BOREALIS to Air- Borealis The Movie will be aired on SPACE network on Friday, January 11 at 9:00 pm ET. Spread the word! Happy New Year.
MEDIA-WHEEL, savvy Slanted Wheel Guide-to-Everything, gives readers a SLANT on the new digital world of film and TV photography.
Many years ago, Mel Brooks appeared on the Johnny Carson show. After the usual riffs and quips, Johnny asked Mel a penetrating question.
“Mel, what do you find to be the hardest thing about making a movie?”
Without hesitation, Mel replied, “Punching in all those little holes along the edges of the film.” Raucous laughter from the live studio audience ensued.
Wouldn’t happen now. These days it would most likely be incomprehension coming from audience members. “Little holes? Huh?”
The fact is that Mel’s once-witty riposte has been rendered irrelevant, meaningless. The explanation is clear, if a touch harsh.
FILM IS OVER! FINISHED! GONE FOREVER! DEAD! AS OUTMODED AS MANUAL TYPEWRITTERS!
The facts are these: Panavision, AARI and Aaton have all quietly ceased production of film cameras. Kodak and Fujifilm are still making film (presumably with the little holes along the sides that Mel referred to back in the day), but Kodak is nearing bankruptcy and Fujifilm isn’t far behind. And what use is a film camera without the film to load into it?
So long celluloid. Hello digital.
But is this a good thing? An improvement? Does anyone care? Are we sad about it … at all?
“Well, I do miss the texture of film,” says David Frazee, director of the two-hour Borealis pilot (for SPACE and CTV) currently in post-production. “But the time has come when using film is just not necessary anymore.”
History has demonstrated that although new technology means certain gains it brings with it certain losses as well. The art of letter writing, for example. Are we to look forward to the collected emails or TWEETS (god forbid!) of our era’s influential thinkers? Never mind. Mr. Frazee sees mostly the positives of digital filming.
“Shooting digital is a lot faster. It’s not like film stock. You don’t have to change loads, which is an advantage,” says the distinguished director who in addition to Borealis has directed multiple episodes of Flashpoint and Endgame, among others. Frazee reports that the newest product from AARI, the “Alexa,” was used by Director of Photography Mathias Herndl to shoot Borealis. “The camera is smaller and lighter, so easier to handle. Also extremely sensitive so you can use less light.” Nor do you need to transfer, or make film prints (which can cost as much as $2000 each) Frazee adds.
So, faithful readers, my blog-foray into the world of technology concludes here, because above is the sum total of what I actually know about it. However, education is ongoing. If you have info, opinions, ideas … please feel free to share. Drop us a line … digitally.
Director, David Frazee, on the set of Borealis.
In which our intrepid “Little Wheel,” who is “slanted”, of course, takes to the streets with her entourage to talk about Slanted Wheel’s BOREALIS 2045. Below is a composite of several man/woman-on-the-street Borealis-themed encounters that took place.
“It’s entitled BOREALIS,” we say. And to avoid confusion, “As in “Aurora ____?” (We are helpful.)
“Ya. I get it. So what’s the deal?”
“It’s a big deal,” I reply. “BOREALIS 2045” takes place in the future… in the Arctic.”
“No kidding. Don’t get to see much of that in TV land.”
“Exactly. You’re wondering why the Arctic, right?” (We are also intuitive.) “A couple of years ago Slanted Wheel made a CBC pilot called “Dark Room” that had some very dramatic scenes shot in the Arctic and I realized how unusual a location it was. The pilot didn’t make it to series, but we had a great idea … the Arctic!”
“Our partners Tom Cox and Jordy Randall of Seven/24 thought so too. Turns out the Arctic has large deposits of oil and drilling is a cinch now that global warming has melted the ice. Know what you’ve got now?
“A mid-21st-century Gold Rush.”
“Great news for Canada, eh?”
“Not so much. Russia’s planting flags on the ocean floor. The Danes are looking for evidence the Vikings were there first. A Japanese sub scoping out the area was harpooned by locals who thought it was a whale. In another 20 years … Ill, you can imagine.”
“Wars are fought over things like this.”
“True. That’s why our co-writer, Andrew Wreggitt – he wrote the Gemini-award-winning screenplay for Mayerthorpe for us, and of course he’s one of Canada’s best and we love him -- co-created the town Borealis, situated in an international free zone where all nations can pursue their interests peacefully … theoretically speaking.”
“It is. Think “frontier”, “Old West” …
“You got it. But in the future and cold. Borealis even has a sheriff of sorts --- a former “ultimate” fighter –a brothel, a saloon, and a ZipGrav.”
“A zero gravity chamber … very relaxing … and great for, er, sex.”
“Can I try it?”
“Don’t sulk. We hate that.”
“We pitched it to CTV and SPACE who put “into development” quickly (in network terms). There was a pilot, a bible, a sample episode. Responses from the “net” were positive, and then …”
“Nothing. We didn’t hear back. Numerous calls were made but no decisions. And after a few “regime” changes it wasn’t clear who we were working with. Time passed. At the end of last year, Jon Slan. Slanted Wheel’s “Big Wheel” and a helluva guy, said ‘Wait! The network’s option on BOREALIS expired last September!’ This was a a shock. There were more phone calls. (Do producers do ANYTHING else?) We were almost set to take the project back when Corrie Coe at CTV and Rebecca DiPasquale at SPACE said, ‘Wait! We like this project. Be patient.’”
“How patient do ya have to be?’
“Very. But when we were finally ordered to production much joy ensued.”
(sigh) “I love happy endings.”
Author: Slanted Wheel StaffEdited to correct omissions of Andrew Wreggit as "co-writer" and "co-creator" of Borealis 2045.