan people. Again, Rich used his Sony VX1000 and Pinnacle Studio to edit and produce the film.
I've also shot a few infomercials and promos for television that I've edited with Pinnacle. For the companies that I was shooting for, the resulting video was exactly what they wanted. They couldn't tell that my editing software only cost me, what, $100? And, of course, I didn't bother to tell them.
Rich first used Pinnacle Studio (version 7) in 1995 for no other reason than it came free with a FireWire cable he bought for his camera. At first, he would export the video files to an Adobe Premiere editing system, try and work with the footage, only to bring it back to Pinnacle Studio for output.
Pinnacle Studio is definitely easy to use, said Rich. It takes seconds to set up, and if you're someone who has never worked with film before, it's gives you the ability to advance your skill. Pinnacle's competitors are either not as easy to use or are a little too basic. Pinnacle Studio allows you to make the footage look better and give it a certain quality and tone, but I don't see the other applications doing this on the same scale yet. Actually, Rich continued, since Avid bought Pinnacle, they've been able to sort of downsize some Avid technologies into Pinnacle products. That's just a wonderful, wonderful thing because Avid is the gold standard of digital editing.
In addition to a multitude of projects and obligations, Rich is currently teaching various filmmaking classes at the Loyola University Film School in Los Angeles. This summer, he will be teaching his documentary filmmaking class in Rome where the students will make a 10-minute short film of any subject in Rome or around Italy.
As I was preparing to teach the class in Rome this summer, the school asked what software they needed to get if we were working with students who may not have any experience. The first company I thought of was Pinnacle, said Rich. It really does enable people with no experience to create entertaining videos without a lot of hassle. At the same time though, an experienced filmmaker like myself can use it to make some clever dissolves and transitions, titling and pretty much anything that a higher-end editing solution can do. I advise the schools and students to start with Pinnacle and then work their way up to Avid Xpress® Pro as needed.
But as he continues to teach others the craft of filmmaking, the core reason Rich continues to make his own movies is the same today as it was a decade ago: to be able to create good stories on whatever canvas is available.
When I sat in that movie theater in New Delhi with 3,000 Indians showing them 'Camera,' at the Digital Talkies Festival in 2001, to hear them laugh at the same jokes that American audiences laughed at, in a feature film that was made with just a digital camera and a little editing, is just a fantastic thing, recalled Rich. But, as I'm fond of saying, 'you don't pick up a paint brush to pay the rent.' The reason you pick up a paintbrush is because you have a creative endeavor you want to pursue, you want to express something from yourself and your heart, and Pinnacle allows you do that without costing an arm and a leg. If you have a digital camera and you want some basic software that will help you show your concept in a creative way, you can't go wrong with Pinnacle.