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MRH: I love the wedding video Betty ultimately edits, but it’s my favourite moment for personal (and very funny) reasons. The sister of one of the guys that I went to film school with got married, and he asked a classmate (who was then kind of crazy) to film the wedding as a favour.

A few years later the video came up in conversation, and I asked my friend how it turned out, and he asked with great surprise, ‘You’ve never seen it?!?’ and I said ‘No.’

Now, the final edit is very short, but it’s very bizarre because his friend’s personality is kind of prominent, and besides the ‘creative’ camerawork, once in a while people are asked, ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?’

Because the perplexed guests included family and relatives, my friend had to keep it all in; he had no choice. So when he finally got the final edit and he didn’t have any other footage, he realized he was stuck with this thing.

He’s forgiven his friend since, so when I saw Betty’s own ‘wedding video,’ I thought to myself, had that level of editing technology been available 20 years ago, his buddy probably would’ve made a video like Betty’s.


SR: We wanted to show that she’s trying to make money, but we also cut out a scene where she’s working as a 911 operator and a number of other ways that she’s trying to make money, but filming moving of Grandma and the wedding are two examples of somebody editing very, very badly, but it gave her the skills.

Ultimately you watch her edit and make choices that are far more sophisticated; when she’s actually not doing it for money, she’s doing it in order to share something that matters to her and to people that matter to her; then you know where she got those skills. We were trying to be careful and make things realistic. Without that experience, she couldn’t have edited the final movie that you’re actually watching in that room.


MRH: Because you’ve appeared in big budget films, you’ve made feature length films shot on film, and now you’ve made a digital film, do you find that now there’s no stigma attached to making a low budget movie on digital? Essentially, if the material suits that particular medium and even the circumstances, you can make a really good movie that’s dramatically viable using that gear?


SR: It depends on what gear you’re talking about. Digital movies, for sure. Big directors are using them, whether it’s George Lucas or Michael Mann or whatever, and the technology is there for the highest end cameras. A lot of film companies are using [digital gear] partly because it can be bought.

Television series and features are being shot on them, and what will happen in the next ten years is film will disappear except as a storage device. The short answer to your question is of course it’s viable and legitimate, but it depends on what you’re shooting.

At first I thought I’d made the wrong decision (I’m still not sure about this, to tell you the truth) of whether to shoot in HD or not, and at the time the cinematographer said, ‘We’re going to have a higher end camera than the Panasonic camera, and it’ll be a little more realistic, because if it’s HD it’ll just maybe look a little too good.’ Then when we were editing, I thought, ‘I’ve made a mistake. It’s harder to sell. I could’ve made it look a little worse.’ We up-res’d the digital footage at the end it to make it look better.

The only difficulty we had wasn’t the look at all; HD wouldn’t bother you now, because people are buying HD consumer cameras. The hardest thing technically was sound. We spent more money in postproduction – more money than on the entire shoot - on 2 weeks of sound editing because the sound was real and annoying, and we had to make it better.

In this particularly case it’s obviously a lower end camera that serves its purpose because it looks real, but if you’re making a big movie, you’re not going to use that camera because you’d notice [the image quality] that would look shitty when it’s blown up, but there won’t be any movie projectors in theatres anymore. The studios have already solved that problem with the exhibitors. There was a huge ‘Who’s buying it? Who’s replacing parts of it? and the distributors are now spending to changing all these movie theatres across America into digital.

90% of them will be digital projection. They’ll be beaming a movie to the projector via satellite and the projector will decode it.

Right now, to be very specific, only outside sunlight and harsh contrast on film is better, and that’s it, but that’s going to change. You’ll be able to dial in whatever kind of grain or look you want. It’s kind of sad, but people were sad when they were no longer touching film and cutting it and putting it together with Scotch tape.


MRH: That experience, to some extent, I don’t miss, because I hated squawk boxes and I could never work on a Movieola. It just devoured film, and I’m always stunned when someone can actually cut a movie on a Movieola and nothing gets shredded to pieces


SR: You’re right. But think about the film. You can’t have a music cue go over a reel change. You can if it’s digital. A mag of film is 10 mins. long, and then you gotta wait and change the mag, no matter what kind of acting is going on; that’s in the process of shooting.

In terms of showing it, the films are shipped, they get broken, they get chipped, they get re-spliced, they jump, they get scratched – it’s a drag. It’s prehistoric, and it’s all going away.

Read the DVD review!

Read the DVD review!

Betty Munson...

KQEK.com would like to thank Saul Rubinek for a lengthy and fun conversation about filmmaking, and Leah Visser at Amberlight Productions for facilitating this interview.

For more information on Cruel but Necessary , please visit the official website HERE.

All images remain the property of their copyright holders.

This article and interview © 2009 by Mark R. Hasan

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